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
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.
Charm only goes so far at 11pm when a group of loud inconsiderate cackling women decide to party outside your room. The structure is old and has NO noise absorption. After asking for quiet they proceeded upstairs and moved all the furniture and dropped what sounded like bowling balls on the floor. If you want charm and no sleep this is your spot.
I was hesitant to leave a review because the North Branch Inn is a hidden gem that you don’t want everyone to discover. We spent a summer weekend and couldn’t recommend this inn more. From the moment we walked in, Maya greeted us and showed us to our room... we were already at home. Within minutes, she had booked us restaurant reservations too! The rooms are cozy, well-appointed, complete with a s’mores kit as well. No detail is overlooked here. We had one dinner at the nearby Arnold House and another on property - both were wonderful. You must check out the gardens, relax by the creek in the Adirondack chairs, bowl in the vintage bowling alley, and enjoy a bonfire at night. Everyone wants to make your stay the best possible and already thinking about when we can come back! If coming from nyc, the two hour drive will make you feel like you’re a thousand miles away. Thanks for the perfect weekend!