The Aurora Inn

built in 1833, restored in 2003

Built in 1833 by Colonel E.B. Morgan, the Aurora Inn was long the favored resting-place for travelers to Aurora, New York, a major stop along the Erie Canal in the Finger Lakes region. Today, the Aurora Inn strikes a perfect balance of historic charm and modern luxury.

aurora inn guestrooms

Room One | queen, Village View

Room Two | Queen, Lakeview

Room Three | King, Village View

Room Four | King, Lakeview

Room Five | Queen, Village View, ADA

Room Six | Queen, Lakeview

Room Seven | King Suite

Room Eight | Double Suite

Room Nine | King, Village View

Room Ten | King, LakeView

Resort Amenities

1833 Kitchen & Bar

aurora inn highlights

• Home to 1833 Kitchen & Bar
• Complimentary glass of wine at happy hour
• Morning coffee basket delivered to your door
• Expansive lakeside lawn with firepit
• Cozy parlor with fireplace and games
• Access to resort activities & events
• Hi-speed wireless Internet access
• In-room safe, ironing board, blow dryer
• Bedside charging stations
• Flat-screen televisions
• Spa-quality bath products
• Down duvets & pillows; Frette linens
• In-room bottled water
• Complimentary parking
• Plush robes

aurora inn highlights

• Home to 1833 Kitchen & Bar
• Complimentary glass of wine at happy hour
• Morning coffee basket delivered to your door
• Expansive lakeside lawn with firepit
• Cozy parlor with fireplace and games
• Access to resort activities & events
• Hi-speed wireless Internet access
• In-room safe, ironing board, blow dryer
• Bedside charging stations
• Flat-screen televisions
• Spa-quality bath products
• Down duvets & pillows; Frette linens
• In-room bottled water
• Complimentary parking
• Plush robes

aurora inn highlights

Home to 1833 Kitchen & Bar
Complimentary glass of wine at happy hour
Morning coffee basket delivered to your door
Expansive lakeside lawn with firepit
Cozy parlor with fireplace and games
Access to resort activities & events
Hi-speed wireless Internet access
In-room safe, ironing board, blow dryer
Bedside charging stations
Flat-screen televisions
Spa-quality bath products
Down duvets & pillows; Frette linens
In-room bottled water
Complimentary parking
Plush robes

History of the Aurora Inn

Originally named Aurora House, the Aurora Inn was built in 1833 by Colonel E. B. Morgan, a native of Aurora and co-founder of The New York Times. By the mid-19th century, Aurora became a major stop on the Erie Canal for boats carrying agricultural products from area farmers to New York City. Henry Wells, of Wells Fargo stagecoach fame and the founder of American Express, established Wells College there in 1868.

During its colorful past, the Aurora Inn was a favored overnight destination for travelers borne by coach, canal boat and rail. It has long been a popular spot for students from Wells, Cornell University, and other nearby colleges.

Soon after the inn’s opening, an article appeared in the local newspaper remarking on the inn’s “regularity, neatness and order everywhere exhibited—as well as the thousand little attentions which are paid to the comfort and convenience of travelers.” The writer also raved about the inn’s “uninterrupted view of the water scenery of the most enchanting kind” and its “elegance scarcely surpassed by the most extensive houses of our large towns.”

In the early 1840s, William D. Eagles purchased the inn and engaged his uncle John Eagles to manage it for him. Oil portraits of William Eagles and his wife Nancy now hang above the fireplaces in the reception area and parlor. Portraits of John Eagles, a former sea captain and his wife hang above the restored fireplaces in the dining room and bar. These newly restored portraits were painted in the 19th century by noted artist Charles Loring Elliott.

When a fire destroyed the main building at Wells College in 1888, many students lived temporarily at the Aurora Inn, which they renamed the Wayside Inn. Fire struck again on February 18, 1919, destroying Aurora’s tiny business district between the Schoolhouse and the Aurora Inn.

When the south cornices of the inn caught fire, Wells College President Kerr Duncan McMillan climbed onto the roof and doused the fire with buckets of water handed to him by the village brigade. Today, charred beams remain under the roof as a reminder of the inn’s narrow escape.

In 1943, the inn was deeded to Wells College. The inn again served as a makeshift residence hall during the 1960s when enrollment at the college increased dramatically and space was tight in the dormitories. One student who lived at the inn recalls that eight students lived in “four tiny rooms upstairs with one bathroom.”

Despite a series of additions, renovations and new managers, the inn struggled financially starting in the 1970s. A drain on the college’s resources, the inn had to be closed several times during the last three decades, most recently in October 2000.

The Aurora Foundation, a partnership between Wells College and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation, began a complete renovation of the inn in 2001 to restore its lost luster and make it appealing once again for lodging, dining, and special events. The inn reopened in May 2003.

more to explore in aurora

more to explore

wallcourt Hall

Zabriskie House

E.B. Morgan House

Rowland House

food & wine

activities & events

weddings

meetings & retreats