Talk about a comeback story.
A New Jersey bed and breakfast ravaged by Superstorm Sandy has won a prestigious travel industry award.
The Sea Spray Inn in Ocean Grove, N.J., had five feet of water on the ground floor, which destroyed the inn's mechanicals. A porch was destroyed, as were several windows and guest rooms.
But now the inn is one of the top B&Bs in the nation, according to the latest TripAdvisor Travelers Choice Awards.
"It's a really big deal, especially when you think about all the damage Sandy caused then factor in that we had to shut down for five months. We really persevered and came back and straight to the top," said Eric Tellefsen, who co-owns the inn with his wife Mary Ellen.
Bringing the inn back to award-winning status was no easy task. Windows needed to be replaced, as did a porch. The furnace, hot water heater and air conditioning had to be replaced too. The innkeepers had to lift the house a few inches and install a masonry wall because of structural issues caused by the storm surge.
They even had to replace the front sidewalk.
"This award is such a huge recognition of all our hard work. It means that our guests recognize and appreciate their experience," said Mary Ellen Tellefsen.
Today, the inn is almost complete. All that's left to do is finish the basement, but they have no funds left to do so. This recognition by the world's largest travel site could change that.
The Sea Spray Inn features eight rooms and magnificent panoramic ocean and lake views from the first floor porch and the second floor wrap-around deck. It also features luxurious linens and private en suite bathrooms with environmentally friendly bath products. TVs, DVD players, telephone, and complimentary Wifi are all part of the experience. And, in true B&B fashion, each day begins with a gourmet breakfast.