Monday, November 7, 2011

Serendipity B&B participates in B&B's for Vets

For the past 2 years B&B's have offered a free room to retired or active duty veterans on 11/10 so they wake up on Veteran's Day in a beautiful B&B and are served a wonderful breakfast! This is the second year that Serendipity is participating. I wish I had more rooms to be able to offer to the number of people who called after I filled. If you are retired or active duty, keep this in mind for next year! Here is the press release regarding this program.


SERENDIPITY BED AND BREAKFAST TO HONOR VETS WITH FREE ROOMS ON VETERANS DAY
Ocean City, NJ – Serendipity Bed and Breakfast will join hundreds of inns and B&Bs throughout the U.S. and Canada in honoring active and retired veterans with free rooms in recognition of Veteran’s Day.  In a campaign called B&Bs for Vets, Serendipity B&B will join inns and B&Bs in opening their doors with complimentary stays for vets on November 10, 2011 so they can wake up on Veteran’s Day to a wonderful breakfast after a great night’s sleep in a B&B. Serendipity B&B has offered four rooms which were rapidly booked.
“We are proud to join innkeepers across the USA and Canada in honoring active and retired military and veterans by offering complimentary rooms,” said Karen Morella, Owner/Innkeeper. “We are thrilled that thousands of vets and their families will wake up on 11-11-11 in a B&B, like ours.  It’s one small way we can thank those serving in the military and their families for the important work they do” finished Morella.
The B&Bs for Vets program started in 2008 when Kathleen Penek, co-owner of the Gillum House and a handful of other innkeepers in West Virginia opened their doors to veterans in honor of Veteran’s Day. The program grew in popularity among innkeepers, and last year Serendipity B&B joined more than 900 inns in the US and Canada by offering free rooms to vets.  This year, the Professional Association of Innkeepers International will coordinate the B&Bs for Vets program as a way to help veterans learn about today’s B&B experience.
Although Serendipity B&B is filled there are many other B&B’s and Inns which still have rooms available.  Proof of military service will be requested.  To see a complete list of participating inns and B&Bs in the U.S. and Canada, visit www.bnbsforvets.org.
About Serendipity Bed and Breakfast
Serendipity Bed and Breakfast has been a B&B for 21 years, the last 6 years with Karen Morella as the Innkeeper. Serendipity B&B is open year-round and is located only ½ blocks from Ocean City, NJ’s famed beach and boardwalk.  In addition to serving a regular diet breakfast, Morella also will accommodate vegan, lactose-intolerant and gluten-free diets with advance notice. A recent addition is the Serendipity Tea House which is open year-round also but requiring reservations.
About Better Way to Stay
The Better Way To Stay project is a grassroots campaign sponsored by the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (www.innkeeping.org).  The campaign is dedicated to helping travelers discover today’s inns and B&B experience through programs and social network campaigns geared to enhancing the travel experience.

Karen
Serendipity Bed and Breakfast
[email protected]
www.serendipitynj.com
www.facebook.com/serendiitynj

