Saturday, April 4, 2015

Happy Easter!

Easter Weekend in Ocean City, New Jersey is an exciting time! Thousands of people fill the island. This is how they do an Egg Hunt on the beach! lol I call it more of an Egg Gathering! But none the less as you can see all the kids have a blast. I don't know how long it takes to fill all these eggs...?

I only shot video of the 6/7 year old area. There are areas blocked off for each age group up to 7. I think this is the only time you will see thousands of people on the beach -- and no one in a swim suit!

And within minutes of the bull horn -- it is all over. Not an egg left in sight! If you think the lines are long at some of the rides, look at the line of people trying to leave the beach post egg hunt.

And this is why it took so long to leave the beach, the boardwalk was so packed, there was little room for all these folks to walk and move.

On a family note, this is Olivia giving Bob a thank you kiss. She didn't get too many eggs (maybe 5??) so her brother made her feel better by giving her some of his. (he gathered about 25)

Meanwhile, Lauren didn't need anyone to help her out! She may be the youngest (age 5) but she gathered the most eggs in this family! 102 EGGS!
What is really cool about this egg hunt (besides it being held on the beach!! --that is cool) is that each egg is filled with a treat. Some eggs have candy, others a small toy, while others have coupons for free things on the Ocean City, New Jersey boardwalk. Lauren ended up with coupons for free ear phones from Verizon, free popcorn from Johnsons, ice cream, pizza -- all kinds of goodies.

 The Ocean City, NJ Egg Hunt is held the weekend before and the weekend of Easter. So yes they do this TWICE! It truly is the best Egg Hunt in South Jersey (in my opinion). I only let my kids do it once, which doesn't make me the most popular mom on the island, but, all in all, I think they made out. The Egg Hunt is free thanks to sponsors like Castaway Cove. So I returned the favor and purchased some ride tickets (They are offering the annual 1/2 price ticket sale over Easter Weekend.-- and you can buy them online)

And to help gain some of the "mom points" back..... we made a quick stop at the Fudge Kitchen for a free sample of fudge and a picture with the Easter Bunny before walking back to the Scarborough Inn......

Friday, March 27, 2015

Summer 2015 Season Quickly Approaching!

We are just weeks away from our May 1st opening day and we can't wait. We will update the progress of projects happening here at the Scarborough Inn with photos in the next post.
Meanwhile stores and food vendors are starting to open on the boardwalk and the breeze feels a bit warmer. This, no-doubt, is an exciting time of year.

After talking with several guests last season who expressed interest in coming down for Ocean City's Spring  Block Party Weekend we chose to make May 1st our opening day. Over 350 crafters and food vendors will fill Asbury Ave for a day of fun shopping or just walking around and looking. 

Spring cleaning is certainly underway everywhere you look in Ocean City. Most, if not all, the seasonal business owners are back in town cleaning and preparing for Summer 2015! Awnings are going up, fresh coats of paint are going on, and several areas on the boardwalk already have new boards. Each week more and more folks are heading to the island.  This weekend March 28/29 families can have Breakfast with the Easter Bunny. Or they can join in on the Ocean City NJ Great Egg Hunt between 11th and 14th streets on the beach. The Ocean City Chamber of Commerce has a calendar of events planned for the summer. Check out their website or just stay tuned for updates on what's going on in Ocean City NJ and at the Scarborough Inn Bed and Breakfast.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Happy 2015!

I love this time of year. A new year, new memories, new adventures.... and in this case a new blog..with lots of new things to say!!!.

I hope you enjoy our little Scarborough Inn Bed and Breakfast InnSites.

Now that Steve and I have almost a year (April 1st is the anniversary) under our belts, I can say life as an Innkeeper is some... of... what I expected and some... of... not what I expected. I knew I would be busy during the open season, I guess when I heard the "offseason"... I heard sleep in and little to do. Ha ha ha. Such is not the case. Steve comments on how our days are still almost as long now as they were when we had guests.
It is funny, I compare it to my days as a reporter, folks would ask me with all seriousness "What did you do all day, you are only on TV for a minute?"  Only now it's "What did you do all day, you don't have guests?"
Well there's a lot to be done in the off season, we: resign contracts, renew accounts, update software, research venders and there are always projects to be done in an old house... and we are working on a few.

Project 1
New Wiring (second floor)
In the hundred plus years of being open this old building has gone through many renovations (from Hotel Scarborough in 1895 to Scarborough Inn Bed and Breakfast today). The wiring in/on the second floor was the hardest to get to so it is now the last to be updated. A new circuit breaker and box was installed. Now the load can hold all the smartphones, tablets, laptops, curling irons, newer air conditioners and a refrigerator in each room. Yes, you read that right, every room now has a refrigerator as a standard amenity.

