On The Road: Gilbertsville

By Kelly McCarthy

August 23, 2012 Updated May 20, 2013 at 3:39 PM EDT

Gilbertsville, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Action News is taking you on some trips this summer, showing you some fun things to do in the area not far from home.

We take you on the road to Gilbertsville.

This view is called home to just under 400 residents.

The one square mile of the Village of Gilbertsville is on the national register as a historic site.

"That becomes an obligation of it's own to maintain it. And if you have something that special you want to take care of it. Keep it as unique as you can," said Leigh Eckmair, Gilbertsville Historian.

You don't see a building such as this in every town.

The Major's Inn developed in 1896 and is honored with the 2010 Historic Preservation Award.

A group of volunteers make up The Major's Inn Foundation...

They are fixing it up so it can once again host guests.

"When something is recognized as being that special, and people care enough to do that, and they get nothing out of that than satisfaction. It's wonderful," said Eckmair.

The Major's Inn is undergoing preservation but is still one of the most popular places in Gilbertsville.

On any given weekend there are weddings, shows, and musical entertainment.

Something not just this community looks forward to.

"How important they are not just to the Major's Inn Foundation, but how important the Major's Inn is to the entire area, and not just the village, not just the town, but the area. Whatever they're doing they draw people in from all over," said Eckmair.

Just down the street from this historic site is the only building left in Gilbertsville that is still operating in the business it started in..The Empire House still stands with it's original structure built in 1835.

"There are always people, and there will always be people that could care less.. They don't care, they would tear something down rather than repair it," said Eckmair.

"If you wanted to just go, demolish, and then rebuild, and finish, I would have finished within half the time that I did. Although we worked night and day to work on it," said Q.

A pleasant surprise when passing through the village.

The Empire House offers a hotel upstairs and fine dining downstairs.

"Well we're in the middle of no where and we are busy, so there's gotta be a reason for it," said Q.

It could be the weekly specials and entertainment, or the transition to locally grown and organic food.

"What we have done is added the freshness to it. So we have used the farmers around here as much as they can supply to us, if not if we buy from the store we try to buy organic or natural," said Q.

And the customer's reaction is what keeps "Q" constantly improving his menu.

"If I see people talking about the food and I ask them, and they say "it's good" ...That's not good enough because there is something wrong it has to be "really good" or "really delicious," said Q.

A fine dining experience or a comfortable night's stay in a historic building that once served the same purpose.

The Empire House is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday.

But the landscape and views are always free of charge.

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