Considering that the wide open countryside of New York's Lower Hudson Valley is just 60 miles north of Manhattan, exploring the back roads here is like stepping back in time, particularly in the vicinity of Caldwell House B&B, a Select Registry and Diamond Collection Inn located in the tiny village of Salisbury Mills. Ornate Victorians seemingly untouched since the Gilded Age overlook rolling fields and large tracts of forest land with Moodna Creek cutting a dramatic chasm most visible along portions of Route 32.
Built as a farm house in 1802, roughly 50 years before Captains of Industry began edging further away from NYC onto their country estates, The Caldwell House B&B exudes fully preserved earlier period charm thanks to owners Dena and John Finneran. The downstairs dining and parlor rooms are graced with their original fireplaces, wood planked flooring, crown moldings, and wavy antique glass windows. Head to your room and you get all these historic charms plus the latest enhancements like your very own i-Pad, individual temperature controls, remote controlled gas fireplaces, Smart flat panel TVs with Netflix/Hulu+/Internet/Direct TV access, and in some cases a Jacuzzi tub for 2. Walk the grounds and you'll discover that in addition to a family cemetery containing 4 generations of Caldwells, a large and growing array of solar panels John and Dena are installing to make the property more sustainable.
Breakfasts, the defining offering at any B&B, are extra special at Caldwell House B&B. Everybody sits around a big dining room table like family while Dena and John serve up an opulent 3 course spread straight from their adjoining open kitchen. Not only do you get treats like fresh baked crumb cake, mango gratin, and crème brulee French toast, you get enlightening conversation with your hosts and fellow travelers. If the weather is nice, be sure to linger on their wrap-around porch with that book you can never seem to finish and a beverage of choice.
During warmer months, exploring the 14 wineries of the Shawangunk Hudson Valley Wine Trail is a great way to get acquainted with the topography and local heritage. Wineries range from Brotherhood, the nation's oldest continuously operating winery with extensive cellar tours to Mom & Pop upstarts like Demarest Hill who in addition to fine Chardonnays also have their own wood fired distillery producing specialty liquors like Grappa, Limoncello, and Applejack.
Beyond wineries, you can easily stay occupied for a week. Must-dos include the West Point Museum, Storm King Art Center which has the largest outdoor sculpture park in the U.S. and for the more physically inclined, extensive nearby hiking trails exposing you to sweeping Hudson River vistas.
Coverage made possible by participating in a sponsored visit.