Last Updated on September 20, 2022

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Oh, the stories these walls inside my favorite Ithaca New York bed and breakfast could tell. Local lore claims that during Prohibition the owners of the Rogues Harbor Inn had a blue parrot that sat on the porch asking guests, “Would you like a cold cup of tea?” If they said yes, the proprietor would bring a teapot full of whiskey up from the cellar.

It is said that in 1920, a patron in high spirits climbed to the roof of a nearby building, hurled a bottle of whiskey against the brick, and proposed the toast, Here’s to a harbor of rogues.” Hence, the venue became known Rogues Harbor Inn, a delightful bed and breakfast located in Lansing, just outside of Ithaca.

This Ithaca Bed and Breakfast has a Fascinating Civil War History

A historic photo of the front façade of Rogues Harbor Inn, an Ithaca New York bed and breakfast, with a horse and buggy in front

Premiere among Ithaca New York bed and breakfast inns, Rogues Harbor has had many notable visitors including Harriet Tubman, William H. Seward, and Grace Miller White.  White used the Inn as the setting for her novel Judy of Rogue’s Harbor which was later made into a silent film starring Mary Miles Minter.

The historical homes of Harriet Tubman and William Henry Seward in Auburn, New York are located within 30 minutes of Rogues Harbor Inn.

There are also ties between this Ithaca New York bed and breakfast and the Underground Railroad. Legend has it there was a tunnel running from the basement of the Inn to Cayuga Lake and slaves bound for freedom would pass through the tunnel on their way north.

Background of this Ithaca New York Bed and Breakfast Inn

Well before the inn was built, the area was a Revolutionary War tract and soldiers were paid in land grants. Major General Daniel D. Minier bought five acres of land from his father along the stagecoach line.

The Rogues Harbor Inn was built in 1830 and originally named Central Exchange Hotel. It took 12 years to complete, constructed with high quality materials and beautifully crafted ceilings, and molding.

The total cost to build was $40,000, which today would be about $2 million. Stage coaches would stop to pick up passengers, purchase groceries, dine at the Inn, and often stay overnight, sleeping on tiny beds with horse-hair mattresses. The first floor had an eating area, parlor, general store, and a ticket window.

In 1991, current owner Eileen Stout drove by the historic Ithaca New York bed and breakfast inn. It was a shambles and soon to be in foreclosure. She’d fallen in love with the Finger Lakes region and believed the Rogues Inn was worth saving. As a result, she purchased it and beautifully resorted it making it into a bed and breakfast. Today the inn is proudly listed as a National Historic Landmark.

My Stay at the Rogues Inn Ithaca, New York Bed and Breakfast

Room 7 at Rogues Harbor Inn | Photo courtesy of Rogues Harbor Inn

There is certainly room at the Inn for guests—nine rooms to be exact plus one for the overnight innkeeper. Each features a unique character and theme.  

I stayed in Room 7 on the third floor facing west with a view of the outside garden. The room was decorated in French Country colors with rich cherry furniture and a deep clawfoot tub. The tub was an added feature not original to the Inn. It fits in well, as did I, enjoying my luxurious and long comfortable soaks.

Every little touch here makes a big difference. The quality towels and washcloths were thick and soft. I turned into Sleeping Beauty on my queen size sleigh bed with a plush Sealy Posturepedic mattress providing the pleasant resting place.

Rogue’s Harbor Inn Ithaca bed and breakfast is a perfect blend of the old, filled with period antiques, quaint elegance, and modern conveniences. The friendly staff is always available to meet your needs. A Keurig coffee machine is available in the common area.

Check availability at Rogues Harbor Inn

Breakfasts at Rogues Inn are Divine

A full breakfast is included with the stay, freshly prepared and served in the historic ballroom. The meal begins with hot coffee, juice, and a warm biscuit with butter and jam. My favorite entrée was the cheesy scrambled eggs with red peppers and onions served with home fries made with both white and sweet potatoes.

You get more than your fill all served up with a warm, friendly smile.

