February 29, 2020

#210 Amelia Island

“One of the choicest and most pristine stretches of beach belongs to The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, whose guest rooms all enjoy enviable views and perfect sunrises. Considered by many to be one of the finest resorts in the South, the Ritz-Carlton offers golf, tennis, Southern hospitality, and exceptional dining in its award-winning restaurant[s] proving that Amelia Island is, once again, the ultimate playground for island lovers with cash to spare.”

You guys, this post brings an end to the Jalairean Journey.  It was the last item on the list before beginning the long drive back to Texas. Oh, I'm still stopping in the Florida panhandle to see a cousin, and taking detour to Alabama to visit friends I met on my transatlantic cruise, but it's over - and I'm kind of sad and actually very exhausted.

There were a couple of other places on Amelia Island mentioned in the entry, but my goal was to check in to the Ritz-Carlton and just rest and relax for 24 hours.

DeAndra checked me in at the front desk. She asked why I was on the Island, and I kind of casually mentioned my travel year and this was the last thing on the itinerary.  She seemed interested, and I love to talk about how travel is life-changing so we chatted for quite awhile about it.  I always want people to know a few basic things:

1- It actually doesn't take a lot of courage.  Just a deep breath, and if you have crippling anxiety, like me, a lot of planning to mitigate that anxiety.  Once you start you gain more and more confidence, and once you realize that you can still nope out of plans and cocoon in a hotel room (see: St. Simons) - it all just kind of comes together.

2-You don't have to be rich, you just have to be prepared to do the math and say yes when the opportunities present themselves.  When I was overcome with anxiety about if I should go to Czechia a mentor asked, "do you have enough for a plane ticket home?  If the answer is yes, then go. If it doesn't work, come back.  You didn't lose out on anything".  And that was life changing advice.

3-You can start small, with something in your neck of the woods - a day trip or a quick weekend away.  You don't have to be homeless for a whole year.

Anyhow, after our chat, I went up to my room and discovered an amazing view of the ocean. 

I got a little bit settled and decided to try out one of their restaurants for dinner.
I am direction-ally impaired, and the Ritz is a big property so I got a tiny bit lost on my way to Coast, but happily, ran into their Salt store.  Their flagship restaurant is called Salt and they specialize in all the different salts they serve. The store has a salt tasting bar, which I thought was weird and fascinating.  So happy coincidence and I stopped and did a salt tasting.  FYI, there is a waiting list for one of their salts - garlic parmesan - they have a taster and you can be added to the waiting list.  I did taste the salt, and I can see why they need a list. It was really good.

After I found Coast, I discovered they didn't open their dinner menu for another half hour or so.  Their limited lunch menu didn't have anything I found appealing - so I had a drink, read my book, and asked the waiter to bring me the dinner menu when it was available.  Such a good idea.  I ended up ordering the brisket meatloaf described as (Mac and Cheese|Green Beans|Crispy Onions|Smoked Bacon|Brisket|Barbecue Butter.  It is very likely the best thing I've eaten in a long time.  (Look, I'd start a war for those carrots at E37, but there was nothing on this plate that I didn't eat.)
Almost immediately after getting back to my room, I got a call from a guy at the concierge asking if it was a good time to bring something up to my room. I said yes, but had no idea what it was about.  A few minutes later there was a knock on my door and this.  It had a cute sample of a bunch of RC stuff and the best was a hand-written note from DeAndra thanking me for sharing my story, and hoping that I had an amazing trip and stay.  Let me tell you, I was a little teary-eyed. I will also confirm, that while yes, I have seen some amazing things on this journey, the best part has been the people that I've met.

I spent the rest of the night, just chilling, went to bed early, and once I woke up, I sprung for room service breakfast.  Waffles and bacon.  

Then, I packed up and hit the road.  I'm so curious to see what the 2020-2021 travel year will bring.