Friday, July 9, 2010
Independence Day in our small beach community is truly a step back in time. Windemere was busy with many guests reserving the same room year after year. The beach just to the north of the Inn was sprinkled with colorful umbrellas shading happy families enjoying the warm sea. Our beach was dotted with guests set up for a day of relaxation, reading, sunning and swimming.
Each Independence Day the bridge to our island is closed to automobiles for a couple of hours so it can be used for viewing the many fireworks displays presented by communities up and down the Inter Coastal Waterway. We take special care to make dinner reservations for our guests at one of the wonderful places on Fifth Ave. at just the right hour so they can stroll to dinner, and then to the river to watch the fireworks. That is the one night of the year that our guests head out to dinner with a beach towel, which they sit upon when the skies light up. Each year the bridge has quite a festive ambiance with many on lookers dressed in patriotic red, white and blue with flags to celebrate the birthday of our great nation. The Indialantic Volunteer Fire Department sells cold drinks, hot dogs and hamburgers as a fund raiser, and offers first aid to anyone in need.
July is peak see turtle nesting season and the month for the Annual Indialantic Craft Festival. It is a wonderful time to treat yourself to a beach vacation.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
A few evenings ago the Beach side Pergola of the Windemere Inn was the meeting spot for the first gathering of the Area Innkeepers. I had invited all of the Innkeepers, new and prospective. Bambi and Andy, the new owners of Crane Creek Inn in the historic district of Melbourne, and Jeanne and Richard, who have yet to break ground on their restoration and addition to a historic home they have owned in the historic district of Melbourne beach (Sea Glass Bed and Breakfast) gladly accepted the invitation.
It was a perfect evening, breezy with the sea ablaze with sparkles from the late afternoon sun. We shared wine and hors d'oeuvres and the most interesting conversation including becoming an Innkeeper, restoration and remodeling, breakfast menus, and on an on. Each Inn, and prospective Inn, is totally unique. Crane Creek Inn has four guest rooms, a pool, is right on the river and ideally located to walk to shopping, dining, and events in the Historic District. When it opens, Sea Glass Bed and Breakfast will have about eight rooms, and is adjacent to a pier on the Intercoastal, across from a lovely park and recreation complex, convenient to dining and an easy walk to the beach.
Each Innkeeper is in a different stage of Innkeeping. Being the most experienced Innkeeper, and the longest working as an Innkeeper, I was the target for questions and ideas. As I listened to my own responses I realized that, at Windemere, everything truly revolves around the guests. Everything. Every decision, every dime spent, everything.
That, I am sure, is why Windemere is so loved by return guests, first time guest, staff and the community. It is all about our guests.
Recently a guest checked out after a four night stay and said to me "When you look up the word paradise in the dictionary, there should be a picture of Windemere."
I look forward to the next time we can all get together and share the joys and sorrows of Innkeeping!
Friday, May 28, 2010
This morning I saw my first set of turtle tracks on the beach. Sea turtle nesting season runs from May 1 to October 31 each year, and is truly a magnificent thing to observe. I know there have been many nesting mothers up on the beach already this season, but I get up so early that it is still pitch dark when I take Sierra (dog) for her first walk of the morning. By the time our mid day walk rolls around the tracks have been covered up by happy beach walkers.
Our local beaches are exceptionally active nesting beaches with green turtles, and the very rare logger head and leather back turtles choosing to trust the future of their species to our sand. All sea turtles are protected by both state and federal laws. These gentle dinosaurs have struggled to survive as more development has impacted their nesting beaches and more fishing and pollution has impacted their water. It is especially important that the nests on our beach hatch successfully with the beaches in the Gulf of Mexico damaged from oil.
July is the most exciting time to take a guided turtle walk. The early nests are hatching and the late nests are just being laid, so you have mothers and babies going both ways!
From July 21st to July 31st we have a nearly full, then full, then still nearly full moon. Come to Windemere to enjoy a luxurious stay and the fascinating experience of watching the sea turtles!
firstname.lastname@example.org or 321-676-1701 to book a guided turtle walk.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Last weekend we were honored to be the location where another man and woman started their lives as husband a wife. We have had dozens of weddings held at Windemere already this year, but each year only a handful are are able to get the entire Inn and hold their reception here as well. This was a very special wedding with a surprisingly relaxed young couple bringing two families together who, for the most part, had not met.
The bride and her mother arrived early as planned and placed a gift bucket (yes, a beach bucket stuffed with goodies) in each guest room and greeted everyone as they arrived. As a matter of fact the bride joined each friend/family member on their "welcome tour" of the Inn.
The rehearsal went with out a hitch and they all enjoyed a lovely dinner overlooking the river. The wedding day was spent relaxing on the beach until the hair dressers arrived to prepare the bride and bride's maids. Just before the wedding the bride came, wide eyed and upset that the boutonnieres were not quite what she had envisioned, wishing there were more orchids.
