A Tale of Winter Work

We have decided once again to make some changes around here. If there is one thing that is for certain it is that our Hostel has not yet found its final form. We learn so much every year that we realize our layout and offerings just aren’t quite right for what people are looking for here in the Finger Lakes. As we change, though, we don’t want to lose the charm, community, and simplicity of a hostel environment.

Taking you back to 2015 when we first bought this building, we knew that the typical American traveler would not be the most familiar or comfortable with hostel style lodging. With that in mind we kept our dorm rooms small, our beds comfy and large, our kitchen well stocked, and our customer service welcoming and reassuring.

We have found though, that our guests DO enjoy the social aspect of hosteling, but they still want their privacy. Fortunately we have been able to add 2 private rooms, since our initial grand opening, with previously unused space in our building. In 2019, we are transitioning our smallest dorm room into another private room. There have been too many nights where one dorm room sits empty, while all the private rooms are filled. I have loved being able to offer the option of two dorm rooms, but I would rather be able to welcome more customers and make them feel comfortable.

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This is one of the two private rooms we added in 2018.

This will not be the only change this year. We made a BIG decision this year to do a complete renovation on the small building on our property which we so lovingly call “The Cottage”. Before, The Cottage was sort of an ironic name. The Cottage was simple, plain, and really just a place to lay your head. Our guests loved it though because it had a private bathroom and was a completely private rental.

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Our modest little Cottage

With this new renovation The Cottage will really feel like a Cottage! Instead of being lake side it will be right across the street from the world famous Watkins Glen Gorge. The Cottage is just shy of 300 square feet and will now be equipped with a kitchenette, a full bathroom, vaulted ceilings, sound proof, and maybe even a front porch ( haven’t decided yet). The space will have a cape cod vibe, and will make guests wish they booked another night. It will be a guests’ home away from home.

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Our modest and simple layout for the cottage when we started renting it in 2018.

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INSPIRATION FOR THE COTTAGE RENOVATION

It wasn’t easy to make the decision to invest in the cottage and take it from a low-end/low-cost rental to what will definitely be a high-end rental competing with the more typical pricing you find in Watkins Glen during peak season. I am confident, though, that our property will stand out among the many options travelers to the finger lakes have to choose from.

Check in again soon. I will be sharing about some of my design ideas for the Cottage!

Emily

Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival coming to Watkins Glen

Wow! What an honor?!?!

How lucky are we that we will play host to such an amazing festival with such a rich history.

Ian and I are so excited to welcome festival-goers into our hostel and host them for more than just a few days I am sure. If you are visiting our website today, looking for availability, please call us directly at 607-425-4551 to make a reservation. We are not taking reservations online for the Woodstock weekend.

Thank you all for your consideration and safe travels throughout this year.

See you in the Finger Lakes in August.

A sampling of our favorite wineries to visit.

Let us be clear, recommending JUST 5 wineries is tough. We would be here all year typing if we tried to tell you ALL of our favorite wineries. Here is a brief description of how to plan where you will visit, followed by 5 of our favorite places.

When planning your trip to the Finger Lakes it is important to understand that there are no two wineries that are exactly the same. Some wineries focus on dry wines, some focus on sweet wines. Some wineries just do reds, and some wineries ONLY produce Riesling. The variety is vast, and there is something for every kind of wine drinker.

First, try to identify whether you like dry or sweet wines. Then, research the types of grapes we grow in this region.  Although, there are MANY varietals grown here, there are a few that you will see at almost every winery. Riesling is the most popular white wine in the Finger Lakes, and Cabernet Franc is the most popular red. Do not come to the region expecting to find Malbec, or Pinot Gris every where. Next, check out some of the winery websites and learn about what they are known for. Do they produce primarily sweet wines from native Finger Lakes grapes? Or do they produce wines in a traditional french style? Are they only producing dry, bold reds from both Native grapes and European grapes?

Finally, be safe. Plan to have a designated driver, or hire a driver. The wineries are located on rural roads that locals live along, farmers drive their tractors on, and there are other people on the roads who may or may not have been drinking as well. Take your time and follow the rules of the road. The wine will still be there, even if it takes you a few extra minutes to arrive at the next pace.

