“Sunday night we were told to evacuate by Monday at 8:00 am,” said Marie Billings this evening. Living on the Intercoastal Waterway on Amelia Island, Florida, has its obvious advantages, but when its time to evacuate, it’s time to go.
It’s not all bad though. Two years ago, Marie and her husband Richard took a Royal Caribean cruise that stopped in Portland Harbor. “I fell in love with Portland,” said Marie. “We have wanted to return ever since.” The evacuation of their home on Amelia Island and their longing to return to Portland coincided.
As we sat on the outdoor deck of one of the many waterfront restaurants, Marie received a message from a friend at home. “High winds and heavy rain have arrived here” the message said. “Everything is closed including schools.” she shared with this blogger and her husband. “We can’t get back onto Amelia until the bridge is opened. And that will only happen when the Island is no longer flooded.” Richard said that he hoped it would be by Friday because they have plane tickets back to Atlanta that day.
Amelia Island is known primarily as a holiday destination for golfers and beach lovers who also enjoy luxurious hotels. It’s located on the east coast of Florida, near the Georgia border. Consequently, it is a major tourist attraction. Unlike, the Portland area there is no shortage of workers and they were surprised to learn of the workforce shortage locally. “We have a lot of young people moving into the area,” Marie said. (Maybe they have better housing for their workforce). “Do they have Maine license plates and speak with a Maine accent?”
They were also surprised to learn that some residents resist tourist related businesses. “It is such a great source of revenue,” said Marie. Property taxes are low on Amelia.
Likewise, when our server automatically gave us each a glass of water with our drinks, Richard was surprised. “We are having a drought in Florida. This does not happen at home,” he said. “Usually servers ask us if we want water.” Richard, a retired official with the FDIC, is also retired from the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. We never did decide whether he was a Commander or not! Marie said no. Richard said yes. Who cares!
After all, this delightful couple is not a fan of King Trump either! We care!
Let’s have another drink to that!