Ithaca New York bed and breakfast Inn breakfast. Photo by Lori Bruton.
Ithaca New York bed and breakfast Inn breakfast. Photo by Lori Bruton.

Gems And Jewels

The brightest shiny gem of the Inn is owner Eileen Stout. It’s apparent she loves what she does. In addition to running the Inn, she has a jewelry gallery on site. Her grandmother was a lapidary (one who cuts, polishes, and engraves gems), a silversmith, and a painter.

The art and design gene was certainly passed down to Eileen, who was later trained by a master jeweler. Stouthearted Jewelry was born and she decided to house it at the Inn. A Kingman turquoise necklace caught my eye and I couldn’t resist.  

Finger Lakes Wineries And Waterfalls

From this Ithaca New York bed and breakfast you can explore numerous local attractions. Because the Inn is in such an ideal location, within 15 minutes, guests can visit three craft breweries, five wineries, four lakeside parks, a myriad of waterfalls, and hiking trails.

Let’s talk about the wineries since we’re in the heart of Finger Lakes wine country. The East side of Cayuga Lake has small wineries that are not even on the main Wine Trail.

At Bright Leaf Vineyards enjoy a glass of oaked chardonnay, hand-tossed pizza, and a stunning view up on the hill. On Wednesdays, they have live music. Keep going to discover Treleavan, Long Point Winery, Heart and Hands Wine Company, and Quarry Ridge Winery.

Ludlowville Falls | Photo credit: Home and Hearth/Shutterstock.com

It was easy to get in the flow by exploring the stunning Ludlowville Falls located along Salmon Creek. This was a filming location for several silent movies. Other nearby waterfalls include Ithaca Falls and Buttermilk Falls.

Ithaca New York Restaurant Recommendations

The Corner Pub at Rogues is located right at the Inn. It has a sports bar feel with booth-style seating and is open seven nights a week. I had the pulled pork special with a flavorful homemade sauce and crème Brûlée for dessert.

Heights Cafe is a casual, contemporary restaurant featuring Mediterranean-inspired American cuisine.

Alléchant is a unique and attractive restaurant with a Parisian bistro feel. Don’t let the limited menu and hours deter you. This is a fantastic place.

The Boat Yard Grill has dazzling waterfront views with a vibrant energy. This is the place for seafood lovers. I recommend the clam chowder soup and fish tacos. Their grilled steaks and burgers are sizzling options.

Antlers Restaurant is a rustic, warm, and welcoming local favorite. The menu includes soups, salads, and classics like steaks and baby back ribs that literally melt in your mouth. Even sweeter are their homemade desserts.

Relaxing Ithaca New York Getaway

After filling up on clean fresh air and divine dishes, it was time to get in some much-needed relaxation.

Bec Haley, a therapist at Ithaca Massage Station offers mobile services or visitors can go to her shop as I did. It was worth the drive for one incredibly relaxing and therapeutic experience.

The best way to end the day is watching the spectacular sunset at Myers Park. This is also a fun place to spend a day picnicking, swimming, playing, and admiring the boats at the marina. Paddle-N-More has kayaks, canoes, and paddleboard rentals.

Staying at the Ithaca New York bed and breakfast Rogues Harbor Inn was a rich, rewarding, historical experience. I highly recommend a stay at this magnificent place.

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5 Comments
  • Janet Howe
    August 30, 2022

    A terrific story, but Rogues Harbor Inn is actually in Lansing NY

    • Kristi Dosh
      August 30, 2022

      Yes, that is noted in the story in the second paragraph. Most visitors are searching for Ithaca though because they haven’t necessarily heard of Lansing. Even the B&B references Ithaca throughout their own website.

  • Monica Mattioli
    August 30, 2022

    Very nice! Ithaca is such a wonderful city.

  • Phyl Doppelt
    September 1, 2022

    I enjoyed reading about your stay at Rogue’s Harbor Inn, Ithaca, and the intriguing and fascinating history that was revealed.

    • Noreen Kompanik
      January 2, 2023

      Lori did a nice job on the article. Thanks for reading, Phyl!