The Adirondack Mountains — and the townships within them —are beautiful places to live and visit. Travelers come from around the world to spend time here because of the scenery, the outdoor activities, the hospitality of the local people, and the unique businesses that are scattered throughout our region. However, the reality of the Adirondacks is this: it is sometimes a challenge to live here year-round! With a lull in tourism during the late fall and early spring, many business owners become creative and find interesting secondary ways to make their income. One business owner, who lives in the mountains outside of Schroon Lake, has managed to to meld two of her favorite things with great success.
True Adirondack spirit
Laura Donaldson had been a seamstress/tailor for well over 35 years. She wasn't your typical small-town seamstress; her business plan was unique because she would travel to her clients' homes, place of business, or any other location they needed her. She often found herself working in Newcomb, Schroon Lake, Minerva, Olmstedville, North River, Warrensburg, Glens Falls, Chestertown, Pottersville, Thurman, North Hudson, and Adirondack to name a few! Her business thrived, and she was doing well. Unfortunately, in 2001 Laura was faced with the challenge of taking care of an entire household due to the passing of her husband.
Faced with new challenges, Laura stepped up to the plate like any other tough and rugged Adirondack woman, and she started a bed and breakfast at her home. She knew it wouldn't be easy, but she drew on her years of experience as a caterer, election office worker, school substitute, headstone digger, movie theater attendant, house cleaner, and as an employee of the Schroon Lake Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center. This was yet another new challenge, an endeavor with great potential.
Taking a chance
It was by chance during her summer work at the Schroon Lake Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center that Laura met a woman that was desperately looking for a place to stay. It was 4th of July and all the local motels and B&Bs were booked. The lady really needed to come for a family vacation, so Laura explained that she had been considering the possibility of starting a B&B of her own. Laura told the lady that if she was willing to stay at her place it would give Laura the opportunity to feel it out and see if it is something she really wanted to do.
This chance meeting was a great fit; Laura loved fussing while making coffee and muffins for her first guest. And over the next fifteen years, Rocky Acres Inn grew. Laura has been blessed to have had many wonderful guests that continue to return each year to stay in her home. She works hard to make every guest's experience unique and comfortable, and her breakfast is divine. With sprawling yards at this beautiful property, guests are sure to witness wildlife and nature at its best. Besides her regular B&B rooms, over the last couple of years Laura has added a screen house that people can stay in that has a heater and curtains that can be pulled to keep the heat in on a chilly night for that "Airbnb" feel. During the winter her yard is a great place to cross-country ski.
Today, both Laura's B&B and sewing business are thriving due to the fact that she melded them together (they even share a website!). Laura has had the pleasure of having guests bring their items to be tailored while they stay at her B&B. Where else is that an option!? She happily gets to do two of her favorite things at once — fuss over her guests, and take care of their tailoring needs. With the success of her unique business, she was honored recently by Trip Advisor for her growing 5 star reviews. But the most rewarding compliment Laura gets is generous and kind comments and gifts from her guests. She has had guests take her to dinner and send her unexpected gifts such as an embroidered pillow case, a hat and shirt for organ donation (in honor of her late husband), an outfit sent for her to use as mother of the bride, and a beautiful signed plaque in honor of guests that stayed in her Wolf Room. All these kind acts of generosity enforces Laura's will to succeed.
The personal touch
You can not book a room at Rocky Acres B&B online, and there is a reason for that: Laura believes in good old-fashioned one-on-one customer service. She would rather speak to her guests in person so that she can cater to their individual needs.
As of 2022, Rocky Acres has been in business for 18 years now, and the future is bright! Page after page of TripAdvisor and Google reviews are the result of Laura's hard work and dedication. Ready to plan your vacation? Contact Rocky Acres Inn today!
This story was written by Tammy Whitty-Brown and was originally published in 2016. It was updated in 2022.