These are the best of times and the, well, best of times. No, that doesn’t mean we are without challenges, but we are doing what we love and doing it where we know we are supposed to be – right here in Westfield, NY.
We are rather new to the community. We arrived with kids, dog, and moving van from Richmond, Virginia in August 2006. We immediately experienced the benefits of the area. It was 105 and HUMID the day we left Virginia, only to find the mid-80s and what seemed to us as dry air with a lake breeze here in Westfield.
So, what are we doing? We own and operate the Brick House Bed & Breakfast (www.brickhousebnb.com) in Westfield. We are a 5-bedroom 1840 gothic revival home rich in history and positioned squarely in the heart of the Lake Erie-Chautauqua Wine Trail on Main Street just outside the village boundaries. In just our brief year and a half, we have had guests coming to experience Western NY from all around the US and the world – Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, England – just to name a few.
In addition to our B&B, we provide safety consulting and technical writing services on a national scale (www.goldenplume.com). With experience in both mine and occupational safety from both regulatory and industry positions, we assist employers in maintaining safe work environments while improving employee performance and bottom-line profits. This is done through on-site visits, employee and management training, and technical writing such as employee handbooks, policy manuals, and written plans.
We have assimilated into the area through our relationships with people at church, in the school, and throughout the community. And, we have not experienced the ‘horror’ of the blizzards and freezing temperatures often associated with this part of the country, at least, not the frequency or depth that we thought. Like going to the dentist – the anticipation and apprehension of what we think might happen is often worse than reality.
With four distinct seasons there is much to see and enjoy. And though our business slows during the colder months, we have had opportunity to provide hospitality to visiting family members, friends, and professionals conducting business in the area.
Westfield was a draw in and of itself. The crime rate is low, we feel safe and secure in letting our kids ride bikes and walk around the town and village, and we have necessities and conveniences right here locally that many smaller communities only wish they had. Like what, you ask? A hospital right next to the school, great vets, a reasonably-priced small chain grocery store, a national chain pharmacy, our own family physician group, dentists, insurance brokers, restaurants with great food, regional and international banks, auto dealerships with knowledgeable mechanics, and unique and specialty shops with products and services you most likely won’t find other places. We also have a well-connected library, a historical museum, and miles of vineyards with processing plants of both Welch’s and the Grape Co-op.
Westfield supports family events and activities regularly. During the summer, we have ‘movies in the park’ where on selected Friday nights we gather with chairs, blankets, snacks, and popcorn in the center of the village park for a family movie and fellowship. During colder months, the village sponsors Friday night roller skating in the large gathering room of the town and village hall. Additionally, there are sponsored Christmas and other holiday events, the county ice festival, craft and antique weekends, and our newest addition, our summer farmers’ market. Outdoor activities include Lake Erie, a village and a state park along the Seaway Trail, public golf courses, and a county fishing tournament, to say the least.
Westfield also has a transportation corridor for both rail and interstate and lies within an hour of Erie, PA and Buffalo airports for business travel and shipping. Regional air travel is also available through Jamestown.
Just up the road to the east is the State University of New York (Fredonia) with additional services and businesses. Only minutes to the north is Lake Erie, to the south is Chautauqua Lake and the Chautauqua Institute and to the west is the town of Ripley and the Pennsylvania border leading into Erie, PA. Within an hour’s drive is Buffalo and Niagara Falls. The national Seaway Trail runs along Lake Erie right through Westfield and surrounding areas.
If anyone wants to come to Westfield to check us out, we’ll have the door open for you here at our B&B. We love what we do and we love doing it where we are. We’d like to see others come and do the same. We are here and here we will stay to raise our family and to continue our business. Westfield is a great place to visit, but it’s not a bad place to live, either.
The DeVauls have produced Westfield’s first all grapes cookbook with 130 recipes, brief history of the region, grape trivia, and grape facts. Now available at Brick House Bed & Breakfast, Johnson Estate Winery, Sugar Shack, and the Westfield Farmers Market.