Pros: Elegantly furnished Bed & Breakfast with all the romantic touches.
We sailed through the white picket fence into the Villa Nina Island Inn on Friday, November 26, 2004, and by Saturday, November 27, 2004, we thought we had hit the Florida Lottery staying at this wonderful Bed & Breakfast. When we left on Sunday, November 28, we were so relaxed that I will rewind our weekend in slow motion for you to enjoy.
We drove a little more than two hours from Miami on Interstate I-95 to Exit 67, Indrio Road. We drove east for 6 miles on Indrio Road to a flashing traffic light at US1. We turned right heading South on US1 for 4 miles. At SRA1A (by the Hess Gas Station) we turned left for 3 miles onto Hutchinson Island to another traffic light on A1A. We turned left and headed north for exactly 1.3 miles. Fuhgeddabout the first white picket fence you see! The second white picket fence on the left with 2 blue oval "Villa Nina Island Inn" signs are the signs of paradise.
We drove up the driveway to two wonderful structures sitting on 8 acres of paradise. This sight was not 100 virgins, but I think it is what Yassar Arafat had in mind in describing what a paradise should be! The Innkeeper, Nina Rappaport, spotted us while driving her golf cart and approached us with a hearty smile. Her husband Glenn introduced himself a few minutes later and guided us to our room. Nina and Glenn are both science teachers at a local high school. These two friendly folks' experiment has turned into a winning formula for what a bed and breakfast should be and how innkeepers should interact with their guests. They know when to be visible and when to offer privacy.
The first house is a five room Bed & Breakfast. The second house is the Rappaports' residence. The Reef Room has large windows overlooking a garden and flowing fountains. The Cove Room has side window views of the Indian River and side views of the garden and fountains. The River Room, where we stayed, is behind the pool. Our Kingsize bed, Roman tub, and large sitting area with views of the Indian River through the French doors was simply paradise. The Riomar Suite has a front and poolside entrance, a bedroom with a King size bed, and sitting area with white wicker furniture. The Grand View Suite is truly grand. The views of the pool, Indian River, and Jack Island State Preserve from this room were grand!
All of the rooms are tastefully and nautically decorated, painted in a light blue and white. They have private entrances, queen or king size beds, in-room shower or bath/shower, individual air or heating controls, phone with free local calls, remote TV with free movie channels, refrigerator, coffee makers, and a neat little treasure chest filled with snacks and drinks. We enjoyed a delicious complimentary continental breakfast with fresh fruits and freshly brewed coffee overlooking the Indian River. While eating breakfast, we observed fish jumping out of the water and many birds flying overhead or landing in this paradise. Nina surprised us in the morning with warm chocolate mini walnut brownies. They were simply delicious. My wife had to call Nina when we returned to Miami for the recipe.
During the day we took a pleasant walk to the Jack Island State Preserve. Nina had offered to drive us there in their golf cart, but we wanted to walk off the calories from the delicious breakfast. We took a couple mile walk on marked trails in the Jack Island State Preserve. We climbed a tower in the middle of the preserve for a wonderful view of the island. We saw fish swimming in the brackish waters and plenty of sea gulls, vultures, cormorants, herons, and other birds in the preserve. We also saw a red snake that startled us. When we got back to Villa Nina, I asked Glenn what kind of snake we saw, and what kind of fish were in the water. Glenn smiled and pointed to the island behind Villa Nina. The part of the island that the Rappaports don't own is the Jack Island State Preserve. Glenn observed us walking in the preserve from the Villa Nina. From my description, Glenn told us the red snake was not a coral snake but a harmless rat snake, only deadly to rats. Glenn said redfish, snapper, snook, and trout are plentiful in the river. Nina laughed and said before civilization moved closer to the Villa Nina, Glenn had thought the river in back was all his.
Later that day we walked across A1A for a wonderful walk on a seemingly endless, deserted beach. Nina told us in the summer months, the snorkeling is fabulous and this area is one of the best in the world to observe large sea turtles laying their eggs. There are many shipwrecks offshore and many finds of buried treasure over the years in this immediate area. Daryl and Joan, if you read this review, your grandson Alex would love to observe combining a trip to Disney World which is less than 2 hours from here and the sea turtles.
Glenn and Nina have touched every base for their guests to have a romantic, wonderful, adventuresome stay at their Inn. They have prepared a map for sightseeing in the area. Some of the area sights or things to do are visiting the Navy Seal Museum, antiquing, shopping, horseback riding, biking, birding, shelling, swimming, diving, snorkeling, manatee viewing, spring training baseball games, golfing, or simply taking a romantic walk and chilling by the ocean or river.
Later that day, I enjoyed a glass of wine, sitting on an Adirondack chair from the property. We were rewarded with a view of a spectacular sunset overlooking the Indian River. With all of the restaurants in the area, we didn't take advantage of Glenn's offer to use the villa's barbecue.
The 2004 hurricanes have taken a toll on the foliage on Hutchinson Island. The grounds of Villa Nina include several little fountains found around the house, bird feeders, and signs found in front of trees and plants that have survived the hurricanes. Overall, Villa Nina had survived the 2004 hurricanes in great shape.
Nina shared photos of wildcats, raccoons, a weasel or two that Glenn wound up fishing out of the pool, and sunsets to die for at the Villa Nina. She told us about letters from guests thanking her for their stay. She laughed when she said more than one guest had named their child Nina about 9 months after their stay! Others guests had proposed to their spouses at the Villa Nina. Other stories she just smiled and as a good innkeeper wouldn't share.
Glenn and Nina, thanks again for a wonderful stay at the Villa Nina and sharing your knowledge of the area and hospitality with us.
If you are in Florida or contemplating a visit to escape the winter weather up north, I highly recommend a visit to the Villa Nina Island Inn located on North Hutchinson Island. These two science teachers' Villa Nina experiment has turned into a proven formula for an escape from reality.
For more information, call the Villa Nina Island Inn at (772) 467 - 8969 or check out the Villan Nina website at villanina.com.