Skaneateles is a Storybook Village. We know because we live here.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Skaneateles in winter

Psst: Wanna know a secret? Visit the StoryBook Village in the winter!

Everyone that knows about us seems to want to visit us on Friday & Saturday Night in the summer. Trouble is; you can't find a place to park or a seat at a restaurant.

The solution is easy: travel in the OFF season. Like right now.

Skaneateles Suites
even has "Last Minute Specials"

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Secret Places in Skaneateles

Secret Places!

Skaneateles Suites has a teriffic, FREE, new program called Secret Places. Any registered Guest need only ask any Staff Suiter and voila, you get a personalised, custom walking tour of the toryBook Village.

Want a preview? Visit the Creamery and see a Teasel and why we hate Eli Whiney. Further, did you know that the Loghtening Class sailboat was designed and built right here in Skaneateles?

But there is more; restaurants that will give you special attention and very hip women's clothing shops and very cool bookstores and even a place you can paint your own pottery.

All this on top of a three diamond room at the Boutique Hotel or a Bungaow at the Skaneateles Suites.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Marcellus Masterworks Chorale

Oh, my God! Maureen McCauley has an amazing ability to attract talent. This is an original image from 1985, today they are in technicolor.

Toni and I went to the Sunday Night Masterworks Chorale recital for Christmas. We have heard them many times and expected it to be great, but oh, my God!

Maureen found Karen Bartlett-Morse, plus two other female vocalists and a guy with a trumpet. Sorry, I don't have the names you guys, but you were spellbinding.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Skaneateles Festival

The Skaneateles Festival presents:

"A Manhattan Christmas"

featuring Laura Austin Allyn and the jazz artistry of vocalist Karen Holvik, pianist Tony Caramia, and other special guests.

"A Christmas Suite" is generously sponsored by:

The Falcone Family


Aurora Inn
Henry & Helga Beck
Pat & Mary Bright
Bill & Donna Davis
Evan and Elizabeth Dreyfuss
George Iocolano
Jacobs Press
Tom & Gretchen Jeffers
Lynn Law Firm
Eloise Luchsinger
Dan McCann and Five Seasons Florists
Milford, Lynch & Shannon, Attorneys at Law
Mirbeau Inn & Spa
Bob & Sally Neumann
Andy & Sherie Ramsgard
Ramsgard Architectural Design PC
Linda Roche, Realty USA
Rosalie's Cucina
Saxenian Rug Company
John & Carol Shannon
The Sherwood Inn
Time Warner Cable
James & Salli Tuozzolo
Dale and Rillann Van Epps
Wachovia Securities: Alan F. Coates, A. Daniel Coates, Elizabeth Besio and Frank Albanese
Jeff & Kate Youle

Monday, December 04, 2006

Charles Dicken's never knew Robinson Crusoe

Chuck never knew Rob, but if he did they would be friends, and probably hang out at Dockide at Robinson Crusoe Cottage in Skaneateles, one of the Finger Lakes in Central New York.

How does the idea of a like-it-was summer vacation sound to you? If you are a little blown away by just how fast paced we all live, like finding this blog, then you will love Robinson.

It is, indeed, a like-it-was summer cottage nestled amongst 2 acres of private woods and waterfront. Now, don't get me wrong; this is no camp. Inside has been completely renovated and has [most] of the luxuries of home. Absent is cable TV and internet, but, by the end of the week you will wish you didn't have that at home either.

Sound alluring? I know it does to me. So pick up your cell phone [Ug] or email [Ug, again] me about a vacation memory.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Charles Dickens Visits the Manger

Tourists are NOT Welcome in the StoryBook Village!
[For 1 Night, anyway.]

Most of the time we surrender our Village to the tourists who flock here to get a taste of the life we live 24/7/365. But:
Beginning at 6PM December 08, 2006
Locals Night and Dedication of the Creche

Father Christmas greets the children in the Skaneateles Library beginning at 6 pm; Dedication of the creche 6:30, Singing by Skaneateles students, Caroling with the Dickens Characaters. Extra time for shopping, Stores open until 9 PM. Free Refreshements made possible through the donations of Key Bank, Imagine, Pomodoro, The White Sleigh, Apricot Lane, Vermont Green Mountain, Teddy Bear Nursery, Sherwood Inn, Bella Blue & Creekside Books & Coffee.

Of course, it's all FREE! except...

