I was travelling from Washington DC to Ottawa, Canada and needed a place to stay en route. I chose the Chestnut Inn because it seemed a convenient stopping off place half-way thorugh the journey. As it turned out, it was much more than that. The Inn itself is about 25 minutes off I-81 near Binghamton, NY (on good roads) so it satisfied my first criteria for convenience. However, it proved to be a place where I could easily return for a longer stay.
The inn is located mere yards from Lake Oquaga and many of the rooms, like mine, faced directly on the lake. The grounds are landscaped with flowers, shrubs and lawn and everything was well-manicured and made for a lovely setting. I understand that the inn is popular for weddings and it is easy to see why, There is a very large porch facing the lake with comfortable chairs (both rocking and stationary), couches and tables which make for a great place to sit after dinner while enjoying your coffee or a digestif. The sun sets behind the inn but I really enjoyed the play of light on the cottages across the lake and the pink hue of the sky just before the outside lights were turned on at the inn.
Lake Oquaga is a relatively small lake so the water is calm and clean (perfect for swimming so long as you are not looking for a beach) and you can enjoy the view across and down both lengths of the lake. There is a great dock in front (more like a deck on the water) with comfotable tables and chairs as well as lounge chairs and a large canopy (if you want to avoid the sun). When I was there (mid-week), it was quiet and peaceful (the only sound was children laughing and splashing in the water across the lake) and I enjoyed a lovely sunny afternoon reading in one of the very comfortable lounge chairs with the occasional drip in the lake to cool off. When I had had enough sun, I walked around the lake on the paved road and met perhaps 3-4 cars in the hour it took to circle the lake. For a future trip, I would bring jogging gear as the road around the lake would make a perfect circuit for an early morning run; I did in fact see a couple of joggers.
The inn itself , which has been operating since 1928, has been recently renovated so the rooms are modern and very comfortable. I had a suite on the lake side with a separate bedroom (queen size bed with a television and Bose radio), a good-sized sitting room with a couch (sofa bed) with good lighting for reading, an arm chair and ottoman, a desk and a flat screen television (with cable) and wireless internet and a bathroom with a jacuzzi tub and a separate shower. The bathroom was well-stocked with the usual amenities and was scrupulously clean. In fact, the everything in my suite was perfect.
The restaurant at the inn provides a self-serve continental breakfast to guests (cereal, muffins, toast, fresh fruit and yogurt plus coffee, tea and juice), Lunch and dinner are open to the public and both meals offer an extensive menu as well as good wine list (including a number of interesting New York wines). The food at lunch ran the gamut from casual pub fare (burgers, shrimp tacos and sandwiches, etc.) to complete meals. The dinner menu was also quite extensive and offered simple comfort food such as meal loaf (which was, by the way, delicious) as well as main courses such as beef filet, pasta, salmon and por k. Soup or salad is included with all main course meals. All of my food choices were individually prepared, very tasty and artistically presented. There were a number of dessert choices and I can personally attest to the delicious decadence of the chocolate torte. The young serving staff is attentive and accomodating. There is nothing stuffy or pretentious about the restaurant and, if the weather cooperates, you can dine on the outside porch. There is a pub next to the restaurant (where you can eat if you choose) with a big fireplace which would be really cosy on a cool fall or cold winter afternoon or evening. There is also a huge wood-burning fireplace in the lobby with very comfortable sofas and chairs which would be equally inviting in the cooler weather.
All in all, the Chestnut Inn is a little gem of a place which is off the beaten track but well worth searching out if you are in this part of New York. This not a place to go to if you are looking for resort-style activities (ie organized activities, entertainment, kid's club etc). But if you are looking for relaxing stay in a charming inn on a lovely lake, the Chestnut Inn is an excellent choice.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.