Acorn Inn Circa late 1800's

If The Studs Could Talk… History Of The 1795 Acorn Inn

If the studs could talk… I’ve often wondered what they would say. The 1795 Acorn Inn Bed and Breakfast in Canandaigua, NY, had stood for two centuries, 20 plus decades, 208 years, 2,496 months and counting. She’s had many careers, seen many

families come and go, and for a short period of time was almost condemned. But still, she stands strong and provides warmth and hospitality. Those seeking a luxurious, romantic retreat from which to explore the magnificent Finger Lakes search no more.


Prior to January 27th, 1789, the land for many miles around Bristol Center was the hunting grounds of the Iroquois Confederacy.. consisting of six Indian nations: Cayuga, Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca and Tuscarora.

When the Indians sold land to Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham, land speculators from Massachusetts, Ontario County was created as was the town of Bristol Center. The County at the time of purchase, extended from Lake Ontario to the North, Lake Erie to the West, the Pennsylvania border to the South, and Onondaga County to the East.

Several years later, in 1794, Ephraim Wilder purchased four hundred acres of land from Codding, the original purchaser of the land from Phelps and Gorham. It is assumed that the original section of the inn and tavern was constructed in 1795.  Hence the name 1795 Acorn Inn.

If The Studs Could Talk

In 1814, 1888 and 1894 renovations were made. In 1989 extensive renovations were made to ready the Inn as a Bed & Breakfast. And, since taking over the Inn in 2004, Sheryl continues to renovate and upgrade. A house this age requires much tender loving care, but it does help that she’s got good bone structure.

Naturally, the building has been used for many purposes. An inn and tavern. A carriage and wagon shop. Blacksmith. Boot and shoe store. Candy shop. Millinery shop. Billiard parlor. Dance hall (known as Hotchkiss Hall). Offices of the town doctor. Grocery store. Antique shop. Town Board meeting facility. Town Band practice Hall. The Town Library’s first location.  At one time, it was referred to as the Beehive Building by the locals because a different business was located in each of its fourteen rooms. Therefore, if the studs could talk I am confident they would have many interesting and varied stories to tell.

Previous Owners

In 1988, Joan and Louis Clark, purchased the building and started major renovations. Their goal… to convert the building for use as a large antiques and decorative art gallery. Shortly after, Acorn Antiques opened for business in December of 1989. The gallery featured an extensive collection of 18th and early 19th century English and American furniture, decorative arts and oriental rugs.

Probably because several of the showrooms were furnished as bedrooms, many visitors suggested that the building would make a wonderful Bed and Breakfast. The following year, the Acorn Inn was established. The idea… to operate a Bed and Breakfast on a limited scale along with the antique business. The first few years were challenging but rewarding. Soon the Clarks realized they enjoyed being “innkeepers” much more than being “shopkeepers.”  In 1993, they began by carefully selecting furnishings for the Inn from their stock. Then reluctantly, they sent the remainder of their inventory to auction at Sotheby’s in New York and to a local auction gallery. However, much of the antiques still adorn the Inn today.

The Inn retained its original three-seat outhouse, built in 1888, until the winter of 2010 when time and the elements took their toll. Also built in 1888, the Barn still remains and now houses your Innkeeper upstairs. Originally the downstairs was renovated into the Owner’s Quarters. Today the downstairs Suite in the Barn provides total seclusion for guests.

The Gardens

The Clarks personally built over 150 ft. of dry stone walls from the stone they hauled from the creek that borders the property. Extensive landscaping included the planting of mature pines, ornamental trees, shrubs and thousands of bulbs. Two water gardens were created. And over 150 ft. of brick sidewalks and terraces were also laid down. As a result, visitors to the Inn are impressed not only by it’s comfort, warmth and charm, but also by the beauty and tranquility of the peaceful gardens.

A Little History About Your Innkeeper

In late summer 2004, Sheryl Mordini purchased the Inn and all it’s contents. Born in Southern California and raised in Hong Kong, Sheryl returned to California to attend college. Upon graduating, she began her career in automotive marketing/advertising. Beginning as a Secretary, hard work, strong principles and common sense, helped Sheryl rise to the top. With nearly twenty years marketing/advertising experience, and stress to boot, she decided to follow her pursuit of owning and operating a Bed & Breakfast. Consequently, having never heard of the Finger Lakes before and not knowing a single soul, guests often ask how she ended up in Bristol. The simple answer… the Inn called her.

Sheryl’s vision of the 1795 Acorn Inn is a reflection of herself. Simple elegance. Comfortable luxury. Romance. A blending of antiques and contemporary comfort to create a warm, inviting Bed & Breakfast in which to find relaxation and peace. Sheryl applies her ten and a half years of experience introducing and building the Lexus brand, the automotive industry’s consistent leader in customer service and quality, and has applied it to the Inn. The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection need not only apply to the automotive world. As a result and under her loving care, the Acorn Inn consistently maintains it’s high standards and strives to raise the bar even higher.