Hudson Valley Apples

Hudson Valley Apples

Hudson Valley Apples are recognized the world over as the best.  Honeycrisp.  Granny Smith.  McIntosh.  Red Delicious.  So many varieties!  But besides eating them or baking them into a pie (YUM!) or making apple sauce what else can you do with them?  We’ve found a few suggestions thanks to Delish and allrecipes.

Hudson Valley ApplesLet’s start with Apple Butter.  Slow cooking, gentle stirring and time transform Hudson Valley Apples into something smooth and delicious.  Unlike jellies and preserves, fruit butters require little or no sugar.  Letting the fruits natural sugars provide just the right amount of sweetness.  Here’s a great recipe from Chef John at allrecipes.  At The Croff House we make our own version and use it in our popular Allspice Apple Butter Muffins.

For breakfast why not whip up a batch of apple pancakes?  Fluffy and full of apple goodness.  Want something easier?  Make an Apple Raisin French Toast Casserole the night before.  Let it sit out for a bit before popping it in the oven – great for the Holidays!

Okay, now for some completely unusual uses for Hudson Valley Apples.

Hudson Valley ApplesRamp up your appletini with apple infused vodka:  Simple put 2-3 cored and quartered apples in a mason jar and fill with vodka.  The more apples the deeper the flavor.  Let sit for a few days, giving it a shake a couple of times a day.  Looking for a healthy snack for the kids (grown ups, too)?  Apple chips are a great alternative to cookies and satisfy a sweet tooth.  Fragrant apple potpourri brings the scent of Autumn into your home. So much better than the store bought kind, too.

 

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!

Staycations

Staycations

Staycations.  Whatever happened to them?  First off, what are they?  Staycations are longer getaways, usually 4 or more days, at a destination close to home.  They are the perfect opportunity to get to know places closer to home.  Indeed, many people have seen sights in other countries, but have little knowledge of what’s in their backyard.

The Croff House opened in April 2009, 6 months after the stock market crash of September 2008.  At that time we had many people, who had lost money in the crash, booking staycations.  One memorable couple stayed for 5 days as an alternative to their annual vacation to Paris.  They had lived in New York City their whole lives but hey’d never been to the Hudson Valley.  As a result, they discovered long overdue.

So the question becomes, “What’s there to do that will keep me busy?”

Well, there’s tons of options.  First you can just “chillax” at the Inn.  The Croff House is offers the most common spaces, both indoor and out, of any property in Hudson.  Read a good book.  Binge watch on Netflix or Hulu.  Or just take a nap.

Are you a foodie? Grab a bite at one of our favorite eateries in town.  Take a ride down to the Culinary Institute of America for a delicious (and reasonably priced meal).  Wine afficionado?  Check out nearby Hudson-Chatham Winery or Tousey Winery.  History buff?  Olana, Cedar Grove and Lindenwald are not to be missed.  Hiking enthusiast?  Get you blood pumping at Kaaterskill Falls or Bash Bish Falls.  Don’t feel like doing the driving?  Let Table to Farm tours take you on adventure throughout Columbia and Greene counties.

There’s plenty to do to fill your days!  What about the nights?

With all the entertainment venues in and around Hudson there’s always something to choose from.  Helsinki Hudson, Hudson Hall, Time and Space Limited, PS21, The Fischer Center at Bard and the list goes on.  Everything from classical concerts to cabaret to open-mic nights are on tap.

Book your staycation with us and let us help you discover all there is to do so close to home.

Apples! Apples! Apples!

Apples

Apples

New York State is know for apples.  Just outside Hudson there are many apple orchards for “U Pick” family fun.  Farm stands are overflowing with all varieties of apples.  Restaurants have apples on their menu in salads, main dishes and – of course – desserts.  So it’s no surprise that one a guest-favorite fruit course in Fall features apples!  But, as with most of our dishes, we put our own twist on the dish to make it special.  This is great on oatmeal, pancakes, french toast, or even ice cream.  So here’s a great recipe to make use of all those apples:

 

 

Poached Spiced Apples with Butterscotch Crunch Topping (serves 4)

For the apples:

4 Firm apples (Granny Smith works really well), peeled and cored

3 Tbsp. water

3 Tbsp. brown sugar

1/3 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon

1/8 Tsp. Ground Allspice

Pinch of Ground Clove

[as an alternative McCormick makes an “Apple Pie Spice” blend that saves time]

For the topping:

1/3 cup Butterscotch chips

3 Tbsp. oatmeal

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

  • Cut the apples into bite size pieces, not too small
  • Put the water and brown sugar into a medium saucepan over medium heat
  • Add the apples, stir and bring to a simmer and cover
  • Let simmer for 7-10 minutes until the reach the desired consistence (they should have a little “bite” in the center)
  • Remove from the heat, uncover and allow to cool

While the apples are cooling:

  • Place the butterscotch chips in a small food processor or chop by hand into small bits and place in a medium bowl
  • Place the oatmeal and brown sugar in the food processor and pulse 5-7 times, just to cut the oats down a bit, and add to the chips
  • Stir to combine

Serve cooled/warm apples over vanilla yogurt or the flavor of your choice and sprinkle the topping over the apples to taste.  Leftover topping can be kept in a plastic container or storage bag and used for later.  You can also make a large batch of the topping and put in small mason jars and give it as gifts!

