On Amelia Island, a barrier island on Florida’s east coast, Elizabeth Pointe Lodge is a 25-room bed-and-breakfast that will exceed the expectations of your clients seeking a unique honeymoon or romantic getaway at any time of the year. Wintertime lows are above 43 degrees with daytime temperatures in the 70s, and the summertime high is 90 degrees.
An oceanfront guest room at the Elizabeth Pointe Lodge
Owners David and Susan Caples built Elizabeth Pointe in 1980 to maximize guests’ appreciation of the sand dunes and seascape right outside the door and to give them a sense of Amelia Island’s maritime traditions. The Caples, who have more than 25 years’ experience in the lodging industry, are so good at innkeeping that they run a seminar on the art. “We took the rudiments of our Cornell University hospitality educations and incorporated them into a three-day program,” explains David Caples. (Aspiring innkeepers can visit www.lodgingresources.com.)
There are three components to Elizabeth Pointe Lodge: the main house with 20 rooms, the Ocean House with four Deluxe Rooms and Miller Cottage, which has two bedrooms, two baths, a full kitchen, living room, dining room and a wonderful ocean deck with rocking chairs. Rooms are appointed with stylish colonial mahogany and teak furnishings and ultra-fluffy duvets. Wainscoting-lined halls and public areas are accented with photos and memorabilia of Amelia Island’s rich history. The island has been ruled by eight different nations, and its historic Fernandina Harbor is the birthplace of the modern shrimping industry.
To make certain that guests can always get what they need, an innkeeper is on duty 24 hours per day at the front desk. This means that your clients are checked in individually, given an orientation of the property and escorted to their rooms. Some enjoyable extras include the complimentary lemonade served all afternoon; the bottomless afternoon cookie jar at the front desk; and the nightly “social” hour, when guests gather by the fireplace and porch and enjoy complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres, including fresh crab dip, homemade bread and crudités.
“Our older clients welcome the newlyweds and make them feel quite at home,” says Susan Caples, who says that honeymooners comprise 15 percent of Elizabeth Pointe’s business. “And there are many alcoves, porches and sandy dunes when they want to be private.”
Honeymooners keen to spend the day bicycling or pursuing other outdoor activities will find the inn’s breakfast immensely satisfying. Some featured items on the menu include blueberry pancakes with maple syrup, and Texas eggs. There is also a lavish display of fresh fruit, bacon, oatmeal, grits, cereals, coffee and tea, freshly squeezed orange juice, bagels and cream cheese, banana or carrot cake and more. Everything tastes homemade and incredibly fresh. A light-fare menu is available 24 hours.
The den and library give Elizabeth Pointe Lodge a homey feel.
Elizabeth Pointe Lodge offers several honeymoon packages, including “Honeymoon in a Lighthouse,” a seven-night interlude in a reproduction Chesapeake Bay Lighthouse with a 180-degree view of the ocean. Amenities include champagne, a goodie basket and a dozen roses on arrival as well as daily breakfast at the lodge. The rate in March through August is $4,270; September through February, $3,355 per couple.
The three-night “Pointe Package” is another honeymoon favorite. Amenities include champagne and strawberries on arrival, an Elizabeth Pointe Lodge T-shirt and Oceanfront King Superior room. The rate is $1,125 per couple. Lower rates may apply Sundays through Thursdays or on different rooms.
Among the most popular packages is the three-day/two-night “Rendez Vous,” which includes champagne with strawberries on arrival, late-evening desserts and dinner for two at one of Fernandina's finest restaurants. The cost for an Oceanfront King Superior room is $820 per couple for the package; lower rates available Sunday through Thursday or Sunset rooms.
All of these packages are commissionable to travel agents. Brides and grooms seeking to use the lodge for their wedding and guests for three days or more may contact Sales Manager Debbie Keller ([email protected]) for more details.
Amelia Island has an abundance of activities and entertainment for honeymooners and all guests. Horseback riding, tennis and golf are nearby, and guests can borrow a fishing pole from the front desk and try their luck in the Atlantic Ocean by just stepping out on the backdoor beach, which is never crowded.
For information about horseback riding along the beach in Amelia Island State Park, visit www.kellyranchinc.com. Join a guided Kayak/Nature Tour and learn about salt marsh ecosystem critters and local history for $55 or rent a canoe for independent adventures up to four hours for $45 www.kayakamelia.com. Couples can rent bicycles and head for Fort Clinch State Park and its 11 miles of biking paths through salt marshes, nature trails and along pristine beaches. Historic tours are available at Amelia Island Museum at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily. Call 904-261-7378 or visit www.ameliaisland.org for more information about the tours, including which ones offer commissions.
Amelia Island has its own golf school and seven golf courses. Chief among these is the Golf ClubNorth Hampton at , an Arnold Palmer Signature that pits piney woods with breathtaking elevation changes, gleaming white sand, and crystal blue water.
The Elizabeth Pointe Lodge website offers information about and links to these and numerous other activities, such as shopping for antiques in historic Fernandina’s many vintage clothing, furniture and curiosity shops where pink flamingoes and decadent estate jewelry are displayed side by side. Amelia Island has great restaurants such as Espana and 29 South Eats along with funkier eateries such as T-Ray’s Burger Station, a 30-seat restaurant located in an Exxon gasoline station offering delicious local food at incredible prices.
Jacksonville International Airport is only 35 minutes away, and Amelia Island is easy to find off I-95 (Exit 373) and then following the signs to A1A.