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.