Shipshape Ambersand Beach home has a fascinating history

Traveling along A1A, just south of the Sebastian Inlet, you come to a section of the highway where you find yourself surrounded by water – as if you’re on a ship. The Indian River Lagoon glistens to the east and the waves of the Atlantic Ocean beckon from the west.

As soon as you turn into the wall of sea grapes protecting the historic two-story, ocean-to-river family compound at 12930 Highway A1A in Ambersand Beach, you know you’re about to set sail on an adventure.

While this incredibly charming and atmospheric four-bedroom, three-bath home was built in 1955, its real story began in 1715 when the Spanish Fleet sank off the coast of Florida during a hurricane. Fast forward 240 years to the discovery of the Cabin Wreck just offshore from this property.

If the walls of this historic property could talk, they’d tell tales of sunken ships and salty gold piled on the floors of what was once the base camp of the treasure hunters working with Kip Wagner’s Real 8 Company and Mel Fisher’s Salvors. Their discoveries of Spanish coins and jewels is what gave the Treasure Coast its name and a featured story in the January 1965 issue of the National Geographic.

The real treasure, says the owner, is located up on the dune. This family compound can take on any size crew, especially with the addition of the guest house, built later, which can easily sleep more than 10 people.

Locals know this property as “the Treasure House,” but its current owners are hard pressed to say whether it’s the unique history of the place or the natural beauty they’ve enjoyed most.

It’s here that all six of their grandchildren have “learned how to swim, fish, sail and treasure hunt in this nice little pirate haven as they grew up,” recall the owners.

Turning off A1A, a gravel driveway leads to a parking area near the heated pool. As you traverse the dock-like walkway, it becomes immediately apparent that you’re headed to something unique. Snubbing posts and a ship’s bell set the tone for what’s to come.

The main house or “cabin” was built by a shipwright and stands solid, high above the dune, with timbers central to the open floor plan. Once permission has been granted to come aboard, it’s as if you’ve stepped back in time.

The stained-glass transom over the doorway pays homage to the sunken ships and treasure divers of years past.

The deck has been swabbed and the tongue and groove floor shines. The kitchen and bar are off to the right of the front entry and the dining area is straight ahead before you enter the great room. The dark wood and rows of windows on the port side and bow make you feel as if you’re gliding across the ocean on a Spanish galleon.

The starboard side of the cabin consists of an office with bunkbeds so it can double as a guest bedroom and a stateroom – for you landlubbers, that’s the master bedroom and a bathroom lined with rustic tile.

Oceanside, multi-tiered decks offer a variety of entertaining venues. You can perch atop stools at the bar or settle in for lunch at a picnic table nearby.

The rear deck can be reached via pathways on either side of the house. That way sandy feet can head to the pool or the guest house without traipsing through the captain’s quarters. At ground level, you can also hop in the hot tub or amble into the workshop tucked beneath the house.

The private, gated access to the beach makes it easy to get down to the shoreline if you happen to spy treasure lying in the sand.

A “bridge” connects the main house and the two-story guest house that includes a first-floor office or mother-in-law suite with a bathroom that serves as the pool bath. Upstairs a second kitchen means that snacks can be rustled up from anywhere on the property.

A passageway runs the length of the guest house with rooms accessed via hatches. Each of the rooms contains bunkbeds or lofts in addition to sleeping accommodations that can be tucked away during the day for use as a TV room. Guests also share a full bathroom and sitting room.

Below deck, a covered seating area is the perfect gathering place for the entire crew whether they’re just coming from the beach, the pool or from the boat house on the Indian River Lagoon. A wet bar, which the family refers to as the Klondike Ice Cream bar, is a convenient place to keep sustenance for all ages.

“This is a special home,” says Janyne Kenworthy, Treasure Coast Sotheby’s International Realty broker associate. “The uniqueness and charm will make it a fun retreat for any family.”

“We’ve been blessed to own it for over 30 years and to share it and its history with others. While we’ve been here a long time, we feel like we’ve been the caretakers of the Cabin and all the Spanish history it represents,” share the owners.

The property includes river frontage just across A1A, with river access and permitting in place for a dock. Ambersand Beach, McLarty Treasure Museum and the Sebastian Inlet are nearby.

Vital Statistics

  • Address: 12930 Hwy. A1A
  • Neighborhood: Ambersand Beach • Year built: 1955
  • Construction: Frame • Lot size: 55 feet by 230 feet
  • Home size: 2,743 square feet
  • Bedrooms: 4 • Bathrooms: 3
  • Pool: Heated swimming pool with hot tub
  • View: Ocean-to-river
  • Additional features: Vaulted ceilings; state room; two loft sleeping areas; bunkbeds; office; electric fireplace; mother-in-law suite; wet bar; workshop; extensive deck system; outdoor shower; beach access; boathouse; and dock permit.
  • Listing agency: ONE Sotheby’s International Realty
  • Listing agent: Janyne Kenworthy, 772-696-5110
  • Listing price: $1,450,000


emuck3 June 4, 2020

the ocean is east, and the lagoon is west. people cant even get directions right.

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