Thursday, December 15, 2011

We go green! (It's official)

Together with seventeen other lodging establishments, we were recently honored at a reception at Belleayre Mountain, as recipients of the Green Concierge© Bronze certification. The program, administered by environmental consulting firm HospitalityGreen LLC, trains and assesses lodging facilities to ensure they meet standards for waste reduction, energy and water conservation, environmentally preferable purchasing, and recycling.

We have all made both small and large changes to meet this standard, e.g. using energy efficient light bulbs, recycling, composting, using non-toxic cleaning products, upgrading sinks, showerheads and toilets to water-conserving models, purchasing recycled-content paper products, and sourcing local produce whenever possible. A tracking tool helps us track measurable environmental improvements.

Evadne Giannini, Founder and CEO of HospitalityGreen LLC, said “’s wonderful to see how far they have come. They have been so dedicated to the program and now that they are officially certified, we hope to see the Catskills flourish as an eco-tourist destination.”

It was nice getting a pat on the back, and wonderful to meet some inspirational owners, one of whom also runs a farm! Plus the carrot cake was awesome. Thank you Evadne for arranging that, and for all Hospitality Green's hard work and help.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November Harvest

We're gathering in the last of the crops from our garden for this year - this is mainly kale for our own use! We've also been drying big bunches of herbs to use in our winter breakfasts. This season we grew a lot of our own flowers for use in the guest rooms too.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sinterklaas Goes Bi-Coastal

This is a great free family event, so good to hear it's back on both sides of the river. On Saturday, November 26th there's a full day of activites at the Rondout, which this year is hosting the opening Sinterklaas event. This is where he's sent off on a tugboat to his destination at Rhinecliff. (We all know Santa usually arrives by boat, right?).

Children (accompanied by adults) are invited to a workshop from 12.30 to 2.30pm at ASK at 97 Broadway to make their own bejeweled Crowns & Branches to wear and carry in the parade later. Come and see stars, puppets, music and costumed players. There'll be a reception at the Downtown Visitor's Center after the parade, and a dusk tree lighting ceremony. Read more here!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

What would you do?

ABC News correspondent John Quinones and his fiancee stayed with us this weekend. As you might imagine from his current show "Primetime: What would you do?" John is a gregarious person, with a deep and genuine interest in everyone.....His relaxed manner put everyone at their ease, the conversation flowed, with lots of laughter, and breakfast broke all records by only stopping at noon!
But here's a dilemma: when you have someone well known stay with you, do you ask them for a photo for your blog? Well, we don't always. You can usually tell when someone just wants a quiet break. In this case, we thought it OK to ask, and John graciously accepted. Thank you John, and it was great meeting you.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Well in the last ten days we have been struck by lightning, had a small earthquake and then last Sunday we were hit by Hurricane Irene! We have been very lucky and come through it all unscathed. In this photo you can see the tail end of the storm clouds passing over the corn fields just along at the end of our road. The guests who were here during the storm were very brave and we had an informal party by candlelight on Sunday night - power was restored later that evening. We're celebrating the return of internet access today by posting this blog! Apologies to anyone who's being trying unsuccessfully to contact us in the last couple of days.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Phoenicia International Festival Of The Voice

August 4, 5, 6, 7, Phoenicia, New York.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

1000 Buddhas

His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is a world-renowned Tibetan Buddhist master, a living buddha who embodies wisdom and compassion. His seat in North America is just 12 miles from here, on Overlook Mountain above Woodstock, NY, and is called Karma Triyana Dharmachaktra (KTD). His Holiness will be visiting KTD tomorrow (Sunday) and giving teachings there on Monday and Tuesday. This is only the second time that he has been able to visit North America and you can read about this visit as it happens here. His Holiness the Karmapa will be giving the "Empowerment of 1000 Buddhas" and you can watch the teaching and empowerment here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hudson River Photographer

One of our favorite Wedding Photographers Diane Stredicke has a wonderful spread of photos on her blog of Andrea and James's Fall wedding here at the Stone House. She is a very talented photographer who always captures the personalities of her couples and the joy of the occasion. We have to say that the Stone House and the surrounding country look great too! You can see more of the shoot here:

Saturday, June 11, 2011


As you can see from these two pictures taken the other evening in the nearby Minnewaska State Park Preserve we live in an area of great natural beauty. The Mountain Laurel was blooming and a baby Red Salamander wandered across the trail.

