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Benn Conger Inn

Benn Conger Inn

Since October 2021, Benn Conger Inn has been under the ownership of Edward and Christine Brennan, though the business is managed by Drew Clare, the general manager. Those who stay at the inn are given the option to stay in one of ten accommodations, each of which is adorned with classic-style furnishings. Breakfast is complimentary to everyone, and the menu offers different dishes daily. Aside from the breakfast and amenities, Benn Conger Inn is also notable for serving as a centrally-located base for some of New York's significant attractions and establishments. The property is situated near Cornell University, Downtown Ithaca, Cayuga Lake, and Finger Lakes Wine Country, to name a few. Drew and the owners encourage their visitors to explore the vicinity of Groton during their stay, as they intend to offer a memorable experience to their patrons.


Located on the outskirts of Groton, Benn Conger Inn occupies an 18-acre expanse in the heart of central New York. A total of 10 accommodations are available for guests to reserve, divided between two of the following buildings: the Dempsey House and the Benn Conger Home. The latter is often referred to simply as "the main house," exhibiting a Colonial Revival architectural style. In the words of the manager, Drew Clare, five of the ten total rooms are considered suites, and the main house contains three—plus one standard guestroom. The other two suites can be found in the Dempsey House, in addition to four standard guestrooms. Drew characterizes the Dempsey House as a Victorian-style home.

Concerning the amenities that occupants are given access to during their stay, every accommodation is equipped with a private bathroom, and visitors can connect to free WiFi over the course of their stay. Drew explains that each accommodation supplies a different arrangement of amenities, as some units supply microwaves, fridges, and other similar appliances, while others do not. However, every guestroom contains a flat-screen TV that provides streaming services. It should be noted as well that all of the rooms in the Dempsey House have gas fireplaces. Depending on the unit, a balcony, porch, or whirlpool tub may also be provided. Considering the variety of amenities in the rooms at Benn Conger Inn, Drew observes that the Welthea Suite in the Dempsey House and the Margaret Ann and Dutchman Suite in the main house tend to be the most popular accommodations among visitors. He generally attributes this to the occupancy and style of the rooms, as the Margaret Ann Suite can host a maximum of five people. 

Beyond the units, multiple common areas can be found throughout the establishment. One such is an atrium, which Drew describes as "a sun room," where people can lounge or enjoy their breakfast. The manager also mentions that this atrium features a bar. Inside the Dempsey House, a common area with a fridge and microwave is open for patrons to utilize as well. Apart from the interior of the establishment's buildings, the property encompasses a sizable backyard area with a gazebo, seating, and space for outdoor activities. Free on-site parking is also available to everyone staying at Benn Conger Inn. Visitors who take an interest in touring the locality beyond the premises may be drawn to some of the wineries and breweries around the area. Furthermore, Drew remarks that there are nearby state parks with waterfalls and hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts to explore, and he suggests that his patrons visit Finger Lakes during their stay. Benn Conger Inn is notably located in fairly close proximity to Cornell University in Ithaca and the city of Cortland, where several restaurants can be found. With regard to such dining options, Drew recommends Antlers Restaurant, which is located an approximate 15-minute drive from the property, and The Boatyard Grill, known primarily for its atmosphere and location on a lake.

Those who make a reservation at Benn Conger Inn are offered a complimentary breakfast every morning, which is typically served in the main house between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. While an alternating menu is customary at the inn, guests can expect a hot dish and continental options such as muffins or fruit each day. Quiches, casseroles, omelets, bacon, sausage, and eggs are a few specific items that are served for breakfast at Benn Conger Inn. Future visitors should also be aware that dietary restrictions can be accommodated upon request. 


Drew Clare, the manager of Benn Conger Inn, mentions that he and the owners, Edward and Christine Brennan, have the goal of connecting with their guests. They strive to provide a relaxed atmosphere that feels like a home away from home by staying in contact with their visitors and attending to their needs during their stay. "I try to make sure I connect with them as much as I can, whether it's at breakfast or upon arrival," the manager explains. Drew also intends to reach out to his patrons before their stay so that they "get a feel of who [the management] are beforehand." Many of those who have left reviews of their experience have commented on the owners' and managers' hospitality. One person highlighted a few specific aspects that they enjoyed at Benn Conger Inn, as they stated, "My room was a beautiful blend of carved wood furniture, tray ceilings, and chair rails, reminiscent of the past, but the fireplace had been modernized to gas and turned on with the flip of a switch. The bathroom had a jetted tub and a rainhead shower. The mattress was very, very comfortable. I was relaxed and happy."
Benn Conger Inn can serve as the setting for a small wedding, rehearsal dinner, corporate retreat, family gathering, bridal shower, and baby shower, among other similar celebrations. The property can accommodate events of up to 70 attendees, however, should guests plan on staying in the units for the event, the inn can only sleep up to 28 occupants between both houses. Drew notes that a couple of rooms in the main house can be utilized as a venue for such gatherings as well. 

Before visiting Benn Conger Inn, patrons should be aware of a few policies and guidelines that are implemented. Smoking is prohibited on-site, and children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Benn Conger Inn also enforces a 14-day cancellation policy. As such, any reservations that are canceled with less than two weeks' notice are required to pay the full charge unless the reservation can be resold.

The business is open year-round for patrons to make reservations, though the busiest season of operation most commonly occurs from May to October, according to Drew. He attributes the higher number of guests during May to graduation at Cornell University, as some people travel to the area to attend this event. As for October, Drew observes that this month draws those who are hoping to view the fall foliage in Groton. Overall, the business receives a wide range of visitors, although Drew mentions that the demographic is mainly constituted by those over the age of 50. Even so, repeat guests, young couples, and international travelers periodically stay at Benn Conger Inn as well.


Dating back to 1921, the main house was constructed by Benn Conger, who was a U.S. senator for a brief period. The present-day manager of the business, Drew Clare, explains that Benn was primarily known for being a prominent businessman in the local area, as he manufactured Smith Corona Typewriters. It wasn't until 1953 that Drew's great-grandparents purchased the property, and his aunts, uncle, and father lived in the house for 17 years before selling the acreage to a different owner. The home transitioned into a bed and breakfast in 1978, and in October 2021, the Brennan-Clare family reclaimed ownership of the business and has since offered its rooms to the public for reservations.

Drew Clare earned his degree in hospitality from Ohio State University. With 14 prior years of experience in the lodging industry, Drew expresses that he has enjoyed operating hotels and resorts in the past, though he prefers managing the bed and breakfast because he finds it easier to connect with guests in a more personal way. He is also pleased to have the opportunity to work with his family.

Over the course of its history, Benn Conger Inn has undergone a number of updates and renovations. "We're consistently trying to make improvements while maintaining the history, theme, and feel of its character," Drew remarks. Specific changes that were made include improvements to the property management system, updated painting, and modernized appliances. Regarding future plans, Drew says that they hope to "see things continue to grow" in terms of acreage and the number of accommodations. 

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206 W. Cortland Street
Groton, New York 13073
United States


Colonial Revival/Victorian


Edward and Christine Brennan

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