Review: Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort

10.24.12

It’s impossible to anyone to give a full review of the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort because I’m pretty sure you’d need a two week stay in order to get through all the amenities on the 1,350 acre resort. In a few short days I was able to eat at a few of the┬árestaurants, take a Segway tour of the property, shop in the village (and enjoy a farmer’s market), play tennis, swim in the ocean, kayak in the marsh, tour downtown Fernandina and have a bonfire on the beach.

Previously I’d posted some highlight pictures but I hadn’t really posted images of the resort itself. You see the reason I was at The Amelia Island Plantation Resort in the first place was for a topping off ceremony. Ask me what Topping Off means… seriously.

There was a really nice group of writers there.. all women actually and one guy. The running joke was that it was like dates from The Bachelor. This is how most of our dinners looked. There’s a second man at the table but he didn’t last long, it was a one man show.

 

And of course there were activities like kayaking, touring the city by Segway or coach and (of course) cocktails.

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Yes, I realize I’m posting very unattractive photos of myself but I don’t even care that I looked like crap for long weekend because the water was so delightfully warm that I couldn’t stay out of the ocean. Each afternoon at about 4pm we’d have an hour or more of free time. You can see that the women I traveled with took advantage of this time to get themselves looking great for dinner. I think some of them may have worked on their stories too. I ran to my room, stripped down as fast as humanly possible, put on a swimsuit and ran into the water each and every afternoon.

I love my Los Angeles beaches but they aren’t warm. It’s a treat to be in a warm salty ocean and I just couldn’t stay out. Every afternoon I thought to myself, “I wish the kids were here I’d be playing with them right now.” If you aren’t a competent swimmer you need to know that there are no lifeguards at the beaches. This also means that if you’re bringing your kids to the beach you need to actually watch them. I know we’re supposed to do that anyhow but I can’t say that I don’t depend on a second set of eyes most of the summer.

The resort is luxe beachy. It’s not uptight and overly fussy but it’s also not beach bum time and you can expect to see guests well behaved and well turned out (except me… oh dear). Southern hospitality abounds and everyone smiles greets you kindly. There are a lot of yes ma’ams and I don’t think I heard no a single time. Vacations without no’s are the best vacations of all.

My guestroom had an ocean view and it was fun to watch the sun rise over the ocean and then to head over to the golf course and watch it set over the marshes. The room was comfortable and clean (no need to ask for a second room here) but it was dated and worn. The resort is actually closing in a few weeks and will reopen in March of 2013 with a new building that is absolutely stunning. A pool that left April and me stuttering because it is so amazing and a massive conference center (our new goal is to get BlogHer to use it for a conference).

Here’s a snapshot of one of the new guestrooms.

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This is a rendering of the pools. There’s a splash area for little kids the long middle pool is for everyone and the squared off pool closest to the hotel lobby is adult only. With hundreds of beach chairs and just one ocean they wisely decided to create the pool deck on many levels providing a sort of stadium seating so you can see the ocean from every spot.

amelia island pool rendering

There are also villas that are one two and three bedrooms with kitchens. This is a fabulous family option as eating breakfast out isn’t my favorite. I much prefer to eat in the room and not have to get dressed and ready just to have a couple of eggs. Also with little kids they’re hungry all the time and having a place where they can easily snack is key.

Even though the trip was short we did a lot and I’m going to have to give y’all a second post where I share all the great food and drink from the Amelia Island Plantation Resort.

See all the pictures here:

A BlogHer Survival Guide

07.29.10

It’s that time of year. The time of year when a few thousand women pack up, some say goodbye to their families, some just get a pet sitter or wave at a roommate, and they start the Pilgrimage to The BlogHer Conference.

Twitter and Facebook are populated with “What will I wear/do/say/go to…” and many more. I’ll start my Survival Guide here, and ask y’all to help me out in the comments.

What to wear: Casual. BlogHer is a casual event. If you are a blogger going to meet up with girfriends go with the sundress and sandals route. Just toss a cardigan into your purse in case the sessions are in overly air conditioned rooms.

