The Hudson Valley is one of the chicest, most design-led parts of the East Coast; it’s a magnet for weekending New York City hipsters, and its year-round population of smart former-urbanites is growing. So it has always amazed me that there aren’t more tasteful options that offer both dining and lodgings to this discerning audience.
This situation has changed for the better, however, with the recent opening of Hasbrouck House in the bucolic village of Stone Ridge, Ulster County. My interest was piqued when I heard that this new inn would be hosting a book party to celebrate former Vogue Paris editor Joan Juliet Buck’s The Price of Illusion: A Memoir. “If that doesn’t say country chic, then what does?” I reasoned. Intrigued, I booked in for a meal the very next weekend.
The Dutch Colonial stone mansion, which dates from 1757 and sits in 55 acres, has been lovingly restored and reimagined by Akiva Reich, founder and CEO of Brooklyn-based Gowanus Hospitality, and his partner, Eitan Baron, a property developer with a penchant for energy efficiency. They have created a stylish yet authentic neighbourhood hub with 17 soothing, Frette-laden rooms and suites (from $195) – in a palette of elegant vintage greys and blues – spread throughout the main house, as well as in the carriage and stable houses.
I went for dinner at the inn’s farm-to-fork Butterfield restaurant. I was expecting a seasonally driven, Hudson Valley-inspired menu – the region is known for its vineyards, farms and orchards – and was pleasantly surprised by what I found, from the meats and vegetables finished in the centuries-old smokehouse to the beers on tap, all sourced within a 35-mile radius.
But it is the fresh and creative cuisine (mains from $18) by chef Aaron Abramson that is really the star here: on the night of our visit, we were delighted by garden peas with rhubarb broth; summer squash with nasturtium; oyster mushrooms in a barbecued green-garlic sauce; and poached halibut with a side of asparagus with sorrel and brown butter. I have a weakness for straightforward food – classic leg of lamb, a great burger – and these sorts of dishes were emerging too, done to perfection: my perfectly tender roast chicken main course had just the right touch of tradition, with spring onions and a delicate jus.
In fact, everything about Hasbrouck House and its surroundings hits the right note: the cosy-yet-stylish dining room lined with leather banquettes, custom lighting by Materia Designs, and warm natural-wood and brass finishes; the fire pit for wintry drinks gatherings; a 17m swimming pool; and an apple orchard for meandering – not to mention endless hiking and biking trails for those who want to venture further. Just two hours from midtown Manhattan, it offers an understatedly glamorous but thoroughly relaxing getaway – and I’m already looking forward to a return visit this autumn.