NEW THIS YEAR: Help Decorate the Community Tree. Purchase an ornament from The White Sleigh, Pomodoro, Key Bank, Apricot Lane or the Chamber of Commerce Office $7.50 ea or 3/$20.00 and hang on the Gazebo Tree. Proceeds to benefit the Skaneateles Fire Department.

Read: "Lighten up Scrooge! Buy an ornament"

Call Sue or Candy 315-685-0552 for details, except what else do you need to know?

Skaneateles Historical Society Open [Boat] House

Big Stuff is happening in the StoryBook Village History Department.

Actually, it all started when a guy decided to tear down a significant old waterfront home to build even more significant new waterfront house. Part of what's being torn down is an original turn-of-the-Century BoatHouse. That, of course, rang the bell [loudly] at The Historical Society. [It should come as no surprise that they actually care about Historical Old Houses.]

On the other hand, Toni and I know all about the other side of this argument. Historical old houses can also be classified as junkers with no particular redeeming value other than being old and a real pain in the ass to renovate.

So, the guy had a GREAT response to the outcry "Save our History". "If you want it, you can have it and I will even pay you money to haul it away!".

That would have been the end of that in any ordinary community, but not here in the StoryBook Village. they [The Historical Society] said "OK, we will".

Now, to fully understand this drama you need to know The Historical Society has a Historic Old Building of it's own, the Creamery. The Creamery used to do stuff with milk and cream and sits on the bank of the Outlet in a picture perfect setting. Today it is a Museum full of Teasels and Lightning Sailboats and all-things-Skaneateles. But it wasn't always that way. 15 years ago it was a Junker.

Next to the Creamery is yet another Historic Old Junker. Well, it turns out that the owner, Ron Fisher, offered it to the Historical Society last month for an Expansion of the Museum. [Thanks!, Ron] Truth be known, Ron did this in the memory of his wife and their life in the StoryBook Village.

Next to that is [yet] another Historical Junker. So here is the Plan.
We will buy both, renovate Junker #1, then tear down Junker #2, then move Junker #3 to where Junker #2 used to be.

Whew! Are you following this? Only in the StoryBook Village.

Clearly this is all a lot of Junk and they need your help.
Sunday, December 3, 2006
Location: The Creamery
28 Hannum St.
Skaneateles, NY 13152
Contact: 315-685-1360
Website: Click here for more information
Starting Time: 1:00 PM
Ending Time: 4:00 PM
Admission: FREE

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Auburn Holiday Inn just called

It's A-Dog-Eat-Dog World in the Hotel business. Sort of.
Except here in the Finger Lakes.

I just got a call from Amber at the Holiday Inn Auburn. You could search for Holiday Inn, but better to go directly to their local page. In case you don't know, The Auburn Holiday Inn is a very nice property in the next community over from the StoryBook Village, and, Amber is a large part of the personality of the place. You will immediately understand when you talk with her.

In any event, we are supposed to be competitors. Ha!

Amber had a Guest wanting to make reservations with them for the 2007 Sunrise Rotary WinterFest but didn't know the dates. So, of course she called us Skaneateles Suites [remember we are supposed to be the competition?]

This is so typical! Now don't get me wrong; everybody wants to sell their rooms first. But after that is done, or if you don't have what the Guest wants we think nothing of picking up the phone and calling "The Competition".

By the way, WinterFest is January 27 & 28, 2007. If the Holiday Inn is sold out, then call us! Ha!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

GingerBread House

This is GingerBread House, and you could live here. We live here, and we love it. The Village that is.

The folks that own GingerBread House currently live in California. HA! They know where they want to be... in the StoryBook Village.

Skaneatele Suites for details.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sunrise Rotary & WinterFest

Are you an early riser? I know I am up every day at 5, usually doing important things like writing blogs, while my wife Toni sleeps in. Except for Thursdays. Thursdays she [virtually] bounds out of bed to go to Sunrise Rotary.

It is there that some actual important things take place like planning for the Skaneateles Rotary Winter 2007 Festival, January 28 &28.

So give them a hand, please.
1. Link to this blog. At least pass it along.
2. Join the Sunrise Rotary, have breakfast with Toni Thursday Mornings
3. Mark your calendar for WinterFest 2007

Here are some links from their webpage:

Meets Thursday Morning, 7-8 am
at Skaneateles Hilltop Restaurant, Skaneateles NY

President, Rhett Weiss
John Paddock
Elaine Taggart
Toni Feldmann
Past Provisional President,
Doug Hill

Pavilion Photo PageWinterfest

One last thing, you will have a much better time at Rotary Winter Fest if you arrive early, then stay late which is easy to do if you have a room at Skaneateles Suites

The World is About Us

The premiere receptive tour operator in Central New York, specializing in the Finger Lakes, Syracuse, Rochester, 1000 Islands, Cooperstown and the Adirondacks. With over 15 years experience, World About Us offers fun filled itineraries, knowledgeable and trained guides with the lowest tour costs available.

