Winter Wedding

White wedding

Winter Wedding?  Not the Billy Idol “White Wedding” kind.  The winter kind.

Needless to say Summer and Fall are the most popular times to have a wedding, .  The weather is warm and being outdoors is part of the charm.  Most often booking venues, lodging and caterers is much more difficult.  Most couples find they have to book 6 months, a year or more in advance to find the perfect spot.  Budgets tighten and nerves fray.  In other words, Summer seems like the perfect time of year to wed.  However, in reality it can be hot – very hot.  The weather is unpredictable.  Humidity can be off the charts, quite often.  Unfortunately, many a well-coiffured bride has ended up drenched.

 White wedding

The event space at Helsinki Hudson

Enter the Winter Wedding.  Winter is an overlooked time to get married.  For example, inside venues like Helsinki Hudson and Swoon are warm and cozy.  Lodging establishments like The Croff House, The Barlow and other are much more willing to offer discounts for group bookings.  Caterers hunger (no pun intended) for the business, as well.  What could be more beautiful than saying your vows as the snow gently falls?  Arriving at the wedding in a horse drawn carriage?  Toasting your new life together next to a blazing fireplace?  In other words a White Wedding is ideal.

Now, there may be some concerns about weather related travel.  What if it snows?  True, that could happen.  On the other hand, the good news is that Hudson is an Amtrak stop.  In addition, the Albany airport is very adept at dealing with snow removal and rarely shuts down.  Finally, any of the businesses in town would understand weather-related cancellations and make accommodations to reschedule or – even worse – cancel.   Make these arrangements ahead of time without worry.

So, if you haven’t considered getting married in the Winter you may want to rethink the benefits – lower rates, better availability and greater opportunity to create something with less lead time.  Just think – the whole world might be decked out in white just for your special day!

Perfect in Winter

Looking for a getaway spot – The Croff House is perfect in Winter!

The Croff House just participated in the first Hudson Historic House Tour.  It was a wonderful day – the weather was perfect: snow gently falling to create just the right Holiday mood.  We brewed up a batch of fresh mulled cider and a whole bunch of Duncan’s famous “Snickerduncans”.  Tour participants had the opportunity to visit 5 different historic homes that are currently being operated as bed and breakfasts/inns.  The afternoon event took place from 2:00-5:00 followed by a reception at a 6th location.

Upon entering The Croff House everyone commented on the festive holiday smells: the scent of the wood burning in the fireplaces, the spices coming from the mulled cider and the rich aroma of the cookies.  People commented how the inn looked perfect in winter – all dressed up for the season – and remarked at the beauty of the 1870’s details throughout the house.  Warming themselves by the fires, guests also had the chance to view several of Duncan’s handmade needlepoint Santas, which were displayed in all the Library, the Living Room and the Dining Room.   Some actually thought the pieces were paintings until they got a close look and marveled at the detail of each.  It was truly a highlight for many visitors.

Before long it was time for each tour guest to move on to the next property.  We wished them Merry Christmas and that we hoped to see them back again, next time as guests.  Almost all agreed that The Croff House was just perfect in winter!

Homemade Soap

Homemade Peach Raspberry Jam

Homemade Peach Raspberry Jam

Homemade soap – a winter hobby.  As many guests know I make jams, preserves, chutneys, salsas and the occasional pasta sauces during our summer months.  With the bounty produced throughout the warmer months by a host of wonderful local farms I am able to keep busy during our not-as-busy times during the Spring, Summer, and Fall.  Guests of The Croff House enjoy purchasing these to take home for themselves or as gifts for others.

Then came “old man Winter” and I had to come up with a hobby to keep my busy during our much slower period.  Lo and behold – homemade soap.

Homemade soap

Homemade soap

Now making homemade soap is not as difficult as it may sound 9i say this even though I am still working on my own technique).  All you need is water, lye (dangerous stuff), oils, scents and colors and you have the ingredients for making soap on your own.  There are a lot of “cookbooks” out there that take you from the easy (melt and pour) methods to the elaborate (lye and water mixed into various fats such as olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil and even beef tallow).  To these you can add natural exfoliators such as oats, poppy seed and even sand.  The combinations are seemingly endless.

The melt-and-pour method is great for kids, and a wide variety of melting soaps can be found at Amazon for a very reasonable price.  Essential oils are readily available at many heath food stores.  Lone Star Candle Supply also sells fragrance oil blends and color blocks that can be used in the production of soap as well.  Homemade soap created using the melt-and-pour method takes only as much time as it takes for the block of soap to be cut up, melted, colored and fragranced and re=poured.  It’s a great rainy day activity for kids and a fun “take home” gift for a slumber party.  Make the soaps at night and the next day they are ready to take home!

Granular lye

Granular lye

The more complicated method is the process of dissolving lye in water, melting fats, combining them at the right temperature, stirring them until the appropriate consistency and pouring the soap into the molds.  While more time consuming (and a touch dangerous) making soap using this method is much more satisfying as it give you the sense you are actually making soap yourself, not just melting someone else’s.  The “recipes” also use natural additives like goat’s milk, shea butter, cocoa butter, aloe vera and more to really exercise your creativity.  Once the soap has “cured” usually within a few weeks, it is ready to be used.

A gift basket that includes your own homemade soap is so much more appreciated because it allows you to add a personal touch to make the gift even more special.

Unlike the jams and such, we won’t be selling our homemade soap at The Croff House, which is okay.  You’ll be making your own at home in no time!  Have fun!

Ready for Valentine’s Day??

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been so focused on the snow that we’ve nearly forgotten that Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching.  Are you like us?  Still haven’t made any plans with your partner in celebration of that special day?  Why not make that day really special at The Croff House!

Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday this year, so there are three perfect times to celebrate:  the weekend before, a special escape during the week, and a three day weekend following (President’s weekend).  With spa showers, gourmet breakfasts and fireplaces in our common rooms, The Croff House sets a great stage for a romantic “reconnection” with that someone special in your life.  And remember, our Winter “stay two, get the third night free” offer in still in effect.  So make your reservations now for that ideal get-a-way!

Snow, Snow and more Snow

For all of you who love winter activities, have we got snow for you!  In the past three weeks, we’ve had three major snow storms that have dumped nearly 5 feet of snow over the Hudson Valley.  Nearby ski areas like Catamount and Windham Mountain report near perfect ski conditions and cross country skiing trails are in prime shape.

For all of you who prefer curling up in front of a roaring fire, you won’t be left out in the proverbial cold either.  With fireplaces in both our library and our living room, as well as fireplaces in our two Suites, there’s plenty of space for you, a friend and/or a good book!  And with the center of town only a two blocks away, it’s just a quick dash to some of the finest restaurants in the Hudson Valley.  The nearby Amtrak station makes getting here from NYC a breeze and we’ll even pick you up at the station and make sure you’re well pampered.

Winter is the perfect time to visit us and our best rooms are often available with shortly advance booking.  So check our our reservation link now to see when you check spend some quality time with our snow!