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The Casements & Mala Compra March 27, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Life Balance, People, Travel & Leisure.

After a delicious breakfast at the hotel, we drove up A1A from Port Orange to Ormond Beach.

In Ormond, we toured The Casements ~ John D. Rockefeller’s winter home in Ormond Beach.

The Casements, named for the large hand-cut casement windows that adorn the mansion, has been beautifully restored to function as the Cultural Center for the City of Ormond Beach, Florida. Set on the shore of the Halifax River, and just two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean, the late John D. Rockefeller’s winter home is known as “The Jewel of Ormond Beach.” The Casements has been officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated as a Florida Heritage Site.

Our tour guide informed us that John D. Rockefeller, the richest man in America and the world’s first billionaire, told his doctor that he wanted to live to be 100.

His doctor recommended that he winter in Florida or Egypt.

Following his doctor’s advice, Rockefeller wintered in Florida and made it to age 97, playing golf every day well into his 90’s!

Mr. Rockefeller and his Butler

Located on the eastern bank of the Halifax River, John D. Rockefeller purchased [The Casements] in 1918 and lived in the house during the winters until his death in 1937 at the age of ninety-seven. While a resident of Ormond Beach, “Neighbor John,” as he preferred to be called, enjoyed taking part in community activities: playing golf, participating in the sing-along at the Ormond Hotel each Sunday, and entertaining friends such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone.

After the tour, we continued north on A1A, stopping to have a picnic (in the car) while overlooking the Atlantic Ocean amid drizzling rain and fog.

Quite atmospheric, no?

After lunch, we checked out the ruins of the Mala Compra Plantation.

In the early 19th century, the plantation was home to Joseph Hernandez, who served as everything from a brigadier general in the U.S. Army to a committee member who helped select Tallahassee as the state capital. The site is part of Bing’s Landing, an eight-acre county park that also includes a boat launch, fishing pier, and picnic and playground facilities.

Flagler County pursued archaeological grants to study the physical evidence of Hernandez’ plantation, and then more grants to create a permanent display at the site.

“Normally when archaeologists dig, they take the artifacts and then cover the site back up,” says Sisco Deen, the archive curator for the Flagler County Historical Society. “With this one, we got the artifacts, but they left the dig.”

Today, visitors can walk on an elevated boardwalk around the perimeter of the plantation remains and read interpretive displays that explain the site’s historical and cultural value.

The archeological site is protected with a roof overhead to preserve the site including the old coquina well.

Located on the Halifax, Mala Compra (which translates to “Bad Bargain”) has excellent views.

And some crazy vines!

Just made for swinging!

Aah . . . that’s better!


1. granny1947 - March 27, 2022

So interesting.
You certainly know how to have fun.

nrhatch - March 27, 2022

We had planned to hop on A1A and drive straight up the coast to St. Augustine, but the weather was so iffy and the sky was so low that we switched gears. As it turned out, we enjoyed the journey from where we were to where we ended up without ever reaching St. Augustine.

2. Rivergirl - March 27, 2022

That sounds like my kind of day.

nrhatch - March 27, 2022

We spent the day relaxed and happy as one foggy moment flowed to the next. We did put our umbrellas to good use more than once. 😀

3. Kate Crimmins - March 27, 2022

I was wondering if you saw St. Augustine but I see that you didn’t. I didn’t hear of this place but it’s been a long time since I was touring Florida. The coastal towns are so interesting.

nrhatch - March 27, 2022

We were about 30 minutes away from St. Augustine when the rain picked up enough that we weren’t interested in wandering around the oldest city in Florida. Maybe next time.

There is so much to explore in Florida. We’ve barely scratched the surface after being here for 13 years.

Kate Crimmins - March 27, 2022

There is always a next time!

nrhatch - March 27, 2022

Exactly. We are going to Duck NC in a couple months. Maybe we’ll do a pit stop in St. Augustine on the way up or back.

4. Behind the Story - March 28, 2022

These old mansions built by our millionaires and billionaires and turned into cultural centers and tourist attractions to pay the bills remind me of the castles in Europe that have been turned into B&Bs.

nrhatch - March 28, 2022

Castles turned into B&B’s and Manor Homes turned into stage sets for PBS series like Downton Abbey = a good way to pay the bills and keep the roof on!

5. Ally Bean - March 28, 2022

I didn’t know Rockefeller was the world’s first billionaire. Somehow that sounds quaint, but I realize it was a big deal. Your day of exploring looks like fun. Nice to be out and about?

nrhatch - March 29, 2022

It was nice to be about and good to return home, Ally. The best of both worlds!

Rockefeller headed the list by a wide margin. His son is the one who inspired the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg.

Ally Bean - March 29, 2022

Didn’t know that either. Interesting.

nrhatch - March 29, 2022

And he didn’t want to spoil his kids . . . so he dressed them in hand-me-downs! 😀

6. L. Marie - March 29, 2022

Was this your first visit there or had you been there before?

nrhatch - March 29, 2022

First visit to this area of the East Coast of Florida. We enjoyed riding up A1A near Miami and decided we would continue checking out that beach road and the coastal communities located along it.

7. Debra - March 30, 2022

What interesting places to visit, Nancy. I love touring areas that introduce me to a little history. I didn’t realize Rockefeller lived to such a ripe old age, but I’m sure that having a beautiful home in a state affording him year-round golf was excellent for his well-being. I did laugh that Egypt was the alternative recommendation. 🙂

nrhatch - March 31, 2022

I thought the same about Egypt . . . not what I expected to hear as the “other option.” Guess Florida was a better fit for him since he also had homes in NY and NJ. Easier to travel back and forth with the changing seasons.

Here’s to learning new things every day!

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