hayward house

8404866A little over four years ago, Dave and I were planning a trip to the Finger Lakes — to Ithaca, to see my friends. Or rather, to give my friends a chance to inspect my new boyfriend. (I think we decided he was a keeper.) The hotel I’d expected us to say at unexpectedly raised its rates, and I found myself saying to Dave, “How do you feel about bed & breakfasts?” After a short search and reading a few reviews, we booked a weekend at The Hayward House, and that’s how we found one of our favorite places in the world.

IMG_1357The Hayward House is in Interlaken, NY, and sort of in the middle of nowhere. I mean, not really, but it feels that way, in a good way. Driving up to it at night for the first time, gravel crunching underneath the tires and no lights, like, anywhere, you get a little worried you’ve unknowingly landed a part in Blair Witch 3. But when you get there, it’s a warm beacon if wonderfulness, a beautiful house and an amazing place to stay.

IMAG0270We’ve been back many times — a few more times when we were dating, the weekend before our wedding for a nice retreat, and just last year, in the summer. We’ve gone on the cheese trail, on sailboat rides, visited the nearby Amish market for cookies, honey and yogurt, and visited friends in the area. We’ve always loved it there — the same beautiful West View room with the lovely bedspread, the cozy chairs, and the stuffed cow that lives on the bed (I call him “Moo Moo Cow”), the alpacas next door (we got to see a newborn last visit) and the various animal residents all around.

IMG_1341The breakfasts are completely amazing — Kevin is a phenomenal cook and Michelle’s not bad herself — and we’ve always looked forward to them with glee. There is usually one other couple there when we are (though once it was just us). You meet some interesting people, some nice, some a little odd. One couple kept complaining that there was too much food… as if they force-feed you asparagus tarts and bacon and egg fritattas and delicious juice… They left the table early, which, frankly, meant more quiche for us that day. (And the house is spacious and people go their own way, so breakfast is the only time you have to socialize with anyone, just in case you get a dud like that.)

7733912_origThe Hayward House is one of our favorite places to be, hands down, anywhere in the world. And it’s a special place for Dave and I, as we went there together when we’d just gotten together, and have gone back for so many other milestones and special times. We’ll always cherish every memory we’ve made there. Recently, it went up for sale, and I hope whoever takes guardianship of this special place next continues its lovely traditions, either as a B&B or a home, of simple grace, peace and harmony.

far above cayuga’s waters

I was in Ithaca for my 20th college reunion this past weekend, but only accidentally. We had already planned a trip to our favorite B&B in the Finger Lakes when I realized we’d be in the area at the same time as Cornell’s Reunion Weekend.  I didn’t officially attend, having too many other plans and things we wanted to do, but since we were there we drove through campus (well, where we could — there were roads closed for construction, which is always true), had lunch in Collegetown, and visited the dorm.

Katie and Streaker in close proximity.

Katie and Streaker in rare close proximity.

Risley was hosting the Class of 2004, so we were able to slip inside and, unabashedly, sneak past the now-keycard-entry-only upper floors. I wanted to show Dave the place I’d been talking about for so long, the first floor, Cowcliffes, the CLR (um, where’s the Persian rug that was in the CLR?!), Dining. I wished we could see Risley Theatre, but it was locked up tight, of course, as was Tammany. So we went down 2nd Lost where I’d once lived and visited Karin’s amazing Muppet murals for the first time in years.

That's me with Superman on my shoulder. It's a long story.

That’s me with Superman on my shoulder. It’s a long story.

Then we swung by the 2ndfloor mural of Fall of 1990 residents and I remembered far fewer names than the last time I’d been there. Lastly, we headed to my last and favorite old home at Risley, 352, up on the 3rd floor where Streaker and Katie once roamed, where fondue parties were held, where Darielle used to fall asleep in the shower, and where Paula and I searched for lost catnip mousies.

It’s fun to peek in the old stomping grounds every once in a grand while, but I try not to get too nostalgic about it. Those were some great years, but mostly because of the people I shared them with. The people and I have moved on elsewhere, and the building belongs to two decades’ worth of others who’ve come after me now (as well as those who came before). I hope they enjoyed living there as much as I did.