Here are a few of the wineries Ian and I LOVE to visit.

1. We LOVE LOVE LOVE the Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc at Hector Wine Company. Both of these wines are dry, and just 1 glass is never enough! Go for the bottle and enjoy it with friends.  Aside from having lovely wines, HWC also has a friendly local vibe, and they sell local packaged food products.  Grab some snacks, a bottle of wine, and go sit outside at their picnic tables in the sunshine 🙂

2. Probably one of the most unique tasting experiences you will ever have will take place at Boundary Breaks. They ONLY produce wines of the Riesling varietal, but that does not mean their variety is limited. I never knew how complex Riesling is, and I am always so impressed by their variety of dry to sweet Rieslings. Bonus, their tasting room looks like something out of a magazine. It is so beautiful and they have a beautiful view of Seneca Lake.

10173636_10203985901592718_450371707745776440_n3. If you could not tell by now, we are dry wine drinkers, and we are partial to dry reds. It is only natural that we love Ryan William Vineyard. They have a variety of dry and sweet whites, and all their red wines are dry. Their Gruner Veltliner and Chardonnay are truly unique, and all their red wines are crowd pleasers. Stop in for brunch and a tasting 7 days a week!

4. Speaking of dry reds. Shalestone vineyards ONLY produces red wines, using grape varietals from all over the world. Check them out for the biggest, the boldest, and the most unique reds you just might ever have the pleasure of trying. They have limited tasting room hours, so be sure to do your research in advance.

5 Reasons to stay at The Local in 2018

We know your options for lodging in the Finger Lakes are numerous and making decisions through a computer screen is not easy. Let me tell you WHY you should book  with us and stay at The Local Hostel in Watkins Glen this Summer/Fall.

1. ALL of our beds are equipped with brand-spanking-new memory foam mattresses. Not only will you be saving money, but you will be getting semiseriously comfortable rest while you are here. Hike all day through the Finger Lakes National Forest or the Watkins Glen State Park and then come back to our Hostel and relax in a clean and comfortable environment. You can even borrow one of our dogs for a snuggle session.  #HighComfortLowPrice28313436_10216019916795577_197837952_n

2. We are right across the street from the Watkins Glen State Park Gorge trail. You can save yourself the $10 parking fee, leave your car it he hostel parking lot during your stay and walk over to the beautiful park! Enjoy the walk, the waterfalls, and all the beautiful nature without spending a dime on parking fees. #AintNobodyGotTimeToPayForParking

3. We have the worlds cutest dogs. They love to be pet, eat treats, sniff you, play tug-o-war etc. Let Beatrice and Emme welcome you in and help you relax. #HostelDogs28381233_10216019918115610_1397019053_n

4. Ian and I will give you tips about the region that you can only get from locals who grew up here! We LOVE to share our favorite hiking trails, wineries, breweries, sunset spots, ice cream shops, restaurants, and places to catch live music. We have had a lot of positive feedback from guests about our solid recommendations! #YoureWelcome

5. We have a kitchen. Eating out for every meal when you are traveling can REALLY add up and break the bank. Although we love to give you restaurant recommendations we also want you to save money when you need to. Use our kitchen stocked with oils, spices, eggs, bread, oatmeal, rice and beans and other free to use items! #FrugalandFun

These are just 5 reasons to stay with us this year, but really the reasons are limitless. We look forward to seeing your reservation come through. Run, don’t walk, to the Finger Lakes this year; we cannot wait to meet you.

Emily, Ian, Beatrice and Emme

Two new private rooms added in 2018

We have exciting news this year! Ian and I have added in two new private room options at The Local Hostel, and they both have full size beds.

First, in the main building we added a room with a handmade full size bed frame equipped with a brand new memory foam mattress. Guests are still in close proximity to the kitchen, bathrooms, air conditioning and wi-fi! Check out the photos below:

 

Second, we turned our separate commercial building into a nightly rental, we call it The Cottage. Guests get a little more privacy, space, a full size bed, a private half bathroom, air conditioning and wi-fi extended from the main hostel building. See the photos below:

 

We are so happy to offer these new options to our guests! Currently we only rent the new private rooms through our website or Airbnb. Check it out and come for a visit soon! Relax in your comfortable bed after a lovely day of hiking in the Watkins Glen State Park or swimming in Seneca Lake.