Please check out our Getaway Packages and our Group Tours. If you don't find what you are looking for, we would be happy to work with you to plan the perfect custom tour.

Vacation in the Finger Lakes!
If you have never visited the Finger Lakes or Central New York, you are missing one of the country's treasures. And even if you live there, there is always more to experience. One of the nation's top wine producing regions, the Finger Lakes boasts over 80 wineries. The area is also packed full of unique historic sites, and stunning natural attractions. The lakes themselves offer a wealth of recreational opportunities. We encourage you explore the tourism resources available. If you would like some suggestions, or assistance, please do not hesitate to call us. We would be happy to show you all the Finger Lakes have to offer.

And, they often use Skaneateles Suites

Technorati Claim

Technorati Profile

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Picture is Worth...Priceless

I don't get it, neither does Tom. Tom Watson, Photog, that is.

We manage other peoples property for them. Mostly that means we clean a lot of houses so we can them rent them, hopefully for a lot of money for the owner.

Which gets me to the photography part. Do you think I can get them [my owners] to pony up for professional photography? Nope. They just want the big rent checks without the costs. Geeze, guys. So lately we have been just buying the photography and burying it in the costs.

Wanna see what I am talking about?
Above is a picture taken by ME and my digital camera,

This is what you get from Tom:

Conclusion: Don't take 5 years [like I did] to discover a pictures say a 1000 words, and by the way, costs maybe a $1000, and by the way, pays for itself immediately with higher prices and easier sales pitches. Call Tom and tell him: "Curt days......blah blah". But first go to Tom's Page

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Wanna be friends?

In case you don't know, the World Wide Web is going Local, and so is Syracuse.

That's because the whole world is too big a place when you want to know something about [say] little-old Skaneateles. It infuriates me to search for a hotel in a small village on Travelocity only to be directed to a chain hotel that is 45 minutes away. Grrr!

And that's why Google and Yahoo are making such a big deal about LOCAL searches and content.

And that's why my friends Cary and Chris have such a good idea at Syracuse Friends.

Mind you, I am happily married and intend to stay that way. But when I was a single man, about all there was to find someone was the barrooms. But that was before the internet, and now the new "social internet".

Need a new friend? Look to Syracuse Friends you may find them in your own back yard.

By the way, if it's a boy/girl kind of thing you find, we know a great place to celebrate: Skaneateles Suites

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Coffee at the Sherwood

I just had a great cup of coffee at the Sherwood Inn, historically a stagecoach stop and now an inn, restaurant and all round great spot in Skaneateles. They are kind enough to host a meeting of local travel business's, some of which are "the competition". I am not surprised, though, that the way we do things in the StoryBook Village.

The Sherwood Inn also takes reservations for The Packwood House, Hobbitt Hollow and the Village Inn. Find them at The Sherwood Inn

The photo is taken from their website.

Of course, if they are full, call us at the Skaneateles Suites

Skaneateles Tour Groups

I just gave a presentation to the Group Tour Committee about harnessing the power of blogs for promotion. The group is looking for new ways to attract Group Tours to Auburn, NY [which absolutely FULL of history, and, Skaneateles, NY which is our StoryBook Village.

If you are a travel person in the New York, New England area, you should consider making us a destination. Your travelers will thank you. Contact Chas Allan at World About us Tours

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Charles Dickens’s Visits Skaneateles, The Story Book Village

Charles Dickens’s Visits Skaneateles, The Story Book Village

Skaneateles is a cute-as-a-button Village located in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. If ever there was a Must-Do it would be Skaneateles Dickens’s Festival. Every Saturday and Sunday between Thanksgiving and Christmas the Village shares it’s lifestyle with all visitors. Professional actors, dressed in Dickens’s period costumes, walk the streets and shops of the Village. Lot’s of locals dress up as well, and everyone is infected with the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come.

Think of it as street theater without a script. And don’t be surprised when everyone wished you well, tips his or her hat or holds open a door. That’s just the way we are.