With the Lower Esopus Creek passing through our property, The Catskill Mountains just to the north of us, The Shawangunk Ridge just to the south and the magnificent Hudson River immediately to the east, we are literally surrounded by unique, rich and diverse ecosystems.

We feel that providing accommodations for guests in such an area brings with it a responsibility to protect the environment that we inhabit. So over the last few months we have been working with The Green Concierge Project to gain accreditation for our environmental sustainability practices. Now we have added a page to our website detailing our Environmental Policy. Let us know what you think - any feedback to help us extend this work is very welcome.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Great Press!

It was early Spring and we had a booking from Eve Dumas, journalist for the quality broadsheet La Presse in Montreal, who had heard great things about Fleisher's in Uptown Kingston and wanted to stay somewhere nearby. Did we have any places to recommend for the gourmet tourist on a trip to the Hudson Valley? We had more than a few, and sent her many links. She visited all of them.
It turns out that her extensive trip encompassed Saratoga Springs down to Tarrytown. The four page article (published April 30th) really celebrated our local area, and one page listed us together with Tuthilltown Spirits, Damon Baehrel at the Basement Bistro, Bedford Post Inn, and Stone Barns, as "Five places to visit in the Hudson Valley". WOW!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Chef, The Publisher and the Baby Snapping Turtle

It's been a busy Memorial Day weekend here at The Stone House, and we met many wonderful people. Chef, cookbook author and television personality Sara Moulton and husband Bill came to stay.
“Other TV chefs may own famous restaurants and perform with theatrical flair,” noted TV Guide’s Herma Rosenthal, “but Moulton’s the one you can actually picture popping over to help you fix the lumpy gravy or the fallen soufflĂ©.” Find out more about what Sara is up to, and pick up some great recipes at .

Also up for the weekend was publisher Jill Schoolman, who runs her own publishing house archipelago books, a not-for-profit press devoted to publishing excellent translations of classic and contemporary world literature. Her spring 2011 catalogue, which you can see in the middle photograph above, features a cover photograph by Jill herself.

Our third featured visitor is a newly hatched Snapping Turtle we found in the garden this morning, trying to head down the bank towards the Esopus Creek. The shell was still soft, and it looked tiny on the palm of our hands. We set it down to continue on its way...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New Flowers, Old Lens

One evening recently I decided to take a stroll around the garden.

I had a old Dallmeyer lens on my camera, maybe 80 years old.

The soft, warm tones of the old lens seemed to give the new blooms an etherial glow in the damp evening light.

Sometimes it takes an old lens to show us this precious world in a new light. (Sam)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rekindling enthusiasm for a disappearing art.......

Recently a certain wedding dress for a certain Royal wedding received a lot of attention. But who knew that the train, all 9 feet of it, was created at the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace? Embroiderers also worked on the skirt, changing their needles every three hours and washing their hands every 30 minutes to keep the lace pristine.

Meet Mary Ann Kronk, who is an enthusiast for the fast disappearing art of needlepoint. She has started the Needle Arts Guild of Historic Hudson Valley in Beacon, with the ambitious goal of creating a Guild that will promote, teach, preserve and pass on this unique and creative art form for future generations. Currently she gives workshops in historic settings, such as the Bevier House museum just down the road from us. She is doing a workshop there on July 23rd. Contact us for further information, or check out her site at

We hope to have needlepoint workshops of our own here soon! Let us know at if you would be interested, and we'll let you know when the workshops will be scheduled.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spring Flowers In Our Back Yard

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Home Of Franklin D Roosevelt

Franklin D Roosevelt's home on the Hudson River, in Hyde Park, NY, is about 30 minutes south of us. There is a whole complex of historic sites and trails here to explore.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chagall in High Falls

Marc Chagall and Virginia Haggard Mc Neill

The history books tell you that the famous painter Marc Chagall escaped France for New York in 1941, only to return triumphantly to France again in 1949. They tell you that his beloved first wife died here in 1944.
They don't usually tell you he bought a house in High Falls, just a 15 minute drive away from here.
They don't tell you that he lived there from 1946-1948 with Virginia Haggard, or that they had a son. He was very prolific during that time, producing 90 to 100 works, as he rediscovered "the colour of love".
We attended a very interesting lecture by Vivian Jacobson this evening, who worked with Chagall for the last eleven years of his life. It seems that the Dorsky Museum (at SUNY, New Paltz) is putting together a major exhibition to shed light on the significance of his time here, including the importance of his relationship with Virginia. Locals have tales to tell, and much is yet to be discovered. For anyone who loves Chagall's work, this really is quite exciting. We hope to find out more. Watch this space.

