March 13, 2010

Sad day in Ocean Grove.

I was hoping to come back and talk about our trip to Colorado, and about some really great things that happened this past week, but that seems pretty insignificant right now.

About three blocks from the shorehouse, chaos erupted in the darkness early this morning.






(Photos from the Asbury Park Press, here and here.)

We're in the midst of a terrible storm and the 48 mile-per-hour winds caused embers to be swept for blocks, making battling the blaze extra challenging in a town of wood-framed Victorian homes. Miraculously, no one was killed. But some people's lives were changed forever, many losing everything.

Clark, the amazing owner of The Manchester Inn, has lost his home and his business. His Inn was a favorite stop on the Ocean Grove House Tour. He would whip up the most amazing homemade soups (even a vegetarian one!) and his gratis lunch stop was always a favorite for those of us in the know. Anyone who's ever asked me about the Ocean Grove House Tour knows I say, "Make sure you stop at The Manchester Inn!" For the Holiday House Tour his special hot mulled cider was also on tap, along with recipe cards so you could recreate the magical potion at home. The Inn was solar powered, a project Clark took great pride in and would talk to anyone about with the excitement of a grade school boy who just hit a home run. A well curated photo display right inside the front entry helped tell the story.

The Manchester Inn was on a popular stretch of the local July 4th parade, and guests always spilled out of their rooms and onto the porches for one of the best viewing spots in the town. Here's a couple of pictures I took in 2008 (the Inn is behind the trees):




When I saw what was left of The Manchester Inn and its neighboring Painted Ladies this morning -- a pile of charred embers -- my knees got weak and the tears flowed freely.

Please keep my neighbors in your thoughts this weekend.

31 comments:

Leigh of Bloggeritaville said...

Oh! This is terrible, terible news. ALl of your neighbors and town are in my prayers. BUt I do know its amazing what a community can survive...with a little help and support from one another.
Only love for you....

Annesphamily said...

This is very sad. I am so sorry for the losses. I will pray but always now your community will pull together and help out in ways we can not imagine. Blessings to all who lost so much. They are in my prayers.

Blondie's Journal said...

Laura~~

This just breaks my heart. I will keep all of your neighbors in my thoughts and prayers. What a sad story about the Manchester Inn. I hope every ones lives will be rebuilt soon.

xoxo
Jane

Patti said...

Such sad news for such a beautiful community...so sorry to hear this

Rue said...

Oh my God. How sad Laura. I don't even have words, but I do have prayers and I'll be saying them.

(((hugs)))
rue

Keetha Denise Broyles said...

Oh my, what a terrible thing to have happen. While I am very glad that the shorehouse was spared, I know you are grieving with your neighbors.

There aren't enough "Manchester Inns" in the world, we can't afford to lose them.

Sue said...

I saw this briefly on the news and didn't put two and two together that it was in your town....a terrible thing to happen...Thank God no one was killed but to lose such beautiful homes is a real shame....

Beach House Living said...

Laura:

It's terrible news. The loss of the Manchester a vital part of Ocean Grove is very sad. While thank goodness no one was hurt...it's of little solace to those that lost thier homes.

Maya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maya said...

This is so sad. What an inferno this was. It is the most important thing that no one got hurt. But it'll take some time to truly "comprehend" and "process" this.

Tina said...

Oh how awful. I'm so sorry to hear of this. My prayers go out to all you've mentioned and I'm so glad that no lives were lost in this devestation.

MauritaMason said...

It always makes me sad when beautiful buildings are lost. They seem to have a spirit of their own.

heidi said...

Chills. Sadness. I hope they call all rebuild, somehow.
And I pray this rain will cease so that they can get to work. xoh

Liz@Violet Posy said...

Oh Laura...I'm speechless and sitting here with a tear in my eye at the loss of those beautiful buildings. How incredibly awful, but so fortunate that no one was hurt or killed. They will all be in my thoughts and I hope they can rebuild soon x

Caren said...

Oh my, I am so so sorry for your community's loss. I will keep everyone in my thoughts. Thank goodness that no one was hurt physically.

sunny said...

How devastating! I've visited Ocean Grove once, and I absolutely loved it! I'm thankful no lives were lost.

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Laura, Much of this area has lost power. I did hear about this fire on the news...of course my first instinct was to figure out where in Ocean Grove it was. Once I heard that there was distance between your house and the fire and that no one was hurt, I relaxed a little. This is a terrible and sad loss for the town, but it can be rebuilt...I know..our house burned down when I was in 3rd grade. Please write about your trip to Colorado...I would like to hear about it.
♥, Susan

Joyce said...

Oh Laura I am so sorry. My heart and prayers surrounds you and your town. The photos gave me the chills to see how powerful the fire was. xo

RH said...

This just brought tears to my eyes. :(

Auction for Ocean Grove?

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

So sorry to hear about this. Thank you for the blog post. I will keep your neighbors in my prayers.

openid said...

Laura,

Being transplanted further south I miss the Monmouth and Ocean County news until it is no longer new. This breaks my heart and I type with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. My prayers are with the people who lost homes and businesses and to all of us who love and respect the character, charm and history of all that is old.

Your Friend,
Deborah

fairfieldhouse said...

Have no clue why it posted my comment (above) as open ID.

stacilynfeldman said...

I heard over the weekend - the shear size of the fire is awe striking & terrifying. Thinking about OG all week...

Linda Lou said...

Very sorry that all of those amazing old homes were destroyed, the Inn sounds amazing, what a hell of a winter it has been for you all on the East Coast!

j.cro said...

Some people that work or are connected to the OGFD were talking about the fire in the gym Saturday morning. The sirens from all the responding companies woke me up in the early, early morning.

How sad.

Special thoughts out to them and a little extra gratitude for me.

Maureen said...

Oh, this is beyond terrible. I am so sorry for your neighborhood, its residents, and you. Sending good thoughts, better weather, and strength to all those affected.

Renovation Therapy said...

I am so sorry for all of them - but so grateful that nobody was hurt.

Kwana said...

It's so sad. I'm sorry. This storm was just awful.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Oh my, how sad for everyone involved! Fire is so destructive. My thoughts and prayers go out to Clark at the loss of his beautiful Inn. Is there any chance he will rebuild?

pve design said...

Mother Nature is the boss. I really am so sad the Boss had to be so mean.
pve

Jennifer said...

oh, how sad, my first visit to your blog and I read about this tragedy. I am living inland right now finishing up nursing school, but Ocean County is my home, and I love the Jersey Shore. I have lived all over Long Beach Island and on the Barnegat bay. The old victorians and beach cottages (what is left of them anyway) are true treasures, and to hear of such a loss just breaks my heart. How can you replace something like that? You can't.

I hope to find happy things in your blog as well, found it from a link from somewhere, and though i have no home right now, I have that fantasy beach cottage in my mind that I am always decorating.