Monday, August 29, 2011

Irene's Evacuation






Evacuation is a scary word. I never thought about having to evacuate - never thought I would be "one of those people". Thanks to Irene I had the opportunity to know the word evacuate very well. I hope none of you get to know it that well. On Thursday I was busy. The governor had just issued the mandatory evacuation notice to all the barrier islands in Cape May County. That meant I had to tell the people already staying here, that they had to leave Friday morning. I also had to contact all the people coming in for the weekend - and I was filled - that due to Irene we would be closed. Between trying to reschedule and refunding those who could not reschedule, took my mind off the evacuation. Friday was spent putting away everything that was outside that could blow away - beach chairs, chairs and tables on the porch, outside furniture in back, all the flower window boxes, chimes and the list seemed to go on and on. I had Karl, the young man who cleans for me this summer, come and do all the rooms. So I also had laundry to do. I wanted everything done so I could come back and not have to worry about cleaning the rooms because who knew what other cleaning I was going to have to do. Eventually all that was done, the people had left and the only thing remaining for me to do was pack a bag. One of the hardest things I have had to do was pull out of my driveway. I took another look at my home, not knowing what I would find when I returned, hoping that any damage would be minimal. As I drove off and across the bridge I just asked God to take care of me and my home.
I was very fortunate that my son and his wife had offered me a place to stay. They live about an hour away. Surprisingly both the parkway and the AC expressway had very little traffic. I did take advantage of the forced time off and did some shopping on Saturday. What a novelty - shopping on a Saturday morning in August! I also tried to sleep in. I know I had been hoping to be able to sleep in soon, but I meant the end of September, not August.
Listening to the weather reports was tough. You kept watching and hoping they would talk about Ocean City so you could see what was going on. Fortunately I had a friend whose crazy brother had stayed in Ocean City so I did get a few second hand reports. The best report I received was Sunday morning around 8:15 am. Irene had passed, there was hardly any flooding and best of all - Serendipity looked intact! No flooding outside on 9th St and the power had not gone off all during the storm! This meant that my sump pumps had probably been running all night and hopefully were able to keep the water from getting to my furnace and hot water heater.
Coming over the bridge into Ocean city was a fantastic feeling! I was back home and everything looked the same - except there were no people around on an August weekend :) As I pulled into my driveway I could see from the debris on the driveway how far the water had come in. It probably came up to the first step on my porch. During a recent rain storm it came that high. I walked into Serendipity and checked from the attic to the cellar. Except for water in the basement - which is a normal occurrence during a storm - everything looked just the way I left it! Thank you God for sparing Serendipity and Ocean City! How wonderful to come back and everything was fine. I am very lucky!
My next trip was to the boardwalk and beach. I fully expected to see the beach all eroded. But it looked just like it did the day I left. The waves were rough but there was a nice slope to the beach. On the boardwalk stores were removing the plywood they had put up to secure their windows. Litterers was open for business! There were some people strolling on the boardwalk and riding bikes. Although it was a bit rainy and very windy, it was a beautiful day to be in Ocean City. And later on that day the wind died down and the sun came out. Time to put out the porch furniture, the beach chairs, hang the chimes and put the flower boxes back. Time to welcome guests back to Serendipity and Ocean City!


Karen
Serendipity Bed and Breakfast
[email protected]
www.serendipitynj.com
www.facebook.com/serendipitynj

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Guests become Friends!

Hi!

If you have stayed at Serendipity then you know that to me this is my home first and a place of business second. I am always happy when people come in and tell me how cozy Serendipity is or how they feel like they are coming home. That is the atmosphere I try to project and it makes me feel great when it come across to people staying here. In keeping with that theme, it was a great couple of days for me when people who have stayed at Serendipity stopped in to say hello! Twyla has been coming to Serendipity since the previous owners were here and has continued coming after I bought Serendipity. She is a very interesting person and someone I enjoy talking with. Unfortunately this time in Ocean City there was no vacancy at Serendipity so she had to stay elsewhere. (I always feel bad when that happens.) What a great surprise that she stopped in before leaving town to say hello! Although I had people in for tea we were able to chat for a bit. Hopefully when she comes next time, there will be a room for her at Serendipity!
Sue popped in on Friday. She was just down for the day but wanted to say hello. Met her sister who was with her! Since it was breakfast time there was not much time to talk but I did appreciate that she stopped in. I know how much she enjoys the beach!
Today Joe and Verna stopped by. In Ocean City for the day with her sister and wanted to have her meet me! They also mentioned that they had my Christmas card on their refrigerator - so maybe I am part of the family!
Tomorrow Nancy says she will stop by when she is in Ocean City. It's nice to know that Serendipity is more than just a place to sleep and eat breakfast. It makes me feel very honored to know that I am more than just the "innkeeper" to people. Thank you for making me feel like I am part of your Ocean City memories. If you are in Ocean city, stop by and say hello. It's never an inconvenience!

