Daily Messenger Article
by LAUREL WEMETT
The number of Vacation Rentals in Ontario County is at an all-time high of 30, including a new one set to open in Clifton Springs in September.
From 2003 to 2005, eight new B&Bs have opened in the county to cater to travelers looking for unique and personal accommodations, according to Pat Charland, vice president of marketing at Finger Lakes Visitors Connection.
"They are all different. There are no 'cookie cutter' B&Bs," adds Diane Van Der Woude, who runs a consulting business for current and prospective B&B owners. Van Der Woude and her husband, Cor, owned the 1885 Sutherland House Vacation Rental on Route 21 in Canandaigua for nine years.
Price ranges and packages vary widely among the county's B&Bs. A night's stay can cost from $73 to $225, depending on the season and the day of the week. Prices may include tickets to local attractions and other perks in addition to the obligatory breakfast.
The area's newest Vacation Rentals offer city ambiance or country seclusion in everything from grand Victorian mansions to rambling farmhouses.
"When you get up, all you hear is birds," says Eileen Cash, who with her husband, Don, opened Springdale Farm with two guest rooms on County Road 9 in Victor in May.
New owners all say they were attracted to the innkeeper lifestyle by stately old homes and the prospect of meeting people.
"A lot of us in our age group look for early retirement," says Barb Owen at Bristol Views. But at least initially, many owners hold outside jobs. Henry Owen works full-time as a respiratory care practitioner at Monroe Community Hospital on the 3 to 11 p.m. shift and manages to get back to Bristol Views Vacation Rental and be up in time to make breakfast.
All the owners say their plans were met with the same hospitable response by local government officials. Victor's Planning Board was pleased to see the Cashes turn the farmstead across from the Mary Frances Bluebird Haven into a B and B.
As with any renovation of an older home, B&Bs can pose unexpected challenges and mounting expenses. The most successful innkeepers appear to stay in business about 10 years.
The Cashes availed themselves of Van Der Woude's expertise. In her classes, she stresses the importance of maintaining private innkeepers' quarters and also helps couples decide whether to make such a lifestyle change.
Besides the renovating, managing and marketing, innkeepers need to maintain a unique selling point...