The Mill Pond Inn

The Mill Pond Inn

While vacationing in upstate New York, my husband and I decided to stay at the Mill Pond Inn & Tavern in Jefferson. We arrived ten minutes before our check in time at 4:00 on a Wednesday, but found the door was locked with a key pad and no one answered our knock. We went back to our car to wait, and then saw a woman unloading a vehicle with groceries. She was able to let us in. Our room was at the top of the stairs on the left at #3. Five rooms in total are available.

It was decorated simply but with appeal. The bed had an antique verdigris metal frame for its deluxe queen size mattress. There was an antique wooden dresser, with a small antique wooden desk and lamp, and two mid-century modern chairs. The duck and chick picture above the bed was darling. The two bedside lampshades matched the beige chairs. The throw pillows added a splash of color to the room, and the light gray color on the walls fit the historic period. The bathroom had a claw-foot tub with a curtain and rain shower head. It was a lovely room which was bright and airy, with hardwood floors, a decorative antique carpet and dual aspect windows.

My husband and I write on the road, so we settled in with setting up our laptops and took an hour to relax. Then we wanted to check out the rest of the house and property. Downstairs, the tavern with a long wooden bar, was empty of people, but full of history. I looked at the old-time photos in the hallway. I especially liked the 1930s photograph of a couple standing on the porch of the hotel. The short man is in a woman’s apron and the taller wife is tossing back a cup of coffee. There was also an old photo booth, many old cameras and camera paraphernalia on display, and a variety of seating arrangements.

Beyond the bar toward the back was a very large dining room, as they serve dinners there from Thursday through Sundays. They have Chef Paul Fontana, who offers a tasty seasonal menu, which is available on their website. There was also a grand piano, and a place for entertainers. In the summer, additional seating is available on the back terrace, which faces the pond, and it looks like they had just completed an outdoor cooking and seating area.

Then we went out to see the water. It was a lovely setting with the pond being about 150-200 feet wide, in a boomerang shape. At the nearest shore, Adirondack chairs were nestled in pairs and a few canoes lay upside down. On one side of the lake to our left, where sunlight still showed, the tree leaves were bright yellow to red, making us smile with a nod to the season. We found the eight foot wide wooden bridge and walked over it to a dirt path and saw more canoes. We stood in the arbor of the trees and looked out across the lake. All was quiet and the golden leaves, one by one, fell to the moist grass that was taking on a yellow coat. The sky was turning shadowed as the sun was going down beyond the trees. It was indeed a lovely place.

Built in 1879, the house and property had originally been a grain and sawmill owned by the Mann Brothers. Eventually, the place was abandoned for nearly two dozen years, but then Joan and David bought the house and property in 2017. Staying as faithful as they could to the original features and managing the twenty-five acres of woodland nature trails and water, they have made a delightful place for an array of animal and human guests.

We slept well. The bed was firm in a good way, and the sheets were very soft. The next morning we went downstairs for breakfast and found the bar laid out with tea and coffee makings, an iced bowl with yogurts, cereal, and a selection of pastries. It was a shame we would not be there for that evening, as the dinner offerings looked good. We had to be on our way, but the Mill Pond Inn goes on our list as having a great atmosphere, inside and out, with romantic and rustic charm.