Accommodation / Art / North America / Travel / Travel Guides

Escape The City: A Rustic Retreat In Rosendale, New York

1850 house and tavern
1850 House & Tavern

Not many people know about the worthwhile Manhattan escape of Rosendale. In fact, I live in New York at had still never heard of the tiny town. Luckily, a recent invitation to stay at The 1850 House & Tavern allowed me to explore charming Rosendale and its surroundings. To help you plan a rustic escape from New York City, here is my advice for a perfect country weekend.

Stay

Built in 1854, The 1850 House & Tavern is a historic property that has resided under various different hotel names since around 1850. It officially became the 1850 House & Tavern in 2012, housed in Main Street’s only 3-story brick building in history. Guests can still see some original features from when it was the Central Hotel in 1850, for example, the brick facade, wood floors and holes in the walls behind the bar where original sconces once were. There are also black and white archival photos that have been blown up to be about the size of a window, allowing for a unique view into the past.

Guestroom at the 1850 House & Tavern
Guestroom at the 1850 House & Tavern

That being said, along with the changing of the property name came a more opulent experience, blending historical charm with modern comforts. In fact, The 1850 House & Tavern is one of the Hudson Valley and the Catskill’s more luxurious bed and breakfasts. Rooms are extremely clean and feature over-sized beds, freshly-laundered robes and a delightful selection of Hydro Spa bathroom amenities — even a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss. Downstairs, guests can relax in one of their common rooms, like a dining room featuring floor-to-ceiling views of the surrounding Rondout Creek, a spacious living room-style area with plush couches and leather chairs and the Tavern, serving comfort food and handcrafted cocktails.

Twisted Foods, Pretzel Roll Factory
Image via Twisted Foods, Pretzel Roll Factory

The highlight of the stay for me was the Innkeeper Amy’s fresh farm-to-table breakfast. She makes sure to incorporate local products as much as possible, like artisanal pretzel rolls and pretzel croissants from Twisted Foods, Pretzel Roll Factory as well as meats, eggs and fruit from regional farmers. When I was there, a tantalizing spread of rustic breakfast fare included fresh pretzel rolls and croissants, banana nut bread, Greek yogurt, fresh fruit salad and a savory casserole of egg, tortilla, mushroom and cheddar. A nice selection of coffees and teas also made it easier to wake up in the morning.

Amy also informed me that, come summer 2013, guests will have access to even more amenities. For example, they are in the process of building a deck out on the back so people can relax and enjoy the views of the creek and surrounding nature. Additionally, across the street they are working on a spa and wellness center that will include spa treatments, yoga, capoeira classes and more.

Rosendale Cafe
Rosendale Cafe

In Town

Walking down the sidewalks of Rosendale, it immediately becomes clear you’re in a very artsy, small-business dominated community. The eclectic, slow-paced town features small shops housing innovative ideas and products, while eateries produce farm-to-table cuisine made fresh. Some of my favorite Rosendale experiences include:

  • Stopping in the Alternative Baker for sweet and citrusy lemon bite. While this is their specialty, they also serve a range of other artisanal treats, some of which include a chocolate truffle torte, cinnamon streusel buns, buttermilk scones and Mediterranean focaccia bread.
  • Enjoying vegetarian food and live music at The Rosendale Cafe. This unassuming eatery serves up innovative vegetarian dishes like black bean stuffed cornbread, mushroom tofu stroganoff and a brown rice burger with “fakin’ bacon” and vegan cheese. Not only that, but they host a wide range of interesting events, like Latin Dance classes on Thursday nights at 7:30pm, art exhibits and live music from many different genres.
  • Relax in the community parks. Rosendale is home to four tranquil parks, including Willow Kiln Park, Veteran’s Park, Linear Park and Rutsen Park. These small but beautiful spaces are perfect for enjoying a good book or having a picnic when the weather is nice.
rosendale theatre
Rosendale Theatre
  • Take in a show at the Rosendale Theatre. Once a casino, this old time single screen movie house puts on everything from live shows to documentaries, operas, ballets and National Theatre broadcasts. It’s an entertaining way to travel back in time while enjoying a high-quality film or performance.
  • Take an art class at the Women’s Studio Workshop. Visitors can take a private class for $64 per hour, or opt to do a group class in one of their summer workshops. If you’d rather just browse, take a stroll through their art gallery open weekdays from 9am to 5pm.
  • Check out authentic Himalayan artifacts and handicrafts at Vision of Tibet. Browse Tibetan jewelry, ritual objects, clothing, one-of-a-kind antiques, home decor and more.
1850 House & Tavern's cozy tavern
1850 House & Tavern’s cozy tavern
  • Have a drink at The 1850 House & Tavern. Whether you’re staying there or not, Ben serves up some mean comfort food as well as delicious cocktails using international spirits and local whiskies from Tuthilltown Spirits and Widow Jane.
  • Sample local and imported cheeses at The Big Cheese (402 Main Street). You’ll be able to enjoy complimentary samples of quesos, as well as food in the onsite restaurant and random finds in their thrift store.
  • See what’s going on across the street from The 1850 House & Tavern at Lovebird Studio. The innovative art gallery is always hosting free exhibits and getting involved in fun community events.

