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Guest Testimonials -
What guests are saying about The Beach Cottages...

Tara Haven

"Thank you for your prompt reply.  Your property shows very nicely on the web page.  I contacted Win Kelly and she helped me find another property that was not booked.  It was the most courteous and helpful experience that I have ever had with a property reservation.  Please tell her that I appreciated her help very much."

 Joe and Judy Lacy

Hi Win,

Just wanted to let you know how much we all enjoyed staying at Tara Haven over the weekend. Everyone including our son was thoroughly charmed by the house and the surroundings. We have always wondered what it would be like to have a house in Summer Haven (one of our favorite places in the world). Now we know how good it can get for Florida crackers. There is surely magic in the air in that little hammock at Summer Haven. We will highly recommend Tara House to friends and would love to come over again. You all have done a remarkable job restoring and decorating the house. We would love to hear about the Tara Haven's history and how you all found it. 


...Ken, Laura and Dylan Kennedy


As promised, Tara Haven was indeed heaven.  We came with high expectations, and she far exceeded them.  Thanks for sharing your wonderful home and all its charm.  "Charm" was part of Jim's description, and it is not a word I've heard him use very often in 27 years of marriage.  Tara was charming enough to keep him off the golf courses for the 4 days we spent there. 

Bailey and Maddy loved retrieving in the ocean.  Bailey, the 6-year-old golden, preferred the shallows but Maddy, our 2-year-old Lab, plunged into deeper waters.  She soon learned to dive over cresting waves and to wait for a wave to break before retrieving her ball from calmer waters behind it.  We left a few snapshots of their adventures in your welcome journal in the foyer.

The weather was perfect--we spent afternoons and evenings on the front deck enjoying delightful breezes and the sound of the surf.  Despite forecasts for rain, the days were clear and balmy with temperatures around 80 degrees.  Showers started the Thursday morning, making it a little easier to leave. 

My sister came over from Orlando Wednesday for a day trip.  Within five minutes of arriving, she was already changing her plans so she could spend the night.  She was quite impressed with Tara Haven and wondered about the age of the house and how much remodeling you had to do.

Thank you again for a perfect vacation.  We hope to return for more visits in the future.  Susan & Jim Adams

June 15, 2002  

Dear Winnie:  It's important for Jane and I to tell you how much we enjoyed spending the month of April at Tara Haven.   We can't say enough about the home.  It met all our expectations, and then some.  I think I mentioned to you that neither of us could remember the last time we spent thirty consecutive days in one spot. It was terrific.  Needless to say Flyer and Rafter (our dogs) thought it was great, as well.  They loved the long beach runs and the swimming.  The best thing of all was that what you represented it to be; it was just that.  Thanks.

The next best thing to Tara Haven was Summer Haven, St. Augustine, the great beach, the restaurants and the whole area in general.  We'd never been in the area but we certainly didn't have any disappointments.  We had a great time and, as you know, we'll be back next April and can't wait.  Thanks again.  We look forward to talking with you soon.  

Sincerely, Steve and Jane Horn

Dear Winn & Judy,

I just wanted to drop you a note to say thank you and what a wonderful time we had at Tara Haven! The home is beautiful, comfortable and homey and my husband, sister and I and our 3 dogs loved it.  I've been telling everyone I know about the place and recommending  it highly.

Thanks again.  We hope to see you soon.
Mary Kay Lantz, and Roy, and Jennifer, and Katy, and Spencer, and Honey...

Dear Winnie,

We were so blessed to have found Tara Haven for our daughter's casual yet elegant beach side wedding. You have designed this home with such a graceful flare inside & out. The yard shaded by tall magnolias was perfect for the buffet & linen draped reception tables. Our guests also enjoyed relaxing on the porch with the ocean breezes, then as the sun set came inside to the warmth of the fire. The atmosphere was perfect.

