The Lodge & Club celebrated its 30-year anniversary on March 2 with a “Pearl Jam” party, following the traditional 30-year gift theme of pearls.
“It was a wonderful event,” General Manager Thayer Kern said. “We had a big party and we were able to give back to the membership and thank them for being club members over the years. It was fun being able to have 300 plus people to enjoy the full property and just have something different.”
Live cooking demonstrations, music, food and refreshments were set up all over the property as guests enjoyed the celebration and reflected on the history of the Ponte Vedra establishment.
As Kern explained, the property where The Lodge & Club stands was once just a gas station.
“It’s really an interesting story,” said Kern, who said the stories were passed on to him by Paul and Jerome Fletcher, the Lodge & Club’s original land developers.
Compton gas station turned into Compton’s Burgers, where it was deemed “The Oasis” by locals because they could buy beer there on Sundays. Eventually, the business turned into The Oasis Liquors and Lounge.
The iconic nickname of the Oasis stuck around and is now the official name of the oceanfront bistro at The Lodge, which offers “a delightful array of entrees,” according to Lodge & Club website.
The Lodge & Club itself opened in 1989 and has completed countless renovations since to keep up with both building code and member satisfaction.
“In my five years of working here, we’ve installed a $3 million family pool, renovated hotel rooms, the dining room and more,” Kern said.
He also mentioned that The Lodge & Club is owned by GATE Hospitality, which also owns Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, The River Club and Epping Forest Yacht Club. Kern said the company is constantly reinvesting in the community and making sure members have “the best of everything.”
“It’s exciting to see an organization that’s so dedicated to capital improvements on a regular basis,” he said.
When asked what Kern’s fondest memory of working at The Lodge and Club is, he couldn’t decide.
“Gosh, I got so many,” he said. “One of my favorite things about The Lodge is truly the membership. People come to let go and have a great day.”
When it comes to running the property, Kern lives by the three Cs for membership needs — comfort, convenience and camaraderie.
“We’re a classy beach club, yet we have members from all walks of life,” Kern said. “The love of the property binds them together. It’s amazing how this place is relaxed and accommodating and accepting of everyone.”
Thirty years after opening, The Lodge & Club is still exceeding normal standards and provides countless services for its members.
“Everyone wants to join club, but not everyone can,” Kern said. “You know the people, you know the culture. You want to be able to get what you want when you want it because you’re rewarding yourself for life well-lived.”