Insider Tip: Avoid Saturday, it’s crowded. Better yet, spend the night on Sunday. The Chamber of Commerce has a list of places to stay. Better yet, check out [that's us] and call for more info 315-685-7568

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Secret Places and Travel Writers

I recently spent a day with Hank Stark and his wife Cher. Hank is a world traveler and Food & Beverage critic and author. After considering anyplace in the world to settle, they chose Ithaca, NY [ALMOST as cool as the StoryBook Village] and now Hank writes a travel column for the Ithaca Journal. Below is a snip from the email he sent me:

"Of course the lake is clean and pretty, there are many restaurants with varied cuisines, blah, blah, blah. I liked the fact that there were few chain merchants, no big box stores, and lots of small shops, European style.

Most importantly, I liked the naturalness of the people. They seemed unaffected and real. Even those who didn't know me seemed extra friendly and sincere. We conversed with people on the street who seemed to have let their guard down just because they were so happy to be in town. A carefree spirit seemed to reign. It was kind of like being in a fantasy land - all of the usual buildings and commercial establishments but the inhabitants and the merchants seemed, to the outsider anyway, to have shed the normal preoccupations with everyday business concerns.

It was like I shed my everyday clothes when I arrived in the village and donned garments that immediately imparted a casual air to my psyche. Maybe it's because I'm a native New Yorker (Manhattan) and Skaneateles seems to be at the exact opposite end of the spectrum.

What a relief!

Wow, Hank. I couldn't have said it better!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bill Boggs visits the StoryBook Village

WHAT four-time Emmy Award-winning TV host has been a major figure in the lifestyle, food, travel, consumer, sports, news, and celebrity reporting arenas for more than 25 years? Bill Boggs. As host of the New York based Midday Live with Bill Boggs and Weekend Today In New York (along with the long-running Food Network hit, Bill Boggs Corner Table), Bill has interviewed many of the most notable personalities of our time - including cultural icons, presidents, international leaders, writers, athletes, celebrity chefs, and food critics – not to mention a movie star or two!

Bill: Welcome to Skaneateles, the StoryBook Village!Bill will be spending 4 days here at Dockside at the BoatHouse, a cute as a button apartment overhanging the lake. Goal: Quality time with his son. Sounds good to me.As self-appointed Ambassador to our Village, I will be giving Bill an insiders tour of our "Secret Places".

Sunday, June 25, 2006

"Secret Places"

This is Stella Maris, one of my Secret Places.

Thing is, besides being magnificent, it is stage center in the StoryBook Village and very few locals have ever set foot inside. BIG mistake.

Problem is their past. For years Stella Maris [was] a retreat Center for Catholic nuns. As a kid, I remember them [nuns, that is] down by the water; some in habits, some in [black] bathing suits. Wow! was that ever avante garde [and before the Vatican Council]

Today, Stella Maris is still a place for retreats, but muchmore. It is also a non-denominational Conference Center, and in part a hotel, and, in total a very cool place.

Visit to see their offering of programs, but for sure read their definition of "so what is a retreat anyway?". Recently, I spoke with Sister Rose about her view of what constitutes a spiritual experience; I was blown away. This is NOT your father's Oldsmobile woman.

They have offerings for divorce, and happily married couples, and AA, and a local Yoga group, even a strawberry festival.

But... the secret place is the Gift Shop. Ready for this? It is self-serve-self-pay-thank-you-very-much. And they have really cool stuff.

Next visit here, just go there and spend some money in the Stella Maris Gift Shop.


Places to Stay, other than us. HA!

Just about everything in Skaneateles is a little unusual. Here is the deal about Places To Stay.

The Sherwood manages reservations for 4 properties in the Village. Mirbeau has two.

We have 2, the Bungalows at Skaneateles Suites and the Boutique Hotel. We also have furnished apartments, condos, houses and Dockside vacation rentals. Find us at

So basically there are three of us who have most of the rooms. BUT, it goes on. The Chamber of Commerce has a "lodging" listing of everybody.

Here is the cool part: everybody gets along with everybody else. Don't get me wrong, in the winter when it is slow, it's a dog-eat-dog world and everybody sells their own room first. But after that, we all call one another all the time and refer overflow guests to one another all the time. People are really wowed that one hotel would call a competitor to find them a room. We don't think that odd, it's just the way we are. StoryBook Village!

By the way, there is a new B&B in the next town over, Call and ask for Katie Hess, we wish her well.

Dining in the Village

Eat at Joe's. Ha! Sounds like a joke but it's not.

Yesterday I spent the day with Hank Stark and his wife Cher, a travel and food writer. I took them to Joe's for lunch, and asked Jamie [the owner of Joe's to join us].

