A home away from home
BAY SHORE—The Ocean Bay House, located at 69 Ocean Avenue, is a full-service inn that provides the comforts of home and even more in the way of indulgences. The totally restored Victorian cottage maintains all of the character of its storied past while meeting the more contemporary needs of today’s guests.
It is believed the house, which was built in 1879, was once a part of the Prospect House complex, one of the late-19th-century hotels that dotted the hamlet’s shoreline. It’s been vacant for years, only to be used as a storage facility for the adjacent Seaborn Marina, whose proprietors – Paul Alvarano and Rodney Sloup - still own the property.
Colleen McGrath, the manager of the bed and breakfast, said Alvarano and Sloup didn’t know what to do with the historic building before deciding to launch this innovative project. “They called me because I had experience [in running a bed and breakfast],” said McGrath. The lifelong Patchogue resident formerly ran an Eastport B&B called Seatuck Cove House. That establishment won many awards, including being voted in the top 5 B&Bs in New York State by Fodor’s travel magazine, before it reverted back to a private home.
“The North Fork is filled with [B&Bs], and Eastport and the Hamptons,” McGrath noted. “There used to be one in Bellport years ago, but nothing now.” This is the first business of its kind in the Town of Islip and perhaps the only existing B&B on the South Shore in Western Suffolk County.
The rooms of the inn are well appointed with a blend of contemporary classic furniture and antiques. A wall of windows onto the front porch still holds the original 19th-century wavy glass. Original hardwood floors run throughout. Framed historic images of the area, courtesy of the Bay Shore Historical Society, grace many of the walls. A soft color palate in each area creates a welcoming ambiance – from the large central living room, which was once used as a ballroom, to the nine spacious bedrooms, each with a private bath. There is even a handicap-accessible bedroom and bath on the first floor. All of the rooms are named for points of interest in the neighborhood, such as Watchogue Creek and Fire Island. “Every room is different,” said assistant manager John Rapino.
Overnight guests will also enjoy a continental breakfast with their stay. And in the summertime, there is an in-ground pool overlooking the water. There’s easy access to Fire Island Ferries and downtown Bay Shore restaurants and shopping. “It’s all very exciting,” added assistant manager Jennifer Schiera. “I’m so looking forward to the opening.”
Although the first guests are not expected to arrive until late spring, an open house was held for the community earlier this week. Barry Dlouhy, president of the Bay Shore Historical Society, toured the building and said he was happy to see that it was ready for business. “This is a great use in order to preserve the integrity of this historic house, and it gives vitality to the community while protecting the privacy of the neighborhood,” he said.
McGrath said she is looking forward to seeing the business up and running and to see what it can do for the community. “We want to be a viable, productive business to help other businesses [in the area],” she said.
In addition to overnight lodging, The Ocean Bay House is available for conferences and to rent for smaller weddings and events.
For more information, go to the website www.theoceanbayhouse.com.
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