While traveling through the Finger Lakes region, my husband and I decided to stay at the Glass Magnolia B&B in Interlaken. This Colonial 19th century country home with eleven rooms, was the most welcoming place we stayed at on our two week vacation with good reason, which I will get into.
As soon as we entered the front door, we were greeted by Wally and Nancy Rudolph, he a retired chef and she a baker. And indeed, the house smelled of molasses sweetened bread. Their office and possible living quarters is right next to the front door. We also met Gus, their friendly short-haired white retriever. They showed us the well-appointed dining room just to the right of entering the house, which offered a dozen places to sit with windows on two sides. Beyond it was a fully equipped guest kitchen and across the hall was a much bigger chef’s kitchen where they cooked and baked. We were told that we could get from the guest kitchen bottled water, juice, teas, coffee, espresso, hot chocolate, breakfast bars, oatmeal and fruit at any time. There was also a refrigerator where we could store any wines or foods that we wanted to keep chilled, seeing as the inn is located in the heart of wine and dairy country.
The stairs across from the front door led up to some rooms, but additional rooms were at the end of a hall past the stairs, and in a house next door. Our room was in the main house on the second floor. The Lord Mayfair room, and other rooms as well, had a small foyer to the main bedroom, which allowed one to set coats and umbrellas. A key opened the main bedroom, which had a king size bed, floral pictures on each side, a rich mauve wall color which matched the quilt hanging above the bed and the maroon quilt on the bed. There was a small bookshelf with books to read and there was even an old wall clock which decorated the room. Two windows with Venetian blinds faced the street with a large mirror between them. There was a fireplace in one corner, but I’m not sure it was needed, as there was gas heating all along the edge of the bedroom wall and in the bathroom. The bathroom had a shower, sink, toilet, a small vanity table, and a window for natural light.
Since we both travel and write, we were able to use two small tables and chairs in the room to sit and work. I even had a small footstool to use at the large wing-back chair. The small vanity in the bathroom had spindle legs with one leg resting on a stone to compensate for the slanting floor. It was a small concession for an old house.
Later that day we did some touring in the area, and naturally went to a winery, where we bought and brought back a bottle of wine. A wine opener and glasses were readily available on the guest kitchen counter and then we enjoyed sipping our purchase in the dining room with no one else around. We could have also sat on their ample front porch, but the weather was too cool.
We slept well in our comfortable beds for both nights in this room. At 9:00 we headed downstairs for our breakfast, to the smell of home-cooked food. Three couples were already seated and eating. Nancy greeted us for breakfast with a broad smile and brought us our requested hot tea. Then she brought that molasses bread, served warm with butter, with a small bowl of cut cantaloupe, blackberries, and strawberries. That day, Wally was offering two choices for breakfast; a tomato, basil and cheese omelet or blueberry pancakes. We had one of each. On our second morning, we had warm cornbread and butter with more cut fruit. On that day, Wally offered crustless quiche with sausage, bacon, spinach and pepper jack cheese with a side of sliced ham and smashed mashed potatoes, or pumpkin spice pancakes with caramelized apples, also with a side of sliced ham and potatoes. Both, once again, were perfectly made and delicious.
In between servicing the inn’s guests and cooking in the kitchen, both Nancy and Wally were present with friendly talk and recommendations for local sites. There is a lot to do in the area, with the Cayuga and Seneca Lake wine trails, boat and limo wine tours, hiking, golfing, horseback riding, Nascar racing in season, dairy cheese tastings, and there is even an alpaca farm nearby to pet and feed the wooly camelids, and the cemetery where Rod Serling is buried, who was the host of The Twilight Zone. They also offer wedding and other special package options.
Nancy and Wally’s presence and their friendly manner really made the difference. In this era of Covid remoteness and contactless check-ins, it was a real pleasure to be met by real people. We’ve stayed in fancy historical mansions with expensive furnishings, but this place really made us feel at home. Thanks to Nancy’s baking, Wally’s cooking, their congeniality, and even Gus’ sweet greetings, it is no wonder their B&B is extremely popular. By the way, the Glass Magnolia is the embedded beveled glass in their front door. We don’t know when, but this is one place we would definitely like to come back to.