Hats Off to Serevan!

Nestled in Amenia, Serevan restaurant has graced the surrounding Amenia area with it’s distinctive cuisine by Chef-Owner Serge Madikians. The restaurant opened in May of 2005, and continues to wow patrons with cuisine influenced by Serge’s native heritage in Iran, inspired by many other ethnic cuisines, and also from the bountiful offerings that the local farms of the Hudson Valley provides.

Serevan is located just minutes from the local train station, and a hop skip and a jump by car from the Inn. A historic farmhouse with a wraparound garden, it is a cozy intimate place where patrons can settle by the fire and enjoy themselves dining. As one journalist put it, “When Madikians came onto the scene, he transformed the dwelling and grounds into a lush, gastronomical oasis.” Dining there, you have the option of two different dining rooms, a lively bar, or in the warmer season, sitting on the terrace overlooking the gardens. The restaurant’s gardens also provide an abundance of fresh herbs and vegetables for the kitchen’s use, and aromatic flowers to grace tables.

Serevan collaborates with the local farming community, and makes it a tenant to stress that understanding how the natural growing process works, he visits the local farms weekly in season to provide the restaurant with fresh fruits and vegetables, and regularly personally flies to Massachusetts (he has his own pilot’s license) and scours the Cape fish dockyards for fresh fish directly from the sea.

Serge’s recipes have also been featured in The Valley Table! Check out the recipes for Pink Pearl Apple Crisp (https://www.valleytable.com/recipe/pink-pearl-apple-crisp) and Lamb Stew with Pink Pearl Apples (https://www.valleytable.com/recipe/lamb-stew-pink-pearl-apples)!

Madikian was voted best chef in 2008 and 2009 by Hudson Valley Magazine for Best Chef in the Hudson Valley (http://www.hvmag.com/Hudson-Valley-Magazine/Hudson-Valley-Resources/Best-of-Hudson-Valley/index.php/name/Serge-Madikians-of-Serevan/listing/15643/), and he has also been a semi-finalist for a James Beard Award twice, both in 2011 and 2012.

Come check out Serevan the next time you are visiting the Hilltop House B&B to discover a lovely meal, and please your palate with dining featuring a menu inspired by ingredients and techniques from diverse cultures and cuisines.

Serevan Restaurant
6 Autumn Lane
Amenia, NY 12501
845-373 9800

Serevan has also been featured in many more articles, check them out at http://serevan.com/press/

*Photos used courtesy of Serevan Restaurant


Monte’s Local Kitchen & Tap Room, a farm to table restaurant just minutes away from the inn

Monte’s Local Kitchen & Tap Room (2 minute drive from the B&B, a 12 minute walk in seasonal weather)
3330 Route 343 Amenia, NY 12501
Hours: Wednesday – Friday 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Saturday 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Bar Open After Hours Wednesday – Sunday
Call 845-789-1818, reservations suggested or e-mail monteskitchen@gmail.com
Make a reservation online at: https://www.yelp.com/reservations/montes-local-kitchen-and-tap-room-amenia-2?from_reserve_now=1

Monte’s Local Kitchen & Tap Room highlights the freshest local and seasonal ingredients to be found in the Hudson Valley with it’s innovative farm-to-table cuisine. Dafna Mizrahi, a Culinary Institute of America graduate, says this is a concept she’s been developing for years, what she calls “farm to table, chic and rustic.” The feta, she says, comes from the owners of the Four Brothers pizza parlor a block away, the “toussaint,” a cow’s milk pecorino, from Sprout Creek in Poughkeepsie” (quoted from http://www.ruralintelligence.com/food_section/food_articles_news/montes_in_amenia) to name a few of her local vendors.

Mizrahi appeared on Food Network’s Chopped in April of 2015, and came away as the champion for that episode, with $10,000 which she donated to a local charity. She is currently the General Manager and Executive Chef. Mizrahi partnered with member of the Monte family, who have a long history in the hospitality industry with restaurants in Montauk on the tip of Long Island, and an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, to start Monte’s Local Kitchen in 2014.

Monte’s tries to support the local farm community, changing the menu seasonally to highlight local farms. Specials change weekly and the use of local ingredients inspires grilled meats and seafoods and a variety of fresh rustic salads. As a recent article about Monte’s so interestingly stated in parts, “The décor at Monte’s Local Kitchen is vintage rustic, antique wood tables, planters with fresh herbs, cocktails in Mason jars and a local wall with jams, maple syrup, pickled vegetables and wines from the Hudson Valley for sale.”

