Already hailed a popular dinner destination, downtown Bay Shore is poised to emerge as a staycation spot. Set to open mid-summer, bed & breakfast The Ocean Bay House will bring antiquity and hominess to a town surrounded by dining and leisure options. It will be Bay Shore’s only bed & breakfast.
In the late 1800s, wealthy New York City residents looking to escape the heat and summer crowds ventured to Bay Shore to enjoy the cool breezes, water activities and lively resort town atmosphere. The Prospect House, a “high-end hotel that could accommodate 200 visitors” and included several cottages, was a popular spot to stay.
Destroyed by a fire in 1903, owners Rodney Sloup, Paul Albarano and Colleen McGrath wanted to restore what was left of one of the 127-year-old cottages and are currently installing large, modern bathrooms in each of the nine bedrooms, including one which is wheelchair accessible.
Through the support of Donna Periconi, the president of the Bay Shore Chamber of Commerce, and Councilman John C. Cochrane Jr. and John Cochrane Sr., Sloup, Albarano and McGrath were able to move forward on the project. The influx of business didn’t hurt the bed & breakfast’s case. Main Street, which was 43 percent boarded up in the 1990s, is now only about 5 percent vacant and boasts lauded restaurants like Salt & Barrel and Verde Kitchen & Cocktails. All of them are within walking distance from The Ocean Bay House.
“Bay Shore has gone through an incredible revitalization but with all the attractions there needs to be a place that gives people the opportunity to spend the weekend,” said co-owner McGrath, who has 14 years of experience running the Seatuck Cove House in Eastport. “Instead of coming, parking and then leaving, the B&B will allow visitors to take their weekend to its fullest potential.”
For those looking to include a day or dinner on Fire Island during their stay, the ferries are minutes away. But Ocean Bay House’s home-away-from-home vibe will likely have guests wanting to stick around a while.
There will be some industrial, eclectic pieces like a 100-year-old desk that will be complemented by a funky chair and artwork in the front parlor. The goal is “to preserve antique charms while still keeping with the times.”
The spacious outdoor deck has beautiful views of the pool. Overnight guests will be able to rent a slip and dock their boats next to the property.
The Ocean Bay House plans on serving a continental breakfast until all permits are squared away. But until that happens, the B&B will bring back the resort-style atmosphere that made Bay Shore a “summer playground” for tourists at the turn of the century.