Local Innkeeper To Debut 2nd Historic Bed & Breakfast

The Huddy House at 801 Main Street in Toms River is scheduled to open as a bed and breakfast on May 1. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

  TOMS RIVER – Stepping into the Mathis House at 600 Main Street feels like a journey back in time. But for innkeeper Vicki Weiss-Ippolito, it’s more than just a nostalgic escape into Victorian grandeur. With its charming tearoom, the bed and breakfast embodies a tale of resilience, community spirit, and the exciting anticipation of a new venture – the Huddy House.

  Set to open its doors on May 1 at 801 Main Street, Vicki’s second bed and breakfast isn’t merely a restoration project; it’s a symbol of triumph over adversity. As Vicki prepares to unveil the Huddy House, she reflects on the journey that led her there – one fueled by determination and a deep-rooted love for her community.

  At a recent gathering at the Mathis House, Vicki hosted one of her signature events, the “Ladies Empowerment Tea Club Meeting.” Amidst the aroma of freshly brewed tea and the clinking of delicate china, Vicki shared snippets of history, setting the stage for the introduction of the Huddy House.

  The real treat came later when Vicki led a small procession, their path illuminated by candlelight, to visit her new bed and breakfast just a couple of blocks away.

  Standing tall on Main Street, the Huddy House is an architectural gem. Its light grey exterior with subtle turquoise accents hints at the charm that awaits inside. While the name might spark a connection to Revolutionary War hero Joshua Huddy, Vicki said the house has a different story to tell.

Vicki Weiss-Ippolito stands in front of a display of milk glass and tea sets in the Huddy House. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

  Through research with the Toms River Historical Society, Vicki discovered the original owners were not the Huddy family but two prominent local families – the Applegates and the Irons.

  Vicki shared a fascinating local legend about Garret Irons, who is said to have run seven miles through the cranberry bogs to warn Joshua Huddy of the approaching British. Sadly, Huddy’s story didn’t have a happy ending, as he was eventually captured and hanged in Sandy Hook.

  Rich wood finishes, intricate moldings, and beautiful stained glass windows inside the Huddy House create a warm and inviting ambiance. Each room boasts its own personality, ensuring a memorable stay for visitors.

  One heartwarming aspect of the new bed and breakfast is the community spirit it has already fostered. Upon learning of Vicki’s vision, local residents generously donated many of the furnishings that now grace the Huddy House. This outpouring of support reflects the town’s enthusiasm for the new addition to its hospitality scene.

  Unlike the Mathis House, the Huddy House won’t have a formal dining service. Guests seeking a full breakfast spread can easily head down to the Mathis House, just a short walk away. However, the Huddy House will offer a convenient alternative – a complimentary basket of yogurt and scones in each room, perfect for a light morning pick-me-up.

The Huddy House sports old fashioned furniture and decorations. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

  The second floor of the Huddy House features four cozy bedrooms, each named after Vicki’s children. This personal touch adds to the homey vibe, making it a perfect choice for families. In contrast, the rooms at the Mathis House bear the names of the former owner’s children.

  While shared bathrooms might raise an eyebrow for some, Vicki anticipates people looking for an affordable family-friendly experience will feel comfortable. After all, it will be no different than their own home.

How It All Started:

From Guest To Innkeeper

  Vicki’s relationship with the Mathis House didn’t start with a business plan but with a genuine sense of connection. During her daily commute to her job within the court system, Vicki often passed by the 600 Main Street address. The sprawling house with oversized windows stirred memories from her past, resonating deeply within her.

  “I grew up in a home very similar to this one in Lake Champlain,” said Vicki. “My father was a retired captain in the Air Force with six children. He had a house this size that he bought for $19,000, where I would spend my summers.”

  As an adult juggling the pressures of a stressful work environment and the responsibilities of raising young children, Vicki craved some time for herself. She decided to give herself a special treat by staying in the bed and breakfast that had already stolen her heart from the outside.

The Huddy House sports old fashioned furniture and decorations. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

  “It was the beginning of what would then become my destiny,” Vicki shared. “I stayed there as a guest and befriended the owners after coming back several times.”

  In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Vicki faced the daunting reality that her Ortley Beach home was reduced to ruins. With her life upended and her future uncertain, Vicki turned to John and Susan Notte, her friends from the beloved bed and breakfast. They charged her a mere $500 a month to stay in a room worth far more.

