Hudson Valley Fall Getaways and Vacations 2011: The Inn at Aurora, Aurora, NY

Best fall vacations in the Hudson Valley: Aurora Inn and E.B. Morgan House, Aurora, NY (Cayuga County) near Finger Lakes in Upstate NY


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There’s no denying that New York’s Finger Lakes are special. Carved by retreating glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age, these long, skinny, very deep impressions surrounded by soft, rolling hills have been cherished for millennia. The original inhabitants, the Iroquois, believed that the great creator so loved the area that he left his handprint on the land. 

The geography makes the region perfect for at least two things: fall weather, and wine making. Combining the two is a joy, and there’s no better place to base your trip than the historic Inns at Aurora. The plural is not a typo. There are two inns perched at the tip of Cayuga Lake: the Aurora Inn and the E.B. Morgan House. Their pedigree dates back to the mid-1800s, but they have been inns for less than 10 years. In that short time, they have earned numerous awards, including the AAA Four-Diamond Award and listings on the National Register of Historic Places and on Travel + Leisure magazine’s list of the world’s 25 Most Romantic Hotels.

And you can thank your 10-year-old daughter for it.

The properties’ revival is due in large part to the creator of the American Girl empire, Pleasant T. Rowland. She partnered with her alma mater, nearby Wells College, which has owned the properties for decades. The Aurora Inn was too expensive to maintain and had been boarded up for years. The Morgan House was used as, among other things, a dorm for students studying French. (Some locals still call it the French House.) They began renovating the buildings in 2001, and Rowland was an active participant.

“With Pleasant, it was not just her money. She loves historic restoration and is every bit as talented and qualified in that as in her other businesses,” says Sue Edinger, general manager. “She was very active and involved with everything, from overall concepts and ideas to choosing the furniture, paint colors, and wallpapers.”

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