The Floridian Sports Club
LODGE - PRIVATE / CORPORATE
Once a private enclave frequented by celebrities, lawmakers and other dignitaries, the inn has been open to the public for more than two decades and is now under the ownership of the Bass Pro Shops.
Fittingly for the parent company, the combination dining room and main lodge is decorated in full-tilt outdoorsman. Oversize, comfy leather chairs beckon visitors to sit. The trophy bass on every wall show novice anglers what the pros can do. A pool table centered in the room encourages guests to engage in a much drier sport. A Dale Earnhardt tribute is the focal point of the bar, and ornate iron chandeliers celebrate Florida wildlife.
The long porch overlooking the quiet river basin is lined with weathered wicker rocking chairs. Overhead squeaky wood ceiling fans keep mosquitoes at bay, and every creak and crack just adds to the ambience of this waterside paradise.
Overlooking the boat basin and the river are the main lodge, two guest cottages and a small swimming pool. All of the accommodations are large and comfortable.
Back in the lodge dining room, supper and breakfast seatings are arranged by 4 p.m. each day. And no one walks away without praise for the man who makes all of the meals. Bobby Emmons, 38, works the dining room like a proud parent. After eating his food, you expect a man to emerge from the kitchen in a starched chef's coat, but his pedigree is in fast fare.