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Having Trouble Making Travel Decisions?
Try Using "the Watson Factor."

Eve Carr and Millard Carr

Sometimes even the pleasant decisions in life are tough. We were searching the Internet for bed and breakfasts in the Hammondsport area of New York's scenic Finger Lakes region and found an overwhelming number of great options. Which one should we select?

If we had the time-and were so inclined-we could have designed a clever little grid where we checked off various features and options as we scrolled and clicked our way through the Internet. But that was too much like work, so we just ambled through the list looking for what we now refer to as "The Watson Factor."

The Watson Factor, in a nutshell, is something that instantly speaks not to your logic, but to your heart and tells you that "this is the one."

As we viewed the site for the Pleasant Valley Inn and Restaurant, the photo of Watson, a hefty giant yellow English Labrador Retriever, immediately made us select this bed and breakfast over the many others. As unabashed dog lovers-and dog lovers who would be traveling without our own dog, we knew that if Watson lived at Pleasant Valley, we would automatically enjoy staying there.

We were right because the country setting, the tastefully subdued Victorian décor and the hospitality and cuisine of proprietors and chefs Marianne and Tom Simons combined to make our stay a very memorable one. And we thoroughly enjoy spoiling Watson with the dog treats that we packed in our suitcase. And, while we're here in wine country, it's only appropriate to admit that, although we know better, we have sometimes even selected a wine for its label. We have also been pleasantly rewarded for using this "Watson Factor" to fill our glasses with liquid pleasure.

If you visit Bully Hill Vineyards, also in Hammondsport, New York, you'll understand what we're saying. In their tasting room, you will be surrounded with wine labels so beautiful that they belong in an art gallery. The more than 50 artistic labels on Bully Wines have such strong visual appeal that it's difficult to resist them. From the delicate purple and lavender violets of Bully Hill's "Elise" Chardonnay, to the Monet-style sailboat scene on its Seyval Blanc, these are the types of labels you'd want to hang on your
walls. So don't be surprised if you're also tempted to use "The Watson Factor" to make a couple of wine purchases just for the labels themselves.

There's nothing foolproof about using "The Watson Factor, of course, and you can't use it for critical decisions. But the process does have its place. While it may not be entirely logical, using the Watson factor can be a very elementary method for making extremely logical decisions-and can lead to some delightful new experiences that you normally might not have enjoyed. 

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Freelance writers Eve and Millard Carr of Great Falls, Virginia, specialize in writing about unique honeymoon destinations. They can be reached by at: and


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