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Buttermilk Falls Inn and Spa

by Bree Shirvell

Bree Shirvell a recent graduate of George Washington University is a contributing writer at OZOlife.com, ToTheCenter.com, t&T News, and works as an editorial intern at La Cucina Italiana.

Buttermilk Falls InnAs I pulled off the main road and through the gates of Buttermilk Falls Inn and Spa, I immediately experienced a giddy feeling similar to going into a candy store as a child. Surrounded by 75 acres of serenity sitting on the bank of the Hudson River, the deep sound of the nearby roaring falls is matched by the inviting architectural juxtaposition of an ultra modern spa and rustic main guesthouse. Located in Milton, NY, not far from the Culinary Institute of America this oasis retreat includes a 13-room inn, 5 cottages, a spa with indoor pool and, of course, a bee hive, bird sanctuary and open fields for llamas, goats and other livestock.

Sitting in a room of floor to ceiling glass windows looking over a pond and the Hudson River, the morning is heralded in by the smell of a mouth-watering breakfast. During harvest season, almost all of the food served at Buttermilk Falls comes directly from the grounds. During the winter, jellies, jams and eggs come from the farm, and the rest of the food is purchased from local Hudson Valley producers. Breakfast comes in two forms: the first, sustainable cold buffet of fresh berries, cranberry muffins, yogurt, breads, and an assortment of juices, tea and coffee; the second is a choice of at least two hot options from the kitchen. From fluffy blueberry pancakes with maple bacon to goat cheese and asparagus scrambled eggs, this breakfast showcases the best nature has to offer.

But come dinnertime, the tease of breakfast left me wanting more. While there is currently no full service restaurant at the inn, this is soon to change. In the spring of 2010, Buttermilk will unveil a state of the art culinary experience. In response to guests’ recommendations, a culinary arts center will include a restaurant with celebrity chefs and patio overlooking a pond, a teaching kitchen with mid-week cooking classes, and a conference room that holds up to 80 people. The teaching kitchen will gives guests the opportunity to work one-on-one with some of the best local and sustainable foods native to the Hudson Valley, while the full service restaurant offers them a chance to sit back and enjoy tasting how the masters cook with the same foods. The deep green and distressed wood-shingled culinary center is a modern addition built to blend right into the surroundings. Harnessing rainwater and heating it with solar technology, the new building will highlight energy efficient tools as well.

Walking through the hallways of the main guesthouse, there are still signs of the original house built in 1760. From a corner of exposed stonework to a panel showing wood craftsmanship, history makes Buttermilk Falls Inn a journey to another time and place. While keeping the feel of an era long gone, the environmentally-efficient updates transform much of the behind-the-scenes aspects into a 21st century showcase. In each room there is the option for towel re-usage and biodegradable water bottles to reduce the amount of long term plastic waste. The spa has a solar panel roof. The inn and spa use geothermal wells to both heat and cool the facilities.

From hosting weddings overlooking the Hudson River to holding intimate cooking classes, a short two hour drive from New York City or Hartford, Connecticut will bring you to a sanctuary of local goodness.

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