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Homes away from home

Thomas M. Baker
Staff writer
Posted 12/24/19

CLINTON — Whether it be parents of students visiting Hamilton College, or family of area residents, once those spare rooms in their domicile get taken by the first in-laws to call them, it’s …

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Homes away from home


CLINTON — Whether it be parents of students visiting Hamilton College, or family of area residents, once those spare rooms in their domicile get taken by the first in-laws to call them, it’s time to take advantage of all the bed-and-breakfast options available in town.

These local accommodations strive to be a “home away from home” for guests of the college, village and surrounding area.

The Arbor Inn at Griffin House

David and Ellen Varecka offer an 1850s country farm house sitting on 5 acres of lush green countryside directly behind Hamilton College at 3919 Griffin Road, known to be perfect for parents or guests of students of Hamilton College or residents of Clinton and the Town of Kirkland.

The house is adorned with antique furnishings, mixed with contemporary comfortable furniture. There’s a gas fireplace in the living room for cozy evenings with the family, or there’s the option to huddle in front of the wide-screen TV hung over the mantle.

The lady of the house prepares a continental breakfast of bagels, English muffins, homemade granola, homemade yogurt and mixed fruit, along with an egg casserole each morning between 8-9 a.m.

“We also do gluten and dairy free meals, if requested,” Ellen said. “Most of the time people will eat what we’re serving, but I will take special requests. I’ve been cooking for years.”

The dining room, or kitchen table, guest preference, is exquisitely set with linen place mats and napkins, crystal clear goblet water glasses accenting gleaming china and flatware.

“I do all the cooking,” Ellen said. “But we all serve our guests.”

The decor of antique dressers, nightstands and bed frames are complimented by country patterned linens, compete with throw pillows.

In addition, if guests are more comfortable staying in the village, close to the Village Green, the Varecka’s have two independent suites located at No. 8 and No. 12 Williams St. in the heart of the Clinton. These suites are decorated with the same charm and style as the farmhouse and offer guests walking convenience to the number of shops and eateries available in the village.

While Ellen does all the cooking, David said he has his list of duties as well.

“I serve breakfast in the morning, she prepares it and I help to serve it,” he said. “But when that’s over I take care of the laundry. I turn that over every day. And of course, if any maintenance issues come up, whether here at the house or down on Williams Street, I deal with those as well. When we get up in the morning we are on the go pretty much until dinner.”

And David said it doesn’t end there.

“In addition to all that, we also do the book and record keeping,” David said. “Also, billing, reservations keep us busy.”

According to TripAdvisor the farmhouse offers air conditioning, free parking and free wireless internet access, private baths, televisions, 24-hour coffee/tea availability and breakfast served each morning. The well kept grounds are filled with gardens and the front porch is the perfect spot for enjoying the upstate New York surroundings.

The Varecka’s said their website: doesn’t meet all of their expectations at the moment, however it is a functioning website they admit future guests could use to make a reservation. Interested parties can also call direct at 315-859-1790.

The Antique and Irish Welch House

Judy Welch grew up in the house at 67 College St. Her mother and father raised a family of five under this roof and her father’s hope was the family be able to keep the house open and always full of people. Welch, a retired area nurse, is doing what she can to keep her father’s wishes met.

“I started out with just a few boarders from work,” Welch said. “There were anesthesiologists I used to work with who needed a place to stay. They said the hotels were boring and there was nothing to do on their off time. So I started taking them in here and they loved it.”

That was 14 years ago. Since then Welch retired from nursing and takes in the public, including many with ties to Hamilton College.

Welch said it went that way for a few years, and she even got one boarder to live with her full-time. Although due to protecting the tenant’s privacy Welch opted not to mention the tenant by name. Welch assures her guests privacy, comfortable atmosphere and a lot of extras.

“I feel it’s all about the amenities,” she said.

The 1843 Italianate style home includes four Irish named bedroom suites all with their own private electric fireplaces, TVs and en suite bathrooms, according to Welch.

The Fitzgerald, Kennedy and O’Brien rooms offer queen size beds, while the Murphy room has space for two queen size beds appropriate for a family of four, or friends who don’t mind bunking in together. There is a semi-private feel for both sleeping quarters. All the rooms feature four poster bed frames with comfortable memory foam mattresses. Two rooms will accommodate a third person.

The suites also offer air conditioners and ceiling fans, WiFi for your laptop, TV and DVD player, and refrigerators. Also, a full-size closet, desk, and clock radio, Keurig coffeemaker in each room, with wine glasses, bottle opener and cheese board.

