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Archive for November, 2013

Places to Stay in Saugerties

Posted on: November 14th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Saugerties_LighthouseSaugerties is home to many beautiful and unique hotels and bed and breakfasts.  Find a place to stay that is unlike any other, or that will make your holiday one you’ll never forget!

Saugerties Lighthouse – Stay overnight in what is perhaps one of the most unique bed and breakfasts you’ll find anywhere.  Saugerties offers you a chance to stay in their historic lighthouse.  With just two guest rooms this B&B is intimate and cozy, and can easily be rented for your whole party.  Both rooms have picturesque views of the Hudson and the interior of the home takes you back to another time, when a keeper was necessary to keep the lighthouse running.  A delicious breakfast is included with your stay, and the kitchen is yours to use throughout the day.

Diamond Mills Hotel – Overlooking Espous Falls, a stay at the Diamond Mills Hotel affords you the opportunity to fall asleep each night to the soothing sounds of falling water.  Enjoy a private balcony overlooking the falls, deliciously plump duvets and pillows, and everything you could need for a relaxing getaway.  This boutique hotel is the perfect place for a romantic getaway with your loved one or a fun family vacation in the country.

Renwick Clifton House – A stay in this beautiful 1812 mansion will allow you transport yourself to another world.  Travel back to a simpler time with this fantastically decorated home, covered with beautiful antiques and replicas.  Fall asleep to gorgeous views of the Hudson and wake up to a four course gourmet breakfast each morning.  Enjoy the tranquility and charm that only a stay in a country house can provide.

 

Places to Eat in Saugerties

Posted on: November 13th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Saugerties has many wonderful places to eat.  There’s something for every palate, whether you’re looking for casual dining, a fantastic pub, or even a restaurant that takes you on a tour of the world.

The Red Onion – Established in 2002, the Red Onion has been providing full service casual fine-dining for over a decade in their historic 1850s farmhouse located between Woodstock and Saugerties.  Enjoy delicious house made pastas, hand-made foods, and daily specials paired with carefully constructed cocktails, and meticulously chosen wines and beers.   And if you’re lucky maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of the house ghost!

The Dutch Ale House – Boasting 15 craft beers on tap, many more in the bottle, and their own on site brewery, The Dutch is without a doubt the best beer stop in the Hudson Valley.  Owners Johnny and Karin Pavich have created a gastropub that traverses the line between pub and fine dining, while upholding their belief that the main ingredient in all delicious food is love.  At The Dutch ingredients are also local, fresh, and without trans-fats.

New World Home Cooking Co. –  Can’t get your whole party to agree on one cuisine? One person wants burgers while the other wants Thai?  At New World Home Cooking that isn’t a problem.  They offer an diverse menu that covers a wide range of cuisines so that everyone is happy.  A Hudson Valley favorite for the last 20 years, this unique restaurant offers “clean food” in a fun, casual upscale atmosphere.

Ristorante Emiliani – For over 20 years this family owned and operated restaurant has been serving the Hudson Valley fine Italian pastas, seafood, and more.  Try their delicious desserts and breads that are so good they taste like they came straight out of your grandmother’s kitchen.

The Tavern at Diamond Mills – An elegant restaurant overlooking Esopus Falls, The Tavern at Diamond Mills has been named one of the Hudson Valley’s best new restaurants by Hudson Valley Magazine.  Experience Chef Guiseppe Napoli’s fantastic menu which features the best that the Hudson Valley has on offer.  Enjoy local craft beer, expertly crafted cocktails, and fine New York wines.

Things to Do in Saugerties

Posted on: November 12th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Opus-40Saugerties is a fairly quiet town that offers plenty of great things to do!

Take a stroll through Saugterties’ charming streets and take it in its many shops and restaurants. Stop by the Saugerties Antique Gallery which is filled to the brim with knick-knacks, clothes, and furniture from times gone past.

