We are from St. Augustine, I reply. Jessica and I often get asked how we came upon and decided to make Welaka our home. While attending college at Flagler College, Jessica worked for me at Scarlett O'Hara's. We were married in 1994 and our son, Dean, was born in 1996. My life was changing and in 1998 together we decided to sell Scarlett's and move on to another adventure. To make a long story short we ended up as the owners of Suwannee Valley Campground in June of 2000. We had a five year plan there but put the campground on the market after 3 1/2 years, convinced it would take longer to sell. That didn't happen so once again we were looking for anther adventure. Initially, we were looking at purchasing a motorhome to travel and find our next opportunity, but during a quick getaway to St. Augustine, Jessica was perusing a local real estate magazine and saw an ad for a fish camp in Welaka. On our way to Welaka, we stopped to see a motorhome that was listed for sale and continued our journey to Welaka. As soon as we saw the St. Johns river from the high bluff in Welaka, the motorhome plan went out the window.
We purchased Wolfe's Camp in February of 2004 with enthusiasm to spare and 14 single wide mobile homes on the property. We immediately went to work renovating the park and removing the trailers one by one, a process that took two years. We lived in the Two Bedroom Riverfront before it was remodeled and during that time we remodeled the Deluxe Riverfront. In 2005, city water and sewer was put in, removing seven old septic tanks in the process. After that renovation of the Deluxe Riverfront was complete we moved and began remodeling the Two Bedroom Riverfront. Our first guests came to stay over Memorial Day weekend in 2005. 2006 was a busy year; we completed construction on our twelve RV sites and installed our pool. We lived in the Deluxe Riverfront until August 2006 when, because of the recession, we purchased an RV to live onsite. At the same time, we were completing construction on our Deluxe Poolside cottage so, at that point, we had three cottages to rent. Over the next ten years five additional cottages were built bringing our rental total to eight.
Our vision was to create a 21st century fish camp and, not only that, but a place for guests to enjoy the amazing natural beauty of our area. We are excited to see what the future will bring for Welaka Lodge & Resort!