Close your eyes and imagine huge waves crashing against a beach. Now open them to sunny morning at the classic vintage resort in Vero Beach Florida, The Driftwood Inn. Built by Waldo E. Sexton (1885-1967), he had love for the unusual and a passionate desire to collect vintage items. The Driftwood Inn has become renowned as “the damnedest place you ever saw” and let me tell you why.
Inspired by the raw beauty of the area Waldo decided in 1914 to make Vero his new home. And Vero residents couldn’t have been more pleased with this decision. During his eccentric and spontaneous life in Florida he contributed his time and innovations to the citrus industry, cattle, real estate and tourism in Vero Beach. His pet project and first love however, was the oceanfront retreat that he built for his family now known as the Driftwood Inn .
Even more important to Waldo than the actual building of the resort, was the “fixin-up.” The several cottages and buildings are distinguished by board-and-batten exterior walls, wood-shingled gable ends, decorative truss work and rustic balcony railings. The shabby chic construction is supported by immense “outrigger” type wood timbers, massive aged logs and is peppered with mosaics and weathered steel ornaments. All part of the original design, the craftsmanship expresses Waldo Sexton’s exuberant personality. Today you will still see vintage cars parked in the Driftwood parking lot which is a vintage treat and we had to snap some vintage car photos because they fit right in.
Timber salvaged from a barn blown down in a hurricane make up the original structure, Waldo was especially fond of bells and amassed a huge collection around the resort that consists of 250 vintage bells of various types and sizes. And over the years he collected them from churches, trains, ships and schools. For the vintage explorer you will also discover anchors from old shipwrecks, giant chains, logging tools. As well as stained glass windows in many of the rooms in all shapes and colors, and vintage hand painted tile-work scattered all around the Driftwood. And we haven’t even mentioned the cannons yet.
This mix of applied ornaments, relief sculptures and vintage photos make The Driftwood Inn a classic vintage resort hideaway in sunny Vero Beach Florida. And a must see for the vintage hunter, staying here will help you gather up inspiration and ideas for your own hunt as you wander along the beach, and you will also be surrounded by Florida comfort and Driftwood charm. Not a bad combination. We hope you can make the trip to this Vero Beach historical Inn, it is well worth the visit.
More Vintage Articles