Gregory House Country Inn, Averill Park

One of the hottest fall getaways of 2014: Gregory House Country Inn in Averill Park

Averill Park, in deepest Rensselaer County, won’t often be mistaken for Italy. But if you feel like you’ve fallen into a little bit of the bel paese at the Gregory House, you aren’t alone.

Anna Maria and Alfonso Acampora, who bought the inn in 2000, were born and raised in Italy. Anna Maria is Sicilian, and Alfonso grew up on the Amalfi Coast. He trained at the Culinary Institute of Rimini, and worked in Germany, Switzerland, France and other stops in Europe. With his wife, they operated a restaurant in Sicily, then came to the Valley and operated La Conca D’oro in Catskill.

When they saw the Gregory House, they jumped at the chance to run both an inn and restaurant. “We liked the location and wanted something different,” says Anna Maria. The inn, built in 1984, got a complete makeover. The 12 guest rooms were refurbished and given unique themes: the Cabin, the Adirondack Room, Touch of Italy, the Rose Garden — you get the idea. Each has a private bathroom, cable television, and free Wi-Fi. Continental breakfast is available from 9-10:30 a.m.

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They also spruced up the restaurant, which dates back to 1836 when the inn was a carriage stop. Called La Perla, it features four candlelit dining rooms in which you can sample Alfonso’s extensive Italian menu, as well as a more-casual room and bar for wood-fired pizza and lighter fare.

Averill Park is nicely situated in the middle of everything: Saratoga Springs, the Berkshires, Vermont, and the mid-Valley are easy drives away. It’s prime territory for skiing getaways in the winter; in the fall, just hop in your car and drive in any direction. When you return to this rustic country inn, Anna Maria says, “you feel like you are at home.”

brown's brewing company beer dinosaur bbq

Suds from Brown’s Brewing (left), photograph by Jennifer May. At right, Dinosaur BBQ’s ribs

Eat & Drink

Brown’s Brewing, which opened in 1993 and is one of the first successful brew pubs in the region, serves up many styles of beer (their popular Pale Ale earned a gold medal from Hyde Park’s CIA) and pub grub, and has live music and a bustling bar scene.

Dinosaur BBQ, the fast-growing regional chain, grabbed a great spot on the river in Troy where you can get your fingers messy with its famous barbecue — voted best in the nation by Good Morning America viewers.

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Lucas Confectionary and Wine Bar is a recent addition to the ever-growing downtown Troy revival. A gorgeous reclamation of an old candy factory, the place has a cool vibe to go along with its menu of regional cheeses, charcuterie, and international craft beers and wines.

troy waterfront farmers market
The Troy Waterfront Farmers Market offers a wide selection of quality local produce

Fall Fun

The Saratoga Wine and Food Festival (Sept. 5-7) is held at the beautiful Saratoga Performing Arts Center, better known as SPAC. It draws close to 6,000 gourmands and more than 250 wine and food exhibitors. Proceeds benefit SPAC’s children’s education program.

Featuring more than 80 vendors — and open year-round — the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market (Saturdays 9 a.m.-2 p.m.) not only showcases the best local products, it shows off central Troy’s revival. If you haven’t been to Troy in a while, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

The Goold Orchards Apple Festival and Craft Show (Oct. 12-13) is perhaps the biggest fall fest in the county, and a lovely spot to pick apples, peruse crafts, and take in the autumnal beauty.

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Fall Foliage

The drive to Lake Placid is a long one, but the Adirondacks are, in a word, stunning, and the town is, too. Closer to home, try Jiminy Peak, just 15 minutes away. The mountain adventure parks will entice the kids while you enjoy the scenery.

Insider’s tip

The Gregory House was a favorite spot of the late Yankees legend Phil Rizzutto, who stayed there every year to visit a daughter who lives in the area. “We have an autographed picture somewhere,” says Anna Maria. “I have to find it. He was such a nice man.”

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If you go…

Gregory House Country Inn, Averill Park

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