From Adam and Eve to Jimmy and Val, not to mention that Grey area in between, the Brae Loch Inn has endured 60 years in the hospitality business with a Scottish flair unique to the area.
On Thursday night, they opened their doors with free food and music in appreciation for the friends and visitors through the years. The fanfare included a bagpipe and drum presentation, a smorgasbord of local musicians as well as Travis Barr, with a taste of his Manhattan lounge act, and the reading of a letter signed by Governor Pataki.
Pataki isn't even Scottish, said Grey Barr, with 60 years in the business. I had nothing to do with this. It's all up to Jim and Val. I'm semi-retired now and they've got me down to 40 hours.
As a young boy from Dumferline, Scotland, which was where Andrew Carnegie was born, Adam Scotty Brown, Grey Barr's stepfather, had poor eyesight and struggled. Listening to the rich stories of relatives returning from America, he dreamed that he could someday make the trip. After receiving wounds in WWI that would send him to the cook house, where he learned invaluable vocational skills, he came home to a different town with losses of family members and friends. He eventually took a job and then a girl. Resolving some familial complications, they were married.
In 1923, Mr. and Mrs. Adam Brown came to New York eager to begin an American life. They settled in the Syracuse area and had a boy and a girl. Tragically, the daughter died at 16 and months later, so did the wife. But before she died, Mrs. Brown suggested that her husband and son take shelter with a friend of hers. Struggling as he was, Brown took his wife's suggestion. The woman, a widow, was kind and strong, with four children of her own. Brown settled and eventually married the woman. In 1946, with her son Grey and his son Pete, he turned a dilapidated farmhouse on Skaneateles Lake into the Brae Loch, meaning hill lake view.