Dining Out: Inn at Starlight Lake offers history, view, great food

By Michelle Costanza

June 11, 2014 Updated Jun 11, 2014 at 10:48 PM EDT

Starlight, Pa. (WBNG Binghamton) No matter the meal you're after at The Inn at Starlight Lake, you'll be wondering which is better -- the food or the view.

"My husband and I came here for 19 consecutive New Years'. We used to joke with the owners -- let us know when you're ready to sell!" laughed Sari Schwartz.

Nine years ago, the Schwartz's became ready to buy.

Since it's inception 105 years ago, The Inn at Starlight Lake has had just three owners, helping to preserve its history, and the menu.

Since the passing of her husband, Sari and her daughter Hari Beth run the destination getaway as a dynamic duo -- Sari books the rooms and cottages along the pristine lake, and Hari Beth sizzles up decadent cuisine in the kitchen.

Travis Eldridge and I went casual while selecting sandwiches for lunch, but when placed in front of us, we realized they were nothing of the sort.

In fact, only five of the items that walk from the kitchen are not made in-house. But those that are, fit the bill of exceptional.

On the menu: An array of new creations and old favorites.

"There are a few things we can't take off the menu, like the Jaeger Schnitzel, but my daughter changes the menu every three months" said Schwartz.

Both Binghamton and Scranton-area residents say they happily make the drive -- regularly -- for the rack of lamb and Long Island roast half duck.

Schwartz has a perfect description of the experience at the Inn.

"Its like going to grandma's house," she nodded.

But your grandma's apple pie probably doesn't compare to the Inn's. Cooked with sour cream and served cold alongside homemade ice cream, it's a combination of flavors you can't find anywhere else. The recipe has been featured in magazines, and has become a long time favorite. It only took one bite for Travis to realize why.

"You can come back for me in a few hours," he mumbled behind a mouthful.

Down-home cooking isn't the only thing that has people feeling like they've struck gold, though -- the hospitality doesn't stop at the food.

The inn and cottages have 21 rooms to accommodate guests.

"We don't have television in the rooms, we don't have telephones in the rooms, if you want a cup of coffee or cup of tea during the day just walk into the kitchen," explained Schwartz.

As for the private lake -- which is literally a stone's throw from your seat at the dinner table -- it sports a patio deck with Adirondack chairs if you care to take in the sunset with a cocktail.

For those looking for a little more adventure, the Inn has that covered, too.

"Canoes, kayaks, rowboats, we have a paddle boat, a small sailboat, bicycles, a tennis court," Schwartz said.

And if you prefer a winter getaway the Starlight offers Nordic ski trails, prime ice fishing a few steps from the cottages, and several fireplaces to cozy up to.

Gorgeous views, fabulous food and country charm come together in historic elegance in Starlight, Pa., so it's no wonder people have made this secluded spot a tradition for more than 100 years.