Cathedral of the Pines, New England’s Largest Old-Growth Pine Forest

Giant White PinesThe Cathedral of the Pines or Cathedral Pines as it is also known, is a little known hiking spot located less than 30 minutes from the Bed and Breakfast. The Pine stand covers over 42 acres, and while devastated by three tornadoes in July of 1989, the remaining trail still covers the intact portion of the stand, and is well worth the visit.

Cathedral Pines was New England’s largest stand of old-growth white pine, hemlock trees and northern hardwoods, and while the tornadoes did substantial damage, many of the trees survive and you can still experience the size and beauty while walking under the canopy of trees. One of the reasons to take this hike is to see the after effects of Mother Nature at work, and to see the stand itself slowing recovering from the devastation. White pines are unusual to see in this part of Connecticut, and most of them are 200 years old with some being at least 300 hundred years.

The Cathedral Pines forest itself was established between 1770 and 1800. It was part of a thousand-acre farm inherited by Major Seth Pierce (1785-1881), Following Pierce’s death in 1881, Frederick Kellogg sold the Pines to John Calhoun, who vowed to preserve the majestic forest. The Pines at different time periods were also called Calhoun’s Pines and the Calhoun Grove.

In 1967, the children of John Calhoun deeded the 42-acre Cathedral Pines to the Nature Conservancy, which established the forest as a research area protected from human influence in its development. Rather than harvest high quality lumber from felled trees, the Nature Conservancy allows them to decay naturally. Cathedral Pines was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1982. The Nature Conservancy while studying the Pine Stand observed that the pines were being slowly replaced by hemlock trees. The slow transformation of the forest from pine to hemlock was sped up dramatically in 1989 by the devastating tornadoes.

While visiting the Pine Stand listen for woodpeckers and owls at dusk, bring bug spray and good hiking shoes. While the trail is an easy one, there are quite a few downed branches and dried pine needles that make walking in sandals quite uncomfortable.

Essex Hill Road, Cornwall, CT
Google Map Link


A Bit of History and Art to Explore this Fall

Mason ToolsA trip to the area is never complete without a visit to the Eric Sloane Museum & Kent Iron Furnace. The Museum is on the National Register of Historic Places and a Connecticut State Archaeological Preserve. The Museum is owned and operated by the State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, State Historic and Preservation Office.

Eric Sloane (1905-1985) was an artist, author and illustrator of over 30 books, and a collector of American artifacts. In the museum itself, Sloane’s studio has been recreated with his painting easel and jars filled with paintbrushes, alongside examples of his works in the adjacent art gallery. Sloane built a cabin in the pioneer style modeled after Noah Blake’s “Diary of An Early American Boy”, an 1805 diary published by Sloane. Eric Sloane’s collection of hand tools is displayed in the museum building gifted to the State in 1969 by Stanley Works, a Connecticut-based tool manufacturing company, to mark their 125th anniversary. The collection tells a fascinating story about historic times and the great American heritage of craftsmanship. The Kent Iron Furnace, also on the museum property, began production of pig iron in 1826, and continued production for almost 70 years. A display explaining the local iron industry is in the museum lobby as well.

This past summer, the museum become one of a handful of museums in the country with an heirloom variety apple orchard. The orchard, envisioned through collaboration between the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum and Peter Montgomery, a Silicon Valley executive turned horticulturalist, was installed on the grounds of the Eric Sloane Museum of Kent this past April.

Eric Sloane Museum & Kent Iron Furnace (20 Minutes from the B&B)
31 Kent Cornwall Rd, Kent, CT
Hours: Fri-Sun: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm through October 31, 2016
$8 adults
$6 seniors (60 years +) & college students
$5 children (6-17)
Free children 5 and under
Discounted admission for schools and groups by appointment.
Free admission to active duty military members and up to 5 family members with ID

Save the Date! October 8th, 2016 for an apple tasting event sponsored by the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum with culinary teacher and chef Anne Gallagher. This free event will run from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm. Please RSVP by calling the museum at (860) 927-3849 and leaving a message with your name, contact information and number of people who will attend.


Midweek Two Night Getaway at Hilltop House B&B

Bikers enjoying the rail trail

Two Night Midweek Getaway (Tuesday and Wednesday Nights, or Wednesday and Thursday Nights) in one of our charming and cozy rooms.

The Experience:
Hilltop House Bed & Breakfast is nestled atop a gentle hill in Dutchess County just 3 miles from the Connecticut border. Its country town locale is hub to some of the best boarding schools and the culture they radiate. Add to that attractions such as TriArts summer stock, wing shooting and horse trials in Millbrook, Lime Rock NASCAR and SCCA racing, fly fishing on the Housatonic, the Appalachian Trail, biking on the rail trail, an abundance of fine dining and the arts abounding in the area, and you will discover that our B&B is the perfect destination for your trip to the Hudson Valley.

Amenities include:
Complimentary WIFI in all rooms, gourmet cooking from the chef/innkeepers, Double, Queen Sized or King Side Beds available. Private or shared baths. Use of the B&B’s Bicycles.

