At first, the debut of equestrian facility HITS-on-the-Hudson seemed an unlikely fit in the blue-collar town of Saugerties. But the arrival of Diamond Mills Hotel and Tavern in 2011 proves the town has fully embraced its fancier side.
Located on the site of the former Martin Cantine Paper Company — a thriving, circa-1888 paper mill that burned to the ground in 1978 — the 30-room hotel at once conjures the city’s industrial past while giving it a modern new sheen. Beyond the thoughtfully recreated red brick facade and paned windows of yesteryear lie the spare and neutral-hued guestrooms, which include spacious tiled bathrooms with walk-in showers. Spring for one of the two king suites, and you’ll be treated to your own living room with a fireplace — but it’s hard to imagine ever leaving the private balcony, a perk in all of the rooms. Here, tranquility comes courtesy of staggering Esopus Falls, which envelop you in the soothing sounds of rushing water.
A guestroom at Diamond Mills Hotel (photograph by Michael Nelson); the tavern’s interior dining room (photograph by Maximilian B. Nucci)
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Eat & Drink
Diamond Mills has its own airy, soaring tavern on the premises — try the truffle popcorn — but the property is perfectly poised for dining “off-campus,” too. One local favorite is Miss Lucy’s Kitchen, a quirky, bustling spot where dishes run the gamut from smoked baby back ribs with smashed potatoes and cornbread to mushroom and zucchini strudel laced with red pepper-goat cheese sauce. New World Home Cooking is another upbeat local favorite, serving the likes of grilled chimichurri gulf shrimp and lamb carnitas with Navajo blue corn mush and house-made queso. Dollar oysters on Wednesdays are only one of the reasons to visit Red Onion Restaurant and Bar. The pre-1850 farmhouse is a choice spot for black truffle-potato pierogi and vegetable curry with lime Basmati rice.
Once the site of an abandoned quarry, Opus 40 is a six-and-a-half-acre sculpture pieced together from hand-laid slabs of indigenous bluestone by artist Harvey Fite over the course of 37 years. Stroll its ramps and terraces and make your way up to the striking monolith. When the annual Mum Festival makes its way to town (October 5), lovely Seamon Park becomes awash in colorful blooms.
A view of the Esopus Falls from the tavern’s balcony (photograph by Kelly Merchant)
Skip the driving and gawk at Mount Pleasant and Romer Mountain from the comforts of a vintage coach. The five-mile journey on the Catskill Mountain Railroad’s Esopus Scenic Train ($14 for adults; $8 for children) between Mount Tremper and Boiceville is a glorious way to admire the autumn leaves.
One of the region’s best and most expansive bookstores is Inquiring Minds, on historic Partition Street. Linger with a cappuccino at one of the lamp-adorned tables and hope it’s an open mic night.
If you go…
Diamond Mills Hotel & Tavern, Saugerties