Written by: Frank Iacono
Located in Cape May County New Jersey, the Wildwoods — North Wildwood, West Wildwood, Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, and Diamond Beach — is a treasure trove of beaches, parks, playgrounds, bars, happy hour specials, breakfast favorites, traditional family-style restaurants, specialty seafood, games, rides, tram cars, and relaxing resorts. With over 8,000 hotel, motel, and bed and breakfast rooms finding a great place to stay can be quite daunting.
The bed and breakfast world is full of husband and wife teams escaping the rat race of traditional careers to make a living together doing something they love. The Summer Nites Bed and Breakfast, located in a quiet residential area of North Wildwood, homestead is no exception with Sheila Brown, once in human resources at an Atlantic City casino, and her husband Rick a general contractor — skills that came in handy when extensive renovations were needed and guests started arriving.
Sheila and Rick have transformed a beautiful mid 1900’s home and created a building reminiscent of one back in the 1950’s. Summer Nites Bed and Breakfast has all of the modern amenities enjoyed in a modern lodging while retaining and capturing the excitement and uniqueness of the early days of Rock-and-Roll. Guests can choose from the Elvis Suite, 60´s Suite, Marilyn Room, 50´s TV Room, 50´s Music Room, 50´s Movie Room, 70’s Disco Room, and “Life´s a Beach” Room. A stay at Summer Nites is like a step back into the 1950’s.
In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sheila Brown and asking her a few questions about her role as innkeeper of Summer Nites, her inspiration for opening up the inn, her motivation behind the 1950’s furnishings and décor, and her love for Elvis.
The Creative Spotlight: What sparked your interest in running a bed and breakfast?
Sheila Brown: My husband saw the building and said “Let’s open a Bed and Breakfast.” I said “OK, I’ll try anything once” and thus Summer Nites Bed and Breakfast was born.
TCS: Where exactly is the Summer Nites Bed and Breakfast located?
SB: The Summer Nites Bed and Breakfast is located in a quiet residential area of North Wildwood, New Jersey, at the Jersey Shore. The bustling night life of both Wildwood and Anglesea are within one mile in either direction.
TCS: Did it take long for you to find the right house for your Bed and Breakfast in North Wildwood? And, what year did you open the Summer Nites Bed and Breakfast?
SB: When we bought the house in 1995, it was a rundown single family home, and the bank had control of it. It was in really bad condition. My husband is a general contractor. He was the one with the vision. The Summer Nites Bed and Breakfast officially opened in May of 2003.
TCS: Were you always looking to start from scratch, or did you look at some existing Bed and Breakfast locations? And, what led you to the decision to start from scratch?
SB: When we first bought the house we fixed it up and rented out rooms for the summer. Then we made 3 year around apartments and rented the other rooms for the summer. In September of 2002, at the end of the summer he started the renovations.
TCS: How did you prepare yourself for becoming innkeepers?
SB: We had no knowledge of how to run a Bed and Breakfast. The first thing we did was setup a meeting with a couple who were Innkeepers in town. They were very supportive and very helpful and thrilled that another B&B was opening in North Wildwood.
TCS: Can you share with us the dining experience a guest would have while staying at Summer Nites?
SB: While at Summer Nites you will dine in a unique box car diner complete with 1953 Seeburg Jukebox, neon lighting, diner booths and more. Or you may choose to dine on one of the outdoor decks. Breakfast is served from the diner kitchen where you can watch as the cook prepares breakfast.
TCS: Describe for us the overall theme of Summer Nites?
SB: Summer Nites is a 50’s theme Bed & Breakfast. When we decided to open a B&B I said to my husband, “Let’s open an Elvis B&B,” since I am a huge Elvis Presley fan and would have been easily able to decorate the entire house with my Elvis collection. Rick said “I don’t think so. But, you can make one of the rooms Elvis.” So, then we decided if we are going to have Elvis, we then need a Marilyn Monroe room too and the idea for the B&B grow from there.
TCS: Can you describe the 8 theme-based rooms at Summer Nites?
SB: We have 2 themed suites and 6 themed rooms:
- Elvis Suite – 2 room suite with Elvis memorabilia, king bed, large black Jacuzzi tub, gold sofa, loveseat & ottoman, Elvis slot machine(for amusement purposes only), fire place, private entrance, mini refrigerator & wet bar, and a full bath with shower and tub. Beautiful hand painted murals.
