With every historic property comes a good story; and the Florida House Inn
, located on Fernandina Beach
, is no exception.
“It’s definitely a unique bed and breakfast,” says owner Ernie Saltmarsh.
Said to be the oldest operating hotel in Florida, built by David Yulee, the driving force behind The Florida Railroad, the inn opened its doors in 1857 as a boarding house for railroad workers. During the Civil War, it was seized by the North and used to house their officers. It has hosted numerous infamous and famous people that include the Carnegies, Mary Pickford, Henry Ford and the Rockefellers.
Yet, sometimes good things must come to an end and in January 2010, Florida House Inn closed its doors. But that wouldn’t be this historic property’s final chapter.
Purchased by Saltmarsh, the property underwent numerous renovations and upgrades while holding on to its classic charm.
And in December 2010, it reopened and is ready for your visit.
“We are excited about the project. It has come a long way,” comments Saltmarsh. “We are going back to the primary focus of the property.”
He adds, “it’s a wonderful old bed and breakfast located within the heart downtown. Not only that, but it is also the closest one to the water.”
With 16 of the 18 guestrooms
available to reserve, Saltmarsh says they all were left in excellent condition and each room has its own personality.
There’s also the renovated Mermaid Bar, which dates back to the property’s early days. All visitors will enjoy spending time in courtyard, which Saltmarsh says has a “great vibe to it.”
Currently the Florida House Inn serves a full breakfast each morning, and in the spring they will be bringing back the property’s restaurant.
“We are going to start with lunch and serve fried chicken, biscuits and sweet tea all family-style. Historically, this is how it was done here. Today, people are really excited about it.”
Saltmarsh sums Florida House Inn with his simple statement: “It’s a great retreat with great rooms and quaint bar, and oh by the way, there’s going to be a restaurant as well.”
Before you make reservations, be sure to check out their packages for even more savings.
photo courtesy of Florida House Inn