CHECKING INN: Aurora is what Christmas dreams are made of.

Tucked into a charming village founded in 1789 and situated alongside the pristine Finger Lakes of New York, The Aurora Inn is all I want for Christmas.


photos courtesy of The Inns of Aurora


Please, don't get me wrong; I'm blissfully content here in sunny South Florida, but come the holidays, I find myself desperately craving some lovely weather for a sleigh ride together, followed perhaps by that happy feeling nothing in the world can buy - the one that comes when we pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie. I'm talking something that would nearly be like a picture print by Currier and Ives. Catch my drift?


Enter the Village of Aurora, a designated National Historic District and an enchanting, peaceful retreat from our hectic modern world.


Along with a farm-to-table restaurant, a casual pub, a village market, a wellness center, and a demonstration kitchen, this storybook village is where the five Inns of Aurora are located. And while each offers gracious accommodations and its own distinct personality, it's the understated elegance of Aurora Inn that tops my Christmas wish list.

fireside in the cozy parlor


Built in 1833 and once the family home of entrepreneur and politician Colonel E.B. (he was the first president of Wells Fargo, director of American Express, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and... how cool is this: was the co-founder of The New York Times), Aurora Inn was restored in 2003 by Pleasant T. Rowland. She's an alumna of Wells College, noted educator, author of early childhood literacy programs, and founder of the wildly popular and hugely successful American Girl doll company (and oh my goodness, her name is "Pleasant". Love that for her.)


The idyllic Aurora Inn - recognized by Hotels of America National Trust for Historic Preservation and Lifestyle Preferred Hotels & Resorts, and winner of the prestigious awards AAA Four Diamond, Travel & Leisure's 2019 World's Best, and Trip Advisor's 2020 Travelers' Choice - strikes the perfect balance of historic charm and contemporary luxury. Its five beautiful guest rooms include a king or queen-sized bed outfitted in Frette linens, a comfortable seating area and writer's desk, an elegant bath, and a private balcony with rocking chairs and a swinging bench. In case you need them (personally I'd pass because it kind of defeats the purpose, but that's just me) high-tech amenities such as wireless internet, bedside charging ports, and a flat-screen T V with Google Chromecast are there for the using.

the guest bedrooms are appointed with designer finishes and luxury linens


all baths feature marble floors, plush bathrobes, and spa-quality bath products


abundant natural light and a gas fireplace create a warm ambiance


What once served as the inn's dining room is now 1833 Kitchen & Bar, where Executive Chef Eric Lamphere's delectable grub is sourced from local purveyors and responsible harvesters, and everything is made from scratch whenever possible.


No stay is complete without a tasting experience or skills workshop at Aurora Cooks! - a cutting-edge demonstration kitchen that's perfect for date night or a fun, educational, and inspiring outing with friends and family.


Whether you choose to take advantage of it while you're there or before you leave, Aurora's quaint Village Market is a must-go for branded gifts, freshly brewed organic coffee, take-home meals, soups, chili and chowders, and a wide selection of craft beers.


And although I acknowledge the fact you can easily obtain its wonderful, whimsical tabletop items, home decor and giftware at fine department stores or online, one would be remiss to skip a visit to the nearby headquarters of MacKenzie-Childs... especially to tour the beloved company's unforgettable historic farmhouse - decked to the hilt in all its striped & polkadotted, scalloped & tasseled, colorful & courtly-checked glory.

photo: MacKenzie-Childs


During her speech, "This Special Place," given on the occasion of the reopening of the Aurora Inn in 2003, Pleasant T. Rowland truly said it best when she remarked: "It seemed to me that if God’s glory was expressed in the natural beauty of Aurora, man’s glory was expressed in its handsome old buildings, the living legacy of a gracious past, a place of gentility, rare in the world as I had come to know it. Aurora was a very special place, indeed — a treasure to protect."


Hoping to see you at Aurora Inn before the next snowflake falls!


For inquiries or to book your stay, visit: innsofaurora.com