Originally built in 1928 the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club is one of the most historic places on Florida’s east coast. Selected to host the Ryder Cup in 1939 and withstanding Hurricane Dora’s wrath in 1964, the Inn was 80% full as Hurricane Matthew steamed towards Jacksonville’s beaches.
“We informed our guests during the week and had a lot of cooperation getting people out safely,” Dale Haney, President of the Gate Hospitality group told us on Saturday.
Generations of families in North Florida have treated the club as their own, using it as a weekend retreat, a place to hold weddings or summer vacations. It’s no surprise Haney took calls before and after Matthew from residents and members asking about the club’s ability to survive.
“We’ve had calls since the storm was announced,” Haney said. “This is a second home for a lot of people and a big part of their lifestyle and an important part of their lives.”
Much like in 1964, the club itself survived the hurricane force winds. When Dora hit, it flooded inland. For Matthew, the seawall, the rooms on the ocean and the club itself kept the water on the east side of Ponte Vedra Boulevard.
“The structure held up fine,” Haney explained. “All the buildings are brick, the gym is on the second floor.”
“We do have pavers under all this sand,” Haney said light heartedly, adding, “It’s really a beach club covered with sand. I believe a wave came right through. The beach came to the club.”