If you’re interested in camping then stop by the Saugerties/Woodstock KOA.  Whether camping to you means sleeping in a sleeping bag under the stars, an RV, or a fully stocked cabin, they have the means to accommodate you.  They’re also surrounded by miles of beautiful nature trails, have an onsite geocaching course, fishing pond, and even a minigolf course.

If the winter spirity has got a-hold of you, Kiwanis Ice Arena might be a great place to go! Go ice skating during their free skate times, or even take skating lessons!

To learn about Saugerties and its rich history, visit the Saugerties Historical Society.  You’ll find great exhibits including art, memorabilia and information about local and regional history ranging from colonial to more recent history.  The museum itself is housed in a beautiful 1727 colonial home.

The Saugerties Lighthouse is also a great source of local history.  The beautiful 1/2 mile nature walk down to the waterfront sets the mood before you get into the charming lighthouse and museum.  Catch astonishing views from the tower and learn all about what life was like when nautical travel ruled the waterways.

For a great family friendly experience visit Bailiwick Ranch & Discovery Zoo.  See exotic animals, go horseback riding, go paintballing and much more! They have plenty of domestic animals in their petting and feeding zoo too! For even more animals, visit the Catskill Animal Sanctuary.  This 110-acre farm is home to rescued horses and farm animals who suffered from neglect or abuse.  Visit for a tour, vegan cooking classes, and much more!

One truly unique park to Saugerties’s name is Opus 40.  Using an abandoned quarry, Harvey Fite (a founder of the Bard College of Fine Arts Department) built a 6 1/2 acre monument of bluestone known as Opus 40 over a 37 year period.  The stone was all laid by hand using techniques Fite adapted from the Mayans.  Walk through, over, under and between its twists, turns and dips.  Designated a National Historic Place, Opus 40 is one of the most unique architectural features to be seen anywhere.

Saugerties, NY

Posted on: November 11th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

SaugertiesSaugerties, New York is a beautiful getaway nestled away in New York.  Bordered by the Hudson on one side and the Catskills on another, Saugerties has much to offer anyone who visits it.

The village was established in the 17th century after the land was acquired from the chief of the Amorgarichakan tribe.  It began to thrive, drawing German and Dutch immigrants who manufactured naval stores, tar, and turpentine.

During the American Revolution the town was raided by a British squadron in October of 1777.  The raiding party burnt boats called sloops, and many homes and barns, destroying portions of the neighborhoods Clermont and Belvedere.   It was here that General Vaughn learnt of John Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga.

In 1825 Henry Barclay purchased Esopus Creek and began construction on a dam.  Between 1826-27, he established a paper mill and Ulster Iron Works, creating one of the largest water-powered industries in the world.

In 1834, Congress granted the town $5,000.00 for the purpose of building a lighthouse.  It was placed at the mouth of Esopus Creek.  However, in 1867, Congress passed a budget to construct a newer lighthouse.  This circular stone lighthouse was built in the old ones place.  The new one used the mineral oil lamps from the original.   This lighthouse still stands today.

In the 1950s the coastguard closed the lighthouse and it fell into disrepair.  A local movement in the 1970s was successful in saving the lighthouse and placing it on the National Register.  In 1986 the lighthouse and the adjacent wetlands were obtained by the Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy.  In 1990, after 36 out of use, the lighthouse outfitted with a solar powered beacon, and was re-commissioned.

The village of Saugerties became the first commercial district to be put on the National Historic Register in 1987.  Today it is known for its charming streets, great antique shops and its annual garlic festival.

 

 

Loosen Up in Lenox

Posted on: November 8th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

The_Mount_from_the_Flower_Garden_by_David_DashiellLenox, MA is a beautiful, historic village founded in the mid 18th century.  Its idyllic placement next to the Berkshires drew artists, writers and actors and made it a cultural hub in the 19th century.When the Housatonic Railroad was extended through Lenox, it drew some of America’s most wealthy citizens who built elaborate mansions to use for the short “Lenox season” at the end of the summer and beginning of Autumn.

Lenox became a hugely popular destination among this crowd with many well known names building homes here, including Andrew Carnegie, Edith Wharton, and the Vanderbilt family.  In more recent years Yo-Yo Ma has also called the town home.

