New Yorkers know the quest to find the perfect, nearby inn for a quick restorative getaway is as elusive as locating Atlantis.
When it comes to a weekend in the country, it’s always a trade-off between convenience, cost, and charm. We found a winner that delivers on all three C’s. Just an hour north of the George Washington Bridge, the refreshingly affordable Buttermilk Falls Inn and Spa is that rare place that falls somewhere in between out-of-sight luxury (think Mayflower and Winvian) and cheap and cheerful (think the Roxbury in Delaware County).
In fact, we’d call Buttermilk the budget version of the Mayflower Inn and Spa, delivering an unpretentious combo of bucolic setting (70-acres of rolling fields and farm animals), sunny spa with panoramic views, and a delectable new restaurant staffed by alums from the Mercer Kitchen and the neighboring Culinary Institute of America.
The passion-project of Robert Pollack (one of the Great Jones Spa partners, a real estate developer, and owner of the shuttered Acme restaurant), Buttermilk sleeps about sixty—meaning it’s intimate, but there are no cringe-worthy B&B interactions.
Rooms: Choose between cozy, antique-filled inn rooms (from $250) or one of the standalone suites or houses kitted out in Pottery Barn aesthetic. Since my newborn and toddler accompanied us on a recent trip, we were diplomatically funneled into one of the self-contained suites for noise reasons. We stayed in the Gindelle Suite ($375/night) that included a master bedroom, second bedroom, living room and kitchenette in about 600 square feet.
Spa: Great Jones Spa regulars will appreciate the familiar sauna and steam room set-up, as well as the “endless pool” with a current that allows you to swim in place. This indoor pool, which overlooks the Hudson River, is surrounded by chaises perfect for curling up with a book. The facials and products skew natural (Jurlique and Naturopathica) and average about $110 for an hour-long treatment—reasonable for a resort spa. I’ve heard uneven reports about the therapists, so be sure to ask for “one of your most popular therapists” when booking. The yoga program, or lack thereof, is the spa’s weak link. Currently 8:00 a.m. Hatha classes are offered poolside but will be too gentle and slow for anyone with a serious practice. Plans to build a larger dedicated yoga area are underway.
Restaurant: There didn’t used to be a restaurant here, so you’d have to interrupt your lazy country day with the effort of a drive into New Paltz. Henry’s, the just-opened farm-to-table restaurant, serves a locally sourced menu that changes seasonally and features a welcome balance of fish, pasta, vegetarian, and red meat entrees. The monkfish special was perfectly prepared and they served an inspired take on a Caesar Salad. The desserts, including a whimsical chocolate mousse Whoopie Pie, were out-of-this-world. With the addition of Henry’s, Buttermilk is now a triple threat—inn, spa, and dining—and New Yorkers can rest easy during their weekend away. —Alexia Brue
Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa, 220 North Road, Milton, NY 12547, 845-795-1310, www.buttermilkfallsinn.com