Somewhere New: Pt.1

Going Somewhere New: Watkins Glen, NY

                                 By: Anna McFillin


Up on the very top of the hill in Watkins Glen, New York sits a big, old house with a red roof, wrap around porch and a turret. Further down at the bottom of the front year is a sign that reads: “Idlwilde Inn.”


This past weekend, I traveled to the Idlwilde Inn with my friend, Emma Dowd, the innkeeper's daughter. The Dowd family is from Los Angeles, but parents Elin and Marcus are originally from the East Coast. With family in upstate and full grown children, Elin and Marcus Dowd decided it was time to return home, and open a bed and breakfast.

The Inn is located on Seneca Lake, one of the five “Finger Lakes”, as they call it in upstate NY. They call it that because on the map, it looks like God stretched his hand down and thus created the “Finger Lakes.”


Emma and I set out on our four hour road trip outside of New York City. Going higher in elevation and passing beautiful scenery, I felt relaxed and happy to step out of the hectic city for the long weekend.


Passing through the small town of Watkins Glen, there was one main road running right through town with the lake on one side and waterfalls coming down off the steep hills on the other. We passed a strip of land that inhabited a row of few tiny houses resembling those a child would have set up in their backyards or homes. Further down the road we turned to head up a hill and about halfway, sat an abandoned house with erie darkness and rickety wooden boards hanging by the hinges.

As we kept driving up the hill, the Idlwilde Inn was finally in sight. Stepping into the 15 room mansion, I was in awe. I scanned the room to see a beautiful library, lounging area, and the breakfast dining room. Each table in the dining room was covered with tablecloths and silverware, with wide open windows in the back. Going into the kitchen Emma and I greeted her family and I was taken on a tour of the house.


Heading up the several flights of stairs, my favorite room, room 10 with the turret, has a deck which overlooks the whole property and the lake down below. The view was serene. Idlwilde also has a stunning gazebo and additional rooms in the carriage house where her parents live.

There is so much to do at the Idlwilde Inn and the environment is just so relaxing. Check out the town, the vineyards where wine is made, go boating on the lake, or even take a beautiful 30 minute ride over to Ithaca.


I am glad I got to explore Watkins Glen, and yes, I did do all of the above activities! I highly recommend you book yourself a room, write down that list of things to do and head up to Idlwilde Inn.