Skaneateles: Sherwood Inn Sparks Debate Over First Dates

I had a great time in Baltimore the past few days – which was at times very reflective and at others extremely ridiculous (in a good way).

We’ll return to those stories – but let’s go back to last weekend in Syracuse. After sampling wines from a hybrid grape and learning about vines that are buried every winter at Anyela’s, I made the short drive (5 minutes) to the tip of the north end of Skaneateles Lake and pulled into the Sherwood Inn (FYI Skaneateles Lake, pronounced “Skinny Atlas,” is the cleanest of the Finger Lakes, for what it’s worth).

I walked in the front door and looked to my left, to my right. In one ear I heard small talk and the sounds of silverware on dishes, in the other came louder voices and a bartender digging through an ice chest.

Once I located my party we explored the Inn, seeing the tavern setting on the right side and the classic dining room to the left. In between was the lobby with an old, carpeted staircase that creaked when I walked upon it, a detail I appreciate about old buildings – a great dash of character. There are 25 rooms upstairs, most of which evoke the feelings of a guest room in a family house.

As we descended the stairs back down to the restaurant, we were once again confronted by the decision. Peering into the tavern side, seeing the casual and dim atmosphere, the wooden tables and the patrons posted up at the bar, I said in jest to my friend Danica, “I think this side is for first dates, and the other is for one-year anniversaries.”

A recent newlywed herself, she laughed and said, “I think it’s the other way around.”

The Tavern: Every Friday evening features a seafood raw bar with fresh shucked oysters, clams, and jumbo shrimp cocktails (from Foley’s Fish in Boston). I had a half dozen oysters as an appetizer (solid), and we shared a bottle of Overlay Verse 4 from the buried vines at Anyela’s winery (Sherwood Inn’s wine list carries many Finger Lake varieties and is a Wine Spectator Magazine award-winning list). No reservations are taken for tavern seating.

Main Dining Room/Lakeview Porch: No sweat if you are looking for something a little more upscale – brighter lighting and softer voices. The raw bar is also available in the main dining room – so no worries about missing out on that. I had a pan-seared Atlantic salmon encrusted with pecans, the sweetness of which really complimented the flaky pink fish. Start with the French Onion soup and request a table by the fireplace during colder months. Dinner service begins at 5 p.m. and reservations are required.

After dinner, I returned to the Mirbeau Inn & Spa where I sat by the fire in my room and wrote about what an idiot I was to stay there alone.


Sherwood Inn at Skaneateles Lake
View from steps of Sherwood Inn of Skaneateles Lake.
Room at Sherwood Inn (all are different).
Classy dining. Photo credit: Sherwood Inn.


  1. Lovely review! Glad to here your stay in Skan-town was pleasurable. However, just to be nit-picky because who doesn’t love a meddlesome, anonymous nit-picker?! I do want to correct you on the pronunciation of Skaneateles. I’m proud to be the eighth generation of my family to be born and raised in town. Throughout Skan. history, many of my family members have played significant roles in the town’s development; therefore, my elders have all made it a point to make sure that I am very knowledgeable about my hometown. I spent much time with my grandparents as a youngster and if I had a dime for every time my grandmother griped about anyone incorrectly pronouncing our town’s name, I would be giving the federal government a loan to pay off the national debt 😉 Skaneateles is an Iroquois word meaning “long lake” and it is actually pronounced “Skan-ee-atel-es” . A good way to remember this nuance is to think of Atlas with the world on his shoulders, if Atlas is too skinny, how can he be strong enough to hold up the whole world?!
    At any rate, glad you enjoyed your stay. Come back and see us during the hot summer months so you can take a dip in the lake, there’s nothing in the world like it!

    • Thanks for the info! So it’s ateles, not atlas, right? Phew, this is why I am a writer – no pronunciation!

      • Yep, “-ateles”, just the way it’s written. Although, saying “atlas” is much more widely accepted by the locals than is saying “Skinny-atlas”. In this case my dear old granny would merely enforce her correction with a light smack and a point of her finger, rather than a threat to skin. 😉

  2. My mother, who seems to find everything on the internet, posted your blog to my facebook page. I’ve worked at the Sherwood Inn for the past ten years with my sister, who is the restaurant manager. I wait tables and do the Friday night raw bar:) I was please to hear the oysters were “solid.” There are a lot of great things coming to Skaneateles in the near future, so please be sure to visit again. Thanks again for the nice little review.

    • Thanks for reading Katie, and thanks to your mother for passing it along! Were you working that particular Friday? We had such a great time.

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