In the last few months, Fernandina Beach discussed waterfront parks, marina repair, paid parking and density changes. Many of us see the changes coming as the rest of the county grows and population adds traffic to the island, potentially making everything a little more prosperous, but a little more crowded.
I miss the island as it was 40 years ago, but have enough perspective to know the memories are colored by nostalgia. We drove on the beach and had the run of Fort Clinch on the holidays. Using seine nets at night was an amazing thing, with enough fish for everyone. A favorite uncle brought a great recipe for beer battered shrimp from Georgia and no one passed down the recipe. I’m guessing cake batter or coconut cake mix, corn meal and beer. I had a great childhood and most of us did. I miss the island the way it was, but know we can’t go back.
Today, we have Sounds on Centre and great music downtown at places like the Green Turtle. Kayaks weren’t really a thing 40 years ago, but kayaks are an amazing way to explore the island. A huge improvement, at least to me, is the heated public pool. It might be a small thing, but it was pretty important to me when recovering from a shoulder injury. Think about the restaurants, sports and just the exceptional people. We have theatre groups and book signings with “Authors”. Famous people move here and we’re considered lucky to live here by almost everyone. I literally try to think of ways to talk my family into staying at home for a vacation, because there just isn’t as much to do when we leave.
I always hope to be a part of planning for the future, but will choose to be happy to be a local and feel lucky to call Fernandina home.