Newly Renovated Cottage is Ready to Rent!

We are always making changes at The Local Hostel, and hopefully for the better! Our newest change was a complete indoor renovation of our 300 square foot stand alone building which we so affectionately call “The Cottage.” This is not your typical hostel space. The Cottage is very much so set apart from the hostel experience.


Great for couples: spacious, updated 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment in downtown Watkins Glen, available for nightly rentals NOW. Close to restaurants and bars, and a great place to rest in between wine tours and visits to Watkins Glen International. The price is still competitive compared to other high end lodging establishments in Watkins Glen. The Cottage has a small kitchenette with beautiful Quartz counter top and open Black Walnut shelving. This property is available to rent now, and we eagerly await your feedback.

Hidden Gems of Watkins Glen and the Finger Lakes

Everybody thinks their tourist town is special. BUT, I know mine is! Watkins Glen, and all of the Finger Lakes region are full of artists, bakers, creators, designers, connoisseurs, visionaries….the list goes on. So many that I want to recommend ALL of them to my hostel guests, but I simply do not have the time! Or rather, my guests do not have the time!

It is my job as their host to give them access to information that can help them decide how they will spend their time, energy, and money in the Finger Lakes.

Here are a few of my favorite NEW(er) businesses in the Watkins Glen/Seneca Lake area.

#1. P’s Macarons. I cannot tell you how incredibly exciting it is that we have a local entrepreneur who has tackled and mastered one fo the world’s most difficult sweet treats to make. The owner/baker at P’s Macarons is crushing it and slinging new flavors weekly to her devoted local customers. She is also taking bookings for special events and bulk orders! Check out her instagram page @ps_macarons and drool for a little while. You can also find them on FB! 55810976_346315682678055_1425275826206670848_n.jpg

#2 Inner Peace Floats. The Finger Lakes Region is known for its natural beauty, peace and tranquility. Inner Peace Floats takes it a step further and offers salt bath float sessions, and also massage therapy. Book a float session and enjoy healing and rejuvenation during your stay in Watkins Glen.
24852635_1923593131293413_1621094670609857921_n

#3 Hector Handmade. Power-house female entrepreneurs have come together to display the best of our regions handmade crafts. In addition to displaying works of their own, and other local artisans they also host public events for learning how to make different crafts. Including a block printing class, clothing repair, jewelry making session, iron and steel forging demonstrations, art showcases and much more.  We are so lucky to have a central hub that can bring so many artists together, and put their works in front of the world.

Screen Shot 2019-03-28 at 11.22.56 AM.png

These are just a few of our newer businesses near Watkins Glen! Make sure to visit them during your stay.

Emily

The Cottage – Renovation Inspirations

I don’t think of myself as possessing an eye for design, so it has been a huge challenge for me to put a concept together for how I want the cottage renovation finished product to look. With every decision I have been on the fence, because I just can’t see how it will all fit together. Regardless, I am going to share my inspirations and some of the decisions I have made so far. We are about a week out from having painting/flooring/kitchen(except the counter top)/bathroom being done! Wooh, the light at the end of the tunnel, which means I can start renting out this beautiful space.

I really started by trying to conceptualize the kind of kitchen I would want. At somewhere around 300 square feet, I knew I would be limited in space, and that the kitchen/bedroom would all be in the same space. I turned to pinterest to look at some tiny homes. I found ALOT of great ideas, but here is a screen shot of the one I liked the most. 51043312_542021219637239_2825867470340882432_n

Where you see the dishwasher in this photo is where the fridge will be. Instead of the subway tile back splash, we are extending the quartz countertop up onto the wall. We will 100% have two open wooden shelves up above for very open/simple/clean plate and appliance storage. Instead of installing a 2-burner stove top, I am going to purchase a one burn mobile stove top, toaster oven, and have an electric tea kettle available to the guests. I did choose white cabinets from Home Depot as well as Quartz counter top through Silestone pictured below.
Screen Shot 2019-02-24 at 1.41.05 PM

NOW for the bedroom inspiration. Which again, the bedroom and kitchen are in the same space.

Screen Shot 2019-02-24 at 1.42.25 PM
I chose the color Tradewind featured in the screen shot above, and decided I would follow this design pictured above for the entire bedroom and kitchen. Light blues grey/blues, white, and some cream. I even tried to find a similar flooring. My contractor suggested LifeProof Vinyl Flooring, and I found a color that I thought looked like the floor in the photo. Pictured below.

Screen Shot 2019-02-24 at 1.43.12 PM

To compliment this theme, I  picked out 5 different bedding sets which were all on sale through Zulily.

.Screen Shot 2019-02-24 at 1.45.42 PM

For the bathroom, I went with a very light grey wall color, grey vanity (pictured below in white), and brushed nickel fixtures in the bathroom (sconces and towel ring pictured below), similar to the items in this photo (but without the green wall).

Screen Shot 2019-02-24 at 1.55.59 PM

By the end of this week, I should be able to share some photos of paint on the walls, and fixtures installed! Stay tuned for more updates, and thank you for following me during this project.

Emily

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.

36670189_10217120813797314_2779249289719709696_n

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.

36674209_10217120728275176_7968443340981010432_n

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.

36668207_10217120736755388_2369495262059036672_n

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

51043312_542021219637239_2825867470340882432_n

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

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

Book now for Phish Festival 11 Curveball.

