Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa
A view of the Hudson River from Buttermilk’s lawn
The portion of Route 9W leading to Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa does not make for an impressive drive—motor inns and tractor sales and wood-shed lots. But once you’re inside Buttermilk’s 70-acre compound, ugly memories fade fast: The setting is a celebration of water (a swan/duck pond, a waterfall, the Hudson River), animals (an aviary and a pen of rescued livestock), farm (the scatter of rustic buildings across verdant meadows), and earth (slate step paths wind through apple trees, an organic garden, and wine grape plantings).
The 10-room, 1764 Main House is an 18th-century charmer filled with nooks and crannies, done up in white and taupe with wood floors and antique furnishings. There are also eight private guest houses/cottages around the property, including the two-bed stone-and-wood North Cottage perched on a cliff with river views.
Mornings began with a creaky jaunt down the Main House’s narrow stairs for a country breakfast of farm-fresh omelets and homemade pastries, followed by unhurried stays on leather sofas as we contemplated the day ahead: Wander about the lush grounds or indulge in a treatment at the spa? (We did both, of course.) There are also tennis courts, an indoor pool, and cooking classes at the on-site farm-to-table Henry’s at the Farm.
Explore: The area surrounding Buttermilk is perfect for unplugging and getting active outdoors. Just north on 9W, in Highland, New York, is the western entrance to The Walkway Over the Hudson, the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world, with grand views of the river valley. Also nearby is Minnewaska State Park and Mohonk Preserve for hiking. Shoppers can browse the funky retail outlets in New Paltz 20 minutes away, and foodies can visit one of the area wineries or pick-your-own fruit and veggie farms (DuBois Farms in Highland has a nice selection of “U-pick” fruits and veggies).
Dine: Buttermilk Falls has a working 40-acre farm on-site, so its upmarket New American restaurant, Henry’s on the Farm, can claim genuine farm-to-table cred. Another legit farm-to-table dining destination is just a 20-minute drive away: the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
Insider's tip: Live music fans (especially jazz and blues lovers) will want to drive five miles south on 9W to Marlboro and visit The Falcon (www.liveatthefalcon.com), a live-performance venue and farm-to-table restaurant in a 19th-century button factory overlooking Marlboro Falls.
Distance from White Plains: 1 hour, 15 minutes by car. Rates: standard rooms from $300/night
220 North Rd, Milton, NY