When you visit the Finger Lakes, scenic views and historical settings are all a part of the journey. When you’re on a journey, you need somewhere to rest and relax. While our region offers luxurious hotels and smaller, budget-friendly options with contemporary ambiance, if you’re searching for a place to lay your head at night with a more historic vibe, the options are numerous, and there are a wide variety of bed and breakfasts and inns to choose from depending on which lake you’re looking to gaze out upon or what attraction is enticing you to visit.
For those of you who are in search of more spacious amenities but still want to truly embrace the history, our region also offers, there are a number of hotels and lavish inns, ranging from quaint to elegantly elaborate, that have deep roots woven into the history of the local landscape and offer an old-world escape with all the luxuries of the modern world.
While historical locations are often described as quaint, older architecture can also lend itself to elegance and intricacy, especially when that place is a castle. Overlooking Seneca Lake and located in Geneva, Belhurst Castle is an 1880s stone castle that is listed on the National Register of Historic Properties and has been voted one of the Most Romantic Places in New York State. Not only can you catch breathtaking views, but if you’re looking to taste some of our award-winning New York State wines, you need look no further that the Belhurst Estate Winery, which is right on the castle grounds.
Belhurst offers several options for accommodations, including within the castle at the Castle Chambers Hotel, in rooms that will take you back to a different time. Don’t forget to stop for a glass of wine at the complimentary wine spigot located right outside your guest room at the Castle! Also located on the castle grounds is the more modern Vinifera Inn, offering the same amazing lake views and the historic backdrop of the castle but with contemporary rooms meant for pampering. For a visit that provides a little more seclusion, Belhurst’s White Springs Manor Guesthouse, located two miles west of the castle, is a Georgian Revival mansion that also has guest rooms reminiscent of a bygone era.
Inspired by the Italian Renaissance architecture of Villa Lancellotti in Frascati, Italy, the Nester Estate, the hotel’s original name, was built in 1910 and served in several capacities (one being a monastery), before it was renovated and opened as Geneva on the Lake on Thanksgiving Day in 1981. Set in an already historic district, the boutique resort offers picturesque views of Seneca Lake and has received the AAA Four Diamond Award for more than three decades. When wandering the grounds, it will be hard to miss the formal gardens and classical sculptures that complete the experience, with Seneca Lake as the perfect backdrop, within the heart of Finger Lakes wine country.
It’s hard to get more scenic than the Inn at Taughannock. Overlooking Cayuga Lake, the luxury Victorian boutique hotel sits adjacent to Taughannock Falls State Park with its crashing waterfalls, one of which has the distinction of being the tallest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains. While the rooms at the Inn at Taughannock are updated with modern amenities, the hotel, which is located only seven miles from downtown Ithaca and the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, was built in 1873 as a home, and it continues to honor the era from which it was born with antiques, fine bedding, and old-world architecture. In addition to the main inn, it also offers alternative accommodations, including more modern lodging, private homes, and even pet-friendly options.
Set on Cayuga Lake, each of the five Inns of Aurora offers lake views, a convenient location, and bygone charm. The Federal-style Aurora Inn, built in 1833 by Colonel E.B. Morgan, was once a stop along the Erie Canal and truly provides guests a glimpse into the past. Presenting a more modern twist, E.B. Morgan House has seven updated guest rooms all adorned with modern art. Rowland House, built in 1903, provides guests with spacious modern rooms, each with its own distinct character. Originally built as Miss Goldsmith’s School for Girls in 1909, Wallcourt Hall today merges the past with the present, offering 16 guestrooms, all modernized in stunning style with contemporary art and furnishings.
Joining the Inns of Aurora in 2019 is Zabriskie House, which will offer 11 guestrooms and a similar style as Rowland House.
Built in 1920, 10 Fitch Luxurious Romantic Inn is a Colonial Revival that is host to its very own secret garden with a gazebo and koi pond. As an adult-only inn, it offers a romantic setting nestled right in between Auburn’s historic district and the Cayuga Wine Trail.
Cobblestone Springs is an interdenominational retreat/renewal center located in the center of the Finger Lakes region in the community of Dundee in rural Upstate New York. Housed in a historic 1840s cobblestone mansion, it overlooks the beautiful Seneca Lake valley. Well-kept Mennonite farms surround the property, and horse-drawn buggies regularly pass by the house. The original 1848 Spence House has undergone a century and a half of transformation, but the changes in the last 25 years are dramatic. Today, this marvelous historic building is beautiful, functional, and a wonderful place to visit.