Project 2
Fire Door(s) construction.
Laws change and so with the ownership changing, the State Fire Inspector wanted to make sure the doors leading to certain exits were to the latest standards. So, while we aren't adding any walls or knocking anything down, (it should look like the same old Scarborough Inn Bed and Breakfast you know) if you look closely you might see where the renovation took place. The goal is to have it look the same way it did before, but keep your fingers crossed, this project isn't finished.... and I will keep you updated.

Project 3
New Amenities
As new Innkeepers, we wanted to hear from the guests. What do you like and what don't you like about the Scarborough Inn Bed and Breakfast. Based on feedback, and yes we do read your comment cards, we have/will be making the following changes...
1. A microwave for the Sojourn room.
2. Refrigerators for each room.
3. New Showerheads
4. New Soaps/Shampoos/Conditioners
5. New Vacuums for housekeeping
6. New tabletop portals for easy plug-in /recharging for phones, laptops, tablets, etc.
7. Custom made name tags for each employee with their Name and Country listed

Project 4
Hire Employees
Each year the Scarborough Inn Bed and Breakfast is privileged with having an international staff help run the daily chores of the home. As new innkeepers we couldn't have asked for a better staff this past summer, and we are just as optimistic that we will hire great students this summer. There is a list of students wanting to work for us and we are in the final stages of finalizing who will join our team! Which countries will we represent this year???? Stay tuned! We will have introductions soon!

So as you can see life in the "offseason" is anything but sleeping in with nothing to do! Steve and I are having a blast planning for this upcoming season. We are enjoying making decisions on the small changes we have done and can't wait for another great SUMMER in OCEAN CITY, NJ.

Brandie and Steve
Scarborough Inn
an Ocean City NJ Bed and Breakfast

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Gus & Carol Bruno, Scarborough Inn, Ocean City NJ
For a time, the Scarborough Inn served as official lodging for the soloists performing with the Ocean City Pops.  I discovered a photo of the 35 “headshots” of the stars that stayed with us over the years – these decorated one large wall on the main floor at one time.  These talented performers were always a delight. There’s also a picture of the Music Pier marquee announcing our sponsorship of a Pops concert. 

We have housed other special visitors; too, like the “real” Gidget – who was in town to attend a surfing event on the Music Pier – her inscribed photo is in the main hallway.  We host some of the speakers or performers from the Ocean City Tabernacle. Some of these guests like the fact that we are within walking distance to the Tabernacle grounds and we like offering them a “home away from home” as many travel frequently.  A group of teachers stayed at the inn one pre-season while attending workshops at Ocean City High School and asked to return recently. Nurses from the Philadelphia area came to the island for a seminal class reunion and decided to make it an annual event every fall.  And, of course, there are the couples who celebrate marriages or anniversaries at the Scarborough Inn.

It’s been a privilege to support local charities, organizations, or special events over the years.  Community involvement has been an integral part of our family life. Gus was recently recognized for being part of the “First Night” Board of Directors.  This event is a family-friendly, alcohol-free New Year’s Eve celebration and it’s great fun!  He also spent many years on the board of the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce.  Carol worked with the PTA and served on the board of the Cape Educational Fund.  Both of us participated in professional associations for innkeepers.

A commitment to support fellow businesses lead to cooperation with local restaurants, shops, venders and tradespeople for packages or services.  We have many photographs of the fresh, local ingredients used in breakfasts and afternoon refreshments taken at the weekly OC Farmer’s Market.  Local newspapers, radio stations, and magazines have written articles or conducted interviews at the inn. You’ll see a selection of these features – like the great coverage in Ocean City Magazine – in the main floor hallway.  Our very first award was for the decoration of the “Sweet Thymes” room that included the addition of a Pencil Post bed and lively décor by local design team, Donna Hughes and Darla, Too.  Several years later when we renovated and redecorated the living room, Joann’s (on Asbury Avenue) created a beautiful and welcoming first impression for inn guests.

Looking at the photographs of the inn reminded us of the many, many changes that were made over the years.  When we purchased the Hotel Scarborough in 1988, it had a white exterior with artificial grass on the front porch and aluminum rocking chairs. The interior was painted Beeswax – a pale yellow shade.  All of the antique oak dressers were painted different colors. Room amenities included electric fans.

