From the sprawling acres of the Mohonk Mountain House to the posh niceties of the Emerson Resort and Spa, the Hudson Valley has no shortage of places to rest your head. The area also has the privilege of being host to an abundance of bed and breakfasts and inns that can bring the traveler (or local looking for a getaway) an entirely new experience that’s often unique to this type of lodging.
Each of these smaller and more personal lodging options has their own distinct personality, many of which stem from the original owners and have since grown and developed over time. With smaller and individually owned properties, styles are left up to the imagination, and travelers are left with less homogenous bedspreads and desks that are often found in your run-of-the-mill chain hotels. For some, modern furnishing—even in a quaint B&B—is where comfort is found. For others it’s tucking in to a nostalgic firehouse, climbing the ladder to a top bunk, or a making the half-mile hike out to a lighthouse to call it a night.
Chronogram profiles different aspects of the area’s lodging accommodations—most of them are small, some are considered quaint, others are actually willing to share their homes, and every one of them will cook you a homemade breakfast.
Red Lion Inn
The Red Lion Inn, built in 1773, has been a part of the social fabric of the Berkshires since the days of yore. Writers, presidents, and artists have all graced the grounds that once served as the center of business and entertainment between Boston and Albany. The Fitzpatrick family has owned and expanded the business for the last 40 years and are celebrated for their support of the community. The word “inn” does not do the Red Lion proper justice, for it’s more of a village. A total of eight annexes make up the property, and each has its own charm. (Who wouldn’t want to stay the night in the old town firehouse?) Carol Bosco Baumann, Director of Marketing and Communications for the inn, says that the Fitzpatricks were “buying local way before that was the hip thing to do.” The rooms reflect the longevity of the Fitzpatricks’ passions: they are a mix of antiques and locally made furniture, and each bathroom has an individual vanity made by a local craftsman. The airy coverlets are made from recycled fabric by a local artist. The pub is one of the biggest draws there; guests and locals come to have a pint and listen to the live music every evening.
The lighthouse is a curious creature. Visitors come from far away to catch a glimpse of the enchanting buildings often painted by artists and depicted on postcards, but having the chance to actually spend the night in one is a rarity and a treat. The Saugerties Lighthouse overlooks the Hudson River and can only be accessed by hiking a half-mile trail. It’s maintained by innkeeper Patrick Landewe, who not only makes a bountiful breakfast for his guests but will also give you a history lesson about the lighthouse and the lowdown on the best places to go in town. With only two modest bedrooms and a shared kitchen and bath (with a composting toilet), the lighthouse is cozy—especially in the winter months, when the coal stove is there to keep you toasty. Guests are often found tucking in to books, picnicking on the outdoor decks, and admiring the views from the lantern house above. When the weather permits, swimming is ideal.
Outdoorsy types (and those who can appreciate an uncompromised view of the great outdoors) will find Minnewaska Lodge to be an idyllic retreat. The lodge lies on 17 acres of forest at the bottom of the Shawangunk Mountain Range, not far from the Mohonk Preserve and wooded trails of the Minnewaska State Park—perfect for a hike, ski, climb, or bike. The homespun lodge, decorated with earth tones and mission furniture, has cathedral ceilings and soaring windows, the better to appreciate the beauty of the view. Patrick, a Minnewaska staff member, described the lodge as “a B&B with hotel amenities for outdoor lovers looking for peace and quiet.” When you’re not outside enjoying all that the area has to offer, you can appreciate it from your balcony.
Storm King B&B
The Storm King Lodge prides itself as a country bed and breakfast, with the happy owners cuddling on their homey front porch; you’d imagine them to be as welcoming as your own family. The Storm King Lodge, which began as a barn in 1801 and was converted into a residence in 1920, is owned by two lovable country folk, Hal and Gay Janks. Hal is a retired bass trombone player for the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and Gay is a retired French teacher. They loved staying at inns and lodges so much that they decided to work toward owning their own. They took inspiration from everything that they admired from everywhere they’d stayed, and voila—the result was a welcoming hearth, four lovely bedrooms in the main lodge and two in the cottage (all with private baths), a mammoth swimming pool, and sweeping views of the mountains from the covered veranda. How does this compare to life at the Met? Hal Janks says, “The only way you succeed at this B&B life is if you enjoy sharing your home with guests. And we love this life.”