Our Westcott world changed that first week of October 2016, when Hurricane Matthew bopped the bustle out of St. Augustine (albeit for a surprisingly short period of time).
Seventy-nine guests we had to call with news of ruined vacation plans. Two brides to whom we had to reach out, to tell them that we wouldn’t be able to accommodate their full-inn bookings. In excess of another 100 additional calls were made to inform guests of our “situation”.
What was our situation? It wasn't great, but it could have been worse!
The water took out our entire first floor—five guest rooms, the parlor, the dining room, the kitchen, the laundry room, and the office. The carpet on the stairs, rugs, baseboards. Draperies that hung to the floor. Comforters, bed skirts, mattresses. Fireplaces. Our furniture. Food, bottled water, wine, soaps, linens, vacuums, tools. Washers, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, ice maker, air conditioning units, the alarm system. Electricity, phone service, internet service.
All who have experienced a natural disaster, whether it be fire, flood, tornado, earthquake, or hurricane, know well the fear and the fret. We all know at least one someone who had to evacuate, who could not evacuate, who chose to tough it out, who worried about friends and family and kids and pets and favorite places, who lost something important to them, who gained a renewed sense of what is important to them. Scary scenarios, tough times.
Dolly Parton said "Storms make trees take deeper roots"; Hurricane Matthew toughians know that to be true, and we know it to be so completely true with regard to our wonderful staff. The love and commitment to our recovery shown by Ryan, Myra, Lee, Lisa, Leigh Ann, Darlene, Tammy, Mike, Barb, and Jamie and their families was second to none, and we absolutely could not have done it without them.
Ten days after the storm, we welcomed our first guest. It wasn’t the ideal situation for them or for us, but we made it work. There was obvious noisy construction underway. Our “office” was on the side porch. The best we could do for breakfast was deliver continental breakfast baskets to each room. Laundry was taken to the laundromat. Oodles of reservations were bounced from room to room, but we were able to reopen different parts of the Main House in stages and were fully functioning in time for St. Augustine’s annual Nights of Lights celebration in late November.
We are oh-so thankful, again, for our staff, but also for all of you who reached out with well wishes, who showed your continued support with your love, your concern, your patience, your patronage. It certainly has been a very humbling experience, one that reiterated for us just how much Westcott House, and all who come with it, means to us.
We look forward to extending that thanks and have a very exciting 2017 planned. We hope that you will be able to join us in celebration of life and love and that which we all hold so dear—one another!