Friday, November 6, 2009

Hurley Stone House

For the second half of our Catskills trip we stayed a mere stone's throw away from Woodstock, outside the village of Hurley, to the south of where we had been. A gallery-owner-Harley-rider at the Woodstock Inn looked down his nose at this arrangement, when my mom explained it to him (he was touring the woods on his hog), but we could have stayed in the area another week and not have found every road and view it had to offer. I hate hopping from place to place. I like embedding myself. In response to the Harley rider my mother said, quite unselfconsciously, My husband rides a BMW, which he says is a real motorbike.

Good thing we left that day.

I had found the Stone House online and was attracted by the website, its rooms and pictures of breakfast, as well as the mention of two in-house cats (although it said that they are NOT allowed in the rooms).

The home is indeed very old, as an owner will tell you in earnest detail the minute you arrive and well before you have seen your room and unpacked (I might leave the lesson for later in the stay). But I understand the enthusiasm - they renovated the place themselves and are clearly very proud of it.

Our room was very comfortable and attractive, the bed a dream. At night the house creaks a great deal as guests move about on the old wooden floors, or in our case, go to a separate, but very pretty, bathroom down a hallway; and said floor delivered a nasty splinter to my bare foot. I liked blogging wirelessly from an antique desk.

In the large grounds (I was dying to suggest a garden, especially on the slope down to the river, as there is nothing right now), two enormous old sugar maples are the source of the maple syrup at breakfast. This was fascinating news and I rushed out at once to look at them...

Breakfast is good,  arriving in plated courses, although I don't think I'll ever find coffee that tastes like coffee, and Vince and I were late on day one, having overslept, and arriving sheepishly at the communal table where everyone is fed on the stroke of 9am. I dread communal tables, but we had good (Brooklyn-exclusive) company. I just am not a conversation-at-breakfast sort of person.

My favourite breakfast remains: good bread, good butter, good jam, good coffee. More elusive than you'd think.

The sugar maple in front of their house. Huge. The hole from whence the sap ran.

Maple syrup on pancakes at breakfast. Bad shot, sorry.

Considering what the Stone House charged - for our huge room $200/night - and what the Inn on 23rd (my mom's abode in Manhattan) charged, $ comparison. The Inn on 23rd  is really a dump and I get angrier about it the farther away it gets (I should learn to say what I think). OK, so the Inn is in New York, but in fact, the restaurants at which we ate out here (Terrapin - really bad - in Rhinebeck, and Le Canard Enchaine - ordinarily good bistro food but very overpriced, in Kingston) charged high prices for food and service that were significantly not up to scratch. So I'm not sure that prices are that different this close to the city. A ripoff remains a ripoff. High-freakin' way robbery.

Stay at the Stone House. Spurn the Inn on 23rd.

Oh, and the cats? We met Mila, a cat with a dramatic life's story, and who was incredibly friendly and who walked with us to the river. Very sorry he was not allowed into the guest areas. He never stayed still long enough to be photographed properly.


  1. Highway robbery easy while distracted by pretty leaves. They charge what people will pay I suppose. But 329 for the motel looking place, yes, robbery indeed!

    I like the stone house, which reminds me of the Huguenot homes on the road I lived on in New Paltz.

    Thanks for giving a taste of Hudson Valley autumn, via fresh eyes.

  2. Me misunderstood. Inn on 23rd? A place in NYC?

  3. Howdy Frank

    I should have been more clear! the Inn I meant is the Inn on 23rd...not the Woodstock Inn on the Millstream ($129), which was great. I just changed the wording a bit now.

  4. Lesson here:
    lodging in NYC is expensive crap but food is great.
    food outside NYC is usually over priced and over achieving, thus ends up being crap.

    So. Sleep in the country, eat in the City! Best of all worlds.

  5. Ah, beautiful! i agree with Frank that the house looks very much like the old Huguenot stone houses in New Paltz. How nice that there was a resident feline to visit with, even though he couldn't come into your room. My friend who owns a B&B in Newport never lets her kitties into the guest area, either, because of possible guest allergies. (Which means i have to visit her apartment in the attic of the house to get an adequate cat fix!)

  6. I LOVE that house! Pennsylvania (where I grew up) has the most beautiful stone farm houses. I wish I could lived in one.


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