Friday, October 02, 2009

The Club Pool

The club we speak of so frequently, where we swim weekly with AA, is a little known secret even for some NE Florida families. The Club Continental, on the St. Johns River, is a beautiful estate with live oaks and old Mediterranean style buildings.

There are many different/separate businesses. There are the condos at the Club, the condos at the Villas, the River House, Winterbourne and the very fine dining at the Club Continental Restaurant in the original mansion. The club membership includes the restaurant, pool and tennis. There is no golf club like so many newer Florida communities have.




A view of the river and Buckman Bridge (I-295) from the pool area (overlooking the top of one of the covered parking areas):

Picture of the building that was added as a B&B for overnight guests:

This is where we swim (below). On the weekends, a grill is fired up and we can order cheeseburgers, salad and a drink. Makes for a very relaxing noontime.

A side photo of the original mansion (the web site has the really good pictures).

Here's one last picture of the girl and her Daddy at the pool:

Here's the history:

Mira Rio Nestled on the banks of the St. Johns River is this fabulous 27-acre estate, which is now a romantic and intimate resort and private club. Towering, sixty-foot tall live oaks draped with Spanish moss, flowering hibiscus trees, sweeping green lawns, flower beds and gurgling fountains surround the centerpiece, a grand Mediterranean style mansion with arches, stucco walls, and a red-tiled roof. Old World Florida still exists at the Club Continental.

Mira Rio was built as the winter retirement home of Caleb Johnson, son of the founder of the Palmolive Soap Company. He and his wife, Elinor, commissioned an architectural firm in Milwaukee to design a Mediterranean structure they named Mira Rio. Building began in early 1922 and the family took up residence in May, 1923.

In order to maintain his family home, Caleb (Jon) Johnson Massee, the grandson, founded the Club Continental in 1966. The original mansion now serves as a Dining and Tennis Club with approximately 800 dues paying members. Over the years, the Club has expanded it's facilities to include seven tennis courts, a yacht basin with 85 slips protected by a breakwater, three swimming pools and twenty-two overnight guest rooms. The existing lawns, along with 200-year-old live oaks, magnolias and formal gardens are carefully and lovingly maintained by the Massee family.

The River House Pub

The River House began as a pre-Civil War cottage built on a Spanish Land Grant five miles south of Orange Park. During the 1890's, the cottage became the first Golf Club House in North Florida. Scheduled for demolition in 1976, Mrs. Frederica Massee, Jon's wife, successfully made up her mind to save it. She had the cottage moved to the edge of the high river bank beside the Club Continental and restored. It is now an intimate pub with lively entertainment Tuesday through Saturday, enjoyed by Club Members and guests. In warm weather, patrons relax and enjoy the pleasure of "River Watching" from the terraces overlooking the St. Johns.

6 comments:

Cora said...

Looks like a great place to hang out and have a fun day!

Suzie said...

Looks like a beautiful place!

Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

BEAUTIFUL place to relax..
Have a great weekend..

Ann said...

I'm missing my pool time with AA!
Nana

Kim said...

A piece of heaven....

Dita said...

OK, I just packed up the entire house and the family...we're on our way down there...it is sooooo gorgeous. What a place....what a deal!

The pictures are just fantastic.