Karen
Serendipity Bed and Breakfast
[email protected]
www.serendipitynj.com
www.facebook.com/serendipitynj

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Running a B&B

Hi!

Our local daily newspaper, Press of Atlantic City, recently did an article about running a B&B. I was fortunate enough to be one of the B&B owners they interviewed - what fun! If you would like to read the article here is the link
http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/communities/upper_capemay/running-a-bed-and-breakfast-may-seem-peaceful-but-it/article_2176543a-9454-11e0-86ce-001cc4c002e0.html
Thank heavens for copy and paste :) The article is pretty true to how I feel - especially the part about loving my job! Thank you to all my great guests for the wonderful experiences you are/have given me. Thank you also for giving me the means to live in the wonderful house that I do, and for being able to live where I live. You are the greatest!

Karen
Serendipity Bed and Breakfast
[email protected]
www.serendipitynj.com
www.facebook.com/serendipitynj

Friday, May 6, 2011

Martin Z Mollusk Day!

Yesterday, May 5, was not only Cinco de Mayo but even more importantly, it was Martin Z. Mollusk Day! This is a very important day in Ocean City because if Martin sees his shadow then summer comes one week early to Ocean City - and we all want that! Before I tell you the result, I am going to keep you in suspense and talk about the events leading up it. (Now, if you already saw the results on Facebook, don't give away the ending. And for those who did not see the results on Facebook, 'like' SerendipityNJ on Facebook and read all about what goes on in Ocean City!)
To the music of Pomp and Circumstances played by the OCHS band, the procession to the beach started, lead by the Trash Buster. Already on the beach was Mama Llama who did not seem at all happy being there. Maybe because it was windy. But it was a gorgeous day to be on the beach despite the wind. A beautiful blue sky which did contain some clouds. Mark Soifer, AKA Trash Buster and mentor to Martin, made some opening remarks. Next was music from the Wind Chime Band. Then, because of Martin's advanced age - 111 in hermit crab years - Dr Frankenstein accompanied by Nurses Excellent and Perfect examined Martin to ensure he was in good enough condition to finish the important task at hand. Fortunately, Martin was deemed to be in excellent health! Now came the moment of suspense - would Martin see his shadow? All of a sudden, the sun went behind a cloud. Oh no - now what!!!??? But not to worry. The sun emerged from behind the cloud, Martin was placed on the sand and YEAH, he saw his shadow. Mama Llama confirmed the sighting of the shadow and the crowd went wild! Once more summer comes one week early to Ocean City!
For pictures and video, click on this link
http://ocean7hotel.com/beachasylum/?p=949#more-949
A friend of mine took them and if you look closely you'll even see me! Make plans to come for Martin Z Mollusk Day next year!

Karen
Serendipity Bed and Breakfast
[email protected]
www.serendipitynj.com
www.facebook.com/serendipitynj

Saturday, April 2, 2011

And the winner is..........

Congratulations to Sal and Jeanne from Sewell, NJ. They have won the One Free Night contest! Sal and Jeanne are scheduled to come down in June. So now they can either choose to stay another night, have one night cost deducted from their total or use it for another reservation!
Thanks to all my guests who made a reservation in March. Can't wait to see you! The weather today is beautiful - bright sun and not too cold. (There may be a possibility of rain this afternoon but that 4 letter word is not allowed in this house!)
Have a wonderful day!

