From Italy to the Finger Lakes
In 1895, Nicholas Franzese left Italy to pursue the American Dream. As he traveled from New York City to Canandaigua, he passed through the high hills of Seneca Lake. A vintner and farmer by trade, he realized the steep land along the lake was perfect for vineyards and he decided this would be the place where he would live. Nicholas and his wife, Nicolina brought their children from Italy and settled on the land that today is home to the Glen Motor Inn.
Joseph Franzese, the second youngest of Nicholas and Nicolina's 12 children, and his wife, Helen had been married only two weeks when they rented their bedroom out to travelers for 50 cents a night in 1937. Two years later, they built two small lodging cabins offering overnight lodging.
From Lake Breeze Cabins to the Glen Motor Inn
After Nicholas' Death in 1945, Joseph and Helen acquired the remaining farm land from his siblings and proceeded to add more cabins. By 1947, Joseph and Helen had expanded the lodging facilities to 12 rooms and added a gas station, Lake Breeze Cabins became Glen Motor Court. Over the next few years the gas station transitioned to a coffee and souvenir shop eventually becoming a full service restaurant.
The Franzeses were poised to serve the growing numbers of traveling public as Americans took to the highways to see the USA. By the end of the 1950s, The Franzese farm had all but disappeared, replaced by 40 motel rooms, a tennis court and swimming pool.
The U.S. Grand Prix brought people from around the world to Watkins Glen. Joseph and Helen became internationally famous hosts to celebrities from entertainment, politics, sports and society. Many of the auto racing drivers and their teams stayed at the Inn, and they continue to do so today. A pictorial history of the Glen Motor inn and it's intimate relationship with racing can be enjoyed in the lobby were autographed photos of past champions, famous sponsors and personal friends are on display.
A Commitment to Serve
Today Vic, Linda, Adam and Andrew continue to offer warm hospitality to vacation travelers and racing crews alike. Their daughter, Nancy, manages the restaurant, meeting the high standards of sophisticated cuisine while blending in the old world traditions. And thanks to the committed work of the extended family of staff, the Inn continues to be an enjoyable place to stay.
"We are committed to this land, our family and this community," states Franzese. "My grandfather chose this land, my father began this business and my family and I want to continue the tradition.