With its rich history and beautiful setting, there are many things to things to do in Lenox.  Many gilded age mansions are open for touring so you can see for yourself how turn of the century millionaires lived in opulent splendor.  Explore its history as a culture hub, which is still alive and well, by visiting the MASS MoMA, which is the largest contemporary art museum in the country.  Visit nearby Stockbridge and see the largest collection original Norman Rockwell paintings.  Or visit Lenox Historical Society to learn all about the area and its history.

With its history of catering to the refined diner, Lenox has many fine places to eat.  Find fine dining, wine bars, cafes, or even gourmet chocolate shops and authentic French patisseries with food to die for.  Most restaurants focus providing fresh, seasonal menus prepared with food and products provided by producers and farmers in Berkshire County.

There are endless options of wonderful places to stay in Lenox.  Many former gilded age mansions have been transformed into charming inns or bed and breakfasts where you can receive excellent personalized service and a more intimate atmosphere than at a larger hotel.  Lounge on the lawns, stroll through beautifully manicured gardens, or simply relax on the patio in a place that feels like its a world all its own yet is never far away from town. Stay in gorgeous 18th century homes with stone fenced gardens, or beautiful Victorian buildings that have been lovingly restored and make the perfect romantic getaway.

A stay  in Lenox offers an escape to another time, and a chance to luxuriate in serenity and opulence.  The charming town will enthrall you, its history enchant you, and its idyllic setting will allow you to full relax and refresh yourself.

 

 

Places to Stay in Lenox

Posted on: November 7th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Lenox has a wide range of inns, bed and breakfasts, and boutique hotels at which to stay all of which aim to make your stay in the Berkshires a perfect one.  Stay in an adorable country cottage, a village b&b, or beautiful Gilded Age mansion.

Hampton Terrace – A beautifully restored gilded age mansion, Hampton Terrace is an historic landmark that will take you back to a time of luxury and leisure.  Opened as an inn in 1937, the inn is well versed in hospitality and service. It’s just a quick two block jaunt from all of Lenox’s shops, restaurants and attractions.

Garden Gables Inn –  Set on a beautiful five acre property, The Garden Gables Inn is a beautiful country bed and breakfast just minutes outside of Lenox.  Enjoy a stay of ultimate relaxation, starting with a made to order breakfast each morning, and a day in the spa.  The village is a short distance from inn, so the pleasures of Lenox are never far away.

Gateways Inn – The Proctor mansion has been turned into an elegant, charming inn in the heart of Lenox.  Stay in spacious rooms with sleigh beds and fireplaces, overlooking gorgeous views.  Experience their highly rated restaurant featuring a seasonal a la carte menu.

Seven Hills Inn – Sitting on 27 beautiful acres of lawns and gardens, this gorgeous Gilded Age mansion, just next door to The Mount,  is a perfect romantic getaway.  Furnished in fine antiques, and beautifully carved fireplaces, Seven Hills has an ambiance of refined luxury.  Indulge in a delicious breakfast each morning before you take a stroll through the gardens, sit and enjoy the view from the patio, or warm yourself next to the fireplace.

Birchwood Inn – Voted as having the “Best Breakfast in New England” and “Best Savory Breakfast Recipe 2012” by BedandBreakfast.com, a stay at the Birchwood Inn  is a real culinary treat.  This beautiful inn, established in 1766, is a true country getaway.  Lounge on the veranda as you enjoy your morning coffee, or sit in the stone walled garden in relax.

 

Rookwood Inn – Looking a bit like a house straight out of a fairy-tale, the Rookwood in is a beautifully restored 19th century building which began life as a tavern.  The inn offers a secluded getaway that is only a block from the center of the village.  Enjoy the beauty and elegance of a Victorian home with all the comfort an amenities of modern day. Start each day with a sumptuous breakfast buffet.

