Best Hudson Valley Fall Getaways and Vacations in 2012
Seven historic hotels and fall getaways that make it easy to celebrate the season
(page 6 of 8)
The stately 1850 House Inn & Tavern faces Rosendale’s Main Street
The 1850 House Inn & Tavern (Rosendale, NY)
By Melissa Esposito
When the village of Rosendale was known as a cement-mining town in the 1800s, its streets were lined with saloons, casinos, and brothels. “Practically every building on Main Street with a high balcony was a brothel,” says Amy Stroope, innkeeper at the 1850 House Inn and Tavern. “Our building was not one of them — it’s been a hotel as long as anyone can remember.”
Today, Rosendale provides a touch of slow-paced, small-town life nestled between college-town New Paltz and mini metro Kingston. But it is undeniably a place filled with stories — a stroll down Main Street, with its boutiques and bistros, shows you buildings and houses that have been in place for so long it looks as though they’ve exhaled into the earth. There is a church that’s been transformed into an art gallery; a spiritual awareness store steps away from a sports bar; and trails that lead to abandoned cement mines and other sites that encourage exploration. A combination boutique hotel and B&B with an attached pub, the 1850 House Inn and Tavern is in the thick of it all, and is just as full of tales as the historic small town.
The three-story brick building went through a series of owners before Michael Ruger — former proprietor of the now-defunct Clove Valley Trading Company restaurant in High Falls — took over in 2004. After several years, he decided to give it a complete overhaul, including the name change from its longtime moniker, the Astoria Hotel (1940-2011). The goal was to maintain the building’s historical integrity while incorporating some of the most modern conveniences he, himself, enjoys during a hotel stay. “Renovations took a year and a half; we opened in March, but finished the largest room in May,” Ruger says. “We were going to use period furnishings, but it was difficult to find the right pieces; it seemed that combining the past with the present was the way to go. All in all, I wanted to build a place where I’d like to stay. So we included a fireplace in the main room, a bathroom in every room, AC and heat that guests can control, flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, docking stations for iPods, and really comfortable beds — we have our linens specially made for us.” And they cover all the bases down to the smallest details; a packaged toothbrush sits on the bathroom sink for those who were in such a rush to get away that they forgot to pack one. There are 12 rooms, including a two-bedroom suite, and rates vary seasonally from $130-$250 a night. Breakfast is served the next morning, and is locally sourced whenever possible; eggs, for instance, are produced practically down the road.
Options include omelets made to order, French toast bakes, casseroles, and the popular oatmeal-blueberry-streusel French toast. “While a complimentary breakfast is included with your stay, we’re more of a boutique hotel than a bed and breakfast,” Stroope says. “The 1850 House is not your traditional B&B with Victorian chintz, tchotchkes, and Laura Ashley prints. I guess you can describe us as ‘contemporary historical.’ ”
The past and present coexist harmoniously here; the hotel feels new, but there are enough antiques and historical embellishments to remind you that it is more than 150 years old. In the downstairs common room, for instance, a modern stainless-steel fireplace is encased within a wall of exposed brick. Guests can treat themselves to a cup of coffee from a Keurig machine while admiring the Rondout Creek from a weathered community table in the sunroom; later, they can mingle with locals sipping microbrews at the cozy tavern. Each room is outfitted with oversized photographs — which are usually hung over fluffy beds — of scenes from the town’s past. These landscapes of Rosendale’s timeline are worth admiring; some include glimpses of the time when the thoroughfare was a waterway. “We’ve actually had a guest who grew up in the area recognize his uncle and a few other men in a photo,” Ruger says. “We get a surprising amount of people telling us their own memories of the town and the hotel. One woman was married here about 50 years ago and brought in her wedding photo album to show us the building’s past, and another guy says he has a picture of Keith Richards in the tavern — we’ll need to see that one. But we love hearing those stories.”
To get there: 435 Main St. 845-658-7800; www.the1850house.com
A view of the modern lobby
What to do
The Rosendale Theatre Collective (845-658-8989 or www.rosendaletheatre.org): At one time used as a firehouse, this building screened its first film in 1949, and has not stopped since. Now exclusively a theater, it shows movies and hosts live performances, including dance and opera.
Widow Jane Mine (845-658-9900 or www.centuryhouse.org/facility.html): Nestled between High Falls and Kingston, this now-defunct limestone mine once provided materials for famous landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge and Lady Liberty’s pedestal. Now under the care of the Century House Historical Society, it is open for exploration and occasionally is the site of musical performances and poetry readings.
Where to eat
The Rosendale Café (845-658-9048 or www.rosendalecafe.com): Pairing vegetarian meals with performances by local musicians, this snug eatery is great for a casual date night. Don’t miss out on the famous wheat-free Japanese dressing.
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