The Bounty of Hospitality
Below is an excerpt from our July/August issue’s feature on regional B&Bs.
After 9/11, David Hertel and Brian Eslinger were living in Northern New Jersey, and according to Hertel, having a hard time “focusing on anything beyond our daily routine.” They began to develop a yen for a slower pace of life, and took short trips to find the perfect rural setting. They traveled to Vermont and Massachusetts, but those places didn’t fulfill their criteria. Finally, in 2012, David Hertel read an article in a publication that listed Owego as one of 100 best small towns in America. They came for a visit, liked what they saw, and noticed that Ithaca was located further westward. The choice was made to settle in the Finger Lakes.
A year later, Hertel and Eslinger opened The Blackberry Inn in Watkins Glen, one of a handful of bed and breakfasts in the region that have a farm-to-table focus. Among these B&Bs also include Rochester’s The Ellwanger Estate, Penn Yan’s New Vines, Hector’s Magnolia Place, Hammondsport’s The Black Sheep Inn, Interlaken’s A Stone’s Throw, and Frog’s Way, situated in Ithaca’s EcoVillage. “Our visitors are looking for a true experience of the Finger Lakes. Because of that, we offer farm-to-table. It’s not just the local food, but sharing that experience with the guests,” Hertel says.