Located in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, Vintage Gardens Bed & Breakfast is a large, late nineteenth-century home with portions of the framing dating to the mid nineteenth century. Little is known about the inn’s property before the Jackson & Perkins families acquired it. The earliest record of the property is Kneeland Townsend’s purchase of 14.21 acres from Lyman Sherwood in 1838. Local tradition holds that the Townsend family built the house, described as wood and of “ample dimensions.” In 1842, Townsend sold a parcel of just over six acres to David H. Mandeville, a farmer and reportedly a one-time steamboat captain on the North River. The property changed hands again in 1849, when Thomas Barnes purchased six acres from the Mandeville estate.
Mr. Barnes, also a farmer, served as the Arcadia town supervisor in 1841-43 and as a member of the New York State assembly in 1856 before starting a dry goods business. At Barnes’ death in 1864, the property passed to Albert E. Jackson and Charles H. Perkins.
Initially Jackson & Perkins farmed the property raising grapes, raspberries, and vegetables. The residence primarily reflects two major construction periods and occupation by two generations of Jackson & Perkins Company executives. The large, two and one-half story wood-frame building was substantially remodeled c1880 after Charles H. Perkins moved into the home. Local historians record that Stephen N. Keener, an important local architect, rebuilt the house in 1889. In 1919 when Charles Perkins moved to California, George C. Perkins and his wife, Caroline Stuart moved into the house. George Perkins remodeled the property in c1921-22. The design is credited to E.A.P. Krabbenschmidt, a native of Germany and another prominent New York architect. In 1935, George Perkins sold the property and followed his father to California.
Today, the property associated with the residence is smaller than it was during the period of significance; however, the 2.66-acre property retains many elements of its designed landscaping. Much of the home’s late nineteenth-century floor plan has been preserved, along with some interior finishes and features, such as marble fireplace mantles.
Early twentieth-century alterations include stucco and battens to suggest half-timbering, a cross-gable roof, porch expansion, and interior features such as multi-pane pocket doors and oak parquet floors. Although the experimental gardens have been lost, the site retains the foundations of one greenhouse, mature trees and shrubs, a fountain and other late nineteenth-century landscaping.
Michael and Kimberlee Meeks, natives of California, were on vacation in the New York Finger Lakes region in May of 2006. They had always dreamed of owning a grand property and opening a bed and breakfast in their home. They discovered the estate listed for sale, and it was love at first sight. In August of 2006, the Meeks moved to Newark and made Vintage Gardens Bed & Breakfast their home.