Goodness, the changes that were made over the years! We have photos of the building being painted traditional colors – the final count was eight shades.  The demolition of the apartment building next door provided parking for guests, plus more sunlight, space, and fresh air.  There are photos of new flowerbeds, the patio gardens, and privacy fencing being added.  Other decorating projects in the guest rooms and common areas were chronicled on the website (a new technology & beautifully designed by multi-talented, Jennifer Freeman) and in INN-Sites, the newsletter we created.  At one time, we mailed communication to guests; increasingly we use online options for reservations, email, and social media.  We’ve added in-room telephones, alarm clocks, AC, televisions (most recently, flat screens), and wireless Internet.  We enlarged many rooms and created some of the largest suites on the island.  We are constantly re-decorating, too.

Old photographs provide an opportunity to see and reflect on additional changes.  While we preserved the “vintage charm” of this historic building, it was also a goal to add “modern amenities” for guests. And we did.  In addition, when we became a Bed & Breakfast, the first food offered was a Continental breakfast served in the living room. With the addition of the dining room, we were able to offer more Breakfast options and Afternoon Refreshments, too.  Fresh, local ingredients became an important commitment of our menu planning and food offerings.

These recollections would be incomplete without mentioning the many, fine staff members who worked at the inn over the years.  Their dedication, hard work, commitment to guest satisfaction, and cheerful cooperation with fellow staff members are invaluable qualities that we value highly.  We enjoy the contributions of international students, too.  It was fun to interact with young people from around the globe and a recent group was featured in a video presentation about the program.  Often, the students bring gifts from their homelands; these are displayed in the Sojourn room on the top floor.  The faces of local staff members and students appear in many photographs – notably at the annual party we provided for our team members.  Thank you all; we recognize and appreciate your many contributions!

We are especially grateful for the contributions of our dear sons, Peter and Jason.  They were part of a very small staff that ran the Scarborough in the early days.  They performed many jobs over the years – laundry, housekeeping, groundskeeper, cook, and front desk – and always did a wonderful job (if we say so ourselves).  Notably, Jason took over the kitchen and produced scrumptious meals that guests raved about – all without any training – when Carol was unable to do that job.  Peter loves computers and became our teacher and guide as we added technology to the inn – both for guest’s use and for inn operations. He continues to be our personal tech guru.  We are forever grateful for their love and for their support of this family business.  And always they make us proud – every day!

Many important things have remained the same through the years. Local families have owned the Scarborough (as far back as we can discover) throughout her many incarnations and have delighted in forming relationships with generations of guests.  What a joy to be part of this tradition of creating a beautiful and welcoming home-away-from-home and extending warm hospitality to our very special visitors and friends.  We are grateful for that opportunity and we thank you!

Carol & Gus, Innkeepers
Scarborough Inn
an Ocean City NJ Bed and Breakfast


Recently, I discovered a cache of old photographs during spring-cleaning and, oh, the memories they evoked of  our 27 years at the Scarborough!

There were photos of the “fashions” and hairstyles of the early years (enough said), the smiling faces of guests, the commemoration of special occasions, and the various projects and transformations the building and grounds have undergone, too.

Guests are the heart of the business and their presence and personalities are an indelible part of memories of our 27 years.  For example, there’s Dot who greeted our arrival as the new owners of the Hotel Scarborough (as it was known in those days) with a very surprised look on her face and a question, “What are YOU doing here?”  Thankfully, over the following seasons she adjusted to the new family and spent many years with us and an extended family of guests that all met here.  Dot was a former piano player for silent movies and enjoyed playing our living room piano for guest sing-a-longs – all from her memory of show tunes, hymns, and traditional songs!

Ray and Louise were also part of the “August Tenant’s Association”  (ATA) – a group who met at the Scarborough, discovered they got along famously, and thereafter, planned vacations in Ocean City to coincide with each other’s schedules.  Ray was a retired principal with a lovely smile and a gentle manner – he passed much too soon, but his photo reminds us of his time enjoying the front porch.  His wife, Louise, was a retired teacher and talented artist who frequently participated in the OC Boardwalk Art Show.  One of her pictures hangs in the Library Floor hallway – a constant reminder of her warmth and cheerful spirit.

Ray and Louise were members of the ATA and, happily, many others of the group continue annual visits to the inn. Photographs picture them over the years - rocking on the 100-foot wrap-a-round porch, cavorting on the beach, or singing together.  Some guests, who are now grown or even have children of their own, were photographed as youngsters during summer vacations at the Scarborough.  In some cases, we host 4th generation guests!  That means some guests have been coming here before we arrived.