Bouquet with Flying Lovers, Marc Chagall 1947

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saugerties Lighthouse

It's a pleasant evening walk to the Saugerties Lighthouse on the Hudson River. This is the only lighthouse on the river that can be reached on foot, as it's connected to the mainland by a spit of land which is a publicly accessible nature trail. The first lighthouse was built here in 1838, the present one in 1869.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"....we laughed and laughed, and told stories for an hour and a half......."

We always like to see what our guests say in their reviews and comments and we've just had a really nice review on that we'd like to share with you:

"We experienced a one night stay at The Stone House B&B in March of 2011. When we arrived we were greeted by Nadia who welcomed us and escorted us to our room. She had a very friendly and well mannered character. She offered us a brief tour and history of the House. We gladly accepted, and off we were learning about the restoration challenges and actual history of the House. We were intrigued by the details, architecture, and building methods of the time the House was built. Original fireplaces, pots, floor boards (12" wide), ceiling joists, 15"+ thick stone and cement walls, single pane glass windows, and even bathtubs truly made this place feel like you were living in the past. The room we settled in, was "The Lacemaker". We could not stop looking around, wide eyed and mouths open, and whispering..."Babe! Look at this!", "Hun, Check this out!” The place was beautiful, very well maintained, wonderfully restored, and extremely clean. Nine AM breakfast was a very unexpected experience. The food (emphasis on the bread and coffee) was so good, we couldn't stop eating. It tasted and felt so home cooked and right off the land. The company we had at the table (guests) made an unforgettable impression on us. We laughed and laughed, and told stories for an hour and a half. The room we were in contributed greatly to our moods and set the stage for a relaxed and friendly time at the table. Sam, who attended the table was such a well mannered and sophisticated gentleman, who just like Nadia, made the whole place and experience feel personal and one of a kind. We could not stop thinking about our experiences at The Stone House Bed and Breakfast. We felt so grateful for people like Nadia and Sam who take on challenges to preserve the past and provide our generation an unsurpassed place to stay. A place that that outlives and exceeds, service, locale, price, quality, and feel of any mainstream hotel out there. Yes, we’re are going back for more."

Many thanks to all our guests who write reviews. You can see more here:
and here:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Things found, things unknown

This is the doll, 3 1/2 inches high, that we found behind forties sheetrock, in what is now the Lacemaker room. We often wonder if Olive (see below) hid this keepsake from her childhood there, for future owners to find......
Next to her are various objects found in a cigar box in the attic. This cigar box is intriguing to us because it's the only thing we have found that has ties with her life in Kingston, when she was still living with both her father and mother. (She would later live with her mother's family in this house).
Behind the doll, on the toy bench, is a 1925 membership card for her father Harry H. Clearwater, for the Rondout masonic lodge in Kingston. Also in the box is a 1927 newsletter for a different Kingston Lodge, which lists Alphonso T. Clearwater as the Lodge's "Historiographer".
Alphonso T. Clearwater (1848-1933) was a judge on the New York Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, and is also known for being an important collector of early American silver. Was Olive related to him? That we don't yet know.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Olive Clearwater

Here are two photos we have of Olive Clearwater. The bottom one was possibly taken in the 1930s, with the southwestern side of the house in the background, the top one possibly in the 1940s. In the early 20th century, this was her grandparents' house, and she came to live here with her mother when she was a girl, eventually owning it herself and remaining here until she died, in the 1990s. Olive was an avid historian, and she received a 'Pride of Ulster County' award in 1986 for her book "Hurley in the Days of Slavery", which she wrote together with fellow Town Historian John J. Hofler. Through her maternal line, Olive could trace her ancestry back to the Olivers in the mid 19th century, who were in some way related to the original Kool/Cole family who originally built the house.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lots of Links with Historic Hugenot Street