Karen
Serendipity Bed and Breakfast
[email protected]
www.serendipitynj.com
www.facebook.com/serendipitynj

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How to know when Spring has arrived

So how do you know when Spring has arrived? Tough question :) Some people look at the calendar, see that March 20 says that Spring Begins and say yippee, Spring is here. Other people wait until they see a robin - always a harbinger of Spring. But for me and Serendipity, Spring has arrived when I get that special phone call. Deb calls to tell me the pansies are in and she will be down to plant them! What says Spring better than pansies? And thank heavens they are a hardy plant!
So this year I received that "Spring has arrived" call from Deb but there was a bonus. She was coming down with 2 of her gardening friends. On Tuesday Deb, Jay and Randy arrived and in no time at all the pansies were planted and the front of the house looks great! What was even greater was the labor cost - a cup of tea and some razz-ma-taz bars that I had. (If you do not know what razz-ma-taz bars are they are made with white chocolate, raspberry jam and almonds. A big favorite at the afternoon teas.) It was a win-win situation for me - the front garden looks pretty, got to serve tea and a sweet to friends, and wonderful conversation. So Happy Spring everyone! Serendipity is definitely in spring mode!

Karen
Serendipity Bed and Breakfast
[email protected]
www.serendipitynj.com
www.facebook.com/serendipitynj

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Win a free night at Serendipity!

Fantastic news - you can be entered to win a free night at Serendipity Bed and Breakfast! And it could not be easier. All you have to do is make a reservation during the month of March for a stay any time this year of 2 or more nights. Make your reservation by March 31 and you are automatically entered to win a free night. So what could be easier? If you have filed your taxes you may have already received your refund. Use part of that as your deposit! So give me a call at 609-399-1554 or book online at www.serendipitynj.com click on Check Availability then Make a New Reservation. It is as easy as that! The winner will be announced April 2 in my blog at http://blog.serendipitynj.com/ and of course I also will also call you with the happy news! So do not delay - your free night could be just a phone call or a few clicks of the keyboard away! So what are you waiting for? The weather is only going to get better and better!

Karen
Serendipity Bed and Breakfast
[email protected]
www.serendipitynj.com
www.facebook.com/serendipitynj

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Winter Peace

The winter is generally a quiet time of the year for me. It is a welcome break from the long days during the season. Kind of like a time for recharging! So how do I spend that time? I always take some time away from the inn. If I stay at Serendipity in the back of my mind is a list of things to do. So by getting away I get to leave that list at home! This year I went to an Innkeeper Conference in Charleston, SC and then spent some great time visiting family. My brother Pete lives in Fl and I spent a week there. It was great being able to get on the beach and have no worries! I then traveled to Al to visit my brother Dave and his family. It sure is nice to have family that welcomes you!
Back home and recharged, I start what I do every winter. I look around, take stock of what everything looks like, and decide what things will be done this year. Having Serendipity is just like having your own home. There are always repairs that need to be done. Fortunately I have a guy who is extremely handy. So we (meaning him and NOT me!) did some patchwork. Repairing plaster walls is fun.....or so I try to convince him!
The best part is redecorating! Suite Dreams got some makeovers this year. Suite Dreams now has a 32" TV. And to make your TV watching more enjoyable, I bought a new loveseat and chair for Suite Dreams. They are both in white wicker and look so crisp and clean!If you are looking for a room to just hang out in, that is the room you want.
Room #6 Ocean Breeze, also got some makeovers. While Ocean Breeze is my smallest room, I really think it is such a cute and cozy room. One thing that always bothered me was the sink in the bedroom. The sink is still there, but now there is a new sink and a vanity that hides the pipes! I love it! Ocean Breeze also has a new chair in the room. Instead of the green wicker, there is a sparkling white wicker chair! The lights above the mirror over the sink have also been changed. I love the way this room looks!
So those are the major changes done so far. There may be a few more changes, maybe some painting but nothing drastic. And I almost forgot - I have a new area rug in the living room. Wait until you see it - the guests who have been here all love it and so do I! Can't wait to see what you think!
So that is what innkeepers do in their downtime. Another form of work but a lot of fun, too. I am so fortunate to be living such a wonderful life.

Karen
Serendipity Bed and Breakfast
[email protected]
www.serendipitynj.com
www.facebook.com/serendipitynj

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Innkeeper conference in Charleston!

