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Brookins Inn attracts travelers in grand style <br> Historic building offers an 'affordable luxury'

Sturdy white rockers beckon on the wrap-around wooden porch beneath the striped awning of the stately new Brookins Inn and Suites.

The new venture, at Maple and East avenues, is described by owners Dan and Beverly Mandaville as "a French Country-style" destination.

The Mandavilles are no strangers to the hospitality business, having spent the past 18 years in the cottage business. They currently own and rent five cottages along nearby Olcott Harbor. Now they've turned this once-abandoned 1893 structure into three grand suites and two beautiful guest rooms, with all of the amenities.

"We researched other inns in other states to see what amenities business travelers and vacationers would like," Beverly Mandaville said recently as she led a tour through each of the Inn's unique rooms.

"It's affordable luxury," added her husband, who has done some of the renovation work, while leaving the bigger tasks to trusted local contractors.

Rooms start at $89 per night. The Mandavilles officially opened the Inn last month and have completely filled it for two weekends already.

The Olcott residents are both retired from the insurance business and purchased the building at a county tax auction, later taking a year to completely gut it.

After their initial renovation, the building housed two rental apartments upstairs and the Salmon Ridge Deli downstairs for a short while. When the deli closed, the Mandavilles decided to create the inn. They began work earlier this year.

In considering purchase of the building, Dan Mandaville said, "I looked at all of the parking and the fact that you are in direct sight of the main traffic light in Newfane, while the courtyard [in back] caught Bev's eye."

Built by DeLisle Brookins, the Brookins Inn was once an important stop on the Lockport-Olcott Trolley System, which transported thousands from as far away as Buffalo during Olcott's heyday. Brookins also built the Olcott Beach Hotel, historic stage for such big bands as Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller and Louis Armstrong.

The two-story Brookins Inn, now clad in Vermont barn red siding, once sat opposite the Newfane Train Depot, where Theodore Roosevelt stopped en route to Olcott Beach shortly before he became New York's governor, and, in 1901, president of the U.S., Dan Mandaville said.

That nod to history inspired the naming of the Roosevelt Suite, luxuriously outfitted in regal red and boasting an inviting whirlpool. It's the most expensive at $149 per day. It opens onto a covered porch with a secluded courtyard, tucked in back of the Inn.

"Each suite and room is named after a person of historical significance with ties to Newfane," Beverly Mandaville said.

Also tucked in back is the blue Cap (Kenneth) Hedley Room, warmed by an electric fireplace and decked out in a nautical theme, in honor of the Newfane entrepreneur and boatsman.

The couple's daughter, Melissa Naylor, decorated three of the dwellings in bold, rich colors, while she chose stronger accessories to accent the style of the rooms done in subtler shades.

"We have three daughters, and the girls and their husbands have all helped out," Beverly said. "Even our oldest grandchildren have helped."

"It's a real family affair," quipped her husband.

The Mandavilles serve a Continental breakfast each Saturday, Sunday and holiday, featuring fresh local fruits and homemade treats. Guests also have a key to the cozy lobby where breakfast is served on weekends, and where they may avail themselves of use of the refrigerator and microwave at any time, or just sit in comfy chairs and gaze out the picture windows.

The Mandavilles know the freedom offered by furnished suites will appeal to families as well as business travelers, and the inn's proximity to the Niagara Wine Trail already has proven a boon.

"We've had couples visit nearby wineries and then come back and walk to restaurants from here," Beverly Mandaville said.

For more information, visit www.BrookinsInn.com or call the Mandavilles at 870-6244.

e-mail: niagaranews@buffnews.com

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