Hudson Valley Fall Getaways and Vacations 2011: Hotel Fauchère in Milford, PA
Best fall vacations in the Hudson Valley: Hotel Fauchère in Milford, PA (near Delaware County, NY)
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Milford, Pennsylvania, is a charming town of 1,100 people nestled between the Sawkill and Vandermark creeks, a short drive from the Delaware Water Gap. The layout was designed by John Biddis, a judge who founded Milford after the Revolutionary War; the broad, tree-lined streets are named for his kids.
Surrounded by natural splendor, Milford has always been a magnet for aesthetes. Many prominent architects — including Calvert Vaux; the fabled firm of McKim, Mead & White; and, more recently, Peter Bohlin — have contributed buildings to the borough. Silent filmmaker D.W. Griffith used Milford as a setting for his pictures, and the town was a favorite of Mary Pickford, the most famous (and wealthiest) movie star of her day. And Gifford Pinchot — the visionary conservationist who built Grey Towers, a gorgeous manse in the hills overlooking the town — enjoyed visits from Teddy Roosevelt.
When staying in a town The Atlantic once called “the prettiest county seat in America,” the place to stay is — and always has been — the Hotel Fauchère. Like Milford itself, the Fauchère has a long and storied history.
Its founder, Louis Fauchère, a native of Switzerland who came to the United States in 1851, was master chef at Delmonico’s, then the most celebrated restaurant in New York (its name still conjures up images of decadent splendor). That Fauchère was friends with the Delmonico brothers — and that they visited him in Milford — contributed in no small way to the success of the operation. Among the luminaries who have stayed at the Fauchère are the poets Robert Frost and Ogden Nash, actresses Mae West and Sarah Bernhardt, industrialists Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford, and baseball legend Babe Ruth.
The current hotel, a gorgeous Italianate building, was built in 1880; the original saloon was removed to the rear. Fauchère, known about town by the misnomer “The Crazy Frenchman,” died 13 years later. His family ran the hotel, to his exacting standards, until 1976.
Closed for 25 years, the Fauchère was purchased in 2001 by Sean Strub and Dick Snyder, who spent five years restoring it — but adding inspired touches of their own. “We kept or recreated much of the architectural detail, but neither one of us thought the world needed another over-the-top Victorian-style inn,” Strub explains. “So we sought a more spare and sophisticated look that blends the historic legacy with contemporary amenities and style.”
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