Located in one of the most remarkable settings you’re likely to come across, the historic Glen Iris Inn has been greeting guests since 1914. The Glen Iris is nestled in a canyon right in the heart and splendor of Letchworth State Park—from its perch, the Inn provides visitors with an awe-inspiring view of Middle Falls along the Genesee River. Letchworth State Park is located in western New York, mostly in Wyoming County, where the rolling hills and four-season activities attract visitors from around the country.
Prior to the Glen Iris becoming an inn and open to the public, this stately structure was the country estate to businessman and philanthropist, William Pryor Letchworth. Prior to his death in 1910, Mr. Letchworth donated the Glen Iris estate, including its 1000 acres to the state of New York, which established the park that bears his name. The park now encompasses nearly 15,000 acres and plays host to a number of activities, from hot air ballooning, river rafting, fishing, biking, hiking, camping and a whole lot more.
The Glen Iris is full of historic charm, from the period paintings, pictures and intricate wood banister, to the library, un-even floors and old-world accommodations. Some people will enjoy the historic significance of the Inn, while others might be disappointed that the rooms have not been updated with many of the modern amenities. For example, there is no T.V. in the rooms, no internet access or cell service available. To some (like me, I’ll admit), who are used to being always connected, this inconvenience can take some adjusting. However, for those willing to embrace it, the lack of connectivity enables (even forces) you to connect with the one you’re with…or with the enveloping nature around you. This can be a very good thing for mind, body and spirit…even relationships.
There are quite a few rooms and suites to choose from, including a set of lodge rooms with a bit more space just up the hill from the Inn. The most coveted room at the Glen Iris however has to be the Cherry Suite, which was Mr. Letchworth’s private quarters. The unique hardwood floor pattern draws you into the space, while the large soaking tub in the bathroom will relax you after a long day of exploring. The reason this room is so sought-after is because of a unique feature—it has its own private terrace that overlooks the Middle Falls. This room books up for the entire season very quickly, so if you want this suite, be sure to plan ahead.
The setting of the Glen Iris is perfect for family reunions and is quite popular for weddings…during my visit there were two that took place. There is a full-service formal restaurant on site serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. And, you’ll often see guests sipping libations on the veranda from the extensive cocktail menu while enjoying the sound of the falls.
If you’ve ever stayed or visited the Glen Iris Inn, please leave a comment below and share your experience with my readers and me.
Glen Iris Inn contact info:
Address: Letchworth State Park, Castile, NY 14427
Note: Do not use Apple Maps; it will take you to a road that does not exist. If you’re an iPhone user, download the Google Maps app and it will guide you right to the Glen Iris.