BERLIN – A new bed and breakfast offers guests a place for a quiet getaway in one of Berlin’s historic homes.
The Inn Berlin, located at 15 Harrison Ave., opened last month. The property offers five guest rooms as well as spac
e for small private events.
“It’s meant to be a nice, peaceful haven,” said Karen Tomasello, who owns the property with her husband.
Pino and Karen Tomasello, well known in the resort’s restaurant industry from their years operating Fresco’s and Sello’s, were looking for an investment property when they stumbled across what was then the Waystead Inn last year. Though they initially looked at the property in the spring, it wasn’t until their son and daughter-in-law, Marco and Maya Tomasello, agreed to operate the bed and breakfast that they decided to move ahead with the purchase. The Tomasellos then spent six months redesigning and updating the facility.
“We took our time to do it right,” Karen Tomasello said. “We wanted a fresh, modern look.”
Along with redecorating the interior, the Tomasellos enhanced the exterior of the historic home, adding a deck, patio and wrap-around porch. They re-graded the back of the property and added more landscaping throughout the 1.5-acre site.
In May, Marco and Maya Tomasello welcomed the first guests to The Inn Berlin. Most customers so far have been tourists from metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia and Baltimore. There have also been some small groups, such as a bridal party that enjoyed a brunch on the inn’s terrace and yoga on the lawn.
“It’s been people looking to escape the city and relax and enjoy a quiet weekend in a cute town,” Maya Tomasello said.
She added that while they’d always planned to operate the inn as a bed and breakfast, she and her family got permission from the town to host tented events on the property after hearing from people interested in outdoor venues.
“There was a need and we thought it’d be great supplemental income,” Karen Tomasello said.
The bed and breakfast’s entirely gluten free menu — which includes locally sourced eggs and produce — is also proving to be an attraction. Because Maya Tomasello has Celiac Disease, she knows how difficult it can be to maintain a gluten-free diet while traveling. The Inn Berlin’s eatery, Hive, is 100% gluten-free.
“While many restaurants and dining establishments offer ‘gluten free’ menus and options, the majority are not actually Celiac-safe because of cross contamination,” the inn’s website reads. “Our kitchen is stocked with only the best ingredients, which are all hand-selected to be sure they are 100% gluten free and 100% delicious.”
While lodgers are all served breakfast, because Hive is not a full-service restaurant other meals and add-ons, such as picnic lunches, themed dinners and charcuterie boards, have to be arranged prior to a guest’s arrival.
“It’s very specialized,” Marco Tomasello said.
The inn will, however, be offering pop-up ticketed dining events to the public. The first of those, set for June 11, features a six-course tasting menu paired with wine and mead. Maya Tomasello, who handles all the cooking, said she’d like to host pop-up dining events once a month.
“It depends how busy I am with the bed and breakfast,” she said. “Our first priority is our guests.”
Though there has been some concern voiced by area residents about the potential impact the inn’s restaurant could have on the nearby homes, Marco and Maya Tomasello pointed out they live on the property and have no intention of upsetting the neighbors.
“We live here,” Maya Tomasello said. “We like our peace and quiet.”
As part of the local community, the Tomasellos and The Inn Berlin will also continue the family’s tradition of supporting local causes. The Inn Berlin took part in Atlantic General Hospital’s 28th Anniversary Online Auction and will be featured in the upcoming Sand Castle Home Tour benefiting the Art League of Ocean City.
“We like to give back,” Karen Tomasello said.