About Your Hosts
Toni and Mark are your hosts at Island Cottage – your Boutique Inn and Spa dedicated to your comfort and relaxation. Married in 1992, the two have combined their individual goals into one shared dream at Island Cottage.
Having learned to read blueprints since the tender age of four, Toni’s formal education is in the field of advertising, marketing and design. All these entities helped earn her an executive position with Atlantic Companies and Chubb Corporation as a Facilities Designer and Relocations Director in addition to providing her with the skills needed to design her Inn.
Formerly a well know vocalist and performer in the New York metropolitan area, Toni’s musical accomplishments have earned her numerous awards gaining her nation-wide recognition with an appearance on New York TV’s Joe Franklin show and a resulting offer by Warner Brothers Records for a 9 month touring contract. During her music career, Toni recorded two of her original tunes which received air-time on major radio stations across the U.S. She was also a regular guest on “Sudzin Country”, a popular music station in New Jersey. Below are her two YouTube Videos which showcase her Country originals “Remember” and “Take Me Back”.
Toni’s most recent projects include an autobiography/memoir about her compelling, uplifting and often spiritual journey as she balanced a high-powered executive career with an amazing career as a successful songwriter and vocalist who ultimately chose to leave “fame and fortune” behind in search of her soul-mate. This 300 page book is scheduled for release on Amazon, Kindle and also on Tape sometime in mid 2015. She is also working on several other books all in various stages of completion.
An accomplished writer, poet and artist as well, Toni’s decorative touches and talents are evident throughout the villas and gift shop of her Inn.
Painting since early youth, the inspirational surroundings from her childhood helped to develop the foundation for her appreciation of nature, which is the primary focus of her art. She is most well known for her watercolors depicting land and seascapes of serene & tranquil coves, beaches, rivers and marshlands, and of unspoiled secret waterways found along the eastern seaboard from Maine to the Bahamas and around the world.
Mark’s education is in the field of engineering and naval architecture. He learned boat building while volunteering at New York’s South Street Seaport where his natural woodworking talent was so obvious, he was asked to train students of the CETA program. In 1979, he moved to Florida where he founded his own metal ship building yard designing and building numerous custom sailing vessels and motor yachts.
During the first eight years of their marriage, Toni and Mark worked side by side at Mark’s Boatyard. Mark worked closely with the architects, supervised all aspects of the boat building projects, and was often seen welding and cutting metal along with his foreman John and his crew. Toni ran the office, was in charge of marketing, and as tons of steel were delivered, she personally unloaded the trucks with her own crane “Horton” named after the elephant from the Dr. Seuss books.
Mark’s custom built sailboats and yachts are up to 100 foot in length and many of them are Coast Guard certified chartering vessels for day-sailing passengers and luxurious overnight cruises. Today, his boats are mostly seen along coastal New England, in the Great Lakes region, in Florida’s tropical waters or cruising the Caribbean.
The couple sold the boatyard in the year 1999 to follow Toni’s dream of designing and building a romantic oceanfront villa inn which was completed two years later.
Today Mark’s hobbies include antique car restoration, woodworking and boat building. On occasion, guests have even been invited in to Mark’s private workshop where they have been able to watch the master as he worked on such projects as “Valentine”, a 1969 Jaguar E-Type restoration completed in September, 2005. Prior to being sold, “Valentine” was entered in two Jaguar Concours events where she won “Best in her class” with scores of 98 and 99.8 respectively. She was purchased by a couple in Daytona Beach when Mark auctioned her off on e-bay, … without a reserve !!
“Miss Lola” is another of Mark’s projects. She is a wooden Bahamian Dinghy designed, built and launched in the Island Cottage swimming pool during a fun filled Caribbean party with friends and guests. Miss Lola was recently sold to a family in Ormond Beach who sails her on the Intracoastal waterway.
OPENING the INN
Within seven months of opening, Island Cottage was singled out as one of Florida’s top 10 inns by world renowned travel writer, Herb Hiller. More recently the Inn has received the designation as one of the 5 best Florida Inns by Florida Living Magazine, a national publication, & the industry’s “White Glove” award by “Superior Small Lodging.
The most recent of honors include being chosen as a “Select Registry – Distinguished Inns of North America” Property (since 2007), …
One of the “TOP 10 HIDDEN GEMS” in the United States – awarded by Trip Advisor, … and in 2013, …
One of the “Top 10 Most Romantic Inns in the WORLD” out of over 13,000 inns world-wide! (bedandbreakfast.com)
Island Cottage’s Green Practices also gained it recognition by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection who awarded Island Cottage with a
Green Award for their environmental efforts – # 42 in the State to receive this award.
So, whether you are are on a romantic getaway, a surprise birthday celebration or a Mother-Daughter weekend of relaxation and pampering, Toni and Mark are dedicated to deliver you the peace and tranquility of this exquisite Boutique Inn and Spa where their magical atmosphere will become a fond memory sure to last you a lifetime!