Understand that normally Hank wants to be anonymous when reviewing. That didn't last long. Within minutes the two of them were nose deep in conversation about sauces, and basil leaves and which varieties of blended red wines had the best character. Yawn!

All I know is the food is terrific at Joe's [I could care less how they do it]. Here is a hint: always order the Soup; it is always wonderful.

What I didn't know is that Jamie Hunt has a unusual technical background in culinary arts. I always thought he was just a good cook.

For Joe's menu go to

Conclusion: "Eat at Joe's", ask for Jamie to visit your table, tell him Curt said hello.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Dockside at WestLake

I am not supposed to say this [I am a professional property manager and I am supposed to be impartial]. But, oh well, I will. WestLake is my favorite property.

For sure, we have others; Gregory Landing is the home of USA Olympic Champion Scott Gregory. Robinson Crusoe is marketed because it does NOT have TV or cell phone coverage, Paul's cabin is a Million Dollar cottage at the end of Mr. Toads Wild Ride [by the way, visit Paul at ] and we have others.

Several years ago, Margaret and Angelo [my Owners] who are a [very cool] professional couple from downstate [with local roots] bought WestLake as a "placeholder" for their retirement home. Then they called us to manage and rent when they were not around.

It was our first managed property, and, my favorite.

Make no mistake, WestLake is an Estate Class 4-seasons Beach House less than a mile from the Village and it is NOT inexpensive. But, if you can pay the freight... WOW!

But, when the dust settles, here is why it is my favorite: Angelo has given me my marching orders. According to him, if the prospective Guests don't "fall in love" with WestLake I am not to rent to them.

Now, then, this is very cool. So cool I have included it in my sales pitch: "Angelo says: blah, blah". Not the first person has been confused, they instinctively like Angelo.

Here is the problem: Soon, M & A will cash in their chips and come to be our neighbors in the StoryBook Village. We will welcome them, of course, but we will loose WestLake as a signature rental.

Oh well. Life goes on. If you want to see more, go to and look fo the Dockside's.


Go Adworks

I really love the people who do business in this Village!

One in particular is Carol Brandt of AdWorks. If you would like to see what she does, go to or and check out all the logos: Suites, Boutique Hotel and Docksides.

Or, go to . If you are a business guy [or anybody else for that matter] who has used advertising agencies, you will know what I mean when I say they are [for the most part] a pain in the ass.

Much of what we need, day-to-day, is simple little compositions for some Goodwill Hockey Booster Club or Pancake Breakfast. My experience with ad guys is that they take longer telling you how busy they are than it takes to give you what you want.

Obviously not so with Carol. She is a small company, real busy, but always has time to talk shop or quick-get-out-the-door an ad that we need "yesterday". Geeze, customer service without an attitude; what a novel concept!

I almost forgot, the blonde in the Dockside photo is Carol.

Blog Skaneateles: It Ain't a Cathedral

Blog Skaneateles: It Ain't a Cathedral

It Ain't a Cathedral

For those of you who remember, a story about the original Community Dock Debate of yesteryear.

In 1968 Bill McCauley and I had a great idea for our last summer in Skaneateles before going to college and growing up [which neither wanted to do]. Indeed, we built a Tom Sawyer version of a "house raft" and spent the summer sleeping on it. Too bad there are no archived photos; it was quite the vessel; 12 x 36 feet she floated on used oil barrels and boasted an enclosed cabin and 12 masthead. Christened "It Ain't a Cathedral" in the spring of '68 a friend of my father [who owned a working woman's lingerie store] supplied us with a selection of very unusual women's undergarments which we proudly flew from the masthead.

At the end of each Hard Day's Night at Morriss we would invite whatever women were still standing to see our craft. We then rowed out in Bill's extremely leaky rowboat. So leaky that if the girl's decided they wanted to leave, the boat had sunk. Ha! Too bad, we said. Guess you will have to take off your clothes and swim to shore.

Here is the rub: The mayor's office [still does] overlook where we moored SS "It Ain't a Cathedral" and the mayor was a retired General [Marine, I think] and he was almost entirely without humor. The Mayor called the Sherriff to run us off, but it turned out we wern't breaking any laws.

The StoryBook Village was torn apart in the Great Civil Debate of '68. There was the "Boy's-Will-Be-Boys" Faction and the "I-Am-Agast" Faction. No-one was nuetral, and Bill and I spent all summer staying one step ahead of the Law as they vainly tried to catch us doing something wrong. In the End, faced with college and growing up looming, we scuttled and burned her in the tradition of the Steamboats of last Century.

