News / Weekend Retreats
On a sunny Saturday afternoon, we met up with some friends at the Valley Rock Inn and Mountain Club. The name is reminiscent of a bygone era that saw the popularity of such leisure clubs for those seeking refuge from city life. A place where friends and family gather to share a common experience. As we approached, my mind conjured up images of the famed Kellerman's resort from the movie Dirty Dancing. As you pull into the parking lot, you may feel a bit disorientated because everything seems so ordinary. But if you just follow the signs, you will be greeted by two stone statues of deer to herald you into the entrance.
Ahead lies the entrance to the organic farm market which is bordered by the remnants of a building that has been reincarnated. Large stanchions flank the entrance which is guarded by a pair of stone stags. The garden tiles are hugged by new grass which create the welcome carpet as you are escorted through the entrance. I knew by this point that this is not going to be anything like a visit to Kellerman's.
The inn is located in the village of Sloatsburg, a region called the Seven Lakes. This sleepy village is being awoken by the Valley Rock Inn and Mountain Club. Nestled into the base of Ramapo mountains, the Valley Rock Inn and Mountain Club is buzzing with activity and progress. This resort is one man's dream. Michael Bruno was visionary in taking these once forgotten lands and turning it into a luxury experience. Housing the remains of the Waldron homes from the 1800's and affectionately referred to as "Waldron Row." With high ambitions, the property will boast larger hotel, fitness club, antiques shop, pool and restaurants.
Once inside the organic farm market, life slows down. The beauty of the produce and flowers beckon to be adored at a much slower pace. There is plenty here to create a picnic lunch for a hike at nearby Harriman State Park. The market includes a selection of baked goods that made my mouth water including gluten-free banana bread.
Meandering through the market there are items such as sweet candy grapes, organic berries and sweet corn. In another corner, a flower market selling giant globe peonies and white roses add a subtle fragrance to the air.
I loved the garden accents. Just look at the base of this table!
I left the market barn with a promise to return after lunch. Exiting into a large courtyard filled with classical string music, white pea gravel under my feet and the sun on my face. Reveling in the atmosphere of Mr. Bruno's inspiration, my mind wanders to Tuscany; I am transported on vacation.
At the far end of an esplanade, large sun-bleached doors beckon us to come look further. The sun is glaring off the tops of the white umbrellas and it just couldn't be a more perfect day.
My boys run off to play. They are in their element. All they need for fun is water, stones and grass.
Though I wanted to sit for a while in this garden courtyard, there was yet another set of sun-drenched doors at the far end of the courtyard that made me very curious.
The VR Bar & Grill restaurant lies beyond those big sun-drenched doors. Serving food alfresco with a very fine bar inside as well. Guests can also choose to eat in the nearby Rose Courtyard or the Shade Garden.
The trio of fire pits ready for evening bonfires.
Live oaks hold up the roof of the cabana where you can sit and have a cocktail.
Organic produce was delicious and fresh as it comes from the owners own gardens upstate. Each plate is adorn with edible flowers.
An example of their menu which changes depending on what is in season.
A guest waits for cocktails and you can see that incredible pool in the background.
The antique blue barn was once used for selling antiques!
One of the four guest houses available on the property. They are stunningly decorated. We highly recommend staying for a couple days so that you can visit the local area for antiquing, local farm food, and several iconic design centers.
WHO, WHAT, WHERE
VALLEY ROCK INN & MOUNTAIN CLUB
27 Mill Street, Sloatsburg, NY 10974
Check the website for the dining hours and for special events such as Farm Dinner evenings.
1304 Sloatsburg Rd, Ringwood, NJ 07456
STORM KING ART CENTER
1 Museum Rd, New Windsor, NY 12553
5006 US-9W, Newburgh, NY 12550