So if you think you’ve run out of ways to use all the apples around, try this recipe.  We also have a great recipe for Honey Ginger Poached Pears – email me at russ@thecroffhouse.com for the recipe.

Looking Back – Part 4

In our final installment of the series “Looking Back, commemorating the renovations to the home that would become The Croff House 5 years ago, we take a look at the renovation of the two Suites – Chace and Esselstyn (pronounced es – l -stin).

In working with our architect, we knew we wanted to have rooms that we a little more special, and offered amenities not available in the other three guest rooms.  So we created the Suites.  So what qualifies a room to be designated a Suite at The Croff House?  Additional seating and a gas fireplace in the bedroom, and a soaking tub in addition to the walk in spa shower in the bathroom were included in the design of Chace and Esselstyn.

The same space afterwards shows the gas fireplace and the choice of Seregenti Sand for color made the room bright and airy.

The same space afterwards shows the gas fireplace and the choice of Seregenti Sand for color made the room bright and airy.

Used as a bedroom by the existing owners, the room had the benefit of the chimney coming from the Library below.

Used as a bedroom by the existing owners, the room had the benefit of the chimney coming from the Library below.

At the time the renovation began the room which would become the Chace Suite was being used as a bedroom for the owners.  Originally, this room would have been the nanny’s quarters.  We’ll explain how we determined this in a little bit.  In the closet there was a sink that was never hooked up and the remnants of the staircase leading to the former third floor (that was burned off in a fire in 1939).  It was interesting to see that at some point someone had drawn a floor plan for the remainder of what was supposed to have been the bathroom for that bedroom – thus the sink.  We had originally thought of completing the bathroom in the closet area, but that would not have left enough room for a closet or armoire in the bedroom.  Instead the old staircase was framed and sheetrocked to create the closet, removing the sink and pipes, of course.

The installation of the gas fireplace was relatively easy, using existing chimney for the vent.

Adjacent to the bedroom was the nursery, which was accessed both through a hall door and a door that lead in from the Master Bedroom (the room that would become the Esselstyn Suite).  The room presented a slight challenge: how to best use the space to create a wonderful bathroom including a soaking tub and separate shower.  Our architect came up with several options, but in the end we decided to close off the two existing doorways and create one leading from the bedroom into the bathroom, which would allow the additions we were looking to make.

The Esselstyn Suite - BeforeConverting the Master Bedroom into the Esselstyn Suite was also relatively easy, with the exception of the need to build up a mantel and firebox ino rder to house the gas fireplace.  The bathroom, however, was more of a challenge. The existing bathroom was very small.  Accessed from the hallway was the original linen closet – a deep walk in closet complete with drawers and shelves.  The solution was simple: we cannibalized all the space from the linen closet (since we really wouldn’t need one) and created a large bathroom with soaking tub and stall shower.

Removing the wallpaper and adding a fresh coat of paint helped update the Suite, including the installation of the fireplace (not visible).

Removing the wallpaper and adding a fresh coat of paint helped update the Suite, including the installation of the fireplace (not visible).

In the end both of the Suites create wonderful spaces for guests to relax and unwind.  Earth tones were selected for both the bedrooms and bathrooms, keeping with the color scheme from the rest of the property.

Our 200th Review on Trip Advisor

200th Trip Advisor Review!

200th Trip Advisor Review!

 

Since The Croff House opened in April 2009 we have had the immense pleasure of welcoming hundreds of guests from all across the globe.  Three months after opening The Croff House was rated the #1 Bed and Breakfast in Hudson.  At the time Hudson was one of the Hudson Valley’s top destinations as new shops, galleries, restaurants and attractions were opening all the time.  Five months after opening TCH was rated the #3 Bed and Breakfast in all of New York State on Trip Advisor, making it to #1 by the end of 2009.  Quite an accomplishment for a newcomer in such a short period of time.

The Croff House held that position for several years until TA discontinued posting that rating category.

All the wonderful reviews helped so many of our guests find us.  The funny thing was that a lot of people would comment at check-in that they read the reviews and were suspicious that we were writing them ourselves – which is a BIG “no-no” on TA.  We assured each one that the reviews were authentic but, more importantly, they had to judge for themselves.

So today we send out a big THANK YOU to every one of our guests who took the time to share all the wonderful things that make a stay at The Croff House and a visit to Hudson so fantastic.  We thank those guests too who pointed out some things they didn’t particularly enjoy – those comments are usually very instrumental in helping us keep our feet on the ground.

Now we look ahead to the next 4 1/2 years and look forward to seeing guests both “repeaters” and new, and sharing with them the special place we call The Croff House.