Vets staying for free at North Fork B&Bs

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO Owners Cheryl and Peter Castiglione in front of Home Port B&B in Peconic, one of four North Fork inns renting free rooms to veterans next month.

Four North Fork bed and breakfasts are honoring military veterans by giving them free stays at their inns around Veteran’s Day.

For three of the local inns — Acorn Hollow in Southold, Home Port in Peconic and Stirling House in Greenport — the idea came from a website,

Organized in 2009 by the West Virginia B&B Association, the program has expanded to include more than 400 inns in 40 states.

Veterans can visit the website for a list of openings and then book directly with the B&B of their choice, as long as the inn still has rooms available. The East End inns quickly booked up this year, their owners said.

Owners of By the Bluff in East Marion, who signed on to the program this year, actually made the offer independently last year, according to Maurice Scannell.

Mr. Scannell and his wife Patricia had a Marine staying at their B&B last year. When the time came to settle up the bill, letting him stay for free seemed like the right thing to do, Mr. Scannell said.

This year, the Scannells have booked two free rooms to veterans on Oct. 12 and four rooms Oct. 26. Mr. Scannell said he will try to find at least one more night to offer free rooms, so other veterans can take advantage of the program. Their rooms typically rent for $250 a night plus tax.

At Acorn Hollow, Mary Ann and Robert Skoblicki booked two of their three rooms to veterans for the night of Nov. 10, in celebration of Veterans Day Nov. 11.

“We feel like we live in heaven out here and we love to share heaven,” Ms. Skoblicki said. “I wish I had 1,000 rooms to rent.”

Ms. Skoblicki led the effort on the North Fork, inviting her fellow B&B owners to get involved with the program.

Clayton Sauer of Stirling House agreed.

“It’s the least we could do,” he said. He has friends who have served in Iraq and knows the sacrifices they have made, he said.

He got an agreement from Waters Crest Winery in Cutchogue to offer free tastings for his veteran guests. He’ll be filling all three of his guest rooms with veterans on Nov. 10. Some are active duty members of the Armed Services while others are veterans, he said.

Cheryl and Peter Castiglione will open their Home Port B&B to veterans on Nov. 3, because they’re planning to be out of town the following week.

“I like the idea from the get-go,” Ms. Castiglione said, adding that she, like the other owners, has already received inquiries from veterans about booking a free room for next year.

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