Here is the Story: At the Community Dock Vote, one concerned citizen raised the issue of how the committee would control the problem of "Chinese Junks tied to the dock like we had some years ago". About half the audience and at least some of the Trustees knew perfectly well that I, a keynote speaker in behalf of the Dock's, was indeed Captain Emeritas of that "Chinese Junk".

There were some snickers, but nobody said a word. Ha! Whew! We got our Docks.


New News for Skaneateles

We have lot's of news in Skaneateles, and for that we welcome the Auburn Citizen's new newspaper the Skaneateles Journal. Not that the venerable Skaneateles Press and/or the Neighbors West don't do a good job [they do], it's just that we have so many issues we need more coverage.

Consider the most immediate pressing issues: charge for parking and sandwich board signs. [Fox and CNN just don't give us the coverage that these subjects deserve.]

After decades of struggling with too many cars and too few parking places it has occurred to us to charge a parking fee. Go figure! Local citizen Alan Dolmatch took two years to study this radical new Plan. My guess is that it took him 5 minutes to study and two years to get US to agree to it. For those of you who don't live here: We have a "Just-Say-No" Policy to anything that anyone wants to do.

As an example, 10 years ago I was asked to speak in support of the Community Docks for boat parking program. I did, as did others and then I listened as EVERY Board member spoke [as citizens] in favor. It was unanimously thought a good idea. They then [The Board] voted AGAINST the proposal. This is typical. [Of course a year later we are able to slip it through when nobody was looking. Ha!]

But this is all past tense. The more current raging debate concerns the proliferation of sidewalk sandwich board signs. Yup, we have a problem: they seem to be multiplying like mice, cluttering up our StoryBook Village.

Mr. and Ms. Village Board, listen up: Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. Temporary, portable informational signs are a good thing. They just need to be managed.

Add some additional subjective language [we do that all the time] to the existing sign rules.

Cook up a review committee.

Pick "X" number of locations that are appropriate for portable signs.

Distinguish between not-for-profits and business's.

Charge a lot of money for a sign license, then everybody with a sign has to rotate the location from a predetermined caledar. Whew! This is heady stuff.

Welcome Auburn Citizen and your Skaneateles Journal, we have a LOT to tell the world about.

Lifted from

Set on a jewel-clear lake in central New York State, the Skaneateles area is home to a thriving residential and business community, and host to thousands of visitors and vacationers each year.

In the historic downtown district, shops and galleries are housed in restored buildings dating back to 1796. Browse for unique foods, distinctive fashions, original art, home accessories, or a special antique.

Relax at a restaurant or tavern; the atmosphere may be casual and lively or quietly gracious, but the menu is always tempting. Visitor accommodations include inns, bed-and-breakfasts, motels and cottages.

Editorial comment: Of course we recommend you stay with us. Skaneateles Suites is a collection of places to stay; overnight, extended stay or Dockside vacation rentals. Visit us at

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Toni, my wife

I am passionate about lot's of stuff: my community, wooden boats, my business [which you can find at ] and mostly, Toni.

I also believe that you need to re-invent yourself every 10 years. Hhmm! Maybe 5 as I get older.

My wife [Karen] died at an early age, leaving me as a single Dad with two kids. Then I married Toni [good move]. Between us we have six [count'em six] kids.

Whew! Thankfully, they are all gone, we are empty nesters, free to do re-invent stuff.

Here is the point: love your partner. So there. Just do it. Curt

FAMiliarization Tour

The Skaneateles Chamber of Commerce is extremely well by Sue Dove and her All-Things-Assistant, Candy. Mind you this is no easy thing in a Village like Skaneateles.

Most all the locals [of which I am one, but NOT one of the "most"] are irritated beyond description at the "tourists". Readers, take note: Toni and I are in the "tourist" business. They [the "most-of-the-locals"] are also irritated beyond description about their taxes. This is an interesting conundrum, since we have no jobs here outside the tourist trade.

Welch Allyn and Hand Held Companies, please forgive me here. You guys do a terrific job propping up the local economy, and buying room nights from us thank-you-very-much.

But in general, our Village would be blown-out and derilect rather than the cute-as-a-button StoryBook Village it is without the tourist dollars. So the question is: which came first?

When I was a kid, the Village was full of entrprenurial stores and shops; we were completely self-sufficient. Then came the Chain Stores and malls and the exodus of customers. I know, my familiy has been in business here for two generations. So, it was YOU "most-of-the-locals" who drove them out with your Big Box shopping and dis-loyalty.

