I randomly discovered Old Stone Farm and Restaurant in upstate New York’s Staatsburg, a stone’s throw from Rhinebeck New York where I visited godparents a few times at their farmhouse in the warmer months as a child. They lived on some rural dirt road in what appeared to be in the middle of nowhere to a 12 year old despite the fact that I was used to the remoteness of the Adirondacks.
My recollection is that they had a jeep and we used it often to get around and even as a child, I couldn’t help but remember its serenity and peacefulness, where bird calls were more prevalent than the sound of cars. It was an easy place to get lost and the trees seemed to keep their colors in the fall for longer than further north where the seasons passed more quickly and it was already chilly by mid-September.
It was late September when we ventured north to Staatsburg, getting lost on a few side streets to marvel at the nearby farms. It had my first return to the area since I was a teenager, so I was mixed with positive and warm emotion as we drove through the nearby towns, so many of which ended in burg, ville or town.
I had corresponded with Waddy Francis, the fairly new General Manager of Old Stone Farm via email before we had arrived, so learned of some of its charm and appeal before we set foot on the farm’s soil and basked in the sun to the views of horses, historical barns, vibrant trees and well manicured lawns that stretched for over 200 acres. Waddy is a wealth of information with an interesting background, so you won’t be disappointed if you take the time to ask him to share a story or two.
After a day, I found myself wanting to leave my cell phone behind when I headed to dinner and on the last day, I didn’t bring it to breakfast, nor did I retrieve it when we went for a walk around the grounds or sat in the porch chairs while we sipped our morning coffee and ate their fresh blueberries and oh so New York bagels with smoked salmon and onions.
Old Stone Farm is where rustic and luxury meet, exuding the kind of simplicity that brings you back to all the things that make you feel healthy and happy. In other words, there’s no frills, no late night bar where you can drink beer and watch a game on TV or 24/7 room service, although Jeff Newman, the on-site Manager of Guest Services who has been part of the farm for 16 years, is only a phone call away should you need anything. Not only is the service top notch but Jeff has a wealth of incredible stories to share and can even orchestrate a nature walk through the property and beyond if you coordinate in advance.
Modern frills and over-the-top features are not what founder Stu Kahn and his wife Sherry had in mind when they created their vision for the farm, which has only been open since 2013. Although Stu has passed away, it’s clear that Sherry’s commitment to the farm and its original mission remains, which is to create a place of serenity, healing and rejuvenation for those who are interested in more than just a romantic weekend away, although it’s a great option for that also.
More than just an inn, it’s a wellness and education center dedicated to social awakening through personal transformation. Perched above well manicured fields in the heart of Dutchess County, this beautiful property has stunning views of a 236 acre natural wonderland. In addition to their individualized guest rooms, Old Stone Farm touts a library, yoga barn, pavilion, horse barn, indoor and outdoor riding rings, as well as a full-service spa including massage, wet rooms and steam cabinets.
Sherry restored the 200-year-old farm with impeccable care, preserving its authentic 18th and 19th century historical buildings, hand choosing the antique furnishings and art, maintaining as much of Old Stone Farm’s history as possible (while powering with environmentally sustainable solar and geothermal energy), a fabulous factoid — I love their commitment to sustainability.
Surrounded by hundreds of secluded acres of gardens, old cedar forests and maple groves, ponds and streams, hills, valleys, hiking and riding trails, and pastures, the farm offers a whole lotta serenity and natural beauty, whether you’re staying for a night or several days. They also have a number of workshops on site as well, such as a memoir retreat, one on yoga and meditation, resilience, dream decoding and whole body healing to name a few. (See http://www.oldstonefarm.org/workshops/).
Despite the fact that you’re surrounded by nature and they encourage outdoor living and walks, it’s not as if they’re anti-technology and in fact, as a way to cater to the New York City crowd who can easily get here in under two hours by Amtrak from Penn Station (they’ll even pick you up from Rhinecliff station gratis, which is nearby), they tout fast wifi in the main barn. Here is the peaceful haven where you’ll stay. The barn houses their 10 rooms on two floors with a cozy country living area, table and chairs and a bookcase loaded with books on the second floor.
That said, you don’t see people glued to their phones or laptops. In fact, people come here to unwind, so seeing them by day walking around the property, taking in a yoga class, reading a book outside on one of their Adirondack chairs or simply taking a nap is more the norm.
While the farm is vast, the inn itself is small so the ambiance is intimate – no one seems to lock their doors and there’s a small pantry area where you can get bottled water in the fridge, flavored organic coffees or teas and healthy snack bars anytime of day or night. There’s also a landline you can use to dial out since cell phone coverage is limited if not dead on the property itself.
Their nine rooms and one two-room suite are all named after their horses which I found charming. All of the rooms include queen size custom beds with organic mattresses and Frette sheets, private bathrooms, robes, safes, country antiques and original art.
