"Two are Better than One!" ~Ecclesiastes 4:9

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Amelia Island!!!

Todd and I had a free night at the Ritz Carlton (from our Marriott rewards) so we decided to go to Amelia Island for the weekend. We love the Ritz (of course) and really enjoyed our honeymoon there. However, we stay at the Ritz the majority of the time due to all of our (or should I say Todd's) stays at Marriotts throughout the year, and our Marriott credit card points. While we love these stays at the Ritz, and the service is impeccable, and the hotels are gorgeous, and the on site dining is great, we are getting more and more frustrated with Marriott...the means to the end. Not only did Marriott royally mess up the rooms and charges for our wedding, a waiter at a Marriott a few weeks ago also gave himself a handsome tip when he later charged us $20 for a $5 piece of pie, and so many other like issues. Thus, the bad luck continued on this trip.

We checked in to find out that our free night certificate was not on file (which we were promised by marriott it was two weeks prior). The Ritz staff was great, and said they would check on it for us before we checked out to make sure we didn't pay out of pocket if we truly had a certificate. In the meantime, Todd had a bad feeling about it due to our prior issues with Marriott so he called their customer service line when we got to the room. Over the course of 2+ hours wasted on the phone in our room, Marriott admitted to Todd it was their fault, but that they couldn't do anything to fix the problem; we would need to use points or pay for our room. The only reason we went to Amelia Island was to use our certificate before it expired, so at this point we were basically losing 2 nights (one for the certificate we wouldn't be able to use before it expired, and paying for our weekend in Amelia Island). Todd was hung up on and shuffled from person to person until he finally spoke with someone that seemed to be willing to fix the problem, and honor the original promise. However, they hung up, and a few moments later we recieved notification that they had went ahead and used our points (not the certificate) to pay for our room! Needless to say Todd was irrate! Of course, at that point they were closed for the weekend, and we were unable to get the problem handled. However, the Ritz came through and Kurt at the front desk told us he would handle the issue for us on Monday. So, here's to hoping Marriott honors it's own certificate!

After getting off to a late start, we had an amazing weekend! Yes, even in spite of our vacation curse. I am convinced we will not have a vacation free of sickness and issues! We do a good job of pushing through it though; we are always just happy to be so blessed to go on trips with each other and enjoy each others' company. On our honeymoon, Delta lost our luggage and we didn't get it until day 3 in Maui. Of course, hours after we got clothes, Todd was very sick with a 103 degree temperature. So, we kind of joked that this trip to Amelia Island was our "redo honeymoon".

The Ritz in Amelia Island was very much like the one in Maui. It did remind me a lot of our honeymoon. A little less touristy and more family friendly. In fact, we were reading that you could have a pirate (Amelia Island used to be a pirate port) come and read a bedtime story to your children in your room with milk and cookies, and would also tuck them in. Sounds fun, right? Yes until I read the fine print -- for the small fee of $45 per child!!! What?? Clearly, there are people with nothing better to do with their money staying at the Ritz for them to keep that program!

So back to our fun...we walked around on the beach, and just had a relaxing rest of the afternoon. We enjoyed some fried yukon potato wedges and arnold palmers at the bar with a great view of the beach and the basketball games! I'm sure you can guess who needed both views! About this time, our vaca curse struck again- and I was feeling nauseous and very sick! So, in true honeymoon style we went back to the room so I could lay down for a bit and ruin the fun! After an hour, I sucked it up to go to dinner. I was really in the mood for steamed crab legs, low country boil style. However, the concierge told us there was no such thing on the island! What?? What a travesty! So, we settled for second best, a wonderful seafood restaurant called Brett's on the water. We ventured out there for dinner and enjoyed driving through the quaint little "main street" full of gift shops, antique stores, bakeries, bookstores, and restaurants and bars. We were seated at a little table at the window right over the water. I had a great clam chowder, and Todd had the shrimp low country boil. Still not feeling well, I only ate about 4 bites of my clam chowder (but would have loved to finish it) and a few bites of toast. We decided to go back to the hotel to watch the Vandy/KY basketball game. We went to a fun bar and gameroom with pooltables in the hotel where we propped up on a couch for a little over an hour. Unfortunately, Vandy lost, but we had a great time watching that and the Olympics on televisions with some Kentucky fans who loved talking to Todd about their shared Kentucky roots. Oh, and we ordered a creme brulee for dessert while the game was on. It was a shame I only had a few bites of that too because I love creme brulee!

This is the view from our room.

This morning, we got up and had eggs benedict in the Ritz cafe. I was really looking forward to mimosas and brunch, but decided it would be best to not have acidic OJ and champagne after not feeling well last night. We walked around the resort, and played on the beach for a bit after eating. It was such a gorgeous morning - low 70s and just beautiful! We kind of regretted our decision to back out on staying Friday night earlier in the week. We had such a great time and would have loved to stay longer and rent bikes, and really see the island. However, we had to get back to Orlando, so we went back to our huge ocean view room, and packed to go home. On the way out of town, we decided to go back to the area with all the shops from the night before. We got out of the car for about an hour, and walked in and out of shops, and went down to the water and on the docks. We got out of Amelia Island not doing any actual shopping, which was probably a relief to Todd!

So, here we are almost home. We are on our way to pick up Breck from our friend Kendra's, who was so nice to watch him while we were gone. She has a new puppy also, and sent us the cutest picture of them before bed last night! I was so worried about leaving Breck for the first time overnight, I can only imagine what I will be like with kids! haha We will be rushing Breck home so that we can make it to our community group tonight. How ironic only hours ago we were loving the slowness of life on Amelia Island! We loved our short vacation, and have decided, we will go back very soon!

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