Tags
. Stone Tavern Farm 1993 2016 2-Up 4th of July aberlour abortion Acid House ACT UP Adjunct Commuter Weekly Afghanistan AIDS AKP party Alan Sidrane Alex Clark Aman Mojadidi Amie Siegel amy poliakoff Andrea Dworkin.Mad Men Andres Serrano Andrew Nichols angela carter angela pham Anna Moschovakis Apple apple cider Apple logo apple week applejack Architecture ardbeg Argos Arkville Arkville Bread and Breakfast Arnolfini Art Artemisia Gentileschi Arthur Dent Artists Space balvenie bankruptcy Belgrade Benjamin Buchloh Benjamin Genocchio Berlin Bernadette Corporation Bibi Seck Bibliobarn Bierstadt blogging blue BOMB Boston Marathon Bovina Bovina Library bowmore Brady Campaign Breezy Hill Inn Brian Loughlin Bristol Bruichladdich Bull Run Road Bushmills Buttercup butterflies Cabela's Campbeltown caol ila cardhu Catskill Mountain News Catskill Watershed Corporation catskills Catskills Community Garden Club Catskills FarmLink Centraal Museum Chandigarh chantal chadwick Charivari Charles Maclean Chloe Sevingy Chris McGee Christie's Christmas civil rights clarence de mar Colbert Report Colleen Asper Columbia Spectator community garden Contemporary Art Corbusier cragganmore Craig Taylor Crystal Bridges Damien Davis Damien Hirst Dan Chadwick Dario Robleto David France David Zwirner Dawn Kasper deer delaware county deminer Denver NY DEP police Department of Environmental protection Depeche Mode Derek Eller Gallery design Design Academy Eindhoven Design Observer Detroit Institute of Arts Devin Mills Diana Spechler Dick Sanford Diego Rivera Diller and Scofidio Dita Von Teese drones Duchamp East Meredith Elissa Schappell Ellen Lesperance Ellie Ga emma goldman Equal Rights Amendment Erodgan Erotica essays Esther Snyder Eva Hesse facebook Farming Bovina Feature feminism Feminist Porn firearms fireworks Fleischmanns flood cleanup Fogo Island Food Forrest Bess Francis Jenkin III Frank McHardy Franklin Getchell Frieze frieze London fair FSBO Gabriel Orozco gallery girls Garage Sale garden snakes gardening Gary Simmons Gerhard Richter Gezi Park ghosts glenfiddich glenfiddichaphids glock glynwood Goldman Sachs google Goya Foods Graffiti Gran fury Granta greg meyer Greg Olear Growing Up Modern Guerrilla Girls Gulf Futurism Gulf Times Gun violence halcyon Harper's Harry Rifkin Hayhenge Headshot hearthbreak hill Hedley Wright Hella Jongerius Henry James Hershey's Kisses Hidden Inn Hollin Hills hollow point bullets Home Goods How To Survive A Plague Hubbell Hubbells Hudson River School hunting Hurricane Irene Hurricane Sandy ICA Indrani Mukherjee inez Valk Isa Genzken Istanbul Aquarium Jake Rosa janet malcolm Janet Steen Jay Sanders Jay-Z Jean Kormos Jeff Tomasi Jennifer Kabat Jennifer Lyon Bell Jennifer Sirey Jeremy Deller Jerry Saltz Jessica Gingrich Joan Benoit Samuelson Joe Moskowitz Joe Perez John Chamberlain John Currin John Lanchester John McCracken John Pawson John Peterson John Reekie John Ruskin John Schulman Jon Raymond Jony Ive Joseph Andreani Joseph O'Neill Judy Chicago Justus Kempthorne Kabinett & Kammer Kabul Kasauli Kate Newby Kathrine Switzer Kelly Reichardt Ken Loach Kenneth Wynder kerri lisa kevin powers Kevyn Orr kim jones Knitting Nation kunsthalle wien LA Kauffman La Loge Lacanian Ink ladies of the night Lady Gaga land mines language Larry Clark laylah ali Lee