The Woodhouse Lodge Is a Reimagined Getaway in Greenville

Once a roadside motel, the Greene County retreat invites guests to relax amid mid-century modern designs in an intimate setting.

Who hasn’t dreamt of stumbling upon an age-worn property, scooping it up, and flipping it into a beautiful escape? For J. Penry and Megan Pflug, the husband-and-wife co-owners behind The Woodhouse Lodge in Greenville, that dream became a reality the moment they set sights upon the old motor lodge and converted it into the getaway that it is today.

For Pflug, an interior designer, and Penry, an artist, the idea to open a business upstate was already fermenting in their minds when they came across the former Birmann’s Rainbow Lodge. While they were originally looking for a more traditional Hudson Valley farmhouse, they knew they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to call the lodge, which boasts a retro A-frame exterior, their own.

“I had a friend from college who had a house in the area, so we were aware of the lodge, but the deal truly happened because our agent had a personal relationship with the owner,” Pflug explains. The couple purchased the lodge in 2017, back when “Greene County was a little under the radar for real estate prospectors,” she adds.

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The lobby

A Property With History

While Pflug and Penry were eager to commence work on the lodge, they also knew they wanted to preserve its history in the Hudson Valley. Formerly Birmann’s Rainbow Lodge, the property was built in 1962 — although it has roots dating back to 1917 — and sits deep within 95 forested acres, with 3.5 acres of its own.

“We became friendly with the original Birmann family, who built all the buildings on our property,” Pflug shares. “One of my favorite stories Walt and Cookie [of the Birmann family] told us was about the enormous rainbow that was mounted on the roof of the tavern building. They say you could see it from Windham Mountain.”

Lodge room

The Road to Renovation

With such history, it’s hardly a surprise that the renovation process was a substantial one. The overhaul of the hotel building took around 13 months, and the couple did much of the work themselves. In summer 2018, they opened the doors to the hotel (and even hosted their first wedding on the property), then commenced work on tavern renovations that winter.

Today, visitors can access two buildings on the grounds of The Woodhouse Lodge. The first is the A-frame hotel, which boasts 10 rooms and one suite, while the second is a former 1930s dance hall tavern that’s now home to Woodhouse Pizza, an onsite restaurant and bar that also plays host to dancing and receptions for weddings on the property.

The loft master bedroom
The master bedroom in the loft.

Because The Woodhouse Lodge is a comparatively small operation, the owners have been able to make incremental improvements over the years. It’s a boon for Pflug, who enjoys flexing her design muscles to continually adapt and improve the onsite experience.

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“Last year we added The Loft, which is an apartment-style suite located on the second floor of the lodge,” she shares. “This season, we have some big landscaping projects.”

Outdoor space

Stays at The Woodhouse Lodge

As a family-owned escape, The Woodhouse Lodge is all about prioritizing those little touches that make each experience extra special. Pflug likens stays here to those of a “boutique summer camp experience without all the noise of a larger property,” a true delight for anyone who wants to explore the beauty of surrounding Greene County.

Within the rooms and suites, guests can look forward to amenities like LUFT mattresses, Brooklinen linens, down alternative pillows, Woodhouse Provisions bath and body products, free Wi-Fi, and room service and cocktail service. Outside, the lawns, gardens, and fire pit are all available for visitors to enjoy. Plus, weekends bring special activities for groups, such as private dining, crafting kits, fitness classes, local excursions, and in-room massages.

Interior of Woodhouse pizza
The interior of Woodhouse Pizza

As far as the design goes, Pflug tapped into local vendors and handcrafted elements to ensure truly unique stays. The headboards in the rooms are custom, handmade affairs with felt and leather, and the furniture and wares come from local favorites such as The Antique Warehouse in Hudson, the Coxsackie Antique Center, and Zaborski Emporium in Kingston.

“To us, design is all about the archetype and the location,” Pflug explains. “The design of the lodge is equal parts Hudson Valley vintage and mid-century modern.”

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Woodhouse pizza food
Food at Woodhouse Pizza

Dining at Woodhouse Pizza

The lodge may be the main attraction for anyone in search of a woodsy getaway, but Woodhouse Pizza is the go-to spot for hungry locals and visitors alike. Opened in March 2021, the eatery prioritizes pizza and small plates on its menu, with local beer and natural wines as ideal pairings. Throughout the lineup, ingredients from local farms and purveyors feature prominently.

“We love Italian food and so we chose pizza, a simple and accessible core offering,” Pflug explains of the restaurant’s focus. “Expertly crafted and designed for sharing, our menu includes a selection of delicious artisan pizzas.”

Pizzas outside

So, what should you order? On the small bites side of things, diners can start strong with gigante white beans with Calabrian chiles or chicory salad with fennel and celery. As far as pizza goes, it’s a tough choice between mouthwatering options such as The Forager (tomato, mozzarella, shiitake, cremini, blue oyster, onion) and Confetti (mozzarella, ricotta, spicy giardiniera, caper salsa verde). Gluten-free crusts are available, and many of the menu options are vegetarian- and vegan-friendly as well.

Whatever you do, don’t skip out on dessert. With treats like chocolate budino, ricotta semolina cake, and affogato, it’s a very good idea to save room for the grand finale.

As for drinks, cocktail lovers would do well to order Woodhouse’s signature margarita, while beer fans will recognize offerings from Catskill Brewing right away.

Fire pit with food

Weddings at The Woodhouse Lodge

With such an intimate setting in the Hudson Valley, it’s hardly a surprise that The Woodhouse Lodge has become popular for weddings and special events. The lodge itself can accommodate up to 36 guests, making it ideal for hosting entire wedding parties, with space for 120- to 150-person weddings. For private events, the restaurant offers an elevated farm-to-table menu, with the regular pizza menu available as well.

“For all of our events, we try to make the planning as turnkey as possible” Pflug notes. “We like to say ‘Bring your partner and friends and we’ll do the rest!’”

Outside Woodhouse pizza
Outside Woodhouse Pizza

Looking Ahead

While Pflug and Penry have their plates full with guests, events, and restaurant operations, they’re always looking for ways to make the experience at The Woodhouse Lodge even better. In addition to a number of interior and landscape projects planned for 2024, the owners are also looking forward to adding a family touch to the space.

“Later this spring we are driving back some custom farm table’s that J’s dad made for us,” Pflug shares. “J grew up on a farm in south Alabama, and his dad is a retired sweet potato farmer who sourced some old pine from a defunct factory and crafted some event tables for us.”

Plus, if that wasn’t enough, Pflug also has plans to relaunch her design business after taking some time off to get the lodge up and running. To call her and Penry “busy” would be an understatement.

The Woodhouse Lodge
3807 County Rte 26, Greenville Center

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