This is the second of two articles about 2 interesting couples, living on Amelia Island, enjoying the Concours d’Elegance.
Last month’s Concours d’Elegance was the inspiration for a Picnic With 2 Special Cars…a classic 1922 Model T Ford Depot Hack and a GT 500 KR…Mustang! Summer Beach residents Mark and Marie Fenn joined us and hoping for perfect weather we planned a special picnic at the airport with a good-looking jet and the cars. It was a beautiful day, but with wind gusts of 20 mph a picnic spread was next to impossible. We improvised!
A little sparkling wine goes a long way when fighting the wind.
Mark was born in Bronxville just outside NYC, but moved to Europe with his family at age ten. They traveled all over Europe during his six years in Florence, Rome, and Paris. This instilled a love of travel and adventure in his makeup. He learned all about European cars of the sixties and early seventies. He missed the whole muscle car era in the states returning just before the gas crisis of 1973.
Mark’s first car was a 1967 Alfa Romeo Giulia TI “shooting break” (station wagon in American lingo) bought from his dad. One of only four in the USA, the other 3 were owned by Alfa Romeo and used as parts delivery vehicles. After graduating from Johns Hopkins University and joining the work force he sold the car, needing a more reliable car suited for New England driving.
Last year after researching via the internet he was able to track the car down. It first went to California, then was purchased by a Dutch enthusiast who sold it to an Alfa Romeo fanatic and race car driver. He has restored it to new and sent Mark pictures. It is 49 years old now and still going strong.
Mark has held various corporate jobs in accounting, finance and planning, picking up an MBA at UCONN. He worked at Rayonier’s corporate office in Connecticut holding a variety of finance positions in timber and solid wood products, taking him to the Pacific Northwest, Australia, New Zealand and Fernandina Beach on a regular basis.
RaffaelaMarie Rizzo Fenn, aka “Marie” was born in Southern Italy, and raised in Southwestern Connecticut. She earned a BA in media studies from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut and an MBA from Jacksonville University. In her early career, Marie was in both early childhood education and adult education. She put her marketing talents and writing skills to work with the New York Times Magazine group, and later joined corporate America with ITT Rayonier headquarters in Stamford, CT.
Her corporate communications responsibilities included the company’s operations in the Southeast. After traveling to the area for 10 years, Marie accepted an opportunity to move to Amelia Island in 1990 to establish a Southeastern corporate relations presence for the company.
In 2001 Marie became the inaugural president of the USA National Peanut Board headquartered in Atlanta, leading the research and marketing efforts, taking USA-grown peanuts as a respected plant-based protein source to the highest culinary circles and onto the menu of the most famous restaurants in New York and California.
Mark and Marie married in Atlanta in 2002 and have had a place here on the island since 2005.
Marie and Mark, started their next phase of life when they moved to their vacation place in The Preserve at Summer Beach as full time residents in 2013. Together they established the Ottima Group, LLC and its subsidiary, Giro di Mondo, Publishing Services, offering a full range of consulting and author services such as strategic planning, branding, publicity, web development, design, publishing and distribution.
Marie is a member of the Florida Writers Association, Writers by the Sea, the Florida Authors & Publishers Association, and currently serves as the volunteer President of the Amelia Island Book Festival. In addition to being a director on the Nassau County Boys & Girls Clubs Foundation Board, she is a lector at St. Michael’s RC Church in Fernandina Beach.
She fulfilled a lifelong dream when she published her first book in October 2015; Thank you for the Shoes: the Story of an Extraordinary, Ordinary Man, and is working on her second book planned for launch later this year.
She and Mark say, “We love this area, most especially the authenticity. It’s a working community that offers a diversity of people from different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. It boasts a vast array of things to do, cultural pursuits and sporting activities. We love the healthy diversity of industries, including manufacturing, tourism, small and large businesses.” The Concours d ’Elegance adds another dimension. Mark adds, “having been to Lyme Rock, Pebble Beach and LeMans, we are thrilled this is right in our front yard.”
Marie answers, “Cars are one of Mark’s passions; and, now, he has infected me.”
1968 Shelby Cobra GT 500 KR, owned by Bill Amos.
“One of the most powerful and famous Shelby Mustangs of all time, the GT 500 KR (stands for ‘King of the Road’) is probably one of the most desirable Mustangs ever and definitely one of the heavyweights of the American muscle car scene.”
Mark’s travels taught him the ins and outs of good food and fine wine. “I was accustomed to the champagne tastes with a beer budget so I learned to cook and enjoy finding wines that are still undiscovered and priced accordingly.” His favorite picnic is very old fashioned, a loaf of French bread, some great cheese and charcuterie, and a bottle of red wine. Easy to fix, pack and serve!
Marie says, “We have enjoyed picnics in Europe and all across America. A good bottle of wine, a simple salad of vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, with tiny bits Italian sopressatta, tossed with Calabrian olive oil, fresh basil and eaten with fresh, crusty Italian bread, that’s my favorite”.
Speaking of a picnic, this was the best we could manage with the wind. Mark and Marie along with Mike and Marianna shared a quickly eaten deviled egg and shrimp salad prepared especially for us by Lisa Langshaw of The Picnic Basket on Centre Street in Fernandina Beach.
A big thank you to Steve Leimberg, UnseenImages.com for photographing our outing.
Thank you to Bill Amos for the use of his special King of the Road!
Thank you to Lisa Langshaw of The Picnic Basket for providing antique picnic baskets, antique silver pieces, linens and her famous shrimp salad. Visit this Gourmet Grocery/Delicatessen to prepare your special picnic!
This post was featured in Summer Beach Living.
Come celebrate with me. I’ll save you a seat at the table.