Vero Beach Journals

Exploring Vero Beach

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A February 2004 trip to Vero Beach by Mary Dickinson

Driftwood Inn Resort Photo, Vero Beach, Florida More Photos
Quote: Today, Vero Beach is an upscale community with a lot to offer. In the '30s and '40s, Waldo Sexton created architecture, without any plans or blueprints, using driftwood, estate auction pieces, demolition pieces, and more. The following are about his creations.

Exploring Vero Beach

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Overview

Quote:
We were able to exchange for a unit at the Driftwood Inn Resort in Vero Beach at the last minute, when a few units had finally become available after the September 2004 hurricanes. Most of the resort was still under repair. Waldo’s Restaurant, on the Register of Historic Places, is located in this resort. It was built in the '30s by entrepreneur Waldo Sexton. He collected huge pieces of driftwood from the ocean, went to high-class estate auctions and added elaborate furniture and fixtures to his collection, and, when the huge millionaire mansions, built 30 years earlier, were demolished to make room for newer ones, added fancy architectural pieces to his collection. Then he built his structures fro...Read More

Driftwood Inn Resort

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Hotel | "The Driftwood Inn"

Driftwood Inn Resort Photo, Vero Beach, Florida
Quote:
Best Things Nearby:Good theaters, restaurants, and shopping; this town is part of the Gold Coast.Best Things About the Resort:Its laid-back, carefree waterfront atmosphere is an acquired taste that we spent the week getting used to.Resort Experience:Vero Beach is really upscale, so it was a little annoying when we arrived at what looked like a collection of junk near the road in front of a group of weather-worn buildings and found out that this was our resort. With a touch of true humiliation, we pulled into the narrow driveway and still weren’t sure if we had entered the right place. Old rusty bells were everywhere. They were bells from every walk of life, ch...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 30, 2005

Driftwood Inn Resort
3150 Ocean Drive
Vero Beach, Florida
(561) 231-0550

Ocean Grill

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Restaurant

Ocean Grill Photo, Vero Beach, Florida
Quote:
If you’re staying in Vero Beach, you should have at least one meal at the five-star Ocean Grill. It's another Waldo Sexton creation, with treasures from all over the world; of course, nothing matches or is where it should be, but that was his style. A huge black lacy wrought iron creation was carefully hung over his famous huge magnificent mahogany antique table that seats 10 comfortably. It was the center of attraction, and, of course, no one was seated at it; it's too prestigious. Huge elaborate stained glass windows and panels were hung wherever a place could be found. If we had arrived earlier, we could have been seated in one of the dining rooms built right over the ocean. That structure was s...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 31, 2005

Ocean Grill
1050 Beachland Blvd
Vero Beach, Florida 32963
(772) 231-5409

Waldo's Open Air Deck at Driftwood Resort

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Restaurant | "Waldo's Restaurant"

Waldo's Open Air Deck at Driftwood Resort Photo, Vero Beach, Florida
Quote:
As we drove into the Driftwood Inn Resort, I noticed Waldo’s Restaurant straight ahead. It reminded me of a structure from a medieval movie set. Waldo Sexton imagined it as it was being built; he gave verbal instructions to the carpenters who were building it and used no written plans or blue prints. For building material he used his imagination: driftwood floating in from the sea nearby, old barn boards, and parts from Palm Beach mansions and hotels that had been demolished. Heavy vertical exterior columns support the second floor and the roof. The second floor balustrade, made from several very large pieces of driftwood, is so uneven that it looks like it might fall over, but it has had that appeara...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 2, 2005

Waldo's Open Air Deck at Driftwood Resort
3150 Ocean Drive
Vero Beach, Florida 32963
(772) 231-0550

McKee Botanical Garden

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Attraction

McKee Botanical Garden Photo, Vero Beach, Florida
Quote:
Florida’s earliest tourist attraction evolved in 1932, when Arthur G. McKee (Cleveland industrialist) and Waldo Sexton created McKee Jungle Gardens on an 80-acre hammock in Vero Beach. Because this is Florida, it’s a historical landmark and, consequently, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Dave Rogers’ BIG BUGS were a special display on exhibit in the present 18-acre McKee Botanical Garden, all that remains of the original 80 acres. After buying our tickets in the gift shop, we walk through the pergola and could see the Hall of Giants, built in 1941 to house the world’s largest table. Waldo Sexton saw the table at the 1903 St Louis Louisiana Purchase Exposition and later tracked it dow...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 30, 2005

McKee Botanical Garden
350 US Highway 1
Vero Beach, Florida
772/794-0601