Before opening Windmill Acres, Bruce and Lee Ann spent years exercising their green thumbs. Both raised on fourth-generation farms, the couple started a produce company after they were married. In the fall, Lee Ann painted pumpkins to sell from their farmers'-market stand, a tradition that mushroomed until she needed to hire more employees to paint as many as 6,000 pumpkins every year.
In 1997, the pair opened Windmill Acres, a place where they could combine their talents for horticulture and art. The nursery stocks a bumper crop of seasonal plants, from vegetables and flowers to a beanstalk rumored to be a shortcut back home to Ithaca. A miniature farm houses furry critters that visiting kids can pet while their parents enjoy steaming cups of coffee and talk gardening with the knowledgeable staff. Near the bucolic scene, a gift shop made of reclaimed barn wood showcases jewelry, flowers, paintings, other creations from local artists.