But I'm also a big fan of oddball places to stay, the ones you simply stumble onto and which make you forever grateful you did. The Driftwood Resort in Vero Beach, Florida, is just such a place. It’s really more a collection of found objects than a hotel.
“It’s kind of weird but other than that, it’s OK,” says my teenage daughter. That’s actually a resounding endorsement.
The Driftwood emerged piece by piece from the imagination of Waldo Sexton, a quirky, wild-eyed agriculture student from Indiana who traveled to Florida’s Treasure Coast in 1914 and never turned back. Today he gets credit for singlehandedly creating the citrus, cattle and tourism industries in Indian River County. He also gallivanted the globe gathering ironwork, wooden artifacts, tiles, bells and other peculiar finds for the Driftwood.
“He was quite industrious should we say,” explains Lynn at the front desk. “He brought back interesting things from all over the world, whatever made him happy.”
Waldo, who died in 1967 three days after Christmas, is still very much present at the Driftwood and everywhere else in Vero. I saw no fewer than four historical plaques bearing his name. “My only regret,” he once said, “is that I had not come to Vero Beach sooner.”