- 60’s Suite – Large suite with 60’s memorabilia including Beatles, Motown, Woodstock and JFK. King bed, large whirlpool tub, large private bath with shower, mini refrigerator, wet bar, fireplace, love seat & chair, private entrance, and beautiful hand painted murals. HANDICAP ACCESSIBLE.
- Marilyn Room – Large room with Marilyn Monroe memorabilia, king bed, Jacuzzi tub, private bath with shower, beautiful hand painted murals. This room is located on the 2nd floor.
- 50’s TV Room – Large room with 1950’s TV memorabilia, king bed, Jacuzzi tub, private bath with shower, and beautiful hand painted murals. This room is located on the 2nd floor.
- 50’s Music Room – Queen bed with 50’s Music memorabilia, large private bath with large shower, and beautiful hand painted murals. This room is located on the 2nd floor.
- 50’s Movie Room – Queen bed, with 50’s Movie memorabilia, private bath with large shower, and beautiful hand painted murals. This room is located on the 2nd floor.
- 70’s Disco Room – Large room with 70’s memorabilia, including working disco ball above the large hot tub with mirror ceiling. King bed, private bath with shower, comfortable chair, mini refrigerator, private entrance, and beautiful hand painted murals.
- Life’s a Beach Room – Large room with beach memorabilia, king bed, large whirlpool tub, private bath with shower, mini refrigerator, Adirondack chair, beach umbrella, private entrance, beautiful hand painted murals.
TCS: Tell us about the beautiful hand painted murals in each room?
SB: Our hand painted murals were done by a gentlemen by the name of Mike Curry. Mike and I worked together at AC Coin & Slot. We had many artists there and Mike, at that time was an airbrush artist & illustrator. We sat with him and went over our ideas for the rooms and we finally decided on the murals for the rooms. The first one that Mike did here was the Marilyn Monroe mural and as you can see it came out fabulous, which was a great incentive to work on the others.
TCS: Describe for us the modern amenities and lodging offered at Summer Nites?
SB: Summer Nites has all of the modern amenities enjoyed in a modern lodging while retaining and capturing the excitement and uniqueness of the early days of Rock-N-Roll. Wireless internet is available throughout the premises. A pool table and game room with vintage pinball games are available for those who care to step back to the “good old days.” Bicycles are available for those who might enjoy a morning ride on the Wildwood boardwalk or around the island. There is a hot tub on the outside back deck along with a sundeck and beach towels. The entire premises is air conditioned with separate, modern, individual climate controls for each room. All rooms have private baths, some with Jacuzzi tubs. The rooms at Summer Nites each come complete with televisions, CD and VCR/DVD players. Guests can enjoy viewing, listening to, and reading the many interesting vintage and repro 1950’s tapes, CD’s, and books provided in each room.
TCS: What are the room rates? And, are there any minimum stay requirements?
SB: Rates vary depending on time of year and your room selection. Rates are for one or two persons in a room and do not include New Jersey sales tax.
In season, a two-day minimum weekend reservation and a three-day minimum reservation for holiday weekends is required. 50% deposit is required for all reservations with balance due on arrival. We accept all major credits cards. Well behaved children 16 and over are welcome with parents. Sorry no pets.
For reservations, updated room rates, and specials, please visit our website.
TCS: What is the specific check-in and check-out time?
SB: The check-in time is between 2:00 PM – 9:00 PM. If you plan to check-in after 9:00 pm, please make special arrangements. Check-out time is 11:00 AM.
TCS: Can you share with us your cancellation policy?
SB: Should it become necessary to change or cancel your reservation, a two (2) week notice is required. Summer Nites is not responsible for illness or inclement weather. If you cancel after that date you will receive a refund of the deposit only if the room can be re-rented. All refunds are subject to a $25.00 processing fee.
Contact Summer Nites Bed and Breakfast
Sheila and Rick Brown
2110 Atlantic Avenue
North Wildwood, NJ 08260
Phone: (609) 846-1955
Toll-Free: (866) ROC-1950
About Frank Iacono
Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.
Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.