Old houses can be compared to various forms of artwork, and everyone has their opinions on contemporary vs. traditional, old vs. new. Old houses need to be loved and cared for. Old is our history. I mean no disrespect, but I have no words for new houses, and cookie cutter developments. All that beautiful land turned into a suburban sprawl. All I can say is, “why”?
Old homes are in my blood as my first memories were of vintage spaces. When my parents decided on a new build in Holt, Michigan, I wasn’t a fan. I missed the little nooks and crannies from the old house, lots of hiding places and defined spaces. The sweet little names for the rooms: keeping room; butler’s pantry; summer porch; winter porch; parlor…just to name a few! The new build was all for show and had a multitude of problems structurally. The last straw for me was when my mother went the French provincial route and outfitted the bedroom I shared with my sister with all that fluff and nonsense. Ruffled canopies over the beds, light blue wall-to-wall carpeting and the worst ‘surprise’ of all…I had begged for beautiful, naturally finished, unpainted furniture and came home from school one day to painted white furniture with gold and filigree designs. I knew then, even at the age of 12, that my personal taste was very different from my mother’s!
Fast-forward to the early years of my marriage and thankfully, Howard shared my passion of the old and antique spaces that I so coveted. He was born in Queens, NY and grew up in an area of such history and architectural delights! I always dreamed of a farmhouse with split rail fences, apple trees, chickens and acreage. When we purchased our first house, it was affordable, but it was a huge mistake. Located on a busy road, with neighbors on all sides, we decided to make some design changes, and put it back on the market 3 months later. It sold for more than we had purchased it for. Unbeknownst to us, it was our first flip! We had a family to raise, full-time jobs that necessitated a house that would accommodate all 6 of us comfortably. A sweet little 70’s style ranch house was our home for the next 25 years. Eventually we were able to remodel and by the time the home was sold it was all brand new and perfect!
I don’t like perfect! I don’t like fake bathtubs made of plastic that fit over an existing bath. What is underneath the plastic is worth salvaging and bringing it back to life. I love claw-foot bathtubs. I don’t want a spa Jacuzzi style tub. I want a gas cooking stove in my kitchen. I don’t like open concept! I want built-ins and a formal dining space. I want wavy-gravy windows and floors that slant. I want a library that really houses books! Whew! That’s a lot to ask isn’t it, but when I stepped into my first c.1810 farmhouse, in this cute little town called Cazenovia, I burst into tears and knew this was my house, the house I had dreamed about for years! You all know the story of how Mary’s Meadow became Mary’s Meadow B&B! It broke my heart to sell that house 10 years later, but c.1874 Fernwood Farm B&B was the right choice for making the bed and breakfast experience even more inviting for our guests and making it our priority!
You will never see modern art on our walls. You will see paintings from local artists depicting yesteryear. You will see ant hill castings from my son-in-law, hand drawn pictures from our daughter-in-law, Fernwood Farm mugs from a local potter, books on history, McGuffey readers, Erie Canal maps, flower arrangements handmade from Sola wood by a friend and talented Etsy artist, and an incredible oil painting of Theophile de Cazenove, who is credited as the founder of Cazenovia even though he never set foot here. (He sent his land agent John Lincklaen to determine if the land was worth the investment.)
Here we are in 2020, but c.1874 Fernwood Farm takes you back to a hopeful and gentler time, a time when industry was booming, and the railroads were one of the most important modes of transportation. Come explore our nooks and crannies, our history, and ask us about our collection of antique everything! Dreams do come true, and for those of you who cling to the dreams of our ancestors, and new beginnings in a new land, Fernwood represents the best of it all.