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Within reachThis past week I was one of a team running the Professional Photographers Society of NYS annual convention FocusNY 2018 at the Villa Roma Resort. This was the second time we've had our convention there, and I have a few comments about the entire experience.

First comment, "Wow!"

The resort is located outside of Calicoon NY, south of Rt 17, about two and a half hours south and east of Lansing. Our purpose was of course, to run a convention. The sales staff and management made arrangements easier than I could have dreamed, with rates absolutely reasonable and service excellent beyond expectation. The last day, we had a problem with a connection between a presenter's laptop and the projector. An AV tech (pert of our group) and I went to the lobby and asked a gentleman who looked in charge for help. "We're in a pinch" I said.

His response: "Well then let's get you un-pinched". Within moments he provided for us a 55" TV that served the purpose wonderfully.

This was the quality of experience provided by Villa Roma throughout the convention.

monroe Villa Roma 1

I apologize for the lack of photos – I was involved in running the event so was otherwise occupied. The good news is that the images on the web site,, are accurate. It's a beautiful place.

Ok, you don't give a crap about a convention; you just want a cool place to take your family for a vacation.

This is it.

The accommodations are upper end. We had a suite with the most comfortable bed and pillows that I have ever experienced at a hotel. That's saying something. We've been to a LOT of hotels. The suites and many of the rooms have kitchens, full size refrigerators and ovens, again, way past expectation.

My favorite spot in the hotel is the indoor swimming area, perfect for relaxing during the rare unoccupied moment. The hot tub is big enough for a board meeting, but small enough to enjoy the company. What to do at Villa Roma?

Golf is the first thing you see, but there's bowling alleys, stables with many horses for trail riding, Olympic sized playgrounds, an ice rink, fitness center, programs run just for the kids, two night clubs, a salon for that necessary massage after the day's activities and even an OTB parlor.

Located in the Catskills, there are excursions for white water rafting and every other kind of recreation the region offers.

monroe Villa Roma Staircase

And don't worry about where to eat. There is a huge main dining room, a Starbucks, café, Ice cream parlor and pizzeria inside the main building, plus more restaurants at the pool and golf course, open seasonally.

Ok, I'll admit, I'm gushing a little. It's deserved. The only thing "less than perfect" was the buffet dinner in the Roman Garden Café – the lemon chicken was a little blah – but everything else, including the cannoli for desert was great. The wait staff, housekeepers, desk staff and everyone else were engaging, helpful and showed a uniformly excellent sense of humor.

All-inclusive packages are available for those of you that go on vacation to leave worries behind. Villa Roma is that place.

After all, it IS within reach…

'Within Reach' highlights the food, wine and fun of places 'within Reach' of Lansing NY.  Of course, your reach extends exactly as far as you want it to. I am Monroe Payne, Uncle Monte to some. Come with me as I visit, taste and play in our own back yard, the beautiful Finger Lakes of Central New York.

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