Nearby

Not only is Rosdendale a worthwhile place to spend your time, but also the surrounding area. Here are some interesting ways to enhance your country getaway nearby:

Millbrook Ridge Trail in Mohonk Preserve
View from Millbrook Ridge Trail in Mohonk Preserve

Adventure

Not far from Rosendale is the Mohonk Preserve. Located in the Shawangunk Ridge, a section of the Appalachian Mountains, Mohonk Preserve features 7,000 acres of cliffs, forests, streams, ponds, unique rock formations and scenic trails. Visitors come from all over to hike, cycle, climb, horseback ride, run, ski and snowshoe. For aerial views of the Hudson Valley opt for the Milbrook Ridge Trail loop, an intermediate forest and ridge trek that requires some rock scrambling and steep ascents and descents.

There is also the Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Here visitors can explore 25 miles of hiking trails and 35 miles of carriageways, as well as a beautiful landscape showcasing dense hardwood forests, waterfalls, crystalline lakes and sheer cliffs. The diverse terrain allows for a variety of adventure activities, like hiking, cycling, climbing, snowshoeing, boating, skiing, picnicking, swimming and even scuba diving.

Village of new paltz
New Paltz Village. Image via Daniel Case.

New Paltz Village

The town of New Paltz is about a 10 minute drive from the hotel, and features bars, restaurants, eclectic shops, live music venues and tasty gelato cafes. Make sure to have a meal and brew at Bacchus Restaurant, Bar & Billiads, which has an impressive menu of innovative dishes as well as over 500 beers. Since the venue is named after the Roman god of wine, it should be no surprise that they also feature an extensive wine selection as well as perfectly poured handcrafted cocktails. On weekends, enjoy live music in a social atmosphere.

The Cafeteria (58 Main Street) is another fun place to hangout. It’s a spacious venue features an eclectic coffee shop with a chill vibe, artisanal teas bagged by hand, funky retro furniture and modern wall art. Inside you’ll also find Root Note Music Shop which sells and rents guitars, gives music lessons and hosts live music events on weekends.

Next door, Cabaloosa is an interesting experience. The live room and dance bar features a live bands, dance events, open mic nights, a sake bar, cafe and even an invitation-only B&D Fetish Party. And for a tasty treat, also next door is the Sweet Candy & Ice Cream Shop which serves aesthetically- and palate-pleasing gelatos as well as artisanal chocolates.

robibero winery cupcakes
Cupcakes from Robibero Family Winery’s cupcake and wine pairing event

Wine

The Hudson Valley’s Shawangunk Wine Trail runs right through the area, with two of the wineries being within 15 minutes of Rosendale, and all of them within an hour. First there is Robibero Family Winery, a boutique winery and vineyard that not only makes award-winning wine, but also hosts an array of fun wine events. For example, for Valentine’s Day they hosted “Sweet and Sinful Revenge Cupcake and Wine Pairing,” which introduced guests to a lesser-known way of enjoy their vino. There’s also Adair Vineyards, a charming winery and vineyard featuring 10 acres of vines that grow two white varieties, Seyval Blanc and Vignoles, and two red varieties, Foch and Millit. Make sure to do take a tour of their wine cellar and do a tasting to see firsthand how they create their world-class wines.

kingston senate house
Kingston Senate House, where New York State was founded. Image via Dmadeo.

History & Architecture

Rosdendale gives you quick access to one of New York’s only three remaining original Dutch settlements, surrounded by stockades and known as the Kingston Stockade District. Exploring the area — which is located in Uptown Kingston — you can see historic buildings from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. One of these buildings, the Senate House where New York State was founded, is also on New York’s Path Through History trail. The trail runs through the state and highlights over 200 historically and culturally significant sites.

In New Paltz visitors can explore historic Huguenot Street. This 10-acre National Historic Landmark District is where Huguenots and Walloons, French speaking protestants from France and Wallonia (Southern Belgium), came in the 1660s and 1670s to escape persecution from Catholic authorities. Today you can still see a visitor center, seven stone house museums, a reconstructed 1717 French church, a research library and an early burial ground.

Peter Bynum at the Woodstock Artists Association & Museum (WAAM)
Peter Bynum at the Woodstock Artists Association & Museum (WAAM)

Gallery-Hopping

While you can find art galleries in Rosendale as well as its adjacent communities, for a truly immersive art experience head 25 minutes north to Woodstock. The walkable town is littered with creative spaces, like Woodstock Artists Association & Museum, where you can explore two floors of diverse works created by local artists, and the nearby BYRDCLIFFE Kleinert/James Center for the Arts, another place to see works by local artists as well as take in live performances and purchase artisanal handicrafts. For a range of creative spaces, take a stroll down Gallery Row on Tannery Brook Road, which has five exceptional galleries located one next to the other.

An interesting fact about Woodstock is it’s home to America’s oldest continuing arts colony, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Known as the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony, visitors can tour its 300 wooded acres and 30 “Arts and Crafts Style buildings” which today act as artist residences and studios.

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Jessica Festa

Jessica Festa is the editor of Epicure & Culture as well as Jessie on a Journey. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia, agritouring through Tuscany, and volunteering in Ghana.
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