Primed for a much-needed serenity fix, our mad dash to get out of town had us arriving early for check in at the enchanting, bucolic Hudson River Valley retreat we had set our sights on. And so, intrigued by the sheer beauty that greeted us and anxious to get the lay of the land, we parked the car, stored our bags, and set out a wandering.

Keeping company with a team of friendly ducks, Hubby and I walked a winding trail surrounded by lush greenery, wildflowers weeping willows, gently rolling hills and river vistas at every turn. Soothing sounds of a cascading waterfall (the Inn’s namesake) echoed in the distance, and instinctively, we knew… Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa, 220 North Road, Milton, N.Y. 12547, was exactly the place our weary psyches needed!

Later, settled into our rustically comfy, second-floor cottage (the “Rooks Nest”), with its appealing Adirondack décor, cheery and bold color palette and loft-like architectural touches, that sentiment was confirmed as with time to spare before dinner, we donned cushy robes, cozied up fireside and soaked up the peaceful aura.

Farm-To-Table Fare

Ready to venture out for a good meal, we didn’t have far to go. Henry’s at the Farm, the on-site restaurant, was but a stone’s throw. Relaxed, rustic and a real find, a creative country menu highlights local bounty from neighboring food producers, the Inn’s own Organic Millstone Farm, and Hudson Valley wineries. A few intriguing dishes stand out, including a 48 oz. Tomahawk Steak and Chilled Millstone Farm Watermelon Gazpacho. Our selections, however, leaned toward more standard fare: Filet Mignon, with mashed potatoes and beer-battered onion rings for Joe, Oven Roasted Beet Salad with Shaved Fennel Salad for us both (outrageous with golden and red beets, goat cheese shaved fennel and toasted hazelnuts) and Pan Seared King Salmon with Succotash for me. Accompanied by a few glasses of House Sangria of the day and topped off with a decadent, flourless chocolate cake, we were pleasantly impressed. So much so that by meals end, we had reserved a table for the following night.

Opting for a leisurely stroll before retiring, the sheer beauty of the grounds again beckoned. From the serenity of the Swan Pond to the tranquil remains of a community burial site with headstones dating back to the 17th century, and the historic significance of the Anning Smith Main House, (built as a trading post in 1680) this is a magical setting for sure!

America’s First Presidential Library and Foodie’s Delights

Awakening the next morning to stormy weather, we set course for nearby HydeParkand theFranklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. To say you could spend an entire day at this historic compound is an understatement. Transported back to one of the most difficult times of the 20th century through videos, photos and artifacts, the museum, a somber reminder about the depression, New Deal and wartime, illuminates the 32nd president’s principles in stark contrast to politics today.

A guided tour of Roosevelt’s family home is a must! Situated overlooking the Hudson and reflecting a moment in time, it appears just as it did the day FDR died. In addition to the room and bed where he was born, you can view how the family dined and entertained the likes of Winston Churchill, Queen Elizabeth and a host of political and social houseguests. Of note regarding his paralysis, Roosevelt repurposed the kitchen dumbwaiter to maneuver him from floor to floor. Ingenious, really! The grounds, too, are impressive, including the Rose Garden, where FDR and Eleanor were put to rest.

Exiting the museum by way of Route 9, we passed by a foodie fantasyland – The Culinary Institute of America, where award-winning restaurants and café’s showcase an epicurean experience as prepared by future culinary leaders and chefs. Time constraints and a spa appointment didn’t allow us to indulge, but given its close proximity to Bergen, a day trip is surely in the offing.

Closing in on home base, however, we did stop for a lite bite at Frida’s Bakery & Café, a mainstay in the little hamlet of Milton. Owned and operated by the Buttermilk, it offers a tempting array of house-made artisan bread, amazing pastries, cookies, and desserts, but also assorted Panini’s, wraps, home-style specials and made to order, build your own salads and hamburgers. Add to the mix, small-town charm, quality service, and an entire second-floor kid’s playroom complete with adult-sized toys; it’s easy to see why this eatery is a local hotspot.

Spa-time Serenity

Back on-premise, after donning bathing suits and robes, we headed to the spa. And while hubby spent time lounging poolside, taking in the eco-friendly solar and geothermal powered sauna and steam room, I opted for a blissful, 90-minute Buttermilk Facial that touted antioxidant, pH balance and nutrient-rich serums. What an all around, treat… as a surprise to me, it included a soothing foot and hand treatment! I about floated back to our cozy little nest.

More To Love

So much to see, and so little time. Did I mention Buttermilk’s animal sanctuary, which is home to a honeybee apiary, chickens, donkeys, llamas, goats and peacocks, an organic kitchen garden, orchard and aviary? Then, too, rounding out the B&B perks, there’s complimentary afternoon teatime in the Maine House Inn’s Sun Room (more of Frida’s tasty goodies, specialty teas and coffee), free WiFi and a hearty buffet and cooked entrée breakfast. Who could ask for anything more?

Buttermilk Falls, Inn & Spa’s17 guest accommodations are split between the Main House, former barns and four freestanding guesthouses. For more information, call (845) 795-1310 or visit www.buttermilkfallsinn.com.

Louise B. Hafesh is an award-winning writer and contemporary realist artist. A Bergen County resident, she is president of AdVantage Publication Services, Inc., an editorial syndicate for regional and national publications, and can be reached at www.louisebhafesh.com or www.paintersportal.blogspot.com.

By Louise B. Hafesh

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