Thankfully, in historic towns like Canandaigua in the Finger Lakes region of New York where many houses are enormous beauties almost two centuries old, there are people like Jaynee and Guy Straw who see bed and breakfast potential in their often faded glory. Even though an elegant, albeit old, painted white wood house might need more than a touch of TLC, brave folks with a vision buy it anyway. That’s the story of Inn on the Main.
Guy smiles when he reminisces about how he and his wife Jaynee set about restoring the Alfred Morris Gifford House so that its hard wood shines, and the intricate details of fireplaces, light fixtures and window dressings hearken back to the days the house was a home for a Supreme Court judge.
It wasn’t easy. From the sound of it, the Straws almost bought a money pit. The wallpaper upstairs barely held the walls together in some rooms, for example. These days Inn on the Main, is a stately B&B that mixes in comfort and elegance with warm hospitality. Long gone is its appearance when it was changed into an apartment building by one owner and a real estate office by another.
Each guest room or suite has its own color scheme and antique furnishings that give a Victorian feel but mix in modern amenities. TVs and DVD players are in each room, for example and the private bathrooms have large tubs or showers or both. The largest suite, the Gifford Room, has a Jacuzzi. The inn has Wi-Fi, central air-conditioning and several fireplaces.
For more than 10 years, the Straws have shared their handiwork and labor of love with others and have gathered quite a following for their efforts. Many guests come year after year, but there is always room for new comers. The Straws’ specialty breakfast leans towards gourmet often with frittata and strata type dishes accompanied with homemade baked goods typically served up warm.
Although staying in Canandaigua near the water, where watching boats is a morning pastime, has its own vacation appeal, Inn on the Main is where one can stay to feel as if you’re a part of a place and history. Here’s where you can sit on a wrap-around porch in white wicker furniture and watch dog walkers and other pedestrians stroll by along this section of a tree lined street. Just a few blocks up is the courthouse where Susan B. Anthony was found guilty of trying to vote in 1873 and ordered to pay a $100 fine. She refused.
Also close by are Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion and the Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum. Downtown Canandaigua, near where the Inn on the Main is located, you’ll find several terrific eateries and specialty shops. Canandaigua Lake is within walking distance if you like a little exercise.
Room rates range from $155 to $210. If stairs are a problem, stay in the Penfield Suite on the first floor. The Burrell Suite can accommodate a third person for $30 more. Children 12 and older are welcome. Book directly with the Inn or you can compare rates and book on Priceline.
Inn on the Main
176 N. Main Street
Canandaigua, NY 14424
Post and photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein
*A friend of mine stayed at the inn, and I was quite taken with it when I visited with her and Guy showed me around. I felt tempted to move in. It’s simply lovely.