Long before individuals built summer vacation cottages of their own along the shore of Chenango Lake in the upstate New York Town of New Berlin, people from all over Chenango County and beyond flocked to resort hotels there. The first of these hotels, the Chenango Lake House, opened it’s doors as early as 1845. A quarter of a century or so later the Hotel Loomis (1880), the Lake View Hotel (1895), and the Woodside Inn (1904) catered to an increasing demand for comfortable summer accommodations. It wasn’t until 1931 that the last of the hotels, the Colonel’s Inn, closed it’s doors forever.
In their heyday, the hotels drew crowds of people who were determined to enjoy their brief stays at rustic Chenango Lake as much as they could with style. These seasonal establishments vied for patrons with fine dining and picnics, dancing, fireworks displays, boat rides, the provision of hiking, swimming, and fishing, and the placement of verandas the better to enjoy the gorgeous views of Chenango Lake.
If you’ve ever wondered what summer was like at Chenango Lake at the turn of the twentieth century, wonder no longer. Wish You Were Here virtually takes you there. Thanks to Gibson’s superb prose and tasteful selection of illustrations from postcards and original photographs, maps, and reproductions of old newspaper stories, you’ll almost be able to imagine yourself as one of the hotel guests.