The art is an understatement really since Sherry has been collecting original pieces for decades now and there’s plenty to go around, so much so that paintings plaster every hallway in every building, the bathrooms, every guest room and of course the main house where you go for breakfast and dinner.
They have created an exceptional space for people to explore personal transformation and growth in an intimate and exclusive setting. As you’ll see below, each room has its own charm and character and no two rooms are alike. As mentioned above, each room is each named after one of their horses – I’ve included a few so you can get an idea of what to expect. Note – they’re all charming so it’s hard to go wrong with any of the rooms in the barn, which btw, they refer to as Stu’s Inn.
Ginger is a Loft Room on the second floor of Stu’s Inn and features views of forests and horse paddocks. Ginger is named for a Swedish Warmblood who lives on the property and is used in the Epona Program.
Ditto is their two room suite which comes with a sitting room and views of the horse paddocks in the distance. Ditto features artwork by Ernest Fiene, a Woodstock artist and the bathroom features an antique tub and a large shower. Ditto is named for a Morgan Horse who is a Blue Ribbon champion.
Dutchess features beautiful paintings of the Hudson Valley — the room faces south with views of the forest and paddocks. Also worth noting is that Duthchess is of course the mother of Duke. :-)
Below is the dining room where we had a couple breakfasts and dinner one night. Note the diversity of art on the walls.
Ahhh, the healthy breakfast spread.
For those of you who are yogis, they have a Yoga Barn that dates back to 1759. Inside there are more historical paintings and a baby grand piano. They hold weekly yoga classes here, one of which we tried on a weekend morning. It was hard not to get into a very peaceful place in this serene barn that exuded such lovely energy and karma.
There’s also a spa on-site. While it’s not massive in size, nor do they have extensive facilities (no traditional steam room, swimming pool or hot tub), it’s incredibly relaxing and peaceful. Below is the sitting room area while you’re waiting for that “shut me down” massage, which you can get from one of their massage therapists, who all seem to approach massage from a holistic and healing place. You can choose from a Soothing Hot Stone, Therapeutic or Relaxation massage, Aromatherapy and Facials as well as Facial Scrubs.
There is a sauna room however (well sort of) and as you’ll see below, it’s a little different from your standard sauna in that the have two amazing cedar “steam” cabinets, so you get the benefit from a steam and a sauna at the same time. What’s also lovely is that there are two “steam” cabinets side-by-side, so you can share the experience with your partner.
Below is one of the outside barns, where when looking for a bathroom, I ran into one of the horses their many rooms are named after.
In front of the main house, they have two outdoor seating areas where you can dine (by day or night) on a separate wooden veranda as well as the outside porch to the main house. The fun part however is sipping tea anytime of day on one of their Adirondack chairs while you take in the natural beauty and watch the horses off in the distance.
Below is the entrance to the main house. The Pop’s Greasy Spoon is of course misleading since their food is organic and fresh and we never had a greasy spoon meal during our stay. How can you not love the sign though and like everything else Sherry so carefully curated, it adds to the charm of the place.
For those who travel as often as I do, you know that in the end, the magic is always in the details! (taken in the back of the house)
Although I’d recommend hitting downtown Rhinebeck for dinner at least one of the nights of your stay, you should absolutely try Old Stone Farm’s on-site restaurant. Their chef Matt is committed to organic, gourmet cuisine and sources ingredients from local farmers in the area. It’s a pre-set meal so there’s no menu to choose from, however since they are so committed to healthy holistic living, they ask for food sensitivities before you arrive, so Matt can customize meals to ensure there’s nothing in any of the dishes you can’t eat or don’t want to….
In our case, we started with a fresh tomato tartare with chive oil, watercress and green beans, and after that low calorie, low carb, and low fat dish, we had a baby kale salad, served with hierloom tomatoes, spinach, basil, mushrooms and a sherry walnut dressing. Yum!
The main course was a Pollo Loco, which is a pan roasted chicken breast with Spanish rice. It was served with cilantro cumin, pickled tomato salsa and cilantro and they paired it with a light to medium bodied Italian Chianti.
Since I asked to hold off on “cow dairy,” I was treated to a roasted pear with a chocolate sorbet. Thanks Matt for not taking away my chocolate. Why is it that so many sorbets only come in lemon, lime, melon and strawberry? Don’t sorbet makers realize that just because we may stay away from dairy, it doesn’t mean we don’t love all the same flavors that are embedded into the fattening and “loaded with sugar” ice cream counterparts. If someone were to ever make a Pistachio Sorbet, I’d be singing for days.
Bottom line: if you want a healthy, holistic and transformative getaway from New York City or any of the neighboring burbs…a place where you can truly relax and feel as if you’re being taken care of, Old Stone Farm is a fabulous choice for your “must do” getaway list.
Old Stone Farm
2434 New York 9G
Staatsburg, NY 12580
Note: We were hosted by all opinions expressed here are entirely our own.