Watkins Glen racetrack hosted three big races each year, for many years. They were events I looked forward to each summer. Not because I was a race fan (back then), but because I loved meeting the many fans who also stayed in our home. I grew up on a farm not far from the race track and in the 60’s and 70’s my mother had a B&B during the three race weekends; the CanAm, TransAm and Grand Prix. I have fond memories of the times my mother and I would work together preparing the house for the races.
Many of our guests came each year, along with the new guests to meet. I loved to hear their stories as I served the hearty breakfasts my mother had prepared. Good home cooked country style meals that put people at ease and in the mood to talk. They would tell of the faraway lands they came from and share the lives they lived, coming from all over the world. We treated our guests well, right down to making their beds each day, so they’d have a neat and clean home to lay their heads after a busy day at the track.
My mother wanted to open a (true) Bed and Breakfast in the 80’s, but wasn’t able. I also kept thinking of a B&B dream. My vision was to open our home to guests and give them the ‘homey’ atmosphere and hearty homemade country breakfasts like my mother used to make.
Our first B&B experience as guests was not such a pleasure, our hosts were not very friendly hosts to us. They paid attention to another couple, were they guests or maybe just friends visiting in the evening? I do know that I don’t remember breakfast!! Since then we’ve had some fun experiences in B&B’s in the US, Canada & Nicaragua and enjoyed their lovely gardens, breakfasts and architecture.
Finally in 2005, Tom and I decided it was time to give our own B&B dream a shot. We bought a lovely home that had been made into an inn, with a story all its own. It had lots of bedrooms and had a great location being close to Watkins Glen Gorge. And I yearned for the passing of interesting people, bringing the world into my home.
We did the renovations and launched out as ‘Echoes of the Glen’; a reminder of the days I used to work with my Mom at the farm B&B for race weekends, only now I could have that ’true’ B&B, open all year round.
Life has certainly changed and people are looking for different experiences when they come to our home to stay. Some come just for a bed, a sip of coffee and out for the day they go. Others come to play with the pets, or enjoy the garden - modeled after the gardens around my mother’s farm house.
Still others come to enjoy that hearty breakfast and while a way a little time in talking and sharing. I have kept some of my Mother’s original recipes on the menu, and fashioned some of my own. Many of my guests return for the breakfast they enjoyed on their first visit, the stuffed French toast or the delicious egg bake. Our coffee is fresh ground each day, this is Tom’s specialty. I bake fresh homemade pastries, serve fresh cut fruit and the hearty main breakfast entrée. We serve locally sourced foods when in season, as much as possible, some of which are out of our own vegetable or herb garden in late summer and fall or picked fresh by us at a local farm.
Whether it is our company, the garden, the food or our lovely pets, we delight in welcoming back our many guests who visit us year after year when they come to the Finger Lakes to enjoy the wineries, craft breweries and the racing. We also always make time for our new guests, as people are the reason for our B&B and we enjoy making our home your home in Watkins Glen.
I’ve always enjoyed being the quiet support to Barb’s B&B venture. I have my own business, T. Merrill & Associates Land Surveying DPC that keeps me busy most of the time. I do make sure that there is freshly ground coffee each morning, and a welcoming smile to all out guests. And because my office is right downstairs, I am usually here to help Barb serve breakfast when the dining room table is filled with guests.
We enjoy the interesting people who come to our home. All have been welcome and many return. I like being able to give a place to rest amongst some of the best tourist attractions in New York State.
If there is a guest with a cat allergy we keep the kitties in our Innkeeper's Quarters. Please let us know if you have a cat allergy. The cats are not allowed in the guest rooms.
For the first 9 1/2 years our old dog Smokey would greet everyone. He was a black Lab mix who loved to meet people. He lived to be almost 16 and guests still ask about him if they haven't been here in awhile.
Our kitties, Teddy and Echo are sometimes in the common areas to visit.
In September 2016 someone dropped an 8 week old kitten on our property. We fell in love with her and now little Echo is a part of the B&B team!
RIP Rita 2004 - 2018