St. Augustine Bed & Breakfast History
The oceanfront property that the Beachfront Bed & Breakfast rests on today was developed in 1927 by an attorney and his wife who enjoyed vacationing in St. Augustine Beach. The acreage stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to Florida’s famous State Highway A1A and was comprised of the main home, cottage, greenhouse and a horse stable.
The home was built on a foundation of coquina, a Spanish sedimentary rock, which is well known for its durability and strength. The exterior made of cypress timber and placed on a diagonal, makes the home very strong which is great for its oceanfront location. A sea wall that is located 40 feet East of the main house and natural sand dunes add protection from the occasional coastal storms.
When the attorney passed away the property was sold to a local St. Augustine family. The Gebert’s owned the home for many years, leaving behind a few family reminiscences which include pencil marks on the kitchen wall that show the varying heights of the children as they got older. During the 1980’s and early 1990’s the cottage and first floor of the home were rental units known as “Sandy Land.” The Gebert’s sold the estate in 1998, which is when it was transformed into a bed & breakfast.
The current owners, Lauren & Rich O’Brien met in 2001 at our sister property, La Fiesta Inn & Suites and were married in 2003. They purchased the B & B in 2005 and are also owners of the adjacent sister property. Lauren O’Brien grew up in the Chicago suburbs and has been visiting St. Augustine Beach since she was a child. Lauren has a background in sales and hospitality, and has been an active leader in an effort to replenish St. Augustine Beach with protective sand fencing. Rich O’Brien lived in New England and Indiana prior to moving to Florida in the mid 1980’s and he has spent most of his adult life in the hospitality business. Both Lauren and Rich enjoy gardening and exploring new destinations together, making the ownership of these two beautiful properties a perfect fit!
B & B Co-owner Lauren is shown here after catching "the big one", a Wahoo, off the coast of St. Augustine Beach on the boat, "Ring Leader". Husband Rich and Lauren's cousin Randy had their hand at 2 Marlins which were the big ones that got away.