North Branch Inn
What We Love
- The two-lane wooden bowling alley, which dates back to the early 1900s
- Cozying up with a book by the crackling fire at the onsite library
- Four breweries (open to the public), all within 10-15 minutes from the inn
What To Know
- Sister property Arnold House, in nearby Livingston, has a spa that’s open to guests of the inn
- Breakfast, served on the porch (when weather permits), is included in your rate
- The staff is especially knowledgeable about the area’s attractions, quick to suggest an off-the-beaten-path swimming hole or restaurant
Pairing a cabin’s provincial charm with the luxurious conveniences of a hotel is no easy feat. But husband-and-wife team Sims and Kirsten Harlow Foster achieved the seemingly impossible when they creatively reimagined this 19th-century property. Sure, there’s a wood-burning stove, taxidermy on the walls, and a carved wooden bar (rumored to be a souvenir from the 1939 World’s Fair), but all that rusticity is offset by decidedly modern touches like chic subway tiling and complimentary WiFi. The tasteful retreat has received no shortage of media attention since opening doors, singled out, in part, for its relatively easy access to Manhattan. A highly anticipated expansion—three rooms in a Victorian-style post office—is scheduled for late 2016.
Nine spacious guest rooms span the property’s two buildings, the Main Inn House and the newer Library House. Large windows let in both copious light and crisp country breezes, though it’s the bathrooms here that really shine, thanks to over-the-top amenities including claw foot tubs, Malin + Goetz toiletries, and fluffy Sferra robes and towels.
Based on what’s in season, the inn’s 35-seat Bar Room restaurant offers a delicious array of blue-plate specials that prioritize the area’s purveyors: the black walnuts in the wheat-berry and fennel salad are sourced from a neighbor’s tree while the house chili features local venison. It’s all the vision of Chef Erik Hill, an alumnus of some of New York City’s best farm-to-table establishments including ABC Kitchen and Hudson Clearwater.
North Branch, which consisted of just seven families, a general store, a bowling alley, and a post office when it was first constituted in 1851, is still a sleepy hamlet. Fortunately, that’s not the case for nearby river towns like Callicoon, Narrowsburg, and Livingston, now stocked with thrift shops, home boutiques, and numerous fishing spots.
How to Get There
North Branch is a pretty remote hamlet near Callicoon (itself remote) in the upper Delaware River area of the Catskills. The Inn consists of three renovated buildings of some charm but little distinction. The facilities, however, are well appointed and comfortable, a good place to stay for fishermen or others exploring this very pretty area. The best part of staying there, though, was the food. We had both a lunch and dinner, and although the dining area is an unpretentious but interesting assemblage located in a two lane bowling alley (!), the food was truly outstanding. We're from NYC, where we dine out often, and this was as good as or better than anything we find, short of Le Bernardin-level cooking.
I really want to come back here again! The food was amazing! We had the chicken pot pie for two - made with guinea hen - it was absolutely divine. The cauliflower salad and the green salad were perfectly balanced and utterly delicious. Cocktails of a negroni and a martini were delicious as well and were made with local bootleg gin.
I would easily rate this restaurant above Upland any day of the week. In fact if it was near me I’d go every week!
I recently left a negative review for this hotel group's (supposedly) more "high end" property, De Bruce, and I wanted to follow that up with a much more positive review of their other inns, particularly North Branch Inn and 9 River Road.
When we had several problems upon arrival at the De Bruce, the manager was able to switch us to North Branch Inn for the night. While the prices are still on the higher side even here, they are much more reasonable than at De Bruce and, in fact-- counterintuitively-- this inn (and 9 River Road where we have stayed in the past as well) are actually much nicer places to stay than De Bruce-- the rooms are bigger (the big clawfoot bathtubs in some are lovely), the views are better (from the 3rd Floor Loft at 9 River in particular), and the atmosphere feels much more welcoming and relaxing.
We did have trouble getting the heater to work the night of our stay, but the management was extremely prompt and caring in addressing this problem for us. We had an incredibly delicious dinner in the cozy dining room, and a lovely breakfast there the next morning as well. The towns and natural landscapes of the surrounding area are fabulous. The inn itself is located more in town on a street rather than out in the hills, but it's a very short drive from all the natural beauty of the area. 9 River Road has a more scenic location by the river, but North Branch Inn has the fabulous restaurant.
After our terrible experience at De Bruce, things were certainly much better switching here!
We had a wonderful weekend here. First of all, the staff is fantastic. Maya, Karen, and Stacey made it feel like we were staying with family. They went well above and beyond to ensure we were comfortable.
The rest of the experience was equally impressive: The location is serene, the beds are comfortable, the food is thoughtful, and the neighboring towns are charming. We are already planning our next trip back.
If you are even considering staying here, do yourself a favor and book your trip. The young couple that owns and operates this inn know what they are doing. The restaurant prepares beautiful, artistic fresh foods and makes gorgeous artisan cocktails from local distilleries. The small family-like staff are genuine and proud of what they have created at this inn. I would consider it for a small wedding, it's that good.