Do you remember when you were in school and were assigned a summer project? Sometimes it was reading. Sometimes it was making something. Sometimes it was simply keeping a journal with the intent of writing a “What I Did This Summer” essay when school was back in session.
We have our summer project, too. To tell the truth it’s really been our Winter/Spring/Summer Project. And, yes, will definitely go into the Fall. What is it? The Barlow, the Hudson Valley’s newest boutique hotel. After our first guests arrived we still had issues to deal with, the primary one being the central air conditioning system. But as we take a step forward each day we learn something new.
We also take what we have learned over the past 4 1/2 years running The Croff House and apply it to running The Barlow.
Another of our focuses was making sure that in putting so much effort in to getting The Barlow up and running (including hiring and training the staff, designing the layout, purchasing the furniture and artwork, and on and on) we didn’t want our guests at the inn to be neglected. It was a real balancing act, requiring all our energy to make it happen. It was a little tough yet we tried to manage it all with the same level of dedication we have always put into The Croff House.
Through it all Summer in Hudson is full of cultural, culinary and artistic events: Helskinki Hudson (www.helsinkihudson.com) continue their tradition of presenting top talent in their amazing space including the series Helsinki on Broadway, which offers top Broadway talent in an intimate cabaret setting. Stageworks Hudson’s (www.stageworkshudson.org) Summer Series draws loyal audiences to the terrific shows that are usually sold out months in advance. The Hudson Music Festival once again is taking place in August. Basilica Hudson (www.basilicahudson.com) begins a new independent film series this year which is already receiving a lot of local and regional press.
Now, half way through summer, we find ourselves looking towards both the Fall and 2014, and realizing our focus now needs to turn to a full on marketing effort: social media, email communications, development of our website content at both properties, and – most importantly – search engine optimization. So as we continue to swelter in our 2nd week of over 90 degree heat and humidity we know this “summer project” is far from over.
So many towns throughout the Hudson Valley boast all the things there are to do and see and, hey, Hudson is no exception. What makes Hudson unique however is the fact that everything Hudson has to offer is within walking distance from each other.
The 2013 Hudson Walking Guide has just been published. It’s a handy tool to navigate the plethora of Hudson’s bounty. Stroll up and down Warren Street and browse the wonderful shops, galleries and antique dealers. Take a walk along the Hudson riverfront, then grab a bite at any one of the city’s excellent eateries. The best part is…
No car needed! Since Hudson is an Amtrak stop, and just two hours north of New York City it’s easy to get to. Who needs the hassle of getting out to the Hamptons or Fire Island?
Check out the link below to the online version of the Walking Guide to discover why Hudson is the Hudson Valley’s most walkable city!
So many of our guests want to know “Why Hudson?”. An article recently published on the Etsy website gave Hudson tremendous praise.
It’s a quick read and helps explain, from their point of view, why Hudson is not just a great vacation destination but a wonderful place to work and live as well.
Check out the article at www.etsy.com
Back in November we announced on our Facebook page and in an email to our mailing list that we would be donating 10% of the reservations made from that point through the end of the year to one of our favorite organizations The Columbia-Greene Humane Society. On Tuesday, January 15 we were pleased to present Ron Perez, President of CGHS, with a check for $1,000. This is the first payment towards our ultimate commitment of $10,000 over the next 5 years. CGHS is breaking ground on a new facility this Fall that will greatly improve their ability to provide an even great level of service to the community. It is our sincerest pleasure to be involved in this very worthy effort.
Okay, it may seem odd that we would post a message on our blog about an alternative to staying at The Croff House, but we visited friends last night who own a beautifully renovated mid-century house on Mount Merino, just outside of town. They have done an amazing job creating a luxurious home and they are looking to rent out for the summer. The property features two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a designer gourmet kitchen with breakfast bar, dining room, living room, screened in porch, central air, and much more. The best feature of the property, as if all the other wasn’t enough, is the view: the house is situated right on the Hudson River (last night we were treated to an absolutely stunning sunset!).
The house is perfect for two couples. We must note that the property is not suited for children or pets and is non-smoking throughout.
So if you or someone you know is thinking about a summer rental, skip the Hamptons, Fire Island and the Jersey Shore and head up to this awesome waterfront retreat. We give it two enthusiastic thumbs up! Contact us at the inn for more information – (518-828-1688).
As many people know winter is our slower season at The Croff House. While it means we don’t have the abundance of guests that we normally welcome during the rest of the year it doesn’t mean that our work stops. On the contrary we do our best to complete those projects we normally would address during the rest of the year but which would otherwise disturb our guests. One such project is the repairing, refinishing and recarpeting of the main staircase.
The main staircase being repaired
The repairing involves shoring up each stair tread to reduce the old house “creaking” as guests walk up and down the stairs. This sound has become more prominent over the last few years and, while the sound maybe somewhat charming, we don’t want it to create too much noise. Once repaired the stairs may make some sound but dramatically less. Additionally the repairs will also address the “give” on some of the treads, making the stairs more sturdy.
The refinishing involves the sanding, stripping and staining of the treads and the painting of the risers (the front portion of each step). The refinished treads (the top of each step) will be stained to match the floors and the risers will be painted black to match the underside staircase wall.
We aren’t sure when the stair carpeting was installed but the pile is crushed and there are various and sundry minor stains (including “oops” during the painting of the inn). So it’s time to replace it. Working with a local carpeting store we’ve selected a burgundy runner that both contrast nicely with the new finish on the staircase and work well with the existing color scheme of the hallways.
The project should be completed by the end of February and will hopefully create a wonderful first impression for our guests.
Whether you love social media or think it is the future of the downfall of our society it is here to stay.
