The Hamptons Has Nothing on These Bucolic Upstate New York Stays
Upstate New York is (still) having a moment, thanks to a wave of designers—many of them former Manhattanites—who've turned historic neighborhood guesthouses into stylish country escapes. From the Catskills to the Finger Lakes, we’ve scouted eight new inns perfect for a summer sojourn or cozy autumn retreat.
Hasbrouck House, Stone Ridge
Two hours north of Manhattan, what was formerly the Inn at Stone Ridge has been reimagined into one of Hudson Valley’s most pastoral stays. Spread out between a restored 1757 Dutch Colonial stone mansion and accompanying carriage and stable houses, you’ll find 17 suites featuring curated art, goose-down duvets, and large windows from which to take in the property’s 150 rolling acres. Sleeping in is encouraged—and when you do rise, perhaps in early afternoon, you’ll find guests playing board games in the club room lounge, digging into farm-to-table fare at on-site restaurant Butterfield, or tipping back a regional cider on the bluestone patio.
Foxfire Mountain House, Mt. Tremper
This 10-acre hillside estate has lived many lives since it was first built in 1914, but always as an inn. Today, Foxfire Mountain House continues that tradition under new owners Eliza Clark and Tim Trojian, who renovated the house themselves to beautiful effect. Ten guest rooms are bright and airy with lots of textural elements (faux fur throws; oriental rugs; decorative Moroccan-tile bathrooms), while the expansive living room features a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace uncovered during the restoration. There's always something going on, be it a round on the front yard bocce court, conversation under the string light-lit gazebo or by the fire pit, or Saturday night wine and cheese hour. When—if—you decide to venture out, local landmarks including Peekamoose and Phoenicia Diner are only a quick drive down the road.
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North Branch Inn, North Branch
Over in the western Catskills, this 1868 two-story townhouse gives its sister property, the instantly popular Arnold House in Livingston Manor, serious style competition. The owners, a husband-and-wife team whose family has lived in the Catskills for five generations, brought its look into the present while still retaining a sense of the past. Newer details include subway tiling, wall-mounted taxidermy, and Malin & Goetz amenities. What was kept? The two-lane bowling alley next to the kitchen (complete with the original 1950s pins) and a tiny movie screening room featuring seats plucked from Radio City Music Hall.
Rivertown Lodge, Hudson
The once sleepy town of Hudson has become one of upstate's trendiest weekend getaways: there’s endless antiques and design shops, gourmet markets and restaurants, and, now, stylish new hotels adding to the buzz. The latest, Rivertown Lodge, occupies a two-story movie theater from the 1920s, whose white marquee sign still hangs over Warren Street. Here, custom-built furniture comes courtesy of Workstead, a local design studio that also had a hand in Brooklyn’s Wythe Hotel. Elsewhere, white oak floors, brass bathroom faucets, vintage record players, and a muted color scheme of pale yellows, greens, and reds in the 27 rooms—some have corner cabin beds with tartan overthrows and screened-in porches—complete the Americana vibe.
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Wm. Farmer and Sons, Hudson
Restaurateur couple Kirby Farmer and Kristan Keck took a chance when they assumed innkeeping responsibilities at this 1830s brick corner building, adding an eclectic yet tasteful touch (four-poster beds; shag pillows; Tivoli radios) to the 11 rooms overlooking the Catskills or the Hudson. But their dream didn't stop there. The downstairs is now a 70-seat restaurant and bar where locals come to fill up on dishes inspired by Farmer’s Midwestern and Southern roots and cocktails designed by the late Sasha Petraske. Factor in Mercantile, the in-house café pouring brews from Irving Farm Coffee Roasters, and you've got more than one compelling reason to stay awhile.
Wallcourt Hall, Aurora
Much of the history behind the village of Aurora, on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake in New York’s scenic Finger Lakes district, is owed to Wells College, a liberal arts institution founded in 1868 by American businessman Henry Wells. Wallcourt Hall, built in 1909, was once a Wells College dormitory before eventually falling into disrepair, but a multi-million-dollar restoration overseen by Wells College grad (and American Girl dolls creator) Pleasant Rowland has given it new life. For the first time in more than 40 years, it has reopened its doors as a charming 17-room inn with original artwork, Italian textiles, and whimsical, hand-painted bathrooms. Another highlight: free kayak and canoe rentals for use on the lake, just a five-minute walk away.
Audrey's Farmhouse, Wallkill
This 1740 Dutch farmhouse turned pet-friendly b&b in Mohonk Valley was showing signs of the times before New York City transplants Sally Watkinson and Doug Posey came into the picture in May 2015. Together, they stripped away built-up layers to reveal the beauty of the original building, from exposed beams to a 200-year-old plank floor. Upstairs, five individually styled bedrooms each have their own defining detail (a cathedral ceiling; a working wood stove) while, downstairs, two living rooms are spruced up with antique finds like fireplace bellows and wooden snowshoes. The five-acre grounds are ripe for exploring—there’s hammocks, a year-round hot tub, and backyard views of Shawangunk Ridge—but our favorite feature might be the house rules: dogs of all sizes and breeds are (still) welcome and free to roam off-leash.
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Nest Inn, Narrowsburg
In 2004, ex-Vogue designer director Anna Bern traded her Manhattan digs for a quieter life in Narrowsburg, a tiny town in the Catskills on the banks of the Delaware River. After setting up her lifestyle boutique, Nest, she moved into the hospitality trade, modernizing an 1850s farmhouse into a two-room inn, each with its own private bath and separate entrance. Don’t be afraid to fall in love with any of the design details: everything from the handwoven bedspreads to the wall art is available for purchase.
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