Unlike many B&Bs the Welch House serves a full-hot breakfast of farm fresh eggs, bacon, juice, toast and coffee. Guests are welcome to enjoy breakfast in the kitchen, dining room, or on the front porch. Relax and watch people stroll the sidewalks, or enjoy your favorite reading material, or your WiFi.

Located 5 miles from Route 90 Exit 32 in Westmoreland and just a short one half-mile walk to Hamilton College. The bed and breakfast is only 25 minutes from Colgate University and is known to be a good spot for those visiting the colleges.

You can book a reservation at It’s pet and smoke free.

The Hedges

Clinton’s oldest operating bed and breakfast was established in 1990. Located at 180 Sanford Ave. in the heart of Clinton’s historic district, guests are within walking distance of the Village Green and the shops on West Park Row. Approximately 1 mile from Hamilton College, the B&B is also a popular choice for those visiting students or faculty of the college.

This English country inn offers four luxurious suites with antique furnishings and original works of art from local artists.

The Federal Suite comes with an extra added bonus in its marbled bathroom and Jacuzzi tub, offering an opportunity to relax stresses away. It also has a pet-friendly policy.

The Kirkland Suite offers French doors that lead to the garden.

The Hamilton Suite features three bedrooms, queen size, two twins and a double along with a cozy sitting area and tiled bathroom.

If guests are looking for more privacy, they may inquire about the Country Cottage, a richly decorated guest suite with a full kitchen and a large living room for long weekends or extended stays. This suite is separate from the main inn where pets are welcome. A day bed is available in the living room area for extra sleeping options. It also includes a tile bathroom with separate powder area.

The Hedges boasts beautiful gardens in the spring and summer, with places to pamper yourself with silence and restful relaxation. In the winter, guests may cozy up to the crackling fireplace in the common area.

Other amenities include air conditioning, private entrance, TV and telephone in rooms, wireless internet and bath robes. All suites come with queen size beds and private baths.

“We like to think of our B&B as a home away from home,” said Barbara Meelan, owner/operator.

But the real difference with the Hedges, Meelan said, is the morning meal.

“We do all organic foods,” Meelan said. “ Steel-cut oats, organic eggs, organic coffee and lots of fresh fruit.”

Contact The Hedges at www. or call 315-723-2035.

The Milkhouse Bed & Breakfast

A restored home from the 1850s remodeled in the 2000s, The Milkhouse Bed & Breakfast name comes from the original farm milkhouse on the property that was used in the early 1900s. Owner/operator Theresa McFadden collects, buys and sells antiques, and has a historical interest in the community as her property reflects. She has a milk house museum on the property.

The four suites it offers has antique decor in rooms on two floors. The lodge’s website describes a peaceful setting, economical rates, and plenty of free parking — also gourmet food.

A full breakfast is included with room rate. Guests may choose from homegrown raspberry pancakes served with local maple syrup, vegetable egg frittata, or steel-cut oatmeal with apples and pomegranate. Also, pecan praline French toast, poached eggs with fresh asparagus and English blueberry scones. A variety of cereals and a choice of coffee and tea flavors are available to top off your breakfast. Breakfast is served in the kitchen dining area.

Snacks include fresh fruit and homemade baked goods.

Air conditioning, cable TV and Wi-Fi are also available.

The Milkhouse is 2 miles from the State Thruway, off Exit - 32. Located at 7537 E. South St. in Clinton, its a half-mile from Route 233 and 2 1/2 miles from Hamilton College.
To find rates and make a reservation, email McFadden at or call 315-723-1760.

The Harding Farm

According to its website, Harding Farm has three buildings next to Hamilton College available for overnight guests: the Cottage, Creekside and Carriage House.  The Cottage and Creekside are stand-alone houses. The Carriage House has three apartments within the building. 

When staying in the Cottage, Creekside or in a Carriage House apartment, guests have the unit to themselves.  Guests will not be sharing the space with others.  The Cottage and Creekside apartments sleeps six in three bedrooms, while the Carriage House sleeps four in two bedrooms.

In addition, its website states the Harding Farm stretches from the eastern side of the Oriskany Creek up to the Hamilton College campus.  The farm also offers places to hike, run, sled, cross-country ski, play a lawn game, fish or simply relax while deer, turkeys and the occasional fox stroll, hawks soar overhead and “the wind blows through the trees.” 

Contact them at or call 315-525-8848. Reservations can also be made at reservations@harding

The Artful Lodger

No longer in business.





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