Built in 1898, our inn has a rich history
In 1700, whaler John Peck began using the barrier island as a storage place for freshly caught whales. Eventually known as Peck’s Beach, the island had several purposes: it was an Indian summer fishing camp, cattle-grazing area, and sometimes mainlanders would boat over for a picnic or to hunt.
In 1879, four Methodist ministers (Ezra B. Lake, James Lake, S. Wesley Lake and William Burrell) purchased Peck’s Beach to create a resort and camp meeting place.
The men prayed under a cedar tree (still near the inn) for a prosperous Christian seaside resort. The group built streets and lots. They built the Tabernacle, which still remains a half a block from the B&B. Camp meetings began the following summer. Soon residents built homes, hotels, bridges, railroads, and schools. The boardwalk was built and rebuilt several times due to damage from natural disasters.
Ocean City Mansion was built in 1898 by the children of the Lake Brothers. This location was picked because it is one of the highest neighboring flood levels. First owners of the house, Albert Gilbert and Sally Lake opened a funeral parlor on Asbury Ave. Prior to the founding of the Ocean City Mansion in 2003, there were only four owners of the house. The house was vacant and had been neglected for 20 years. The real estate agents would send prospective buyers through the padlocked kitchen window as the rest of the house had been boarded up. Thirty plus laden mattresses and heavy metal lockers were strewn through the tiny rooms. It soon became a long remodel named a Labor of Love.
The innkeeper Nancy Aiken lives there with her 4 help children McKenna 20, Scott 19, AliJane 17, and Holly 8.
Part of the original four’s wish, that Ocean City remains a pure retreat that exemplified the Christian mindset, still remains today as strong as the cedar tree they first met under. Historically, Ocean City is a dry town—there is no public drinking anywhere on the island. Some residents and tourists alike seem to appreciate this law that sets the island apart from any of its surrounding towns. You can certainly bring alcoholic beverages to the B&B.
Visit the Ocean City Historical Museum at the Community Center, 17th & Simpson, or online at www.ocnjmuseum.org for a complete history of Ocean City.