Tara Haven not only provided a beautiful site for the wedding & reception, but a perfect honeymoon location as well. The closeness to old St Augustine with it's wealth of history, architecture, great shops & quaint restaurants was great. The sound of the ocean & the great beach made each day very special for the newly weds.

Tara Haven was the perfect setting for our daughter's wedding. They will be back to celebrate each anniversary.

Thank You so very much!

Judy & Durry Garbutt

Hi Win,
Jeff and I just wanted to thank you again for sharing your wonderful haven with us. We so enjoyed our stay at Tara Haven. It is a beautiful, warm home and helped make our vacation more enjoyable and relaxing. Our two dogs, Cocoa and Whipper, also enjoyed the stay very much. The had a blast at the was the very first time they've been to the ocean and it was a real treat for them, and for us to watch them having such a good time.
We hope you have a wonderful 2004. We started ours off great at Tara Haven.
~Debbie C
The Hut

Note from Beach Cottages:  Since receiving this message from our guest, the Webber grill has been replaced, the tub has new "non-stick" adhesives, and the window screens, etc. have been removed.  We value our guests comments & suggestions and appreciate their help in keeping our properties in tip-top order!


We had a great time at the hut 2 weeks ago. I am sending your survey back to you by mail. Here are some additional comments -
Regarding equipment / state of repairs
  • The round Webber charcoal grill (which is my favorite) has given it's all. The ash collector underneath the grill won't come off to empty and one leg is broken. Time to replace it.
  • The old fashioned tub in the bathroom gets extremely slippery once it is wet and soapy. It's just plain dangerous. Put some non-slip glue-on decals or tape on the tub bottom before someone gets hurt.
  • There is a stack of window screens and other maintenance items covered by a tarp on the back porch just outside the dining room door. Possible this could be moved to a more appropriate (i.e. out of sight) location.
With the exception of those two items everything else was in great shape.
  • The place was clean and neat and charmingly appointed.
  • The kitchen was adequately stocked with pots, pans & utensils. There were a few basic grocery items (salt, pepper, cooking oil, etc.) and aluminum & plastic wrap and dish soap - very nice, very convenient. All you have to do is bring your entr�e and you're ready to cook!
  • The bathroom had adequate linens and soap.
  • Bedroom linen again - good, nicely appointed, etc.
  • The TV/Entertainment center was not anything special but we didn't go there to watch TV. The CD player allowed us to play some of our music in the evening and worked just fine. Sitting on the back porch, having coffee and watching the sunset was our idea of "wide screen" entertainment. Early risers can enjoy the sunrise from the observation deck.
  • The welcome package (bottle of wine & other goodies) is a very nice touch. It reminds me of what we used to put in our suites when I worked for a large hotel. The wine selection was also quite pleasing.
  • The location is - what can I say about the location?  Where else can you have the ocean in your front yard and the intracoastal in your back yard? The dogs loved the beach and the river. We fished in the ocean and we fished in the river. My wife caught a flounder and we had it for dinner (see below).
We'll be back as soon as we can. Please feel free to use all or any part of this as a testimonial.
Barry Perl
The Lodge

Hi, Win!
Yes, my mother and I had a wonderful time at the Lodge, and the dogs loved the beach - even the paw washing when we got back was worth it!   I think the Lodge is perfect for elderly parents as well as young ones!  The ramp makes access easy if there is a problem with stairs, the house is all on one level, and you're never far from a wall or furniture if there is a little balance problem.  The views from the porch - sunrise and sunset - are all you need, though my mother had no trouble getting to the beach for short strolls.  We look forward to going back.  I will be more than happy to tell anyone about the Lodge.  Moira Wood

Terrific places!

The ambiance both in and outdoors was outstanding. The 2 houses (The Lodge and Villa Villekula) made an excellent setting for our birthday celebration/family reunion. It was an exceptional time and even the weather cooperated.

It was a good meeting you Win.