For a full history of the Monte family, please visit https://www.monteskitchen.com/the-montes and check out their virtual tour at http://www.northskytours.com/tours/montes/.

A few recent for reviews from Tripadvisor, Facebook and Yelp to whet your appetite………

Local from farm to table – amazing, Our experience was really great here – from the drinks, to the apps, to the main event, everything was local, delicious and there were no leftovers!

My wife and I have been here a half dozen times over as many months. This is by far the best meal you will find without traveling to Poughkeepsie or Rhinebeck. Their quality coupled with consistently excellent service and great cocktails makes them the go-to place in the Amenia/Dover area

Worth the trip from anywhere! Let me first begin by saying my husband and I were drawn to Monte’s after watching an episode of The Food Networks Chopped, where the Chef/Owner Dafna Mizrahi took home the prize. Our curiosity got us and we had to try it. I called to make a reservation and Dafna herself answered the phone. The we arrived half hour early and we sat at the bar for cocktails. We were greeted by the friendly bartender who made me the best manhattan and my husband loved their craft beers. We were then greeted by Dafna where she took us to our table. I could not help but watch her greet patrons, answer the phone, deliver food, clear tables and then some. Amazing to say the least. We ordered appetizers, a pasta special we split and two entrees. And oh yes, dessert too! We cannot say enough about how wonderful all the food and our experience was. As frequent diners of the Culinary Institute of America and very nice restaurants, Monte’s was definitely our favorite. You will not be disappointed. Oh, on another note, arrive early so that you can visit Monte’s Health Nut Hut, located behind the restaurant, for some great items to take home!

We stopped in at Monte’s for an early dinner on the way home from the races at Limerock. It was a whim that paid off! We loved the decor and the attention to details, including a custom “branded” table top, vintage items, cool artwork and a lovely bar. The wait staff was extremely attentive and we wanted for nothing. My boyfriend had the fettuccini Alfredo with scallops, which was very good, albeit a “normal” kind of dish… but he had a hankering… and it was satisfied. I had the chicken with Boursin “stuffing” and OMG. This was, quite possibly, the best thing I’ve ever eaten in my life. It was crispy on the outside with creamy Boursin cheese between the skin and the meat served atop crispy fingerling potatoes (How did you do that?), and perfectly grilled asparagus. I loved it beyond words. Not to mention that the entire area is quite charming. Will definitely be back.

Monte’s was also written up in some of our local publications!

If you are visiting the Hilltop House, make a date to check out Monte’s, a local restaurant with a long history of tradition with a makings of it’s own in the works.


Focus on Sharon Audubon

In our last blog post we mention Sharon Audubon as a terrific place to hike and view the fall foliage, but the Audubon Center itself deserves so much more attention that just a brief overview.

Sharon Audubon Center (About 10 minutes from the Inn)
325 Cornwall Bridge Road, Sharon, CT 06069

A brief history of Sharon Audubon

Clement and Keyo Ford donated their estate to the Audubon in 1961. They envisioned a future where their property, then known as Bog Meadow Farm, would serve as an educational nature center for everyone to enjoy nature.

The Hal Borland Room in the main building is a tribute and memorial to the writer who wrote editorials for the New York Times, he formerly wrote for the Times for 6 years as a staff writer, prior to becoming a editorial contributor in 1941. He was a well-known American author, journalist and naturalist, whose editorials about the outdoors was very well known. He wrote for a variety of publications over the years, and his editorials about the outdoors was later compiled into two books. The room includes photos, his books and typewriter.

The Emily Winthrop Miles Wildlife Sanctuary was originally owned by Emily Winthrop Miles, a poet, writer and artist. Much of the inspiration for her large body of work come from nature. She donated the land, 740 acres of it, to the National Audubon Society in 1962. The property now covers over 1,500 acres surrounded by over 5,000 acres of protected open space. The sanctuary still honors her legacy with visitors being able to visit the building, see her sculptures, and hike and walk the surrounding land.

Sharon Audubon Today

The Center operates a wildlife rehabilitation program which currently houses over 20 non-releasable birds, more than 16 different species of avians. The birds primarily reside in large, outdoor aviaries, with birds such as owls, hawks and falcons that are filled with as close to their natural habitats as possible. The aviaries are a short walk from the main building.

