Bed and breakfasts have quickly won me over after visiting quite a few Select Registry properties in Florida and Vermont. To be fair it wasn’t a tough fight for them. I was easily swayed. The Amelia Island Williams House certainly played a solid part in that courting.
Located on the corner of South 9th street and Ash, The Williams House is placed in a great location to explore the town of Fernandina Beach.
By placed I mean this house built 1856 happens to still be in a prime spot.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to wander around a house built over 150 years ago, I highly suggest you look one up and start driving now. Hint: you’re probably going to be heading to the East Coast.
This was my second stop in my tour of Northern Florida’s most elite bed and breakfasts with Select Registry.
The Amelia Island Williams House
The Beautiful Property
The Amelia Island Williams House property actually encompasses 3 separate buildings, the original Williams House, the Hearthstone House, and the recently built Carriage House. Eleven rooms in total offer guests a variety of options ranging from luxurious guest suites to elegant rooms for two. The Williams House is built primarily from walnut wood which interestingly keeps the spiders at bay. (They don’t like walnut, apparently)
The Williams House has been beautifully maintained and restored. It encompasses a perfect balance of historic and modernity. Rooms still have original chandeliers and have been updated with whirlpool tubs. Original woodwork and pocket doors are seen throughout the entire property.
There’s even a small alcove that seems very out of place in the foyer area. Maria explained that this used to be a hidden room. It used to be covered by a bookshelf that looked as though it was built into the building. It was designed during a time when banks weren’t to be trusted (even though it was a banker who designed it!). He didn’t trust putting his money in banks so he built himself a secret place to hide it in his own home. How cool is that?
The Rich History
The history of the Williams House itself is what truly makes the property shine. Ask Maria for a tour after breakfast one day and you will surely be fascinated.
Maria weaves the beautiful story of Marcellus Williams, the majority owner and namesake of the house. Marcellus was not a wealthy man to begin with. In North Carolina, Marcellus worked an average job and made an average living. He was, however, well liked among the wealthy population and had a reputation for being a hard worker.
He was approached with a job proposition in Florida promising to make him a VERY wealthy man for a few years’ work. Surveying land before cars and before modern technology was a lengthy, labor filled, difficult and often dangerous job. But, it left him a very wealthy man and in a very large, beautiful house.
Checking In: The Princess Room
My room featured a giant king size bed, a cozy little desk area with an original crystal chandelier over it, a large, glorious fireplace and a beautiful cozy bathroom. Just outside the door to my room was a well stocked mini kitchenette type thing with a fridge, microwave, recycling area, and all the books you could want. There was also a door. This door led to the gorgeous wrap around front porch that was a perfect spot to sip my morning coffee or curl up with a book in the evenings.
Chris and Maria Page were a refreshing twist on innkeepers. They were new to the arena having taken over the inn only 5 short months prior to my stay.
You would have never been able to tell, however!
These two maintained the theme of finding native New Yorkers in Florida and had a very interesting background! Maria worked in education for some time and Chris in the corporate hospitality realm. They were relocated a few times due to Chris’ job and eventually came to find Amelia Island as their home.
They are absolutely charming and full of stories. Maria, you can tell, really enjoys the history of the house (that may be due to her education background… 😉 ) Her tours are so informative and so interesting. Like I’ve said in the past, history isn’t really my thing when it comes to battles and wars and yada yada but secret rooms and pocket doors? That’s the kind of history I perk up to!
If you can swing it, definitely talk Maria into giving you a tour! You won’t regret it!
I was drooling over the delicious looking asparagus quiche that the other guests were enjoying, but alas, eggs can not enter this little tummy of mine. Chris, the chef of the couple, did a great job tailoring to my extensive list of dietary needs.
The coffee flowed, the juice was poured and the conversations were rich. You never know who you’re going to sit down next to at the breakfast table of a bed and breakfast.
My stay at the Amelia Island Williams House was short but ever so sweet. I hope to return to this beautiful house in a beautiful town on a beautiful island. If you’re in the neighborhood, or if you’re in the market for a new neighborhood to check out, give Chris and Maria a call and reserve your room. You won’t regret it.
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