Beatrice and Emme are ready to say hi!

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TBEX is coming to the FLX

Yesterday I had the chance to attend a TBEX 2018 planning session for local businesses. What is TBEX you may be asking. TBEX stands for Travel Blogger Exchange and they hold 1-2 conferences all over the world each year, and the Finger Lakes will be hosting their 2018 conference in September, in Corning NY.  WHAT?!?!?! The Finger Lakes! This is such an amazing opportunity to share our hidden gems and secrets here.

In september 500-600 travel bloggers, sponsors, program partners will converge on our region to learn from each other, but to also experience our region in one of the most beautiful months of the year.  I hope they take a few extra days to pay attention to the beautiful Seneca Lake.

In preparation I want to point out some of what I think are our best attributes of this region.

1. Women own businesses in abundance here and they are contributing to the growth of the region in a HUGE way! We have women inventing new forms of flour. Female chefs are on the rise and opening their own restaurants, cafes, and shops, almost too many to all be named right here. Artists, creators, and producers supporting each other with in-store features. We also have women making wine, managing vineyards, and owning wineries. Let’s not forget, I am also a female business owner at The Local Hostel 🙂

2. We have an abundance of farms that open their arms and welcome avid travelers to come and work with them. The first that comes to mind is Six Circles, a beautiful and certified natural garlic and vegetable farm. You can also work trade at Spice of Life. Both are educational opportunities, and you will be surrounded by community.

3. Live Music. Do I really need to say more?!?! You can find live music ALL YEAR LONG in Ithaca and Hector, at breweries, wineries, on the Ithaca Commons, or the infamous State Theater. In the summer months you can find music every day of the week. To make this point even better, it’s original music. We don’t just see cover band’s galore. We have an abundance of local musicians who create their own music. I cant begin to express how much that adds to the quality of life here. We also have music festivals here!
These are just a few of my favorite aspects of life in the Finger Lakes, but there are so many more that I have not even begun to touch on! Welcome to our region TBEXers, we can’t wait to share the FLX with you.

~Emily

Our favorite places to shop on Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is November 26. We want to share with you some of our FAVORITE places to shop in Watkins Glen on Small Business Saturday.

According to the American Independent Business Alliance, 48% of each purchase at a local independent business was recirculated locally.Through the multiplier effect, the impact of shopping locally snowballs. Maybe this means a business owner can…

  • Put a child through dance or martial arts class (at another local business)
  • Hire more people (creating jobs and infusing more money into the local economy)
  • Provide health insurance to employees (providing better quality of life and improving the local community)

 

Our day would look something like this:

9am: Wake up at The Local Hostel.

10am: Ian and I would go to Glen Mountain Market for a bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich and 2 cups of locally roasted coffee.

11am: Why not get a tattoo or a piercing by Rich at G & R Tattoo and Piercing? Small Business Saturday is the perfect reason to spice things up and live on the wild side.

1pm: We would stop into the Colonial Creamery for a delicious double scoop of homemade ice cream. I would get one scoop of Pistachio and one scoop of Rocky Mountain Raspberry. Ian would probably get one scoop of cookie dough, and one scoop of Biscoff.

While still there restocking on Wixson Honey and pottery by Earth and Autumn is a must.

2pm: We would make our way slowly down Franklin Street, and eventually end up at Rooster Fish Brewing to taste a few beers, and maybe drink a pint or two.

5pm: Time for dinner! Graft Wine & Cider Bar is the perfect ending to another locally inspired day.

Who am I kidding that’s an ideal day, for any time! I visit most of these places weekly, if not daily (except for the tattoo shop, or I would be covered by now.) Where will you be spending Small Business Saturday? Have you made a game plan yet for where you will shop? Share your ideal Small Business Saturday and encourage your friends to support local businesses.