The sign on the barn door says “Whoa,” but it’s not just for the
horses. One of the reasons that people live in Caroline and other areas
of Tompkins County is the slower pace of life. Those who have lived in
New York or another big city understand what frenetic is, and while
fast-paced is not always bad, there are days when a body just needs to
The summer tourist season is coming up and if you have more friends
and relatives than your house will hold, or if you live in this area but
are looking for a break from the routine, a few nights in a bed and
breakfast might be just the ticket.
The newest bed and breakfast in Caroline is the cottage at RoseBarb
farm, owned by Don Barber and Rita Rosenberg. It’s not only a
comfortable place to spend the night, but offers the opportunity to
observe a household that greatly supplements its grid power with solar
panels, farms organically with draft horses and uses a wood cook stove
to help warm water for the baseboard heating.
The accommodations are a two story cottage with two full bathrooms, a
kitchen and sleeping space for six, right beside an outdoor swimming
Barber and Rosenberg advertise that they are kid-friendly, an
important point as many B&Bs, filled with beautiful antiques and fine
lace curtains, are not conducive to parent relaxation.
Rosenberg, recently retired after 32 years in education, says,
“Teaching is in my blood. I enjoy watching people discover new things.”
She would like those who stay at the cottage to spend their first
morning eating breakfast in her sunny kitchen and learning about the
options available before stocking up on groceries and taking charge of
their own meals.
“I want people to be comfortable and decide for themselves what kind
of stay they would like,” she says. “If they want to go off and explore
everything the Finger Lakes area has to offer they can do that. If they would like
hang out here and learn how an organic farm operates, and even how to
make jam, and dry food, I’d be happy to show them.”
Rosenberg notes that
this area has many things to offer tourists, including wineries,
waterfalls, Cornell attractions, museums, theater, shopping, golf and
other conventional tourist pursuits. “Of course,” Rosenberg and Barber
say, “they could just park the car and stay here.”
From their home and
the cottage it’s an easy walk to Brookton’s Market and the Caroline
Farmers Market, where everything from fresh coffee to full meals can be
Hollow is a premier mountain biking and hiking area. Part of the Finger
Lakes trail is here, so the athletically inclined can leave their cars
Guests can also hang
out at the farm, helping to feed the 15 chickens and gather fresh eggs
and/or learn about the four draft horses and how to brush and care for
them. There is also a pony to ride. Barber says hayrides can be had with
advanced notice, as well as horse-driving lessons to those interested
“In season the
cross-country skiing is excellent and in warm weather a dip in the pool
is a great way to break up an afternoon or to finish the day,” he adds.
While the cottage has a
heat source, Barber says, it mostly relies on passive solar and much of
the electricity for both it and the main house are provided by solar
“Someone staying here, if
they were interested, could get a good idea of gracious, environmentally
sound living. You don’t have to suffer to enjoy a more planet-friendly
lifestyle,” he says.
There are birdfeeders and
a small pond, so dozing in the sun and watching wildlife is always an
option. In spring the peepers chorus and red tailed hawks ride the
thermals over nearby fields. Rubia the dog keeps deer from coming into
the immediate yard, but they can be spotted grazing nearby.
information or to make reservations, visit RoseBarbfarm.com.