About Us

There is a statement that “You can never go home again.”  The owners of Tillinghast Manor would disagree.  No matter where you are from, when you spend a few relaxing days in the Finger Lakes you feel like you are home.  Prior to retirement, Jean O’Donnell-Smith, Manor Manager, traveled extensively staying in Airbnbs, hotels and Bed & Breakfasts.  As a business traveler, she was up and out early focused on the day’s agenda.  Now, her focus for The Manor is about the business of your vacation.  Nestled between the Cayuga and Seneca Lake Wine Trails, the “Wine Down” experience is very important.  When you walk through the doors of Tillinghast Manor, the goal is to leave your cares behind and “chill-lax”.

Tillinghast Manor is not a Bed and Breakfast.  It is a Bed and Brunch, a unique concept. Many BNBs serve breakfast during a regimented time to allow for quick turnover of rooms.  Our philosophy is when you are on vacation, sleeping in is a much-needed pleasure.  To accommodate late risers for an additional fee,, we will serve Brunch on your schedule with a late check out.   Brunch includes wine cocktails, appetizers, main course and dessert.

We are staunch supporters of our Ovid community businesses.  So, if you are an early riser and love to hear the birds sing and watch the sunrise, we will provide you with coupons for local coffee shops and diners. Most of which are in easy walking distance from the Manor. Or, grab & go items from our continental offering which includes power bars, cereal, granola or yogurt.

Mike Smith, the Inn Keeper, hails from Southern California.  He is laid back a la Jimmy Buffet.  After two years, Mike has updated the infrastructure of the Manor. As a talented Cabinet Maker, he has embraced the challenge of an 1870s Italianate. Air conditioning is not as glamorous as the attention to refurbishing the beautiful floors and the library’s bookcase.  A new chef’s kitchen has replaced the two small ones that Blanche used in the 1990s.  Mike has been and will continue to work tirelessly to ensure your stay is comfortable.  He is a true Renaissance Man with a wide expanse of interests.  From fossil collecting, diving, to kayaking, fishing, and imbibing,  he is your guy.  He is perfecting his French Omelets, Eggs Benedict and other tasting treats.  Check out our Facebook page to see all his yummy creations.

When your day is done, we invite you to sit out on the patio , enjoy the fire pit and make smores.  You can enjoy a game of giant Jenga or corn hole.

History of the House

In Finger Lakes, many of the Italianate homes that were erected in the 19th century are in ruins.  Fortunately, the former home of George and Hannah Jones has survived.  We invite you to come stay with us and enjoy the view from the hallmark architectural detail “The Cupola”.

 George was very civic minded.  He was the treasurer of Ovid Village, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Willard Asylum and a New York State Assemblyman.

 The Manor was completed in 1873 with lumber that was milled at the Ovid Steam Mill where George was proprietor. It is amazing to think that the home was built for about $12,000.  The Maple, Chestnut and Hickory was hand selected for the casements and the grand staircase.  The flooring in the Grand Parlor and dining room have been faithfully restored. The five slate and marble fireplaces remain as they did when the Jones family entertained guest.

 One such guest was a young statesman making his way home to New York City, Theodore  youngest member of that body.  He served 3 terms and was minority leader in 1883. It has been lost to history exactly the purpose of the visit or the discussion.  One can surmise that Teddy encouraged George to throw his hat in the ring for assemblyman.  On November 6, 1883 George Jones was elected to the seat on the Republican ticket, leading his party by 600 votes. The 107th New Your State Legislature, consisting of the Senate and Assembly met from January 1 to May 16, 1884 during the second year of Grover Cleveland’s governorship in Albany.  George remained in Ovid and we all know the career path that young Teddy took. He became 33rd Governor of New York in 1899 and in 1901 the 26th President of the United States.

 The home was purchased by Blanche and Donald Tillinghast and converted into a Bed & Breakfast in 1992.  The Manor has become a well-loved structure in Ovid and name remains.

 We invite you to stroll the Main Street and take a tour of the Three Bears. These 1845 intact adjacent Greek Revival buildings are unique in the entire United States.  Sit awhile in our local Kingdom brewery, AJ’s diner or Seneca coffee shop and “wine down” watching the Amish Buggies clatter past.  If you close your eyes, you will think you have been transported back to the day when Hannah Jones greeted guests.

What people are saying about our B&B

Hospitality is A+. Both Mike and Jean are great hosts. This is a great place to stay at while enjoying the great Finger Lakes area.

Mike and Jean were absolutely the best hosts. Their attention to detail from helping us celebrate our anniversary. And recommending wineries to visit. We highly recommend!!

Tillinghast Manor was an old sentimental favorite that Mike and Jean have completely revitalized into our new favorite BnB. Who knew those beautiful floors were hiding there? Beds so comfortable you can sleep right up to the lovely gourmet brunch. We will be back soon! Catherine Olson

Had a really nice stay and hosts go out of their way to make sure you had a great visit. The rooms are quiet with thoughtful amenities. Stayed while attending a wedding and what a great find! Mike and Jean go out of their way to to make you feel comfortable and are doing a fantastic job renovating the home. Jean even takes note of what you like and will put that coffee in your room or your favorite drink. Our two-room suite was very comfortable and updated. Loved it!! We will be back when we visit our friends there.

In the top 1% of B&B I’ve stayed at, and I’ve stayed at about 50! Hosts are excellent at all they do.

Unbelievable place to stay! Surrounded by so much history and great hospitality. Endless places to see in every direction you can drive! Will be back!