Citizens of Lansing dismayed by an empty, darkened building and “for sale” sign in the lawn of historic Rogues’ Harbor Inn can relax.
Three and a half years after the sale of the inn, the landmark property reverted to former owner Eileen Stout on June 11.
“Things didn’t work out for the buyers, and I took the property back,” Stout said.
Twenty-eight years after she first took over and renovated the inn, restaurant, and bar, Stout has new ideas for the rooms.
“The immediate priority is to get the overnight inn going again,” she said. “The nine guest rooms on the second and third floors require a thorough cleaning, painting, rearranging, and reorganization. The website needs to be put back on the internet.”
That should take about two weeks.
“I’ve started taking reservations already,” Stout said. “I like to create deadlines for myself, and now, I have one.”
She is seeking to hire an inn manager and an overnight inn-keeper before the guests arrive.
There are three public rooms on the first floor. The central room, with the staircase, will become an expanded lobby with new couches, wallpaper, and paint, according to Stout. Stout plans to lease the barroom, porch, and kitchen to a restaurateur to operate.
“I have a couple of very promising, very local suitors for the restaurant,” she said. “They would take very good care of the place, and, if they want me to, I will pass along some of my favorite recipes for continuity. I don’t think it will be long.”
The remaining room will become a gallery for the jewelry Stout has created during her 3 ½-year-long apprenticeship under master jeweler Fareed Abdulky of the Carla Bijouterie on Seneca Street in Ithaca.
“That’s further out in the future,” she said.
The Salt Point Brewery next door will remain in place for at least a year while the craft beer brewery’s owners build their new facility across from the town hall.
“That lease runs out for another year,” Stout said. “Perhaps another craft beer brewery or a coffee shop [after that].”
The building has hosted both types of businesses.
In the meantime, there is a lot of maintenance, cleaning, and touching up to be done in the building.
Longtime employee Kerry Brace came to the inn the night of the closing to have a celebratory drink with Stout, and “the next day, Kerry was here fixing stuff,” Stout said.
Stout bought the inn in 1991 and set about cleaning, repairing, and redecorating the building. When it was ready, she re-opened the restaurant. A year later, she took back the bar and, in 2001, re-opened the inn as a bed and breakfast. She lived in the ballroom and worked 16 hour days until the birth of daughter Isabella in 2005.
Taking back the inn last week “wasn’t what I had planned, but it’s OK,” Stout said. “I love the place, and, apparently, it loves me.”
Regarding our editors
I was very pleased when Tompkins Weekly Editor Jamie Swinnerton agreed to take on the four local columnists who wanted to jump to a publication that cared about local news, and even more pleased when Jamie and Publisher Todd Mallinson spent the time and resources to re-design the paper and make a real commitment to covering our communities and people.
Her tenure has been marked by steady improvement in the news you read and the paper you read it in, and we should all thank her and wish her well as she moves on.
Finally, best of luck to our new editor, Jessica Wickham, as she and we continue to strive to make Tompkins Weekly “the paper” for our county.
Great Story Matt! I am dying to know how it turns out
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