People are using sites such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate their every move. Personally that seems like overkill. Do you REALLY need (or want to know what I’m buying at the grocery store?). The more these sites offer new applications for both individuals and businesses the more people will use them, and not just to stay in touch with long lost friends either. As innkeepers we realize the direction and role social media is currently playing and will continue to play in the peoples’ daily lives. Our focus, however, is to use one site and use it well to communicate only information that we believe is relevant to our guests and that site is Facebook.
What’s more we want our Facebook page to be “usable”. In other words when you “like” us on Facebook not only will you find important information such as last minute deals and seasonal specials but also new recipe finds and information about what’s coming up on the Hudson cultural calendar and the latest news on new restaurant openings and reviews. Our newest feature, our Property Info. tab, will allow fans to find out more about the inn, view our rooms, and book directly from our Facebook page through our online booking engine. For us it’s very exciting – another way for us to attract more guests to Hudson and The Croff House.
So as technology continues to evolve and social media plays its role therein we hope to be able to continue to adapt with it to provide our Facebook fans with an interface that is both up-to-date and relevant to them.
During the Spring months we look ahead to our “busy season” with excitement and just a bit of anxiety, sort of like a runner at the starting line. Then the gun goes off and the craziness begins. Now don’t get me wrong, that’s what we got into innkeepeing for: welcoming hundreds of guests both new and old and helping them discover all that Hudson and Columbia County have to offer. The energy we derive from running the inn comes directly from our guests. If they are having a good time, so are we. If there is a problem it’s ours to solve. If they have a question, it’s ours to answer.
Each morning we never know what feedback lays in store: How was dinner? What did you do yesterday? What’s on the agenda today? Days go by. Guests check in. Guests check out. Then we do it all over again. Not having the time to experience all there is to do and see in town and the county we very frequently rely on our guests to tell us what discoveries are out there to pass on to the next visitor. Time marches on. Wedding celebrations take over the whole town. Annual events mark the progression of Summer: Flag Day, Hudson Pride, Fourth of July, Hudson’s Waterfront Music Festival, Labor Day weekend, and HOH’s Harvest Ball.
Then Fall Foliage arrives. Scores of guests want to know “how are the leaves?” or “when’s the best time to come up?”. Each year the answer varies. This year wasn’t so great – lots of rain, temperatures up – then down, then more rain. Nothing we can control, and guests still have a good time. Halloween looms on the horizon and with it the proverbial finish line (although we never really finish – just slow down a little). ”Winterwalk”, Hudson’s kickoff to the holidays held the first Saturday in December, brings thousands of visitors in from all over. A slice of Americana this annual event marks an important point in the town’s cultural calendar – the beginning of a sort of semi-hibernation, but like us at the inn, things never truly end just the pace eases up. Then the New Year arrives and with it the prospect of what is in store.
Before we know it we’re at the starting line again. Right after that the gun goes off and we’re back at it.
We opened over two years ago (can you believe it?) and in that time last artwork we bought for the inn was a piece by Ray Tadeucci. Well last weekend we attended the Rhinebeck Crafts Festival and found some great artwork, predominantly photography for several rooms. In looking for things for the inn the trick for us was making sure that whatever we found a) worked with what was currently in place in the room(s) and b) keep the aesthetic we have already established. Several rooms we knew needed attention more than others, so we focused on those rooms and are very pleased with what we found.
An autumnal tryptich din the Traver Guest Room.
We found this wonderful tryptich for the Traver Guest Room. The photograph, printed on canvas, depicts a mountain range during foliage season, one of our favorite and most popular times at the inn. The rusts, oranges, golds and deep greens works very well with the earth toned walls and neutral window treatments. The piece almost gives you the impression that you’re looking out a window toward the mountains.
Three floral prints in the Edmonds Guest Room
For the Edmonds Guest Room we found three art-deco inspired floral prints. The colors work really well in the room and the arrangement mirrors the recessed panels on the bed’s headboard. Since the Edmonds Guest Room overlooks the rear garden we’ve chosen to continue the floral theme with these prints.
We have other artwork that is currently being framed and should be installed in the next few weeks. Check out our Facebook Fanpage for up to date information. While you’re there become a TCH fan!
Berries being prepared for jam.
We love this time of year when the local farm stands start selling their fresh fruits and vegetables. The harbinger of what is to come are the local strawberries.
Red ripe and juicy these berries are the perfect ingredient in some of our guests’ favorite jams, which very frequently we use as toppings on our sweet entrees such as our Almond Buttermilk Pancakes and Cinnamon Sour Cream Waffles. During the winter months we make do with strawberries from other areas of the country, often having to macerate them in order to bring out more of the strawberry flavor. Not so with these beauties! They are deep red, juicy and sweet and are fantastic just on their own on top of yogurt.
We also love this time of year because we get to refill the “curio” with a new batch of our homemade jams, fruit butters and chutneys. Our popular S/B/C which is a delicious blend of strawberries, blueberries and cinnamon, returns as does our Triple Berry and Blueberry Vanilla. A new recipe was created this season – 5 Willard Place, which is our own recipe of strawberry, nectarine, plum and a touch of vanilla. We think our guests are really going to love this one!
Try 4 of our most popular jams!
We also realize that a lot of folks have a tough time choosing from our wide selection. So we’ve put together a Taster sampler of 4 4-ounce jars of our most popular jams: Triple Berry (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry), 5 Willard Place (Strawberry, Plum, and Nectarine), Blueberry Vanilla, and our S/B/C Jam (Strawberry, Blueberry, and Cinnamon). A great value and a great way to sample our jams. To order please email us.
So next, sweet cherries!