New Owners Inject New Life Into The Great Tree Inn

MAYVILLE- Situated at the north end of Chautauqua Lake, The Great Tree Inn Bed and Breakfast provides a rustic getaway for visitors to enjoy.

The Great Tree Inn was recently purchased in October 2012 by Mark and Sheila Dowhy in an effort to do something different in their lives and meet new people.

“When we were looking at buying Great Tree, we wanted something that was year round,” Shelia said. “It was close to home for both of us – (Mark) is originally from Pittsburgh, and I’m originally from Buffalo.”

Both Shelia and Mark came from the medical field – Shelia is a part-time perfusionist (someone who runs the heart and lung machine during heart surgery) in Buffalo and Mark used to run the research laboratory for the Critical Care Medicine Department at Children’s Hospital in Buffalo – when they decided to enter the service industry. The reason they decided to pursue a bed and breakfast for a change of pace was the couple liked to have parties with friends, and Mark liked to cook.

“We know Chautauqua. We are familiar with the area. It has a lot to offer,” Mark said. “It has a lot of potential because of Chautauqua Institution and tourism and everything. Plus it has that nice country quality.”

The Dowhys are interested in learning about the history of the building, which has been around since the 1850s. The property was purchased in 1816 by William T. Howe. In recent history, The Great Tree Inn was a dairy farm up until the 1980s. It was converted over into horse stables, and in the 1990s it became a bed and breakfast. It was called the Farmington Inn until 2005 when it became The Great Tree Inn.

“If anyone has old pictures of this place (or knows some) history, we are trying to piece it together,” said the Dowhys.

The Great Tree Inn is open 24/7 and offer various amenities such as 24-hour coffee and snacks, WiFi and satellite television. The inn has seven rooms and each room has a private bathroom and a king-or-queen-sized bed. The Great Tree Inn owns 11 acres and is next to the Rails to Trails. While they don’t offer horse riding, they do offer a place for horses to stay the night.

The Great Tree Inn also does small elopements and weddings. Since they gained ownership of the inn a year and a half ago, the inn has hosted around a dozen ceremonies.

“We don’t allow children under 13, just because people are coming usually for a romantic getaway,” Shelia said.

The Great Tree Inn is located at 6642 East Lake Road in Mayville. For more information, call 753-7989 or 800-421-0082, or email It can also be found online at or on Facebook.