60 MAY 2018 NJMONTHLY.COM
home&garden NE W JERSEY
a composting toilet. The shower
is outdoors. The bathroom sink
is gravity fed from a 10-gallon
holding tank above the ceiling.
There are no cooking amenities.
“It’s off the grid,” Metz says.
“There’s no TV, no WiFi, no run-
And that’s exactly the point.
The lure is the peace and quiet,
the lake view, sunsets, and the
starlit skies. “My guests are so
impacted by this cabin,” she
The lake is suitable for swimming and boating; Salasin Metz
provides six paddleboards, four
kayaks, a rowboat, a sailboat and
a canoe. There’s hiking around
the lake and additional trails in
the neighboring nature preserve. Best of all, the Cape May
beaches and resort attractions
are a short drive away.
Most of Metz’s guests are
couples looking to unwind for
a weekend, including a significant number of professionals
from Manhattan. There are
international visitors, too. “I get
a lot from Norway, the Netherlands, China, Korea.” Her rates
range from $63 a night in the
off season to three times that in
Metz is an on-site host, living
in the main house; all but one of
her children have grown up and
moved out. She re-married five
years ago and now has husband
Eric to help with maintenance.
She does most of the cleaning of
the two spaces herself—she still
rents the garage loft—but gets
some help during the busy summer season.
Despite the hard work, Metz
CHIC IN HUDSON
loves being a host. “My kids have
met people from around the
world,” she says. “My daughter
swam with a little girl from
France. They couldn’t speak, but
they enjoyed each other.”
She continues, “This has been
a huge blessing. For me, Airbnb
has been a way for me to express
my gift of hospitality.”
John Vasquez was managing a successful
restaurant in Manhattan when he purchased a
spacious, two-story loft in North Bergen near
the mouth of the Lincoln Tunnel in 2006. Often
working long and late, he was rarely home more
than a few hours each night. Four years ago, he
decided to give Airbnb a try.
To get started, Vasquez purchased a queensize bed and placed it in the living room; he
slept in the open loft on the second level. Then,
he listed the space on Airbnb as a share—
meaning he’d be staying there with his guests. It took
about two months until he got his first bite: a
young woman who had just broken up with her
boyfriend and needed a place to stay.
“She stayed two weeks and talked all night,”
Vasquez says. “I couldn’t take it. The share was
not for me.”
As soon as his first guest departed, Vasquez
switched to being an absent host, staying at
friends’ homes when his place was booked.
It took a while to catch on. “The competition
is crazy,” he says. “Everyone is looking at the
ratings.” To maximize bookings and raise his
raitings, Vasquez negotiated prices with guests
below the average for his area. One review led
URBAN SPACE John Vasquez’s North Bergen
loft is an open space featuring all the amenities
of home. He supplies guests with essentials like
paper towels and water bottles, along with some
perks like a first-aid kit. The space sleeps four
comfortably, but he keeps an air mattress handy
for extra guests. Vasquez’s collection of signed
sports memorabilia helps give guests a glimpse
of who he is.