The James Family
The James family wants Worthington to be as sentimental to you as it is to them. The estate holds a special place in their hearts thanks to Leeland Cline, father of Donna James and grandfather to Jennifer and Jarret James. Leeland spent a great deal of his time in its original construction and would always pride himself in every detail that contributed to its unique old Florida vibe. His attention to detail contributed greatly to the newly reconstructed awe-inspiring venue that pays tribute to his original vision
As the visionary of the location and layout of Crab Trap II, Lee Cline was also the creator of so many clever and memorable pieces throughout The Worthington.
(from left to right) Jennifer James,
Donna James and Jarrett James
Lee’s Crab Trap II “A True Hidden Treasure”
“We were honored to be able to pay tribute to my grandfather and keep many of his clever and memorable pieces as part of our family’s tradition. Our goal will always be to take his vision above all expectations, especially for all those who want to be an addition to our next chapter!”
~ Jarrett James
For over 40 years, the family has been associated with great food and special occasions with four restaurants in their historic repertoire dating from the early 70’s to include Crap Trap I, Hickory Hollow Barbeque, The Sea Hut and Crap Trap II
Lee’s Crab Trap II “A True Hidden Treasure”
“We look forward to continuing this adventure for many years to come. Always evolving for the better and keeping on the creative path that my grandfather, Lee Cline would have loved and wanted. Our vision has a “dream big” attitude because your special day deserves it!”
~ Jarrett James
The Crab Trap II was built from the ground up, by Leeland Cline himself in 1985. When he originally acquired the estate, he would build scaffolding along the property line to be able to gage the view he envisioned for every guest that came into his restaurant. He wanted every single guest to have a view of the beautiful lake that sits along the backside of the property. This is the reason he built tiered layers of seating throughout the building
Crab Trap II was always associated with prestige and class, pioneering its way through trend setting and historic dishes and flavors. The décor was an eclectic mix of old Florida and the Caribbean islands with quirky treasures and recipes that found its way to being showcased to its clientele.
Due to a decline in his health in the early 2000’s and later to his passing in 2008, the restaurants were left to Leelands two daughters Donna James and ***.
Donna James took over Crab Trap I and renamed it The Sea Hut. The establishment is still in operation today. After Donna’s sister’s passing, Crab Trap II ended up closing and was put up for sale to the public in 2010 and eagerly pursued by Donna James to keep it in the family. By 2012, the property was officially purchased by Donna James, her son, Jarrett James and daughter Jennifer James. They spent the next two years diligently and manually transforming this 350-seat iconic landmark into something that would be enjoyed and embraced once again by the community. Their vision included a hint of the old Florida feel with a splash of elegance scattered throughout the newly remodeled venue focusing on a more chic than shabby outcome.
Worthington ~ The Name
“We could not be prouder to embrace and share our family history.”
~ Donna James
In 1985, Lee’s Crab Trap opened its doors. The name was perfect for what it was at the time but it was not what the James family needed for a feel of prestige, love and a name that grabbed attention for the newly renovated space to become a performance and event venue. After weeks of searching, they came across their family tree. As it is, a large group of their descendants originating from England, dating back over 800 years, were part of the conflict “War of the Roses.” After coming across this information, it was very clear that they found their name, “Worthington.”
Dating early in 1675, Captain John Worthington settled on an 8000-acre estate between the Annapolis and Baltimore areas that he named “Whiskey Ridge.” Today this county is known as Worthington Valley.
This story is a little simpler. The lake behind the property was never named and the James family were able to claim the naming rights to it. Their search for the perfect name required them to find and elegant name that would appeal to the mood and ambiance they were working to achieve. After many hours and days of brainstorming they found exactly what they were looking for.
In tying in all of the stories of their family’s history, they felt the homage to Lee Cline and his great grandmother Love Cline together gave them everything they needed.
Lisa Van Beuren
Event Director/Lead Planner
Lisa’s diverse experience in the hospitality industry spans over two decades of providing attentive and courteous service with a gracious and welcoming disposition. She has an incredible attention to detail and believes that in order to build and maintain the highest standards possible at Worthington one has to have a passion for pleasing people. After enjoying the privilege of being a stay at home mom for several years, she was excited to embark on this new journey with us.
“At the end of the day, my goal is to help you create a memorable experience in the most stress-free way imaginable surrounded by the love of your family and friends and the joy of knowing you are in good hands.”
Things I Love
“ I’m a foodie who loves artisan cheese and fine wine, especially those savory reds! Camping under the stars with my hilarious three boys and kayaking and hiking to new adventures was the highlight of our scouting days. I love leopard print anything, a hot cup of Joe from Starbucks and oh, did I mention I have an affinity for cheese? LOL”