But, back to Sue and her C of C: Sue has done a masterful job of blending the needs of the tourism business and the whining of the locals. The result is a winning combination.

If you want to visit here, and want to know more... call me.

If you live here and disagree, call your neighbor, or the Tax Man, don't call me.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Paul's Cabin

Things have really changed from the Sin Cottage days. [read previous post] Today, we are the local managers for Paul's Cabin. Paul is a really cool guy, read on.

In his spare time, he dreamed up and built "Paul' s Cabin", notwithstanding everybody thought he was nuts [even me, at times].

The short story is Paul's is a Million Dollar Cottage at the end of Mr. Toads Wild Ride on Skaneateles Lake. Not the kind of place where you run out for a quart of milk. The longer story can be found at Paul's webpage It's worth a visit.

Meanwhile, I am thinking about this because in an hour I will be driving this weeks arriving Guest there [for a vacation memory, no doubt]. And recently, I rambled on about how things have changed from my Sin Cottage days.

So, if Paul's is a little over the edge for you, check out our other Docksides at But if you call Paul, tell him Curt said hello, and yes, we will take good care of his customers.

Blog Skaneateles: Sin Cottage

Blog Skaneateles: Blog Skaneateles, the beginning

Monday, May 29, 2006

MidLakes Navigation Skaneateles

When I was a kid, I worked for Mid Lakes. As a matter of fact, I was best friends with [father] Peter Sr. and [son] Peter Jr. Wow! that is kind of wierd, but I was.

Together, [mostly Peter Sr.] we created Mid Lakes Navigation [except for a guy named Phil P. who could fix anything, and who is know an engineer].

It is now years later. I am still a "captain" and I still talk to the family all the time.

So here is the deal: visit them at and especially ask for the "hire boats".

Or call me. Curt

Grazing thru the Village

We don't like to sit and eat a long, heavy meal. We prefer to graze. So, if you are in Skaneateles here is how to do that.

Start by staying at our Boutique Hotel in the Village center. Than walk out the back door and around the corner to Joe's Pasta Garage. I prefer their soup of the day, but Toni likes their salads.

Next stop is Johnny Angels, or Doug's Fish Fry [Doug's has cute little shrimp cocktails] and around the corner to Kabuki for some sushi. Across the street is the Bluewater Grill for their garlic corn chowder [awesome].

Then to the Sherwood Inn tavern, then a block further to Kreb's for a nightcap. But at Kreb's you have to know to ask to go upstairs.

On you way back home to the Boutique Hotel, stop at the local watering hole Morriss's cafe to have a drink with the locals.

There are plenty of other options, just call or email.


Sin Cottage

Toni and I are in the lodging business; hotel rooms, apartments and Dockside vacation rentals. You can see them all at

One of the reasons we do so well with the Cottage rentals is that when I was a "younger" man, a small group of us single guys rented a cottage every year for 10 years. It was little more than a shack, but it did have cold running water and it's own prive outhouse. We called it Sin Cottage.

Back then, the City of Syacuse had a "Honey Boat" which plied that lake emptying outhouse pails. Ha! Your tax dollars at work. Our Outhouse was a two-holer and we made sure there was a currrent Sears Roebuck catalog inside [Sears doesn't have catalogs anymore, and Sin Cottage doesn't have an outhouse, nor does the City have pail service]. Too bad on all counts.

Sin Cottage had two small bedrooms and another shack down by the water. John stayed there; he liked the privacy since there was always a parade of good looking women following him to Sin Cottage.

Sadly, I never had the same need for privacy, so I moved my bed to the unscreened porch and slept with the sounds of the forest, and the sounds of John's shack to lull me to sleep.

On year we rigged up a shower, of sorts. It was on an outside wall of Sin Cottage and consisted of a shower head connected to a hose and a funnel. [We considered installing a shower curtain, but that idea was 86'd quickly.] After breakfast, we would invite whatever girls were there to take a shower, which meant that someone had to climb up a stepladder and pour a pail of tepid water in the funnel. Of course, everyone else promised to not watch. Ha!

Here is the amazing thing: of the dozens and dozens of women who drifted through Sin Cottage over the decade, virtually all hated the outhouse and virtually all agreed to take a shower.

Just to be on the record, Sin Cottage is long gone, fallen to a million dollar development, and, the Cottages we now rent all have indoor showers and toilets. Too bad!


So, how do you get on Skaneateles Lake anyway?

