The recovery is on at St. George Island
It has been a big week as we try to learn more about the damage that has happened as a result of Hurricane Michael. If you missed our blog from last week, you can check it out here. I’m proud to say that our three vacation rental homes sustained little damage, businesses are starting to reopen and things are starting to return to normal on our little piece of heaven called St. George Island.\
I’m also very happy to say that our wind insurance has been restored at Sea Dunes! That is a huge answer to prayer, and we know that many people have been praying for that situation. We had over 900 people comment, etc. on our Facebook post about the topic and we are thankful for all of the support! A big thank you to Citizens Property Insurance for taking good care of us and reinstating our policy. We’ll talk more about Sea Dunes later.
Before we get to our homes and how they fared, many people have been asking about businesses on the island that have reopened. We have confirmed that the following restaurants have reopened or plan to reopen in the very near future:
Paddy’s – reopened Monday (10/15)
BJ’s Pizza* – reopened Thursday (10/18)
Doc Myers* – reopened Thursday (10/18)
Owl Café* (Apalachicola) – reopened Thursday (10/18)
Red Pirate (Eastpoint) – reopened Thursday (10/18)
Blue Parrot* – reopened today (10/19)
St. George Cantina* – reopened today (10/19)
The Station – reopened today (10/19)
Dail’s seafood trailer* – plans to reopen on Monday (10/22)
Weber’s Donut Shop – plans to reopen on November 1
Harry A’s - TBD
Olde Time Soda Fountain (Apalachicola) - TBD
While the following restaurants are still to be determined when they will reopen, they gave away free food to those in need immediately following the Hurricane. I can’t say enough about how great these guys are and how proud we are that they are a part of our community!
Beach Pit – TBD
El Jalisco - TBD
* Once things return to normal, we'll resume our "happy blogs" and talk about our experiences at these great restaurants over our next several blogs.
As I mentioned, things are starting to return to normal. Water was restored very quickly, the boil notice was rescinded on Wednesday morning and power was restored to the island on Wednesday evening. Fairpoint internet and phone service have been restored, but Mediacom cable, internet and phone will likely be a while. We use Fairpoint at Sand Dollar and Sea Dunes for internet, but we use Mediacom for internet at Serene Dream, so we are trying to find alternative temporary options. Highway 98 (Florida Coastal Highway) has reopened as well! You can see the before and after pictures below.
Our three vacation rental homes all sustained damage, but we are proud to say that the damage was fairly minimal. There have been some reports of septic systems floating during the hurricane. Thankfully, our homes don’t appear to have any septic damage (that would be a huge cost!). We now have estimates for repairs for two of our homes (Sand Dollar and Sea Dunes) and the largest single cost will be pressure washing the houses…we consider that a big win! ‘
Sand Dollar had very minor damage to the exterior (mostly just a little trim that was blown around), but did have some water intrusion at the ground level entry. Thankfully, it wasn’t a significant amount of water and it is a tile floor. Our awesome cleaners cleaned it up last weekend and removed the drywall to make sure we didn’t have any mold growing. We’ve also sprayed the wall cavities to ensure that we don’t have any mold develop. Because of the storm surge on the island, our pool was also inundated with water from the Gulf. Our awesome pool guy (Tim) is taking good care of us, and is looking to have it cleaned out as soon as possible.
Despite all of our concern about Sea Dunes due to wind insurance policy problems, Sea Dunes fared the best of our three homes. Despite the home being a beachfront property (you’d think beachfront homes would be most exposed), the dune in front of Sea Dunes did an excellent job protecting the house. Sea Dunes had a lot of sand blow onto the house, but there was very little damage. Several screens were ripped, we lost a couple of gutters and a few pieces of siding and a few exterior lights were damaged, but the damage was so minor that we will not need to make a claim for our wind insurance…even though it has been reinstated! Our pool also turned out great, and it’ll be back in the next couple of days.
As we mentioned in our blog last week, Serene Dream showed up in the Tallahassee Democrat as an example of damage on St. George Island. Thankfully, we now know that the photographer picked the worst possible angle and besides what we could see in the picture, there was no damage to the home. Yes, the siding was ripped off of one side of the house, we lost the deck railings on the 2nd level deck and our pool fence was damage, we are grateful that it wasn’t much worse. As far as we know, there was no interior damage to Serene Dream.
With all of that said, we are planning for all three houses to be ready for our renters that are expected to arrive next week (beginning October 27). While the exterior might not quite be perfect yet (especially the siding at Serene Dream), we think that our renters will be happy to enjoy their vacation on St. George Island. All of the safety issues will have been resolved (i.e. the deck railings) and we will be ready to go! We’ve seen many pictures of the beach over the last few days, and while the contours are a little different now, it still looks as beautiful as ever!
We even had some surprise last minute renters wanting to book today. We received an inquiry today from a supervisor at Duke Energy today, and they have booked Serene Dream for 8 line workers to stay with us. We gave them a nice discount for taking care of our island, and we are proud to have them this coming week!
Krista is heading to the island tomorrow (Saturday) morning. She will make the final assessment on whether our renters will be able to come next week. Stay tuned for one more update once she returns on Tuesday. We hope to have some great news! Thank you again for all of your support. We can’t do this without you!