The Weekender: Peace And Quiet In The Finger Lakes

NY1.com writer Melissa Heckscher takes a periodic look at local getaways in this exclusive online series.

I had just unpacked my bags when I noticed it: Quiet!

The sun was just about to set and the breeze was bringing in the night air. I was a little dazed, having just driven eight hours through New York State’s more subtle treasures – the country roads, the miles of cow-spotted pastures, the small towns. But tired as I was, there was no mistaking the calmness in the air. It was, after all, why I had come.

A New Yorker will do a lot to escape the noisy walls of urban living. For me, a whole working day's drive was a worthwhile pilgrimage for a little peace and quiet.

My destination was a one-bedroom cottage about 15 minutes from Canandaigua Lake in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Aptly named, “The Quiet Place,” the house was built with its sole attraction being what it lacks; namely its lack of noise, lack of clutter, and thankfully, its lack of blaring, honking horns at 3 in the morning (or anytime, for that matter).

Located in the village of Bloomfield, a little town made up of not much more than a dollhouse-like restaurant and a fully stocked gas station, the Quiet Place is nestled between blocks of white-picket neighborhoods and acres of sloping farmland.

Here, the only real indulgence is simplicity. The only luxury, a large Jacuzzi tub and a quiet accompaniment of classical and new age music humming from speakers hidden within the woodwork.

It’s the kind of place that tempts you to play chess instead of watching TV (though there is a television hidden in a cabinet, should you choose to unveil it), to light candles instead of lamps, to go to bed early instead of going out late.

And sure, there are easier ways to get away. There are those of us who’d rather drive to the Hamptons, take the bus to New Paltz, or hop on a train to Central Park – all of which offer varying glimpses of simplicity. But there’s something about going a little further that makes the reward all that much more palpable.

And even if you didn’t take advantage of Bloomfield’s nearby attractions – which include sailing, fishing, wine tasting and hiking, not to mention the not-so-far-off grandeur of Niagara Falls – you’d be fine. Peace and quiet is a far underrated attraction of its own, and Jan McKie and Eric Moon, the creators of the Quiet Place, know it well.

The kind-faced couple, of whom my first introduction was a “Friends Don’t let Friends Drink Starbucks” bumper sticker on the car in their driveway, have created an environment that feels much more like a home than a hotel. The cabinets are stocked with colorful dishware, pots and pans, as well as what could be a year’s supply of hot chocolate. The fridge is filled with local coffee selections, non-dairy creamer, and freshly-bought milk. A basket of pastries sits wrapped and ready on the kitchen table.

“We try to create the kind of place where all you need to bring is a toothbrush,” said Moon. “But we can probably get that for you, too.”

by Melissa Heckscher