Want to hear a love story? Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl who lived around the corner from each other in Nashville, Tennessee. It was a good life, but they worked all the time and, sadly, never met. But they shared this crazy dream of someday living on a tropical island. Somehow, some way, the girl moved to St. John in 2010. The boy found her there when he moved in 2011. They fell in love, got married, bought some real estate and fixed it up real nice, and started Island Abodes!
Brittany MacNealy was born and raised in the Mississippi delta. After college at Mississippi State (Hail State!) where she was an active member of Delta Gamma, she moved to Nashville to run fundraising and events for a great nonprofit, Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee. Her parents will tell you that she dreamed of living at the beach since she was a little girl. So in 2010, after 5 “cold” Nashville winters, she moved to St. John to be the Director of Fun at the Westin St. John Resort. For 4 years she oversaw Resort activities and managed the pool and Kid’s Club. It was a great experience and awesome training for Island Abodes’ future GM!
Robert Gonzales was born and raised in New Orleans, went to college at Louisiana Tech, then moved to Nashville in 1991 for law school at Vanderbilt. As a business lawyer, he specialized in restructuring companies. He worked hard and built a great practice. But ask his long time law partner or mentor and they’ll tell you something like “Robert always said he wouldn’t sit at a desk forever.” Twenty years in Nashville seemed like long enough. So, in 2011 he relocated to the islands he’d been visiting for over 10 years, met Brittany, and the rest is history!
When we’re not helping guests, we love to explore the North Shore on paddle boards and hike the National Park trails with Morgan, our beloved “coconut retriever” (an Animal Care Center rescue dog, of course). Brittany also volunteers at Gifft Hill School where she has taught elective classes, coached cheerleading and serves as a substitute teacher. She’s also at the Marketplace every Tuesday volunteering for the ACC’s adoption efforts. In addition to making sure everything at Island Abodes is in tip-top shape, Robert is an ordained minister who officiates beautiful, simple beach weddings. He’s also big into tropical fruit farming, so be sure to ask him what’s ripe!
We love our island life and we love welcoming guests to this little slice of paradise. We hope to see you real soon! And come June 2017, the newest smallest member of the Island Abodes family will be joining us!
-Brittany and Robert
Our newest team member, Paige Cope, was born in Baton Rouge, LA and raised in Atlanta, GA. She attended Auburn University where she met her now husband, Preston. After graduating college and living in Atlanta for a few years, work took the couple to Dallas, TX. In April 2015, Paige and Preston got married! After the whirlwind of wedding festivities ended, the couple was ready for their next adventure. Knowing that they were going to be working for awhile, they decided they wanted to live and work in paradise and chose St. John. Paige has been on St. John for almost 2 years and does her best to get to the beach or get on the water as much as she can! She is active in our St. John community and is a great resource for our guests.