Package Includes:
A Four course breakfast on the porch, or by the fire (weather dependent)
A $100 voucher for Monte’s Restaurant
Overnight stay at the B&B
Use of the B&B’s Bicycles
Includes 2 Metro North round trip tickets from Grand Central Station to Wassaic and back
Price: $559 two nights (double occupancy) plus applicable taxes

Suggested Itinerary:
Enjoy a delicious breakfast at the Inn

Ride to local Millerton (the B&B will provide Bicycles). Millerton offers a selection of shopping, antiques and galleries to browse, and was voted one of the coolest small towns in the country by Frommer’s.

Window Shop and eat lunch at one of the many local eateries. Harney & Sons is a favorite local lunch spot, as well as offering a world class selection of fine teas and specialty gifts, or visit Irving Farm Coffee Roasters and enjoy a lovely cup of coffee and lunch before heading back to the Inn.

If exploring the local Rail Trails is more enticing than window shopping for the remainder of the afternoon, guests can check out the Harlem Valley Rail Trail which offers 15 paved miles of trail meandering through stunning rural Dutchess and Columbia County landscapes.

Head back to the Inn and freshen up for dinner and then walk to Monte’s, a 10 minute easy walk from the inn, and enjoy fantastic farm to table dining cooked by Monte’s Executive Chef Dafna Mizrahi, 2015 Chopped Champion.
After dinner take a stroll or a short drive, over to the Four Brothers Drive In for a movie or come back and relax on the wraparound porch.

On Day 2 check out Dover Stone Church on your way back to the city. (Additional train fare required) or further explore the Harlem Rail Trail.

To book this B&B overnight package, call the B&B directly at 845-789-1354 at least ten (10) business days in advance and mention the Midweek B&B Getaway package.

Train in Foliage Season


Decant Your Vacation with a Little Wine Tastin’

WineryThere are many wineries and distilleries located in the Hudson Valley. For your tasting convenience (and we have some of the best wineries locally 🙂 ) Here are a few local places to visit when you are visiting the Bed and Breakfast. We recommend that you do call in advance as Tasting Room Hours may change.

Cascade Mountain Winery (and restaurant) (Less than 10 minutes from the B&B)
Flint Hill Road, Amenia, NY
Cascade Mountain was founded in the spring of 1972 by Bill Wetmore, a former Novelist, along with his wife Margaret and their three children Charles, Michael, and Joan, planted the vineyard in 1972,  built the winery in 1977 and opened the restaurant in 1985. They have a tasting bar and they are open at the restaurant for lunch, please call for hours. Cascade Mountain maintains an emphasis on reds, but produces a significant amount of whites with grapes purchased from other local vineyards. A Private Reserve Red is made from Cabernet Sauvignon with Leon Millot and the Dry Red Wine is a combination of Leon Millot and Baco Noir. Cascade’s whites include a Seyval Blanc and a Private Reserve White, a blend of Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc selected as the official reception wine for the United States Mission to the United Nations.

Millbrook Vineyard & Winery (17 minutes from the B&B)
26 Wing Rd, Millbrook, NY
Open Daily Year Round 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Extended Hours Memorial Day-October Saturday: 12:00 pm– 7:00 pm and Sunday through Friday: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
John Dyson, the owner of Millbrook Vineyard, former New York State Commissioner of Agriculture, grows about 25 varieties of European grapes, more than any other winery in the state – nearly half are Chardonnay, about one third are Pinot Noir. Millbrook produces Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and the Hunt Country Red, a blend of several red grape varieties.

Hillrock Estate Distillery (26 minutes from the B&B)
408 Pooles Hill Road, Ancram, New York
Call 518-329-1023 or email to schedule a tour & tasting.
Hillrock Estate Distillery is committed to creating remarkable artisanal spirits by means of a “field-to-glass” method. By taking control of every aspect of production from planting and harvesting heirloom grains, to traditionally floor malting our own grain, to crafting whiskies in their 250 gallon copper pot still, to aging in new oak barrels and hand bottling, they are able to create premium whiskies unique to the Hillrock Estate.

Clinton Vineyards (28 minutes from the B&B)
450 Schultzville Road Clinton Corners, NY
Hours: Spring 2016: Saturdays and Sundays, 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm
While Seyval Blanc is the mainstay of Clinton Vineyards, they also produce a sparkling wine, Seyval Naturel, and occasionally, when the growing season permits, a German-style Riesling. In recent years the portfolio has been expanded to include pure fruit dessert wines, made from locally grown fruit. Established in 1977, proprietor Ben Feder was inspired by the tradition of small European Estates when he focused on cultivating Seyval Blanc and producing white wine, champagnes, made in the classic methode champenoise and late harvest dessert wine on the 15 acre vineyard.


Local Events:
Happy 4th of July from the Village of Millbrook!
July 2nd, 2016 at 7 PM
Millbrook Arts Group will have a concert at the Thorne Building Bandshell,  The Big Band Sound “Favorites from the Big Band Era”

Harlem Valley Rail Ride  
July 24, 2016
A horse farm, a dairy farm, an abandoned railroad track, a bicycle and You!
The Summer’s Most Beautiful Ride.
Start/Finish at Eddie Collins Field in Millerton, NY.

The Moviehouse Studio Gallery
July 23 – October 19, 2016, Summer Exhibition 2016
TWENTY FIVE YEARS ON: The Work of John D. Greene
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 23, 4:30 – 6:30 pm
5:00 pm: Artist Talk: John Greene ‘in conversation’ with Alexander Shundi
Admission: FREE & open to the public
For more information: