Cottages & Courtyards

Cottages & Courtyards

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nce again, the Amelia Island Museum of History offers a unique event that showcases what is special about Amelia Island and downtown Fernandina Beach’s Historic District.
“Visitors come to Fernandina to see the historic stately homes in the downtown area and stroll past the many small attractive cottages that line the streets to the north and south of Centre Street,” says Jennifer Harrison, coordinator of this first-time event. “Now visitors will have the opportunity to visit a collection of ten cottages, all south of Centre Street, and tour some of these charming and unique homes.”

Amelia Island’s Historic District is a living museum of houses built from the late 1800s, typifying the architectural splendor of the Victorian period. Visitors to the area are familiar with many of the grand houses of the district, which include the Fairbanks, Bailey, Baker-Hinton, and Chatwick houses.
This April, the Amelia Island Museum of History, for the first time, will offer a tour of a collection of the smaller cottages that are clustered on the south side of Centre Street, all within walking distance of one another. None of the homes have stairs, the tour’s organizers promise.

Many of these small gems were built in the early 1900s. The oldest cottage on the tour was built circa 1905, while the newest was finished just last year. These small spaces have been lovingly and cleverly designed and decorated to create some cozy and convenient spaces. Beautiful heart of pine floors, fireplaces, and unique details make each house a treasure. The small garden spaces, beautifully realized, are bound to excite gardeners.

Each cottage showcases owners who have used their particular talents, interests, and styles in these lovely homes, all while preserving the charm and distinctive qualities of each. The owners of the cottages are a unique group themselves, including artists, antique collectors, retirees, and newly-marrieds. The artists on the tour have created studios out of sheds and garages, and their work will be on display.

Some owners are master do-it-yourselfers, and their ideas are sure to inspire. In some cases, the courtyards steal the show and demonstrate creative ideas for spring gardens. Docents at each property will share some history of the home and/or courtyard, and point out unique features. Those touring are asked to wear flat shoes as beautiful old wooden floors need to be protected.

Water will be available in one of the courtyards (606 Date Street). A free cookie is also available with water sold as long as the cookies last! In addition, Bright Mornings is offering a 10% discount to any tour ticket holders who brunch or lunch there.

It will be a celebration of spring in Fernandina Beach, as participants enjoy the charm of the crisscrossing streets that lead them from cottage to cottage, and through the lovely garden courtyards.

Photo credits (clockwise from left): Courtesy Micheal Harrison; courtesy Judy Gulledge; Sherry Carter