Airbnb Serendipity: Finger Lakes Region

So travel isn’t all smooth sailing, relaxation and pretty Instagram photos, sometimes things don’t quite go to plan at all. Now the story I’m about to tell you isn’t quite an “Airbnb horror story” (though according to my mother it is)… it’s more of a story of everything happens for a reason.

All Planned Out

Right around this time last year, my friend Brianna and I decided to take a spontaneous winter trip somewhere. The Finger Lakes region in Upstate New York became the destination! We planned on getting up super early on Saturday, driving out to the region and winery hopping all day before proceeding to our Airbnb at night. We had a fun day following some of the Cayuga Wine Trail but found ourselves at mostly sweet wine wineries, which is not really our thing. Nevertheless, we hit as many wineries as possible, and then treated ourselves to a hearty dinner.

stony lonesome, finger lakes region

Our Airbnb that we booked was located in a small town called Ovid, NY. By the time we arrived, it was already dark out and the streets were empty. We pulled up outside of the Airbnb, jumped out, punched in the combo… and nothing.

This is Where the Panic Set In…

Huh.. maybe I typed the numbers in wrong. Tried again… nothing. Shifted the numbers up or down one number and tried all the closest combos… nothing. To top it all off, it had begun to snow! We jumped back in Brianna’s car and decided to reevaluate the situation. We scanned all the information provided on the listing, read every email, read all our messages, nothing about the combo changing. At this point we decided to reach out to the host to no avail.

I jumped out of the car and tried several more times while Brianna continued trying to reach the host. We reported the situation to Airbnb but this didn’t solve our current problem. We were still stranded in Upstate New York, in the snow, with no where to sleep!

The closest hotel was over an hour away and we weren’t keen on staying at a pricey winery Inn if possible. So we rapid fire began reaching out to Airbnbs in the area to try to come up with something but at this point it was already 8pm and it wasn’t looking promising. One man respond but say he couldn’t pull it together in time, so we kept trying. And that’s where our angel Kathy comes in to the story.

Saved at Last!

When we received the welcoming message from Kathy, we breathed a sigh of relief and drove the short distance to our new destination. Upon arrival, we skeptically turned onto the dark lane winding through the vineyard and found ourselves in the driveway of a large home in the middle of nowhere! Kathy came out to greet us and brought us in through a garage filled with massive amounts of hunting gear. (Oh please don’t let this turn into a horror movie!)

Our fears faded away the second we walked into the comfort of Kathy’s home. Kathy welcomed us into her home and reassured us that she couldn’t leave two young girls out in the cold with nowhere to go! We were all grateful that she happened to answer our request that night. She let us go to sleep, since the stress of the last couple hours had taken a toll on us and made plans to have breakfast with them the next morning.

Airbnb, Upstate New York

Airbnb, Meant to Be

The next morning, we sat down in Kathy’s kitchen for some breakfast and conversation. We learned about their lives and how they left the rat race of New Jersey to come up to Upstate New York to grow grapes! She also told us about their land and how they grow only certain types of grapes and sell them to local wineries.

Airbnb on a vineyard, finger lakes

When we told Kathy about our less than thrilling day hopping around at sweet wine wineries, she jumped up immediately, grabbing a bunch of maps and sat down to help us out. “You went to all the wrong places if you prefer dry wines!”

Kathy mapped out the perfect route of wineries to hit, including Damiani Wine Cellars, the winery they sell most of their grapes to. She also pointed us to Two Goats Brewing, which had a beautiful view of Lake Seneca and Finger Lakes Distilling to try some of the local spirits. She also suggested that we kick our morning off with a beautiful hike out to Taughannock Falls. (Click here to read about our adventures in more detail!)

Damiani Wine Cellars

Needless to say, Day 2 of the trip was INFINITELY better than Day 1. All thanks to the Airbnb horror story gone right! Always trust that everything happens for a reason!

Come to Find Out…

When we finally heard back from our initial Airbnb host, she apologized profusely saying that they had changed the code and forgot to update the information on the listing. She also happened to be on a flight while we were desperately trying to reach her! Bad timing! We assured her that it all worked out fine, and Airbnb didn’t charge us for the night.

All I can say is, if you ever find yourself in a situation like this, don’t panic! It will all work out. And who knows, it could be the best thing that’ll ever happen to you! To stay with the wonderful Kathy on her vineyard, click here for a link to her Airbnb listings!

Have you ever had a good (or bad) experience with Airbnb? Comment below with your stories! I would love to hear about them! Until next time…

Stay Wild and Adventure On!

Sometimes travel plans don't always go to plan, but sometimes the result is even better than the initial plan! Check out the story of the Finger Lakes Airbnb host that came to our rescue when our accommodations fell through on a snowy winter night! #Airbnb #Fingerlakes #upstateny #wineregion #Weekendgetaway


  1. This part of the country has been on my travel bucket list for a l-o-n-g time. I will be sure to check out these wineries (and hope to stay at Kathy’s Airbnb) when I go! Sage Scott, the Everyday Wanderer

  2. Loved this story. I stay at many AirBnB’s and have had a few small problems but not like yours! Thank goodness for great people! I know that area very well as I just live over the border. Can’t wait to get back to Glen Watkins park!

    • Restores faith in humanity when people go above and beyond! And I love it up there! You’re lucky to live close! I just wrote a post a couple weeks back about our hike through Watkins Glen. SO BEAUTIFUL!

  3. Fantastic to know! My mom, sister and I plan to visit the Finger Lakes for a girls weekend and this sounds perfect. I’m saving her info. So glad Kathy responded. I would have died!

  4. I always love hearing about stories like this when they work out so brilliantly! We had a host cancel on us as we were heading out the door for the airport. Like you, we scrambled and in the end wound up with a really fabulous apartment.

  5. I definitely believe everything happens for a reason – good or bad! I’m so glad it turned out to be great and super helpful in your experience. Glad you got to enjoy your second round of wineries! The area looks absolutely gorgeous in the winter.

  6. Omg I’m so glad it all worked out and you stayed in a safe place with an awesome host last minute! That’s really scary to be far away from everything and your host isn’t answering!

  7. Omg I’m so glad it all worked out and you stayed in a safe place with an awesome host last minute! That’s really scary to be far away from everything and your host isn’t answering!!

  8. Wow, so lucky you were able to get a new accommodation for the night! I know stuff happens every now and then but it sure would be scary to be stuck while it’s snowing and nowhere warm to sleep.

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