Little LEEBA Lifesavers Lisa Selin Davis Liz Collins liz margulies local food Loch Lomond London Police protest Londoners Los Angeles Review of Books Luc Tuymans Lutz Bacher Lynne Tillman Maarten Bass maggie schaffer Margaretville Margaretville Central School Marge Miller Marina Abramovic Mark Birman Mark Dion MARK Project Marlen Esparza Marlene McCarty Martha Rosler Martine Syms marty margulies Mary Cassatt Marybeth Mills massoud hassani Matinee Metropolis metropolitan museum of art Miami Art Museum Michael Maharam Michelle Grabner Michelle Lopez Michelle Petricini Michelle Segre Michelle Sidrane Middletown Mies van der Rohe Mike Kelley Mike Triolo Mine Kafon minimalism Mitt Romney modernism MoMA Moss Store Mountain Brook Inn Mr Ed Mudfest Mureille Scherre Murray Moss Museum of Sex Music Nabokov nadja Marcin Nancy Barton Nari Ward Neil Bartlett New York City New York City DEP Nicholaus Schafhausen nina turner Notting Hill Notting Hill Editions NW NY Times NYC DEP Oakleys Occupy Olympics On Stellar Rays Our Greater Selves Paul Elliman Paul Ryan Peg Ellsworth Peter Applebome Peter Schjeldahl Peter Staley Philip Johnson Phoenicia Phoenicia Lodge Pinups plattekill pleasure poetry Prattsville Qatar Quakers Quarlteres Queen Victoria Rainmakers Flood Raleigh bikes Rembrandt René Daumal Richard Merritt Richard Nixon Richard Prince Richard Sanford Rob Janoff Rob Pruitt Robert Rauschenberg Roberta Smith Rochelle Feinstein roe V wade Roger Ross Williams Roxbury Roxbury Central School Royal College of Art RSK farm rush limbaugh Russell's General Store sade safari Salon Sam Byers Sandy Hook Sara Loughlin Sarah Ann Henley Sarah Lyall scotch Scott Finley Sean Beaudoin Sean Scherer Sex shalane flanagan Sheila Pepe Shia LeBeouf short stories Shulamith Firestone Simon Preston Gallery skiing Skin Like Sun skype Slavery snowmaking Sojourner Truth Sophia Al Maria South Kortright Springbank Stanley Fish Stedelijk Museum Stephanie Weber Stephen Burks Stephen Elliot Sterling and Francine Clark Institute Sterling Clarkl Sternberg Press Steve Jobs Steve Koester Stroud Sue Ilho Sue Williams Supervisor Campaign supervisor debate Table on Ten Taksim Square Tate Modern Tatlock & Thomson TED Television the Believer the Bibliobarn The Brooklyn Rail The Catskills The Cheese Barrel the civil war The Evening Standard the fourth of July The Hayward Gallery the hedonic treadmill. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy the ICA The Miner's Strike The Muster The New Museum The New York Times The New Yorker the NRA The Peekamoose the Promise The Rainmaker's Flood The Record The Roxbury Barn The Rumpus The Talking Heads The Weeklings The Western The White Review The Whitney Biennial the Whitney Museum The Woolpack The Yellow Birds Thomas Cole Thomas Thwaites Time Life Science Tintoretto Todd Akin Tom McCarthy Treadwell Trevor Paglen tThe Weeklings Turkey Two Dark Birds Two Old Tarts Two Paths for the Novel undefined University of Albany Art Museum Upstater Valeria Luiselli Vanessa Muller Vermeer Victoria Charkut VQR Wallpaper* Walt Whitman Walter R Brooks Watts Towers Wayd Jaquish weddings Whisky William Boyd William Hazlitt Prize William Pitt the younger Williamsburg Winslow Homer Winter in the Catskills blog WIOX writing Zadie Smith Zanele Muholi zita Cobb zucchinis Zuccotti Park

