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Hibiscus Coffee & Guesthouse Better Than Ever

September 1, 2010 by Joyce Owen

For innkeeper Stephanie Vantassell, recent additions at Hibiscus Coffee and Guesthouse in Grayton Beach are nothing more than normal growth for her popular gathering place.

The courtyard and gardens of the Grayton Beach landmark have always been perfect spots to enjoy the vegetarian breakfasts Hibiscus serves, but recent enhancements have set the stage for concerts, Sunday brunches with a purpose, parties and weddings.

“The Inn is growing organically,” Stephanie says. Now the outdoor areas are used to provide a setting for larger events.

Monthly music events piggybacked off the 30A Songwriters Festival in January. When a performance held in Hibiscus’ courtyard was so well attended, staff considered adding an “evening in the courtyard” to showcase the outdoor venue.

They've added some permanent seating, but still brings out tables and chairs for the evening. Tickets are $10 and hors d’oeuvres plates are also available for $10.

“There are non-alcoholic beverages provided, but guests can bring their own adult beverages,” she says.

When lining up entertainment through the fall, one musician encouraged them to keep going until it got too cold to perform. Now she’s looking at fire pits and chimeneas in the colder months, and envisions guests gathered around warming fires to enjoy music through the winter months.

Another new event is the Sunday brunch that provides fundraising opportunities for non-profit charitable organizations. Hibiscus contributes champagne for the events and members of the organization serve mimosas for a donation. Live music contributes to the festive atmosphere.

Recent beneficiaries include the Children’s Volunteer Health Network, Cultural Arts Association and Seaside Rep Theatre. Vantassell encourages leaders of the organizations to talk with guests to help them learn more about local groups.

“It has brought the community together,” she says with 70 to 100 people attending each week.

With 15 guest rooms, Vantasell hopes to host corporate functions, church groups and family reunions, offering group rates on five or more rooms.

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Joyce Owen

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