 

Places to Eat in Lenox

Posted on: November 6th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

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Lenox’s long history of entertaining the wealthy have given it a long history of fabulous restaurants! Explore its streets and find exquisite fine dining, delightful cafes, and charming wine bars.

Alta Restaurant and Wine Bar – Opened in 2008, Alta has become a favorite among both tourists and locals.  Their lunch and dinner menus highlight local, organic ingredients and offering a variety of Mediterranean inspired options.  Their considerable wine list includes selections from all over the world and many are available by the glass.  They have a quiet atmosphere and stunning service.  Reservations are strongly recommended.

Chocolate Springs Cafe – A chocolate lover’s heaven, this is the perfect place to stop for a midday treat.  Enjoy hot and cold drinks, gelato, delicious fresh pastries, and fantastic traditional chocolates.

The Wheatleigh –  Recipient of a Five Diamond rating from AAA and noted by Travel & Leisure as “some of the best cooking in the United States” a meal at the Wheatleigh is an experience not to be missed.  The dining room is quiet and intimate, and the expert staff are attentive yet unobtrusive.   From your first cocktail to your last coffee, every detail is taken care of.

The Getaways Inn and Restaurant – Dine in luxury at this fine restaurant in the heart of Lenox.  Offering a seasonal a la carte dinner menu, the Getaways Inn serves innovate Contemporary American cuisine made with the freshest ingredients available from Berkshire farms.  Dining is available by reservation only.

Table Six – Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner Table Six is a restaurant that evokes a feeling of times gone past.  Enjoy a cocktail on the veranda before your meal or enjoy your meal in their newly restored dining room.  Chef Ron Reda is an expert in his field, and spent four years working in the Bill Clinton White House, serving meals for the president and his family, as well as his staff.  He brings his skills to the Berkshires and to you.

Nudel – A contemporary American pasta bar, Nudel strives to provide creative and inventive dishes prepared from ingredients provided by local producers and farmers from around Berkshire County.   The menu changes daily based on what can be found at the market, and dishes are always excellent!

Patisserie Lenox – An authentic French patisserie located in the heart of Lenox, Patisserie Lenox bakes fantastic pastries, croissants and brioche daily.  They also serve marvelous breakfasts and lunches daily.  Once you’ve finished one of their delicious soups or sandwiches you’ll be excited to try one of their beautiful tarts or pastries.

Things to Do in Lenox

Posted on: November 5th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Naumkeag_(Stockbridge,_MA)_-_general_viewLenox is home to some of the most beautiful historical sites in the country, central to some of the most peaceful, sprawling wilderness in Massachusetts, and plenty to offer anyone willing to wonder its streets and discover its hidden treasures.

Lenox began the 19th century as a center for arts and culture.  That tradition continues today.

If you like art, you’ll love to spend a day at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.  This fantastic museum is housed in a restored 19th century factory building, and is the largest center for contemporary art in the country. Open  year round its collection features some of the most thoughtful visual and performing art today.

For more fine art, visit the Frelinghuysen Morris House and Studio.  The former estate of prolific artists Suzy Frelinghuysen and George L.K Morris, the house now hosts their collection as well as much of their abstract art from the 1930s and beyond.  Learn how they contributed to the abstract movement and much more.

Nearby Stockbridge is the hometown of Norman Rockwell.  Visit the The Norman Rockwell Museum to see the largest collection of original Rockwell art, including some of his most famous pieces.

At Hancock Shaker Village, see how the Shakers who once lived in the area lived.  See historical reenactments, live demonstrations, and much more as you explore this working farm  and the many buildings at this 225 year old historic site.

To experience some of Lenox’s Gilded Age history, stop by Naumkeag.  One of the great estates that once dominated the town, touring the house and gardens is like taking a step back in time.  Built by Joseph Choate, a successful attorney of the 19th century, this “cottage” boasts 44 rooms, gorgeous views of Monument Mountain, and beautiful formal gardens with unique architectural features such as its famous Blue Steps.

