Hudson Valley Fall Getaways and Vacations 2011: Kinderhook Farm, Valatie, NY
Best fall vacations in the Hudson Valley: Kinderhook Farm, Valatie, NY (Columbia County)
Down on the farm: Kinderhook Farm’s traditional red barn — updated with floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors — is a unique Hudson Valley getaway
Photographs by Randy O’Rourke
What could be a further departure from life in the big city than a weekend spent on the farm? Step out of the concrete jungle and onto 1,200 acres of working farmland at Kinderhook Farm in Columbia County. At Kinderhook’s new FarmStay you can enjoy all the pastoral beauty that imbues life on a working farm, while doing none of the work (though that can be arranged, too, if you want to get your hands dirty). The recently renovated guest barn, which sleeps four adults and two children, is perched atop the crest of a large hill, allowing for uninhibited views of bucolic rolling pastures and the animals that inhabit them. With one whole side of the barn open and screened, you can experience the great outdoors from a cozy indoor couch, according to Kinderhook co-owner and FarmStay visionary Renee Iacone. “It’s not like camping, but you do feel like you’re outdoors. You can see the moon, you can smell everything. You can hear the sheep baa-ing, the cows will walk right up to the door.”
As you might expect, the barn’s décor is simple and rustic — the perfect complement to the pastoral view
The old red barn and its incredible location was Iacone’s inspiration for the farm stay. She re-envisioned the loft-like space as a rustic yet elegant retreat where guests can comfortably experience the simple joys of country living — no streetlights, car alarms, television or Internet — with all the amenities one could want on an early fall vacation: barbecue, fire pit, swimming hole, and giant vegetable garden, ripe for the picking. At the heart of the raw-wood barn is the fully equipped kitchen and dining room, flanked on both sides by a queen-sized bed, dresser, and sofa; the three spaces are divided by canvas draperies for privacy. A newly renovated cedar bathroom is accessible through a back hallway, and a trundle bed can accommodate up to two children. “It’s old-fashioned, kind of raw-feeling. You feel like you’re on a farm as opposed to in a hotel or bed-and-breakfast,” says Iacone. “I just feel really lucky that we have the opportunity to be on the farm and experience it, and I thought it would be nice to share that with people.”
In addition to providing linens, towels, vegetables from the garden, and items like a crib or high chair, the farm stay encourages guest to gather fresh eggs from the nearby hens. The kitchen is stocked with condiments, cooking utensils, dishes, and essentials like coffee, and there is a grocery store less than 10 minutes away, though Kinderhook’s own chicken and beef is available for sale at the on-site farm store.
Despite being in its inaugural year (the barn opened for guests in mid-July), the FarmStay is already almost solidly booked through the end of the season (Oct. 15). The cost is $285 per night, with a two-night minimum; a one-week stay runs $1,800.
Head east through Chatham towards Massachussetts via Rte. 203. A 40-minute drive southeast will take you through beautiful autumn landscapes and deposit you in funky Great Barrington, Massachusetts
With so much to do and see right on the farm, you will likely never leave. In addition to secret swimming holes and miles of hiking trails, the farm life provides myriad opportunities for activity, and the farmers welcome guests participating in chores like grooming the horses or tending to the chickens. And farmer Lee Ranney is always happy to oblige a curious kid with a ride on the tractor. “Guests can be as involved or not as they want,” says Iacone.
If you want to get off the farm, there are a number of exciting places to go and things to do nearby, from music venues (Club Helsinki, Hudson, www.clubhelsinkihudson.com) to theater (Mac-Haydn Theatre, Chatham, www.machaydntheatre.org) to museums (MassMoca, North Adams, MA, www.massmoca.org). For more information on attractions near the Kinderhook FarmStay, visit www.kinderhookfarmstay.com.