Have you ever wondered what Port d’Hiver means? It’s French for “Port of Winter” and Ella Belle Brown named the property in 1925. The main historic house at Port d’Hiver Bed and Breakfast is an important landmark for Melbourne Beach and is known as the “Walter Brown House” but in the past locals called it “The Pink House”.
Leaning against the window in the sunroom is a weathered plaque that we found in the house years ago. It says the Melbourne Beach Improvement Company originally sold “The Pink House” to Neffie S. Long, who then sold to Florence Peel in 1922. Around 1925, the house was bought by Walter Brown and his wife Ella Belle.
Ella Belle Brown went to school at the Sorbonne in Paris and she and Walter spoke French at home. They thought that Port d’Hiver would become their winter home, but soon fell in love with our little barrier island and moved in full time.
Sometimes people ask, why go to Melbourne Beach? Because they haven’t heard of it and it isn’t touristy. But we say that is exactly why they should come to Melbourne, Florida. It is a very cool little town with a unique history and natural beauty. Not only have many of the country’s professional surfers learned right here on our beaches, but Melbourne Beach is also the 2nd largest nesting colony of Loggerhead Turtles in the nation (Matt Damon did a little documentary type promo about it.)
In the morning, we watch the sunrise over the ocean before breakfast at our romantic Florida getaway, and in the evening, after wine hour, our guests wander down for dinner at Djon’s Steak and Lobster House and to watch the beautiful sunsets on the Indian River.
So the answer is, go north for the “spring break” experience, stay at our Melbourne Beach Bed and Breakfast for a real, natural, adult experience. Port d’Hiver is an island within an island. Once inside…with the pool, fountains, tropical plants, friendly people, good food and music…we all get that same feeling that made Walter and Ella Belle Brown decide stay all those years ago. Melbourne Beach is just special, it settles in, becomes a part of you and soon you find that you don’t need to go anywhere else.