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

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