Imagine a time when community worked together, played together, and bunches of children played outside all day. Such were the memories in Vandemere and particularly around the Vandemere Hotel. Annis and Guy Lupton welcomed many families in their three story hotel. The property was purchased between 1949-1950 and was comprised of 17 rooms, 3 kitchens, 3 1/2 baths, and 1 utility closet. Each floor was like an apartment with its' rooms, kitchen, and bath. The owners lived on the first floor.
In the beginning, tenants of the hotel were primarily family; but, as family started moving south to Key West, the apartments became available to the public. New tenants, and their families, were usually affiliated with the waterfront seafood industry. The hotel faced the water; the perfect place on a Sunday night to watch the many trawlers light up the night sky. Envision as many as 20 trawlers, all lined up in deep waters, awaiting to leave the docks for another week in hopes of a bountiful catch. The community was so close-knit that it became second-nature to identify who was coming home by which trawler was docking.
In the back of the hotel was a garden that was large enough to feed all the families (and then some) in the hotel. Annis Lupton was consistent in ensuring lunch was served for everyone at noon. A typical meal was centered around vegetables and seafood. Homemade ice cream and watermelon was a special Sunday treat! The children loved to play and swim in the river outside the hotel. "Kick the can" was a favorite child's game to play!
Over the course of its' later years, the hotel succumbed to the elements and was torn down. It is evident that Annis and Guy Lupton loved hosting, and the good memories they inspired continue to be shared today.