Quick hits

Catskills’ Hotels Props

In what can only be described as incredible, three new hotels in the Catskills earned spots among Travel + Leisure’s “100 Best New Hotels Worldwide,’ the magazine’s annual “It List.” The hotels—Hutton Brickyards in Kingston, Inness in Accord and Piaule Catskill (pictured above) in Catskill—are all upscale stays located on the west side of the Hudson River. Isn’t it time for a staycation?

Stay Tuned: Through The Mill(brook)

Proposed luxury resort Second Mountain still on life support.  |  By Richard Pérez-Feria

After exiting from New York City’s NoMad and Eleven Madison Park—annually ranked among the top restaurants on the planet—restaurateur Will Guidara moved to Kingston (pre-pandemic) and purchased the Migdale Castle estate in the billionaire-laden, bucolic village of Millbrook. The sprawling 350-acre compound, built in 1927 for Andrew Carnegie’s only daughter and most recently occupied by billionaire art dealer Guy Wildenstein and his colorful family, had been renovated by the Wildensteins to the tune of $50 million in 2000.

Guidara’s intention has always been to develop Second Mountain, as the property is now called, as a luxury resort with 77 rooms, suites, cabins, cottages, rental pool units, glamping tents and unparalleled dining experiences from Brian Lockwood, a former chef de cuisine of NoMad.

The notoriously private Millbrook residents (including the Divine Miss M, Bette Midler) have staged a ferocious battle on multiple fronts—Traffic! Environment! Noise!—all but killing any hopes of Second Mountain ever becoming a reality, and angering most business owners who covet the additional revenues sure to follow those hotel guests.

Though not likely to be exactly what Will Guidara first envisioned for his Millbrook dream project, he remains hopeful the town board will support a scaled down version of his proposal. For now, his vision is best seen from a distance. (Couldn’t resist. Sorry, Bette).

I don’t know where everyone has gone but it seems as if no one wants to work in a restaurant anymore. We’ve found a motivated, talented chef, a very capable sous chef and some really good cooks—so, you never know. Believe!

–John DeLucie
Chef/Restaurateur/Owner of Merchants Social in Hudson

Ciao, Guido’s! 

It might have been five years in the making, but the totally revamped Guido’s Fresh Marketplace in Great Barrington was well worth the wait. As co-owner Matt Masiero showed me around the store I’ve been shopping at since I was a kid, I couldn’t believe the sheer size of it. In addition to its traditional offerings—meats and seafood, gourmet cheeses, prepared foods, baked goods, fresh flowers—the new and genuinely vastly improved Guido’s now boasts a barbecue station, a burrito bar, a café and a smoothie bar—plus a gorgeous outdoor patio and fireplace, giving it even more of a community feel. Other upgrades, Masiero tells me, include more in-person demos and cool features such as fresh mozzarella made in-house daily. “If it wasn’t a destination before,” he says, “it’s certainly going to be one now.” Like Gwen Stefani might say: No doubt. –Isabel Hochman

PLAY Time In Iceland

Play Airlines, Iceland’s colorful equivalent to Southwest, has daily roundtrip service to Reykjavik from New York’s Stewart International Airport in Newburgh and can connect to 22 European cities including London, Paris, Copenhagen and many others. Play was the first carrier to use Stewart’s $37 million international arrivals and customs facility that had been under construction for several years. Play’s affable CEO Birgir Jónsson was on the inaugural flight to New York in June.

Tastemaker Chris Weld: Sour Power

So, what does Berkshires Distillery founder and owner Chris Weld say is his go-to bourbon cocktail for the summer? He keeps it classic with a Whiskey Sour using Berkshires Mountain Distillers Bourbon.

Check In: Goodnight, Berkshires 

There are very few things that are deal breakers when I seek out a luxe destination, mainly, is the bed linens situation. So, when I heard the buzzy Apple Tree Inn in the Berkshires was awash in ridiculously high thread-count Frette sheets, a personal favorite, I was sold. Apple Tree Inn is the resort equivalent of a warm hug, particularly if you stay in one of the 13 rooms in the 1885 Victorian main house. And, yes, great food abounds, but, for me, its those dreamy sheets waiting for me to make the world disappear. Sweet dreams. –RPF

Woodstock And Chill

Stars align at annual film fest. | by Mia Cárdenas

What could be a better place to experience indie film (and live music) than the art-centric community of Woodstock? Open to the public, the annual Woodstock Film Festival, this year being held from September 28 to October 2, “feels like you’re walking into a warm embrace,” says co-founder and executive director Meira Blaustein.

The four-day festival—which features movie screenings, music performances and expert panels—has been historically well-attended by a diverse bevy of actors, directors, screenwriters and other industry folks, has attracted the likes of Natalie Portman, Uma Thurman, Jennifer Connelly and Lucy Liu.

“The event is really open and speaks to the culture of Woodstock,” says Blaustein. “There’s an accessibility to interact with everyone. We’ve got high-quality films, but with a casual and intimate vibe.” 

Hudson & Packard: Perfect Pizza In Poughkeepsie

What the heck is “Detroit pizza” was my first question, when I heard about Poughkeepsie’s Hudson & Packard pizza shop taking second place for “Best Pan Pizza” in the world(!) at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas last fall for one of their creations, “Holé Molé.” Detroit pizza, I learned, is thicker than regular New York pies and square. This I had to try. Second-best pan pizza in the world? We’ll see about that.

In a word, “Wow!” From the first bite of this just-this-side-of-burned crust to the multiple layers of cheese, tomato sauce and sausage, this may have very well been the best pizza I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a lot of pizza, friends). Owner Charlie Webb is, no great shock here, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. C’mon now and plan your next Poughkeepsie pizza adventure. You, too, will be amazed. –RPF

Retail Hot Flash

Kenver goes way beyond the slopes.   

Since its recent change in ownership, longstanding Egremont, MA ski shop Kenver, Ltd. is filling its shelves with all manner of warm weather gear. “It’s been more than six years since we’ve been open for spring and summer,” says the store’s General Manager JC Duryee. “So, we’re excited to be adding a large assortment of new activities and products.” Beyond the standard non-winter fare, you’d expect—mountain bikes, canoes, outdoor wear, camping equipment—Kenver’s got its finger on the pulse of evolving customer interests. “We found that pickleball was a growing sport in the area, so we’ve brought in Baddle paddles and apparel,” he says.  –IH

Casa: A River Runs Through It

You’re either in love with this fantastical property or you’re not (I’m all in).

If living on the Hudson River (Hyde Park) in a gorg Hollywood Hills/Bird Streets-style crib is the stuff of your dreams, 46 Ledgerock Lane is your once-in-a-lifetime home. It’s time to take your (real estate) shot.

Full Disclosure: I’ve known the selling agent, Corcoran’s nicest executive, Jason Karadus, for decades and he knew exactly what he was doing sending me information on this $45 million five bedroom, seven bath modern masterpiece sitting on more than ten pristine acres of Hudson Valley’s bucolic environment. He had me at modern masterpiece. –RPF

LOVE: Happily Ever After

by Erika Phenner

Crane Lake Summer Camp in Stockbridge, MA was the stunning setting Michelle and Molly chose to exchange their vows. The magical moment was captured by photographer Eric Limon. The newlyweds even paddled off into the sunset in a vintage canoe. Perfection.

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