If you are a blogger who is attending BlogHer in hopes of landing a paying job, then you’ll need to dress for the job you want. Think casual friday, linen pants or lightweight slacks with a top (not a tee shirt) and close toed shoes. Alternately you can wear the sundress, just make sure it’s long enough.

I’m going to delight my friend April by quoting Annie, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile”. I promise you, in the absence of an outrageous costume, no one at the BlogHer Conference will be judging your outfits, but smiling at folks is the surest way to make friends. Engage them. Smile. This is the most important bit of advice I can give you.

Which parties should I go to? It’s nice to stop in at the parties you are invited to, but if you aren’t interested in the brand or the activity it’s perfectly fine to decline an invitation.

This I promise you, no matter where you are, you will feel left out of something. I want you to try and remember that everyone will have pangs of feeling left out. Do not let the feelings interrupt you, stop, breathe, and enjoy the room you are in. You will be surrounded by smart, dynamic people.

I wasn’t invited to THE party: It’s okay, it’s just one party. Conferences are littered with parties, events and networking. You can’t be everywhere, but you can enjoy where you are. Are you seeing a theme here?

My lipstick runs when I eat/talk too much/wear it all day. Try Lipfinity. It’s very drying so you don’t want it for everyday, but you do want it for conferences. Good lipstick matters.

I really want to meet ____ but I’m too shy. Don’t worry, she probably is too. That’s why she is blogging instead of greeting people as they walk into retail stores. You’re got your non-runny lipstick, your smile and your casual clothes, you’re just as important as anyone in that room, so there’s no reason to worry.

I just want to party with my friends. Good, but you aren’t at home. You may feel like you’re in a safe place, but you absolutely are not. You’re a stranger in a hotel in New York City. Have A drink. After dinner have ONE more drink. Don’t be the drunk girl, the drunk girl is not fun to spend time with, and the drunk girl does not feel well the next day. Drinking too much is the best way to ruin your weekend away.

I don’t want to see ____, I don’t like her. Seriously? Really? This isn’t high school, no one should have that much power, don’t give it to them.

I am going to ask a lot of questions at the sessions. Good, but when you do, make sure you don’t self promote. Last year there was a lot of, “Hi my name is Mommy McBlogger and I write at McBloggerHood.com and since I’m the foremost expert on selling your community out for a Big Mac and a fifty cent coupon I was wondering if any of you _____.” What happens is that Mommy McBlogger is remembered for being inappropriately self promotional.

I want to tell people all about my blog. Refrain. People aren’t there to read your blog, people are there to make human connections. I’m sure you can linkbait them and get them to read your one BlogHer wrap up post, but will that matter? If you want to make good conversation ask people about themselves. Remember their names, your perceived fame is limited to your blog, you are there to meet other people, to hear their opinions and learn about them.

If you ask people about themselves you will be remembered as a good conversationalist. Oh, and smile a little too, then you’ll be remembered as the nice conversationalist.

What would you add?

Social Media

04.19.10

I’m in New York and I’m surrounded by the best, brightest and most inclusive women I know. There are men here too, but once you get caught in the Cathy Brooks tornado, you are whirled through a room of girlpower that would make Jessica Valenti giddy.

The 140 Conference hasn’t begun, but the energy has shifted. Jeff Pulver once again brings together everyone you wanted to know.
I’m simply awestruck.

I had my first Dinner with David Devore, who is this little guy’s dad

Then a quick cocktail, hugs and whatnot with the conference folks, but I had to run out early because I really wanted to meet up with Melissa C Morris. She Always makes me giggle and feel like all is right in the world.

Back to the hotel to crash. Hard. I have an early wakeup call so that I can sit and absorb this conference tomorrow.

Also, I want to make it abundantly clear that my last post was about social media, and food was just sort window dressing. Food conversations are interesting (to me) but, I wonder if I was too concise.

Maybe I needed to be clearer so I’ll say it again, though I mention food, the post was about social media, who you should trust and why.