by Michael Adno | November 1, 2017

Visit Amelia Island: A Victorian Christmas

Experience the charm of a Charles Dickens-inspired holiday weekend in this enchanting North Florida hamlet.


There’s something nostalgic about Christmas carolers singing on a street corner, twinkling lights against a crisp winter sky or a crackling fire in the hearth. But, alas, far too many people forget to slow down and enjoy these festive symbols or create quality experiences with their loved ones.

The entire community participates in this holiday festival where a Victorian wonderland awaits.

These days, the holiday season feels like a hectic race to send this present here and that card there while knocking out to-do lists before jetting off for a rushed family gathering. Amelia Island’s third annual Dickens on Centre, from December 8–10, offers visitors a chance to whisk themselves away from the noise of the modern world to reflect on what’s really important.

Dickens On Centre takes place in downtown Fernandina Beach December 8-10.

Inspired by Charles Dickens’s novella A Christmas Carol,  the historic downtown Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island transforms into London circa 1843—the year in which the mythical Scrooge had his run-in with three foreboding ghosts.

The Victorian-era buildings that flank the streets make for a seamless metamorphosis, complete by men in top hats and women in crinoline skirts and high necklines.

Characters like Tiny Tim might doff their caps to you as the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future glide past on stilts. Favorite local restaurants such as Joe’s Bistro will offer classic English dishes, while vendors and artists along Artist Alley will peddle their holiday-themed wares. Kids can take a picture with Saint Nick and visit a Letter writing station with a direct line to the North Pole.

Carolers gather to sing and rejoice in the holiday spirit.

The holiday festival also pays homage to Fernandina Beach’s roots as a colonial town. The entire community participates, with storefronts decorated in gilded glory and employees in period dress. It’s easy to let the shimmering festival lights that wreath the tree-lined main street transport you back to a simpler time and place.

Centuries ago, Dickens wrote a story about a character too consumed in his own affairs to see the holidays for what they truly are: a time for festivities, sure, but also a time to reassess what ultimately matters most.

Family, friends, a scribbled plea to Santa for a PlayStation 4?

Whatever it may be, Amelia Island welcomes you to join the Dickens on Centre festival and find out for yourself.