Well, at Windemere we are supreme problems solvers, and as you all know, avid orchid growers! Though we hate to cut our orchids, we did so and the problem was gone. The ceremony was intimate (only 30) and presided over by the grooms grandfather. The reception was joyful, beautiful and delicious. Chef Fergie really out did herself with beautiful, tasty hors d'oeuvers, and unique salad designed to meet the bride's wishes, and a tropical dinner to rival the best dining options in the area. The wedding couple were not especially fond of cake, so we made individual cheese cakes, each decorated with a bouquet of fresh glazed fruit and whipped cream presented on silver platters help up by champagne glasses in the shape of a three tier wedding cake.
It was a perfect evening with dancing on the patio surrounded by white paper lanterns.
Each wedding is one of a kind!
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Today is Mother's Day and the Inn was full of mother's happy to be pampered and waited upon by our detailed and attentive Staff. We had some guests from Orlando who planned their second and third trip to Windemere before departing the Inn after their first! We had some guests walk in with out a reservation, saying that it looked nice and they would like to see some rooms. At the same time very dear regular guests arrived and were so happy to be here and were welcomed with such warmth and enthusiasm (they've been here nearly a dozen times) that the walk in guests had made up their minds to stay before the first room was even viewed!
Just another typically wonderful weekend at the Windemere Inn!
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Today we, the Staff of Windemere, are celebrating six years since I bought the Inn. The actual date is May 11, but today is the date that we could all get together to celebrate and leave my parents, Jim and Celestine, to watch the Inn. The Staff choose the new Sand of the Beach in Melbourne Beach for our "party". It is a lovely spot, you guessed it, right on the beach.
In the past six years we have had damage from five hurricanes in fourteen month and suffered dearly from the recession. However, thanks to our many faithful repeat guests, here we are, truly celebrating. We thank each of you for allowing us to serve you and look forward to celebrating many more years at the Windemere Inn!
Thursday, April 29, 2010
April 28, 2010 78/66 degrees moon - full
In 1994 Tom and Vivien Hay pursued their dream to own a Bed and Breakfast. After examining many operating inns, each with a unique ambiance and personality, they noted aspects that they admired and realized that they wanted to own a romantic Antebellum or Victorian inn. This was likely to be located in the Carolinas or Virginia. During a wintertime break from their search, and revived by walks in the sand and sunshine, Tom and Vivien began to consider Florida as a location providing the property was ocean front.
In the spring of 1995 the Hayes purchased this property. It consisted of half an acre with private beach access, a private deck, a beach house (now the Cottage) built in 1959 and a garage (now the Carriage House Suite) built in 1983, and an empty lot on A1A upon which the Main House was constructed in 1996.
There were no Bed and Breakfasts in Brevard County at the time, so Tom and Vivien had many challenges opening the Windemere Inn By The Sea.
With the Hays living in an apartment next door, the Inn opened in 1995 with only three rooms in the Windward Cottage (now called Cottage) and the newly rebuilt deck, now a pergola with a Chippendale design railing. Construction of the Main Inn (Main House) was completed in October of 1996 and Tom and Vivien moved their residence to the second floor. The East Wind Carriage House (now Carriage House Suite) was completed next, and used as the private residence of Vivien's father for the next several years.
The decorating was extensive with antiques, elaborate draperies and wall papers and faux finishes resulting in the Country English Victorian Ambiance which Tom and Vivien had worked toward.
Windemere Inn By The Sea opened in full with all guest rooms booked on Christmas Day of 1996. Numerous family groups and individual guests booked. Business travelers and guests on romantic get aways booked. Tom became a Notary Public and performed many weddings on the Beach side Pergola.
Eventually the Hays planned to retire and listed the Inn for sale. In May of 2004, Beth Fisher purchased Windemere and the Hays retired to the Carolinas.
Eleven weeks after purchasing the Inn, Beth faced the first of five major hurricanes to hit Florida in fourteen months time. The Cottage was virtually destroyed and the Main House sustained considerable damage. Though the structures were quickly repaired, much of the original Victorian contents were lost.
Windemere was rebuilt as a luxury ocean front Bed and Breakfast with an eclectic mix of antiques, contemporary pieces and grass rugs, fine linens, attentive and personal service, and food that fits the definition of gourmet.
Our history may not be long, but it is filled with goals and dreams, heartache and rebirth. It has been very exciting!
Thank you for choosing Windemere, and being a part of our history.
Summary: Founding Owners 1995-2004; Tom & Vivien Hay
Current owner since 2004, Beth Fisher
Cottage; built in 1959
Carriage House Suite; built in 1984
Main House; built in 1995
Extensive rebuilding of all buildings after the hurricanes of 2004
Windemere Inn By the Sea opened in 1995 with three guest rooms in the Cottage. The Inn, in total, opened on Christmas Day of 1996.