B&Bs Beckon with Relaxed Lifestyle
by Patricia Brhel

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 slow down.

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 pool.

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 found.

Nearby Shindagin 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 behind

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 and able.

“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 panels.

“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.

For more information or to make reservations, visit RoseBarbfarm.com.