Earlier this month I attended the PAII (Professional Association of Innkeepers International) conference in Charleston. Let me just say that the south closes down in cold inclement weather. I had one day to sightsee and the whole town closed down because earlier in the morning it was a bit icy. And when I say closed down - the Visitor's Center was closed, there were no tours, nothing. I was disappointed that I was not able to see Charleston since I had heard what a beautiful city it was. Next time, I guess!
On to the conference! When I mention to some people that innkeeping - inns and bed and breakfasts - have a conference they are surprised. So what do they cover, how to make a bed (usually said with a laugh). The short answer is no, the long answer could take forever so I will give you the "Reader's Digest" (condensed) version. The innkeeping conferences are great and I always go away having learned something. You need to approach running a bed and breakfast as a business. Those of you reading this who have stayed at Serendipity know that I love Serendipity, enjoy having guests, and try to make the whole experience the best that I can. Going into my 6th year, I cannot believe that I still enjoy it so much! The conferences help with that. I do have a business degree and worked in technology in my previous life and I bring all of those experiences to Serendipity. If you do not keep up with the new technology, it will start to impact your business. No longer is just having a website enough. Yes, it is very important to have a website but it is also important to embrace social media. Since B&B owners work alone, we rely on PAII to keep us up to date on what is going on. One thing that came across loud and clear is the importance of social media. Yes, I blog - something that I learned was important in a previous conference. Yes I have a facebook page. If you have not already, "like" Serendipity B&B by going to www.facebook.com/serendipitynj ! I try to keep people updated about what is going on in Ocean City and also about any new specials being offered at Serendipity. "Like" me so you can get specials that may be available only for facebook people! (Normally I post 5-6 times a week. Did not post while I was away but I will be back on top of my game soon!) The conference re-enforced my commitment to blogging and facebook but also started talking about the importance of having one or more videos. So stay tuned - you may see a Serendipity video in the near future!
One of the classes I really enjoyed was on yeast breads. My guests know that I make the breads that I serve and also make muffins or a coffee cake for breakfast each day. I love cinnamon buns but to make fresh cinnamon buns would require getting up around 3 am! However I learned a way to make fresh cinnamon rolls without getting up at that ungodly hour. Can't wait to try it out and if it turns out good, be prepared to have hot from the oven cinnamon buns for breakfast! For me, that alone was worth the cost of the conference!
Another feature of the conference is the trade show. You get to see, feel, touch and smell new products and talk to vendors about services. I love being able to smell new products I provide for my guests, feeling the softness of towels and linens, and see the suction power of new vacuums. So much more fun than ordering from a catalog or the web!
Coming home from the conference I am more invigorated and can't wait to put into practice all the new things I learned. I want to make coming to Serendipity Bed and Breakfast an even better experience. So check your calendars for some free time then check my availability calendar at www.serendipitynj.com and make your reservation! Can't wait to see you!

Karen
Serendipity Bed and Breakfast
[email protected]
www.serendipitynj.com
www.facebook.com/serendipitynj

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Year = New Enthusiasms!

Hello and Happy New Year....a few days late :) When I was in school and when I my sons were young and in school, September was the start of the new year. Now that my sons are grown, we are all out of school, January 1 is the start of the new year. It comes as a great time for me. I have had some down time to recuperate from the season , I have had enough weekend business to remind me that I do have a job, and after having a full house for the New Years weekend it reminds why I love being an innkeeper!The enthusiasm is back and I start walking through the house and outside making a list of what needs to be done, what should be done, and what I would like to have done. And hopefully, I can get to the majority of that list before the season starts!

Having a small B&B is very similar to maintaining a home - and of course it is my home! You have to constantly keep up with the maintenance just like you have to keep up with the maintenance of your home. If you let things go, I found out that instead of remaining the same, they tend to get worse! So, I need that walk through in January to remind me to start making my lists!

So - just so you understand the true meaning of this post......it's to put off starting that list!

Hope to see you soon!

Karen
Serendipity Bed and Breakfast
[email protected]
www.serendipitynj.com
www.facebook.com/serendpitynj