It was Ray and Louise’s daughters who suggested the idea of a Spring Spruce-up involving willing guests.  The idea was to invite guests to come to Ocean City for a weekend before we were officially open for the season.  In exchange for room and board, they would help with spring-cleaning, or maintenance and repairs.  We were amazed when people actually came – and many returned annually!  What an amazing amount of work we accomplished in just one weekend.  Photos show participants painting the front railings or the bathhouse, scrubbing the siding, or cleaning guest rooms.  They planted annuals in the gardens, stabilized antique chairs for the dining room, and helped install the furniture on the porch and patio each spring. We fed them frequently, everyone laughed and joked a lot, and the weekend ended with a group pizza party on Sunday afternoon. Photos show different groups lined up on the front steps grinning for the camera. Our sincere thanks to all of you for your incredible and generous contributions, Spruce-uppers!

Ocean City, NJ - Dunes on the Beach
We have photos of guests in their finest attire ready for weddings, anniversaries, or showers.  There are pictures of family reunions, girlfriend getaways, and friends vacationing with friends, as well. But we have shared sad times, too. Guests have shared their distress over serious illnesses or concerns about their children or partners.  Some have talked with us about “the black night of the soul” they were experiencing. Others have lost loved ones. We’ve planted roses in the inn’s garden to remember some of those lives, one family remembered their beloved daughter with a ceremony at the inn, and we’ve marveled at the strength and faith people discover in themselves during hard times.

Many guests have expressed their affection for the inn in a number of thoughtful ways. Dorothy always calls when she hears news of an impending hurricane to see if we’re OK.  Beth takes beautiful pictures of the Ocean City beach and has presented several to us – you can see them framed along the main floor hallway. Lani made a beautiful seashore-themed, quilted wall hanging that you can see adjacent to the “Seaside” efficiency.  Beth frequently brings absolutely scrumptious cakes and candies when she visits and shares recipes, too. One reunion group has brought a generous selection of their amazing tomato products from the family business, Furmano’s.  Then there were the many guests and staff members who contributed recipes to Scarborough Seasons (the inn’s collaborative cookbook). All of these lives…all of these memories and experiences…all of these special people are a cherished part of the Scarborough Inn. 

Carol & Gus, Innkeepers
Scarborough Inn
an Ocean City NJ Bed and Breakfast

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Summertime at the Jersey Shore - Ocean City, NJ

Sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean (Ocean City, NJ)
Spring is right around the corner...time to plan your vacation getaway to Ocean City, NJ with a stay at the Scarborough Inn bed & breakfast. 

I've been looking at photographs of seasons past and reminiscing about favorite places, special events, and especially about our V.I.G.s - (Very Important Guests).  Because, of course, as we redecorate rooms, locate tempting new recipes or add new amenities, we are focused on guest satisfaction, comfort, and pleasure.  The fact that a large percentage of our guests return every year - and some several times a season - rewards these efforts.  Thank you so much for coming again and again!

The 2014 Season at the Scarborough Inn will be grand and we hope it will fill your heart with happiness and wonderful memories to cherish forever.

Carol & Gus, Innkeepers
Scarborough Inn
an Ocean City NJ Bed and Breakfast

Saturday, August 17, 2013

"HONEY BEE DAY" is August 17 - Celebrate with a Recipe

Honey Bees in the Hive
Today, August 17, 2013, is National "Honey Bee Day" I've learned. And that's a good thing. We all benefit from the work of honey bees, but may not know a lot about these vital insects.  I'm sure there's lots of websites for factual and educational information about bees, but I've decided to celebrate this national holiday by sharing a recipe!

This recipe for Honey Butter Ambrosia came to me via one of my favorite blogs, "One Good Thing by Jillee" please check it out!  Comments about the recipe that I found helpful were to (1) use less sugar & (2) add 1 teaspoon vanilla.  I'm taking both of those suggestions. If you try this Honey Ambrosia recipe; let me know what you think!


1 cup honey (local, if it's available)
1 cup cream
1 cup sugar (try 1/2 cup, if you like)
3 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Put the honey, cream, and sugar in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.  Let it cool a bit and then pour it over the softened butter in a blender.  Blend until the mixture is well combined. Pour it into (canning/ jelly?) jars. Cool. Refrigerate.

Notes: I have to wonder if cinnamon wouldn't be a nice addition (instead of the vanilla?) to add a hint of spice. Luscious on biscuits, waffles or pancakes, ice cream - perhaps with nuts - use your imagination. Enjoy on National Honey Bee Day or any day!

INNsider Tip:
When you visit Jillee's blog, she has some charming labels that you can download for free so you can give the Honey Butter Ambrosia as a gift. Sweet!

Carol & Gus, Innkeepers
Scarborough Inn
an Ocean City NJ Bed and Breakfast