Originally this area was settled by native Americans, unclear if the tribe were the Taughannock's or Cayuga tribe. Their sacred burial grounds are protected and still kept secret to this day. Settled by the first white person, the Goodwyn brothers in 1794, others soon followed, attracted by the prosperity the Erie Canal delivered starting in 1825 as an economic boom to the area, and the access to deliver goods to New York City.
This property was purchased by John and Amelia Jones, wealthy residences of Philadelphia. John owned a wallpaper manufacturing company and completed construction of his private summer home in 1873 with the intent of enjoying Cayuga Lake in the summer, while he pursued his passion for breeding racehorses. Looking out our dining room window at the park across the street you can still see the oval shape lawn which is the reminisce of the family private horse-racing track.
Many of the original Jones furnishings were imported from England and Italy and remain in the Victorian Inn today. On either end of the second-floor hallway are two magnificent original Tiffany chandeliers, lavish antiques, and massive east lake mirrors are located in numerous rooms. The Jones estate was 800-acres and included the 215-foot waterfall and his land stretched all the way down the west side of Cayuga Lake. On April 10, 1925, Mr. Jones sold most of his estate to the state of New York and in doing so helped to create the Taughannock Falls State Park, one of the most beautiful State Parks in the Finger Lakes area.
Widow Amelia Jones, ultimately sold the estate to Merritt and Maude Agard in 1945. Soon after on May 16, 1946 the Agards opened this home as the Taughannock Farms Inn, a country restaurant and rented rooms. Operated by three generations of the Agard family and passed on to their granddaughter Nancy Agard who married to Keith Legrand. Keith expanded the kitchen and also built a new restaurant along the front of the Victorian house in 1980 and successfully operated one of the most popular restaurants in the area. This was the place to go in the 70's and 80's. One of the restaurant regulars was famed writer director Rod Serling of the Twilight Zone. In 1997, Nancy and Keith sold the hotel to Susan and Tom Sheridan, both graduates of the Cornell hotel school. Tom and Susan were responsible for the construction of the Edgewood building. They sold the property to the current owners on February 12, 2016.
One of the new owners was a graduate of Ithaca College and knew the hotel very well, in fact he enjoyed his graduation dinner in the Jones room in 1981. Recognizing the rare opportunity to reinvent this property and invite others to enjoy this spectacular setting. They changed the name of the Taughannock Farms Inn to The Inn at Taughannock Falls.
Over the past five years, substantial investments were made to evolve this property into a luxury boutique hotel and casual fine dining restaurant. All four buildings on the 12-acre campus have been extensively renovated. In 2021, a dedicated wedding garden, called "Enchantment," will open to accommodate events for up to 300 people in a Gatsby-like setting.
The Inn at Taughannock Falls estate has five buildings over 12 acres of sprawling grounds and is surrounded on all four sides by the Taughannock Falls State Park, boasting of the tallest waterfall east of the Rockies. The restaurant started by the Agards is the longest operating restaurant in Upstate New York, having just celebrated its 74th year in operation!