Entries in Phoenicia (1)

Wednesday
Jul132011

Lodge, Cabin, Inn, Motels – sleeping in the sticks 

Phoenicia Lodge

From this week's Catskill Mountain News:

 

Drive along Route 28 and the signs for cottages and motels roll by. The places are easy to ignore, some turned into apartments with the kind of rural neglect – car jacked up on blocks, lawn gone to weed – that suggests better days. It’s enough to make you think that the best of times are no longer these times in our corner of the Catskills. But, no. Over the past five years a small renaissance has started, with people redoing those bygone institutions of Catskills’ vacations. This renaissance has even dovetailed with the recession and weathered it.

The downturn did turn on the Catskills and in some ways turned out old visitors – but at the same time it’s brought new ones, and now a few years later seems to be strengthening the local economy. Being only a few hours from the city means tourist who would have flown to a vacation spot are staying closer to home. Many of these new guests are turning to more traditional inns and B&Bs, a shift that’s corresponded with an influx of new owners whose more polished approach appeals to these visitors. Call it a bit of Proust and nostalgia for innkeeper and traveler alike, but both are taken with these places that recall the past, a past that’s been updated with better plumbing and insulation, flat screen TVs, white walls and linens. 

At the Breezy Hill Inn (“Luxury in the Country” its slogan) the owners Michelle and Alan Sidrane sit on the screened porch and describe what they were looking for in their own travels: upscale inns and B&Bs, only there was little to be found here. Instead, the couple set out to build the place where they wanted to stay. Just how personal is obvious in the details down to the antiques in the rooms. The color scheme is based on her favorite pottery pattern whose hues repeat throughout the inn.

“It’s about coddling,” Michelle Sidrane explains, describing the Breezy Hill ethos with a high-end exercise room, steam room and lavish breakfasts. And, the inn’s busiest season? Not summer but winter when they’re booked straight from Christmas to mid-April. “We’re getting young families that used to go out West on a regular ski trip, looking for places to stay for a ski weekend at a more reasonable rate.” They’ve even had guests book the entire inn for holiday weekends.

The Sidrane’s is a very different approach from Sara Loughlin and Brian Batista’s at the Phoenicia Lodge. In their late 30s they treat inn-keeping like contemporary pioneers. They handle everything. On a quiet Monday (their “Saturday”) they’re both dressed in faded denim, work boots with white iPod earbuds dangling like necklaces around their throats. He’s mowing and she painting a cottage. The couple happened into the motel and cabins almost as a dare. They were looking for a place upstate, but not a motel – or a new career path. When they saw the place though they couldn’t stop thinking about it –and they had no idea what they were getting into. The local SBA loan officer even advised against it, but it’s been a huge success – busy now in summer and winter. They’ve replaced dark wood paneling with pale walls and new linens, and Sara stresses that this isn’t about luxury.

“We’re not trying to be upscale. There’s a need for a low-budget vacation.” People come to hike and fish, like they themselves did before moving. “We’re modest people,” she says, “and having a swanky place wouldn’t feel right. It doesn’t fit the way we live. Here in our region of the Catskills the middle hasn’t been done so well, so we saw what we could do. What might be possible.” What might be possible includes restoring original vintage features to give the lodge a Mad Men feel that fits not only the buildings’ era but the zeitgeist now.

Running the Mountain Brook Inn was even more of a jump for Gary Simmons. His home was in L.A. and his lodging experience more along the lines of staying at the Waldorf and The Plaza. His job had him virtually living in hotels, and there he studied the beds and how they were made, storing up the information for his future, not that he knew the Mountain Brook was his future. “And, not that this is a hotel,” he says in his Southern drawl as he runs around on a Monday afternoon dressed in a button-down shirt and coveralls, his version of a suit for the office. “Far from it. I love hotels but it’s definitely not that.”

The Mountain Brook is a motel – quaint and rustic on the edge of the Little Delaware. He found the place when visiting a friend after working on a show at Rockefeller Center. The Inn had been empty for two years and long on the market, but he knew it was his destiny. He also knew that destiny was going to take some work and jokes that he moved in with only an electric screwdriver. Since, he’s replaced and reworked just about everything – adding wainscoting and soundproofing and painting over the wood paneling that made the rooms claustrophobic. Now they have sitting rooms with deep sofas and inviting bedrooms with plush linens. 

The Mountain Brook's bridge

The three properties operate at different ends of the spectrum but taken with the Roxbury and the Hidden Inn’s re-opening show the vitality of Catskills’ lodging. Patty Cullen, Delaware County’s tourism director, explains: “There are a few trends driving visitors to the Catskills – first the growth in destination weddings [most of this summer’s guests at Breezy Hill and the Mountain Brook are attending weddings.] With a couple of events on one weekend, all the lodging in neighboring towns gets booked up. 

Additionally, with the growth of the locavore movement we’re attracting a younger audience interested in food and farming as well as getting outdoors. There are also second-homeowners’ friends who are visiting longer and opting not to stay with their friends. In all this, people are looking online, reading reviews before even booking. A business’s online presence is hugely important in the choices visitors make.”

This is something the Sidranes and Batistas both attest to, and all three businesses agree that once someone comes, if they have a good experience they will return. All three properties have developed a huge audience of fans and returning visitors – visitors these inns and motels have all cultivated since opening. 

Breezy Hill