Best wishes, Rosemary

Dear Win,

Here we are back again in our busy city, after our wonderful, idyllic stay at The Lodge. 

The Lodge is full of character and history and a joy for the lover of times past. The surrounding grounds and paths with their wild flowers drove this poor, aspiring painter
to distraction. The moody granite breakers matched beautifully the tempestuousness of the pounding surf. Oh, and those dunes, unspoiled and dreamy, what can I say. I just loved it all.

The girls loved The Lodge too; its beach side reminded them of many childhood holidays spent in the Caribbean in "olde" colonial beach houses, and its river side reminded them of some Irish lakeside settings. When they were not on the beach, they were living it up in St. Augustine.

We had a hard time keeping our quadrupeds out of the water; they wanted to live in the surf--especially the Labradors. Our beagles spent a lot of time, nose to the ground, looking for unsuspecting prey, as beagles are wont to do. Worry not, though, because they are cowards and anytime they did come across a strange critter, they low-tailed it.

Thanks, Win, for the opportunity of having our furry friends with us on our vacation--and for the great Lodge.



From the moment we heard about The Lodge we knew we would love it.  In searching the net for a spot near St. Augustine to get four brothers and their wives together for a mini-reunion I happened upon The Lodge.  Seven of the eight of us are true "Florida crackers" and have all spent time in dog-trot houses in our youth.  The memories of sleeping with cousins on a pallet on the floor with the wind whistling between floorboards are precious.  When I read the description of The Lodge and saw the drawing I knew I had found the prefect place.

There was no wind whistling through the floor since the place has been meticulously restored.  But there were the gracious porches surrounding the house, the comfy chairs, the sleigh bed across from the large TV set in the gathering room (large enough for most of us to cheer on our favorite Belmont Stakes horse {I lost!}, the spacious kitchen (large enough for four sisters-in-law and one brother to prepare meals together), the glorious sunset over the river, and the comforting sound of the surf all night for a bonus.  There was also the feeling a being in a home, not a rental house, filled with the presence of the many who have shared their lives there. 

We are so glad to have been among the first to experience The Lodge.  It was perfect in every way.

- PW

June 8, 2002

Dear Win Kelly at Beach Cottages Rent,

 My, what can I say to express our gratitude to you for sharing this lovely Lodge & community with us.  We can�t believe our week here is over.  The renovations on this beautiful home are so charming, yet keeping the comfortable modern conveniences is a perfect balance and made for a relaxing time.

Thank you for the warm hospitality and the little special touches, such as the fresh flowers and fruit when we arrived to the wine and the excellent hot steamed shrimp that was personally delivered mid-week that was perfect that afternoon, coming in off the beach.

Also, thanks again for being so accommodating to our special needs and being so available to answer questions.  It was so nice to be able to include our pets with us, we were able to relax more having our �babies� with us.

It was a perfect time and we can�t wait to return next summer.

With warm regards,

The Tanners

Villa Villekula

We wanted to thank you for such a relaxing getaway.  Your home is a fabulous retreat from all of the hustle and bustle.

It is so convenient to the beach and what a beach.  When Nick and I starting dating...okay in 1980, we would go surfing at some spots in Crescent Beach.  Nick was able to take along his surfboard and even catch some waves.  Very nostalgic for both of us.
We trust everything was in order after our departure as we would love to experience Villa Villakula or Tara Haven for a future trip now that the rest of the family knows we have found a little slice of paradise.
Thanks again,
Nick, Yvonne, Lucy and Ellie

Terrific places!

The ambiance both in and outdoors was outstanding. The 2 houses (The Lodge and Villa Villekulla) made an excellent setting for our birthday celebration/family reunion. It was an exceptional time and even the weather cooperated.

It was a good meeting you Win.

Best wishes, Rosemary

Dear Win,

We had a wonderful visit, even if Brief and working. We also enjoyed the wine very much. Thank you again. Sorry about the late departure , just did not want to leave.

Thanks, Ellen


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