It is oPhishial and we still have plenty of space available for rent the weekend that Phish returns to Watkins Glen. To guarantee your space, you can book through our Reservations tab on our website, or call us directly to book.

Please be aware that we are not taking any reservations through 3rd party sites such as Booking, Expedia, AirBNB, Hostel World etc.

Don’t wait, because rooms are Philling up Phast. Call us and book your stay for Phish Festival 11 at the Watkins Glen International.

The Local Hostel Wins 2016 Guest Review Award

We are so excited to announce that The Local Hostel has received the 2016 Guest Review Award from Booking.com.

This means that in 2016 we received exceptionally high guest review scores, as a result of our cleanliness, high quality customer service, available facilities, comfort, superb location, and value for money. We are so grateful to share out hostel with visitors coming to the Finger Lakes, and look forward to continuing to do so, while improving The Local experience.

13582923
We receive booking.com reviews from guests who book their reservations through booking.com. If you would like to stay with us, you can book through our website and leave reviews on our Google Business page or Facebook. We are also featured on Hostel World.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us in our first your of business, we could not be successful with out you!

Sincerely,

Emily & Ian

5 Reasons to Visit the Finger Lakes in the Winter

Hundreds of thousands of tourists pass through Watkins Glen, April through October every year. During those months they swim, camp, hike the Watkins Glen Gorge (standing room only), crowd wineries, make traffic a nightmare, cushion the pockets of bartenders and servers, and promptly leave to return to their homes. We love tourists, they bring an outside perspective to our town, and are usually very appreciative for our hospitality. Once the leaves fall off the trees, the tourists disappear until next April. Then, the locals come out to play. For those of you looking for the true local experience, the winter is time to visit the Finger Lakes, I am here to tell you why.

1. Live Music – For such a remote and rural area, we are incredibly FORTUNATE to have an abundance of local bands, and live music hot spots. Two Goats Brewing features original artists ONLY, no cover bands. A quick drive to Ithaca and you have the choice of The Haunt or The Dock for regularly scheduled concerts. In Ithaca you can find local artists as well as more notorious bands such as Rubblebucket, Lake Street Dive, Old Crow Medicine Show, Big Mean Sound Machine, John Brown’s Body and many more. Every wednesday at The Dock is Reggae night, featuring a rotating line up of local/regional musicians coming together to make magic happen.

2 Frozen Waterfalls – Have you ever seen a frozen waterfall? NO!?! It’s majestic, put that on your bucket list.

3 Low Lodging Rates – The hotels, hostels, motels, inns, B&B’s owners really rely on their income from rentals, and tend to maximize their earning potential in the summer by inflating their prices. That is their prerogative. It is also their prerogative to drop their prices to as low as they want in the winter just to make a buck. If you have been waiting to plan a weekend getaway because your budget is tight, Winter in the Finger Lakes is definitely a good time to negotiate or barter with the lodging establishment owners. At The Local Hostel we rent beds for $25/per person all winter, this includes access to 2.5 bathrooms, a kitchen, wi-fi, and walking distance to every point in Watkins Glen.

4 Nearly Empty Wineries – The winter is a great time to get the all star treatment and a private winery tour and tasting. Wineries are overrun with visitors during the summer and fall months tasting room employees and vintners are unable to give their undivided attention to one group of customers. In the winter on the other hand you are likely to find at least one winery where you can meet the owner, the wine maker, and tour the facility with a glass of wine in hand.

5 The Locals come out of hiding – This should not come as a surprise but the locals work like crazy during the busy tourist season, they are the life blood of the industries that draw the visitors in. Most locals work multiple jobs and over 60 hours a week April through October. November is when the majority of locals come out of hiding and start to play. You will find them drinking at Hector Wine Company and Two Goats Brewing in Hector. They will catch live music at The Dock in Ithaca or The Rongovian Embassy in Trumansburg. They eat breakfast at The Harvest Cafe, Glen Mountain Market, or Toni’s Diner.

The Finger Lakes have so much to offer in the Winter months, don’t let the cold keep you away.

Are you planning any winter trips? Where are you going?

Our Finger Lakes Fall Favorites

An unusually warm fall has prolonged the leaves from completely changing colors and falling off the branches. This means you can still get your chance to peep the leaves and experience our favorite Finger Lakes Fall activities.

#1 Visit Reisinger’s Apple Country in Watkins Glen, NY. Their u-pick is over for the season, but they still have an amazing assortment of apples available, apple cider donuts, jams & jellies, and maple syrup from their trees.

#2 Take a drive on one of the many scenic routes in the Finger Lakes. Our personal favorite is to drive all the way around Seneca Lake, but you could drive along any of the Finger Lakes and be satisfied. Cayuga Lake, Keuka Lake, Canandaigua Lake, Honeyoye Lake, etc. Added bonus, there will be wineries on most of these routes.

#3 Eat a seasonally inspired meal at some amazing local restaurants. Our favorites are Stonecat Cafe, Hazelnut Kitchen, and Just a Taste.

#4 Plan a wine tour with friends. The Finger Lakes winery and brewery business is constantly expanding and gaining prominence among the wine producing regions of the world. Hire a driver and go explore some of the best wineries in the Finger Lakes. Our favorites are in Hector, NY, including Hector Wine Company, Ryan Williams Vineyard, Damiani Wine Cellars, and Two Goats Brewing.

Now take these suggestions and plan your weekend getaway soon!

Have you been to the Finger Lakes before? Where did you visit and what did you love?