Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Lisle Inn

Last February, I posted my Ode to Small Towns and mentioned the town of Lisle:

It also reminded me how amazed I had always been driving up to Ithaca, NY revelling in the small town of Lisle on Rt. 79 which is completely run down with it's dilapidated, abandoned buildings on its tiny main street. And despite the vacant, grey vibe that town always gave me, I found it simply beautiful. It was fascinating that it could be so intimate and yet spacious and empty all at the same time.

Thanks to Lost City I learned a little bit more about why Lisle was in this condition: A series of floods back in the 30's and the movement of people down South as NY became too costly to do business in. I also learned that I am not the only one who had a soft spot in their heart for this place. But, most tragically, I learned that the Lisle Inn, which I always considered a landmark on my journey to and from Ithaca year after year, burnt down this past week.

The reason I bring it up is because one of the settings in my novel is actually based on the town of Lisle, so I feel I must pay homage to it. It amazes me that a town in such ruin was able to inspire me. So much so, that I was able to create an entire world for my characters to nestle inside of.

The Inn itself always stirred the imagination. Who lived there? Who kept it up? Who would have wanted to stay there? It always seemed the Inn represented a place that was holding on to a false hope. For someone to visit. Or return.

I think there are many stories about this place that are still left to be told...


  1. You know, that Whitney/Lisle drivethru was always kind of a poignant part of the trip to Ithaca (along with the sign for Scotrun, PA that made us all chuckle like 8 year olds). In a way a metaphor for leaving NYC/LI for Ithaca... flying through the highways at 70-75 mph, and then being forced to slow down and breathe. I look forward to exploring that world in your novel.

    So talk to me... How was France? Did you drink lots of good wine? When do I get to see you?

  2. Oh wow, that picture alone has a thousand stories in it. Looks like you've found a good source of inspiration!