Good question. Skaneateles is the Eastern most of the Finger Lakes, and although they are all quite nice, the most pristene of all of them. This is in part due to topograpy and geography and part because it is quite difficult for "tourists" to get on it. Take heart, it is equally difficult for locals.

When I was growing up here visitors had a choice of two places: Jones Beach and Sandy Beach. As an aside, I recently ran a Google Map and found they are still showing Jones Beach, 50 years long gone. Jones Beach became a Marina [I worked there, but that's another story] and then The SailBoat Club [still is] but you have to be a member.

Sandy Beach charged by the carload, had an actual sand beach and a place to buy a soda. But it too went away, victim to I-don't-know-what. Next to it was, still is, BAB [email me for what that stands for] actually private property, but an enormously popular place for boaters to congregate and "nest" their boats. Currently a local family is building a home there, however, NYS Law says the people own the water, so I expect boaters will continue to drink and pee in the water as they have for decades.

When I was a teenager, we would go there at night to drink and you-know-what. I expect that tradition continues as well, but I am in bed by 10:00PM so I don't know for sure.

As an aside, ten years ago the owner offered the property for sale, giving the Town first refusal. But we, in our myopic just-say-no history, did just that. Said: "NO". Geeze, we amaze me sometimes.

Meanwhile, how do you get on the lake? Not easily.
1. Dig deep and buy a waterfront home, they are only a million or two or three dollars. Or rent one from us for a week. Look for the "Dockside's" at our webpage.

2. Buy a boat and trailer it to the State launch, cruise around, go to the Village Community Docks for access to the Village. By the way, they really are community docks, meaning a group of us got together, built them, put them in and take them out every year.

3. Rent. The Sailboat shop, and we rent pontoon boats [but we only rent to our Guests, they rent to the public.] Also and The Boutique Hotel rent kayaks and canoes. But, you have to "trailer" them on a little set of wheels to the Community Docks to launch. Guests often raise their eybrows at this, but, oh well.

4. Cruise with Mid-Lakes They have an assorment of ways to enjoy the water. Take the Mail Boat Cruise [yes, they actually deliver the US Mail] or the Dinner Cruise [my choice] or a 1 hour shoreline cruise. Look for them in the park, or at 11 Jordan Street. Tell'em Curt sent you [I used to work for them, back before the War of the Eskimos]

5. There is a public swimming area in Cliff Park, but it is not very user friendly. You will see what I mean when you get here. But at least you can get wet.

6. Look for me in the Park, I often stop there in one of my wooden boats [some of which actually float] and offer rides to total strangers. That's because I too, want to get you on the Lake.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Clean sheets???

Toni and I run and we travel, a lot.

We get a LOT of compliments about our clean rooms [see ], and I am confused. I don't think we are doing anything special, hotel rooms ought to be clean. Makes me wonder about what is out there.

If you are a traveler, let me tell you how it's done. If you are a hotel, let me tell you how to do it.

$$$$$ In general, let price be your guide. We budget an hour to clean a room [twice what the chains do] plus we have periodic "deep cleans". You figure it out, if you are paying $50 to $75 a night, how can they afford to REALLY clean the room? Travelers: unless you know the place, don't spend that little. Hotels: Raise your rates and do a better job, your Guests will appreciate it.

We don't have "maids", we have GuestKeepers. And we pay them well. And then each week we pay a 1$ bonus for each room cleaned perfectly, UNLESS they make a single mistake, in which they lose all their bucks for the week. Ha! Guess what? They make very few mistakes because they a] wan't their bucks and b] are embarrased to lose. Hotels: listen up, it's no wonder you have so much turnover.

Escorts Guests to their rooms; remember how it used to be? Except in our case, we have the GuestKeepers do the escorting. That puts the person sleeping in the room squarely in the face of the person cleaning it. Another Ha!

It's all kind of common sense, is it not?


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Blog Skaneateles, the beginning

I am a little surprised at myself, when I first heard about Blogs T thought: "how stupid". Then I attended a seminar about the 2nd Generation of the internet, and how useful ythis stuff like wikipedia can be.

Toni and I live in this StoryBook Village [Skan-e-atlas thank you very much, NOT skinny-atles] and I am self-proclaimed Travel Ambassador. We also run a property management company, which means we sell rooms, apartments, vacation rentals and then, go change the sheets and mow the lawn. Although we have a terrific staff of 6-8, we are basically a Mom and Pop company.

If this works, I will be bragging and showing and telling about Skaneateles and us. By the way, find us online at