Fairbanks House

This adults-only retreat on Amelia Island, Florida, earns our top honors: 21 Plus Salute!

By Hope S. Philbrick

Even though my focus is adult destinations, and even though I chose to visit this bed and breakfast specifically because it’s exclusive to adults, upon seeing the roofline sloping over a bed in the back bedroom of a suite at Fairbanks House, I said, “Oh, kids would love that!” Forgive me, it was the first thought that popped into my head. The room was just so adorable, inviting and cozy-looking it’s the sort of room to linger all day in, perhaps reading or playing board games, a luxury of childhood.

“They would, but they won’t,” said Theresa Hamilton, who owns Fairbanks House with her husband Bill. She was serious, and yet her tone conveyed a friendly gibe. Of course kids are not allowed! We just talked about that!

Fairbanks House FoyerWe continued our tour of the house, each opened door revealing a new hideaway to treasure. Guests often return to this mansion and it’s easy to understand why: It’s a comfortable inn, conveniently located in the historic district of Fernandina Beach and within walking distance of key attractions, owned and operated by a couple you’ll want to call friends, frequented by travelers with similar interests, and each guest room is so inviting you’ll want to experience each of them.

One of the first questions you’re typically asked upon checking into any bed and breakfast is, “What time do you want breakfast?” This place is no exception. And yet, there is a difference here: Options. If you want to join other guests at the main dining room table, feel free to do so. (If you’re not familiar with protocol, most B&Bs have just one dining room table and offer two serving times.) But here if you aren’t a social morning person and prefer to dine apart from the group, smaller private tables are available. And serving times are more flexible.

The person who will likely be asking you that question and also giving you an orientation to the property upon arrival is Theresa, who is the sort of woman some folks might call a pistol or a firecracker. She’s a dynamic personality with a snarky sense of humor and a zest for life that is hard not to love, in part since it’s so different from the reserved innkeeper stereotype perpetuated in movies if not real life. She and Bill are perfectly suited for their jobs, evident in their conversations with guests, their attention to detail, obvious enthusiasm for their home as well as adopted home of Amelia Island, and the fact that they’re still running the business after buying it and the home in December 1997. They’re a key reason you’ll want to return again and again.

Fairbanks House, built in 1885 by famed architect Robert Schuyler, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It housed apartments before it became an inn. Antiques are strategically placed throughout the mansion, but there’s also sufficient room to put your own stuff in guestrooms (something not to be taken for granted with a B&B). And if the word “historic” makes you wonder about plumbing and other conveniences you might generally take for granted, fret not: you’ll find modern conveniences here. The building has been recently renovated—after a re-shingling accident caved the room in, a heartbreaking and dramatic story that has a happy ending—with loving care and attention to detail.

“Fairbanks House is the poster child of the island,” said Theresa. Pictures are pretty, but this is a place you’ll want to see for yourself.

Bedroom First Floor SuiteFairbanks House Living RoomFairbanks House Breakfast Porch






  • Free Internet access is available; guests are provided with an access password upon check-in.
  • Free off-street parking.
  • Coffee and tea are available each morning.
  • Two-course breakfast served each morning.
  • Wine and light appetizers are offered during a happy hour each evening.
  • Complimentary bikes are available.
  • Beach equipment, games and reading materials are available.
  • There is a pool on site.
  • Several guest rooms have jetted bathtubs.
  • Several packages are offered with themes such as Romance, Honeymoon, Elopement, Girls Just Want To Have Fun, Holiday and more.
  • Odds of Encountering Children: Zero. 21 Plus Salute!
More Information…

Catering to adults, Fairbanks House has been awarded membership in Select Registry for 15 consecutive years.

Fairbanks House
227 South 7th St.
Amelia Island, FL 32034

Click to read the related story, Horsing Around in Amelia Island, Florida.

-Photos courtesy Fairbanks House

Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.

HopeP_144Hope S. Philbrick is founder and editor-in-chief of Getaways for Grownups. She became a freelance writer and editor because she believes that work and fun should not be mutually exclusive. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications nationwide. When not writing, she can usually be found on the road or savoring something tasty.

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