Tuesday, April 1, 2014

SCARBOROUGH INN MEMORIES, Ocean City NJ


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

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