  During her stay, Vicki’s bond with Susan deepened, eventually prompting Vicki to assume the role of the innkeeper and managing partner of the establishment. As time passed, Vicki felt a stronger pull towards a more significant commitment. She continued to express her vision for the future, which involved assuming full ownership of the business.

  “It took two years until she sold me the business,” said Vicki. “And it was a miracle. She sold me just the business and not the home for far less than it’s worth.”

  “That was in 2019,” Vicki continued. “Six months before COVID hit…I had to close my doors. I didn’t know what in the world was going on.”

  Fast forward to today, and Vicki is the heart and soul of the Mathis House. Among the attendees at the special tea event were Suzanne La Voie Sammon and her mother, Marilyn, who have been fans of Vicki’s creativity and welcoming spirit since she first took over.

  Suzanne said that she and her mom supported Vicki and respected her resourcefulness, which kept the community connected and acted as a lifeline during a challenging time. Vicki shared her remembrances of those days with some who had never heard the stories before.

  “I ended up putting a farm stand right behind the house,” said Vicki to the group gathered at the Empowerment Tea. “And I turned a huge backyard into a grocery store because at the time it seemed like that’s where everybody was getting sick.”

  The pandemic, which initially presented as a disaster, ultimately led to innovations that benefited the business. Vicki adapted by offering takeout and embracing outdoor dining, a concept previously unexplored. From dainty tea sandwiches, packaged like a playful nod to fast food, to full-blown takeout menus, Vicki catered to the changing needs of her customers.

Suzanne La Voie Sammon and her mother, Marilyn. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

  This ingenuity not only helped weather the storm but also saw the staff grow from a mere four to a bustling 40-person team once restrictions eased.

  Now, the Mathis House has blossomed into a vibrant community hub. From regular tea parties, thrilling murder mystery dinners, and immersive themed ethnic nights to lively evenings filled with music, the inn offers a dynamic calendar of events. The spirit of the holidays truly comes alive when Santa and Mrs. Claus grace the inn with their presence, spreading Christmas cheer. The only challenge they’ve faced until now has been a delightful one –  a growing demand for overnight stays.

  “This house is 98 percent occupied most of the time,” shared Vicki. “We only have five guest rooms and we’re always packed.”

  With the opening of the Huddy House, more people will have the opportunity to enjoy a different kind of staycation or vacation. Summer visitors can access beach badges, beach chairs, a beach bag, and towels.

A delicate menu was served at a recent tea party. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

  As excited as she is to greet guests within steps of the Mathis House, Vicki still can’t believe the circumstances that made it all happen. She initially set her sights on a second location in Vermont. Months of travel and meticulous planning went into preparation for the new establishment.

  The renovated building was still under construction when it tragically burned to the ground last February. No one was injured – but Vicki lost everything. She planned to insure the property when it opened.

  A woman of unwavering faith, Vicki faced the setback with resilience. It wasn’t easy, but she didn’t have to go through it alone. Following a period of widowhood and solitude, her remarriage to Frank Ippolito infused her life with solace and love. And, in the midst of yet another challenge, entered another miraculous turn in Vicki’s story.

Guests who attended a recent tea at the Mathis House had the opportunity to learn a bit of history and preview the Huddy House before it opens. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

  “I got a call from somebody who’s from Brooklyn in April,” Vicki said. “He told me he’d acquired this property down the road and after seeing us (the Mathis House) on the internet, wanted to know if I’d like to open a bed and breakfast.”

  The rest is history. It’s as if fate stepped in and provided Vicki with another opportunity – one close to the home she already loves. 

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Stephanie A. Faughnan is an award-winning journalist associated with Micromedia Publications/Jersey Shore Online and the director of Writefully Inspired. Recognized with two Excellence in Journalism awards by the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists, Stephanie's passion lies in using the power of words to effect positive change. Her achievements include a first-place award in the Best News Series Print category for the impactful piece, "The Plight Of Residents Displaced By Government Land Purchase," and a second-place honor for the Best Arts and Entertainment Coverage category, specifically for "Albert Music Hall Delivers Exciting Line-Up For 25th Anniversary Show." Stephanie can be contacted by email at stephanienjreporter@gmail.com.