Another great Gilded Age estate is The Mount, built by renowned author Edith Wharton.  In 1921 Wharton became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.  Wharton designed The Mount after plans outlined in her book The Decoration of Houses, published in 1897.  The Mount is one of only 5% of National Historic Landmarks dedicated to women.

For yet even more Gilded Age history, Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum.  Built in 1893, it was the home of George and Sarah Morgan, the sister of J.P Morgan.  Tour the historic home and gain insight into how the upper crust lived during the Victorian era and the Gilded Age with lectures, special exhibits and activities offered by the museum.

Tranquil Lenox, MA

Posted on: November 4th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Yokun_Avenue,_Lenox,_MALocated just outside the Berkshires and all they have to offer, Lenox, Massachusetts is a well of relaxation, culture and serenity. A popular summer destination, Lenox is a great place to visit year round.

Sitting in a pleasant valley, much of the area around Lenox remained unsettled until after the French and Indian War.  In 1750 Jonathan and Sarah Hinsdale established a general store, putting settlement in motion.

Land began to be sold off, and in 1765 the town of Richmond was founded.  However, because the Berkshires divided the town, it was split in tow and Lenox was established in 1767.  It’s name is believed to come from a misspelling of “Lennox” after Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond and Lennox.

The early economy relied heavily on sawmills, farming, potash production, glass work, and the quarry.  In the 1780’s a vein of iron ore was discovered and several mines were dug under the town.  However, like many mountainside towns, in the 1800’s the region’s rustic beauty drew tourists, including artists and writers and helped  to make Lenox into an art colony and summer getaway.

Many of the 19th century’s rich and famous spent time in Lenox, or even moved there permanently, including Catherine Sedgwick, who was one of the most notable novelists of her time, author Edith Wharton, actress Fanny Kemble, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and many more.

In 1838 when the Housatonic Railroad was extended through Lenox,tourists began to discover its rugged beauty in increasing numbers.  It was in this period that Lenox began to transform from sleepy artist town to Gilded Age resort.  The immensely wealthy began building large mansions to use during the Berkshire season, lasting from late summer to early fall.  Property value skyrocketed as millionaires flooded in and by 1903, one acre was worth $20,000 when it was only a few dollars in neighboring towns.

The Great Depression and WWII made maintaining these estates more difficult and many fell into disrepair.  Some were torn down, and some were turned into seminaries or schools.  One mansion, Tanglewood, is the home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and houses a well known summer concert.

Today Lenox is a wonderful place to come getaway from the rush and bustle of the city, and take in some fresh air.  Take a peaceful walk in historic downtown, or through one of the many wilderness trails.

Recharge in Cold Spring

Posted on: November 1st, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Cold Spring on Hudson is a charming village just an hour outside of New York City that is an excellent place to visit just to relax for the day, the weekend or even the week.

Local legend has it that it got its name when George Washington visited the village and drank water from their stream and proclaimed their spring refreshingly cold.   It was a major producer during the Industrial Revolution, with a highly successful foundry, and during the Gilded Age it drew many writers and artists because of its gorgeous surroundings.

Today, Cold Spring is an excellent place to visit just to escape the city and relax, just as many writers, artists and socialites did in the past.  There are many fun things to do in and around the village, especially if you enjoy being out in nature.  Take a guided walking tour of Bannerman Island and see if you can figure out why Native Americans and Dutch Settlers thought it was haunted.  Take a walk through the formal gardens of Stronecrop Gardens.  Or just walk through the charming streets of Cold Spring and enjoy the antique shops and restaurants that it has to offer.

As you walk down Main St. you’ll find lots of great places to eat in Cold Spring.  There are cafes, bakeries and pubs galore! Find bars serving great local microbrews or fine dining highlighting local artisans and farmers, while offering specatular views of the Hudson River!

If you decide to extend your stay beyond a day you’ll find many charming places to stay in Cold Spring.  From gorgeous historic landmark hotels right on the waterfront to more modern luxury boutique inns located right in downtown, there will be something bound to make your stay perfect.

Cold Spring is just an hour’s ride on the Hudson Line from New York City.  Come relax and unwind, and recharge.

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