The Florida House Inn, in Fernandina Beach
Last January, Don and I explored this sweet Amelia Island town, for the first time. We turned the corner and spotted a charming 162-year-old inn!
On the porch, there were signs that got me pretty excited... a mermaid, a rooster and a chalkboard that let me know the place was open!
I love a porch! This inn had a great one, plus a restaurant with porch in its name!
History of the Inn
This rambling inn, is in the heart of the historic district. It was built by David Yulee, as a boarding house for railroad workers, in 1857.
Yulee had a dream to build a railroad, but the Civil War changed things. The building ended up housing Union soldiers and the railroad didn't get built.
Leddy's is the restaurant's name, but it's also the name of family who bought the inn, after the war.
Fernandino had become a bustling seaport town and visitors like the Vanderbilts and Carnegies built homes, nearby.
Major and Mrs. Leddy ran the inn, to house the guests of those rich folks. Were the homes owned by the rich, really too small for guests? Maybe they housed their b-list guests, at the inn.
Mermaid Bar... And Famous Guests
When we came upon the inn, there weren't any diners on the porch. We headed inside and passed through the Mermaid Bar.
I doubt the Leddy Family had any mermaid decor, when they once ran the inn. Their snooty guests might not have approved.
There were some famous guests who might have enjoyed a whimsical mermaid or two. Laurel and Hardy, were once hotel guests and and they were always in good humor... at least in the movies.
Ulysses S. Grant was another of the inn's famous guests. I guess the comedy duo never bumped into Grant, since the general died before the actors were born. But there's another famous inn guest, who did lived during Grant's time. Henry Ford was a generation younger, but they could have crossed paths and shared a drink! Possible, but unlikely.
Don and I were seated in the Southern Dining Room. We could see a few mermaids through a window in the wall.
The walls were covered with barn red paint and colorful artwork, but I really loved the old wooden floors and tables best.
Evidently, in the 1990's the restaurant offered family style dining, just like the boarding house days.
That would have been fun, sitting around a large table sharing Sunday Supper, with other diners.
HUGE Mahi Sandwich!
Maybe it's just as well that we weren't seated with others. I'm not sure they would have wanted to see Don tackle his monster sandwich! He loved it! I loved his jalapeno coleslaw. Luckily he had a ton to share.
I was in heaven with my grilled, pimento cheese and tomato sandwich, made with homemade bread.
The potato soup was scrumptious as well. Just the right amount for me.
The Back Porch
After eating, Don and I wandered out back and found the porches that possibly inspired the restaurant's name.
This was a little piece of heaven on a Sunday afternoon, in January! There were families lingering over meals, near the fountain and up on the porch near the tree. What a tree! I loved the way the centuries old oak, was leaning into the inn. They looked like old friends, whispering secrets about all the crazy past and present guests!
Must Come Back!
Don and I set off happy. Not only did we have a nice and comfy meal, in a charming southern town. We were able to add one more historic hotel to our list. I hope to someday have The Florida House Inn , written up in my 90-Notable Nights blog!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.