Poolside at the Ilex Inn, Ellicottville

by Eva Potter

Rick and Glenda Jackson haven’t always been innkeepers. The new owners of the Ilex Inn Bed & Breakfast lived very different lives before relocating back to Ellicottville almost two years ago.

Rick grew up in Ellicottville and graduated from Ellicottville Central School. Since graduation, he has lived in Palm Beach County, Fla., and has pursued a career in law enforcement since 1985. Glenda was born in Puerto Rico but moved to Hartford, Conn., with her family when she was 12. After graduating from high school, she moved to Palm Beach and by coincidence worked for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO), too. The Jacksons had met a few times over the years, but it wasn’t until 1998 that their relationship took a romantic turn and they were married in 2001.

They visited Ellicottville in the summer of 2010 and became intrigued by the bed & breakfast business. They toured the Ilex Inn, which was for sale at the time, and upon returning to Florida promptly purchased the “Running a Bed & Breakfast for Dummies” book. In September 2010, they retired, sold their Florida home and moved to Ellicottville to take over the inn located at 6416 Route 242 East.

Since the Jacksons took ownership, they made a few changes to the property, which have received high marks by guests on www.tripadvisor.com, including their delicious breakfasts. The main house has six tastefully furnished luxury guest rooms with full amenities, including their own baths and free Wi-Fi. The adjoining Kennedy Cottage offers the same amenities plus a mini kitchen. Guests can also relax and enjoy the veranda, year-round hot tub, seasonal in-ground swimming pool, patio lounge, fireplace lounge, sitting room and dining room.

Deer, turkey, fox and the occasional errant bear are often spotted on the property. According to their website, “The Ilex sits on perhaps the largest tract of virgin land in Ellicottville, and Ilex guests are encouraged to enjoy every unspoiled acre of it!”

Hiking trails on the property tie right into the Finger Lakes Trail. Guests can even access the inn via snowmobile or enjoy out-the-back-door snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.  A short, five-minute sidewalk stroll places you in the heart of the village with quaint shops and fabulous restaurants. Noted ski resorts Holiday Valley and HoliMont are less than two miles away.

Since purchasing the inn, the Jacksons said they have met some great people from all over the world, including cycling enthusiasts.  As a couple, they have always had an interest in cycling and have organized a cycling club, charity rides and fundraisers. Rick has ridden two “century” rides, one in Cocoa Beach, Fla., and another around Lake Tahoe. They look forward to welcoming Centurion cyclists to town this weekend.

Visit their website at www.ilexinn.com, call 1-800-496-6307, or just stop in to say hello and take a tour.

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