In the 17th century, before the British came to this part of North America, the Dutch established Wiltwijck (now Kingston) in 1651, and Nieuw Dorp (now Hurley) in 1662. In 1678, a few French-speaking Hugenot families struck out on their own, and left Wiltwijck and our very own Nieuw Dorp(Hurley) to found New Paltz.
Now, the Historic Hugenot Street in New Paltz (just half an hour away) offers 6 acres of a National Historic Landmark that features seven unique houses that date to the early 1700s - a great place to visit.
So why do we mention this? Well, the way the Dutch and the Hugenots built their houses was very similar. And this Saturday, at the Historic Huguenot Street the curator/administrator for the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art will give an insider's glimpse of the way the Dutch room there (pictured above) was acquired and installed.
And why do we mention that?! Well, we're restoring a room on the ground floor of this house (scroll down to see 'Groote Kamer' below and the recent photo in our local Daily Freeman paper) that's now got a huge early fireplace in the same style.....The enormous hood was hand-crafted by William McMillen (top photo, left), who's an acquaintance of ours, and he made the one for the Metropolitan Museum of Art too!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hudson Valley Thaw

As you can see in the little video above the Hudson Valley is gradually thawing out after a very snowy winter. The first few shots in the video were taken at Awosting Falls in the Minnewaska State Park Preserve, one of the highest waterfalls in the area with a drop of 60'. The last few shots were taken from the Walkway Over The Hudson , the last shot looking downstream towards the Mid-Hudson Bridge.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Video Blogging!

So, in order to show you folks even more of the wonderful house and gardens, what goes on here and the great activities in the area, we have decided to add HD video to our blog. Here is our first test post, the Esopus Creek running through our garden as the snow begins to melt.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Esther and Jared

A wonderful group of people celebrated Valentine's Day weekend with us this morning. It was a chance to relax and enjoy good company, and an excuse to eat pecan waffles with chocolate ganache, and custards with fresh raspberries, and strawberries dipped in (even more) chocolate. Esther is a photographer who works for the NFL. We feel quite blessed by the people who visit this house, and we think you can see by the warmth and joy in Jared's and Esther's smiles just what we mean. Check out some of Esther's vibrant portraits here: .

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dutch Babies

For a delicious breakfast, 'Dutch Babies', or small Baked German Pancakes, never fail to impress. Made from an eggy batter baked in the oven in cast iron skillets, the mixture puffs up to great heights and becomes golden and crisp around the edges. Timing is everything as it has to be served immediately, invariably starting to collapse the instant it is whisked from the oven.
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup all-pupose flour
pinch salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
confectioners sugar
Preheat the oven to 400-450F.
Butter four small 6 inch skillets.
Beat the eggs thoroughly in a mixing bowl and blend in the milk. Slowly sift the flour and salt into the egg mixture while whisking continuously. Add the melted butter and mix briskly until the batter is smooth.
Pour the batter into the skillets and bake for 15 minutes.
While you're waiting, get the lemon juice and sugar ready - you don't want to lose a second once they're out of the oven!
Take the pancakes out of the skillets and sprinkle with lemon juice (not too much!) and dust with powdered sugar.
Serve immediately.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


We like to have a complimentary bottle of San Pellegrino sparkling natural mineral water in each room when guests arrive. As well as tasting really good it looks great!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Meet the Murrays

Meet the Murrays, from Philadelphia, who stayed with us this weekend. It was the first time the children had been cross country skiing, and they had a great time on the Saturday learning at Mountain Trails cross country ski center in Tannersville in the Catskills. This has all the equipment you'll need ready for hire. With 35 kilometers of patrolled and groomed trails, marked to their degree of difficulty, it's the perfect place to get to know this sport. Lessons are offered too.
On the Sunday, they went to the Mohonk Preserve in the Shawangunk mountains just south of us. The Visitor Center there has daily updated information on which trails have been groomed. For hiring equipment for the Shawangunks and local trails, Rock and Snow in New Paltz is definitely the place to go, but get there early, as they don't take reservations!
For experienced cross country skiers who can lay their own trails, the Hurley Rail Trail adjoins our property and offers 10 miles of a gently sloping gradient all the way to High Falls, with many parking options where roads intersect it, for exploring shorter sections only. High Falls offers great places to eat, and a range of gift and antique shops to reward the intrepid traveller.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year !!

Happy New Year!! It's been a wonderful season and we'd like to wish all our friends and visitors a healthy, happy and prosperous 2011. In only our second full season, so many of you returned, and we're honored. This house certainly wouldn't be the same without you.......there's still a lot of heritage to uncover here and the renovation continues, albeit at a slower rate. There are also facts to gather, artifacts to catalogue, and books to be written. We hope to share more of the house's history with you this season on our blog!