The Main Visitor Center offers a refuge for animals that cannot be released into the wild mainly because injuries would prevent them from surviving on their own. It also includes a reptile center whose residents were either former pets who’s care became unmanageable for their owners, or like many of the birds, ones that could no longer live on their own in the wild. Every year the Center admits and cares for hundreds of wild animals to their rehabilitation center with the long-term goal of releasing them back into the wild when they are able to take care of themselves.

The Sharon Audubon Center consists of 1,147 acres of mostly forest and includes 11 miles of trails and two ponds. The main Visitor Center building houses a small hands-on natural history museum, the Audubon Nature Store, and the Children’s Adventure Center. The immediate grounds include Raptor Aviaries, the Herb Garden, the Eleanor Loft Bird & Butterfly Garden, and a working sugarhouse (formerly an ice house). The Visitor Center & Nature Store are closed Mondays and All Major Holidays. If you are in the area and staying at the Inn, the Center is a wonderful place to check out, the Center has things for all ages.

Center & Store Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Sunday 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Aviaries & Trails: Open Daily, Sunrise to Sunset (small fee)


Tis the Season for Leaf Peeping!

As foliage peaks throughout New England, fall is one of the nicest times to hike during the year. The bright colors of fall leaves offset and highlight many of New England’s bird variety’s plumage, and it makes them easier to spot. Plus they make lovely photographs, the vibrant color of gold finches backset by deep crimson maple leaves is truly both a birdwatchers, and a photographers perfect setting for example. Fall also offers cooler weather for hikes with many of the insect pests that torment hikers during the spring and summer dying off or going into hibernation.

If you are staying at the inn and looking to explore some new areas for some fall hikes, whether to leaf peep or simply to get out and enjoy the outdoors, check out some of these local spots.

Sharon Audubon Center (About 10 minutes from the Inn)
325 Cornwall Bridge Road, Sharon, CT 06069

The Sharon Audubon Center covers 1,147 acres of primarily forest. It includes 11 miles of trails and two ponds. Visitors are welcome to walk the Pond Loop Trail at the Audubon Sharon Miles Wildlife Sanctuary which is open daily from sunrise to sunset. Hikers can observe a wide variety of birds and wildlife including many migratory birds. The two ponds also offer an additional habitat in which beavers and river otters can be found.

The main Visitor Center houses a small natural history museum, a nature store, and the Children’s Adventure Center. The surrounding grounds include Raptor Aviaries, an Herb Garden, the Eleanor Loft Bird & Butterfly Garden, and a working sugarhouse which was formerly an ice house.

Buttercup Farm Audubon Sanctuary
6862 NY-82, Stanfordville, NY 12581 (About 18 minutes from the inn)

This 641 acres sanctuary offers a diverse habit including old farm fields, open grasslands, wooded lots with mature and second growth tree stands and marshy woodlands. Old rail beds on the west side follow Wappinger Creek where hikers can view raptors, song birds and many wetlands birds like Wood Ducks and Great Blue Herons.

A scenic overlook offers hikers a breathtaking view of Stissing Mountain and the lands below in the valley. There are six miles of trails and interpretive trail signs and brochures are available along the hike for more information about the sanctuary.

Macricostas Preserve (About ½ an hour from the Inn)
121 Christian St, New Preston, CT 06777

This 238-acre parcel is also commonly known as “Meeker Swamp.” The land, a mix of meadow, wooded space, farmland and wetlands. This area of unspoiled land sits adjacent to four other parcels of land, and includes a pinnacle overlook above Lake Waramaug. With the adjacent land which was donated previously to the preserve, the total hiking area available covers over 368 acres. The 98 acres of wetlands, includes the start of Bee Brook, which is a major tributary of the Shepaug River.

In 2006 the Washington Garden Club completed an interpretive trail along a portion of the trail. Signposts mark spots of unique ecosystems along the trail, each of which is described in a printed trail guide, a viewing platform was also built at the edge of the open water of Meeker Swamp, down a short trail off the northeast corner of preserve.

Rheinstrom Hill Audubon Sanctuary & Center (About ½ an hour from the Inn)
225 Cambridge Rd Hillsdale, NY 12529

Rheinstrom Hill is a 1,037 acre sanctuary located in the southeastern corner of Columbia County. There are approximately 4 miles of trails for birders and other nature enthusiasts to enjoy daily from dawn to dusk. The Sanctuary is a wonderful place to go birding, it provides a habitat for many climate-threatened bird species like the Scarlet Tanager and Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and others whose natural habitats are at risk. You may also encounter white tailed deer and the sanctuary shelters coyotes, bobcats and black bears, but those species are shy of hikers and are rarely encountered.