Aurora Inn in a Nutshell:
Opened in 1833, refurbished in 2003, and now owned by Wells College, the small liberal arts school a half-mile away, the Aurora Inn is a 10-bedroom hotel that sits beside the largest of New York’s Finger Lakes, Cayuga. The Aurora Inn was part of the village’s controversial makeover, when a Wells alumna bought several failing properties and used her business acumen to revive the town, then gifted the college with shining examples of what private philanthropy is able to accomplish. The Aurora Inn is now one of the prizes in this village that is a National Historic Register District.
Guest Rooms at the Aurora Inn:
Nearly everything in the Aurora Inn is either original (such as the paintings) or an authentic reproduction period piece. What is different from nearly two centuries ago is the level of comfort and amenities. Everything is fresh and welcoming—large rooms with pleasing wallpaper, marble bathrooms (only two have tubs), luxurious sheets and comforters, flatscreen TVs discreetly hidden, Bose radios and Internet access. Some rooms at the Aurora Inn have fireplaces, and most have balconies overlooking either the lake or the village.
Dining at the Aurora Inn:
The restaurant at The Aurora Inn is run by a team of world-trained chefs. Its windows overlook the lake and the rolling hillside of farms and vineyards. Warm weather brings tables onto the verandah. At dinner, even the side dishes — corn pudding, beet chips, slow-roasted tomatoes, French beans, and sautéed spinach — were outstanding, especially when paired with top wines from this major wine-producing region. A full breakfast is included with a stay; the crunchy almond cinnamon French toast with vanilla sauce and fresh fruit is scrumptious.
Destination Weddings at the Aurora Inn:
The Aurora Inn is a beautiful setting for a wedding, which can be performed on the long lawn leading from the house to the lake. The Lakeside Room holds up to 96 guests for a plated dinner and up to 125 for a cocktail reception. Larger groups can be accommodated in sparkling white tents that also face the water. For an intimate wedding or gathering, the Aurora Inn’s sister hotel, E.B. Morgan House, is just down the street with seven guest rooms. Both places are perfect for a romantic getaway.
Romance Packages at the Aurora Inn:
The Aurora Inn offers a romantic getaway package that includes champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries and roses in your room upon arrival, a lakeside dinner for two, and breakfast for two.
Activities at the Aurora Inn:
Couples travel to the Finger Lakes for the scenery, the quiet, and good food. The Aurora Inn offers more. First, there is the village of Aurora, perhaps the most charming of all the small towns in the region. Along Main Street are a dozen historic houses and buildings, plus the idyllic Wells campus. A detailed walking-tour brochure is available from the front desk at the Aurora Inn. The Aurora Inn also has canoes, kayaks, and bicycles built-for-two free of charge for guests. A hammock and Adirondack chairs are scattered around the spacious gardens and grounds to relax and view the spectacular sunsets over the lake.
Nearby the Aurora Inn:
The Aurora Inn is two miles from small, award-winning Long Point Winery. Dozens of other vineyards and wineries are within easy driving distance. Local dining includes Fargo Bar & Grill in Aurora and Pumpkin Hill Bistro, outside of town in a 19th century farmhouse. Nearby is MacKenzie-Childs, the manufacturer of handmade tableware and furnishings. At the house next to the shop visitors can see a home decorated in MacKenzie-Childs furnishings, a phantasmagoric experience. There is summer theater in the city of Auburn and Ithaca, home of Cornell University, is filled with cultural activities all year long.
What Could Be Better at the Aurora Inn:
It is hard to fault the Aurora Inn. However, the third-floor lakeside balcony needed care. Some slats were rotted and it is advisable not to walk barefoot on the deck. It would also be helpful to have a copy of the history of the Aurora Inn (currently available in the lobby sitting room) in each room. Fresh squeezed orange juice would be a plus at breakfast.
Is the Aurora Inn Right for You?:
The Aurora Inn provides tranquility and hominess amidst a picture-postcard setting. For wine buffs, it is hard to find anywhere on the East Coast that provides such an array of wineries to visit. If you want activities on the water, there is fishing and boating in the deep and clean Cayuga. And when are you are looking for more stimulation, the cities of Ithaca and Auburn are nearby. So is the village of Seneca Falls, home of the Women’s Hall of Fame, which honors the village’s important role in women’s rights.
Aurora Inn Info and Reservations:
391 Main Street
Aurora, NY 13026
315-364-8888 or toll free 866-364-8808
Official Web Site
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