Travel

By Kelley Granger

The Manor House at Monteverde dates to 1760

Your idea of a fall weekend getaway may involve avoiding the chill in the air by retreating beneath the cozy covers of a massage table, smothered with warm clay and wrapped with soothing heat. Or maybe you’d prefer to find yourself on a historic estate, where a root cellar turned ammunitions cellar during the Revolutionary War now stores the fine wine you plan to savor at an intimate dinner. Or perhaps you like to be in the thick of things – outdoors where you can feel the crisp air on your face and smell the leaves that converge as an autumn panorama, with views interrupted only by a sliver of the Hudson River. Luckily, if you plan a stay just an hour outside of Manhattan with Monteverde at Oldstone Manor, you can enjoy all of these things and more.

Set on 29 acres in Westchester’s Cortlandt Manor, Monteverde is a beautifully restored vestige left by Pierre Van Cortlandt, who built the inn as a residence in 1760. Today, it operates as a restaurant with three dining rooms, an inn with two suites in the main house, seven recently renovated, contemporary cottage-style guest rooms and a quaint boutique spa.

The Van Cortlandt suite pays homage to the house’s original owner

The inn’s two suites, the Ludlow and the Van Cortlandt, are tucked upstairs in the Manor House beyond a curving, red carpeted staircase. The Van Cortlandt is often the choice for the many couples who have their wedding on the grounds, and rightly so – its hardwood floors and sensual crimson and earthy brown color scheme are only further complemented by the views of the Hudson River from each window and a sprawling, two-level private deck. Guests that wish to stay inside will have no lack of things to do – the suite offers a fully functional fireplace (with starter log included) and a magnificent marble bathroom that boasts a spacious steam shower and lavish Jacuzzi tub. The Ludlow suite, though just a tad more modest, has its own private sunroom with river views which doubles as a personal massage room and as a bride’s dressing and makeup room, depending on the occasion.

Another benefit of the suites is their close proximity to the spa. Whether this was a strategic decision or an arbitrary placement, it works to the inn’s advantage: Guests have to walk through the wafting scents of essential oils and brewing tea to get to their rooms, and are likely to be lured to treatments by whiffs of lavender and lemongrass. Rather new to the little spa are the Spa Traditions treatments – three pampering options inspired by the healing rituals of France, Mexico and Korea. The Korean treatment is a sumptuous hour and a half of sweet orange, pink grapefruit and ginger essential oils, geared to invigorate and enliven. From a gentle salt footbath to a sea-salt scrub and a green clay thermal wrap to purify (complete with head and neck massage while waiting out the wrap), each step is mindfully executed. A steam shower to rinse off unveils newly softened skin, and the deal is sealed with a final application of subtly scented lotion. Afterward, green tea is served with ginger cookies in your room, while you laze in post-spa bliss in your bathrobe. For a fall visit, consider the spa’s unique Mexico treatment, which blends the essential oils of chocolate, lime and anise into a delicious cool weather treat.

Monteverde’s wine cellar was used as an ammunitions cellar during the Revolutionary War

If you’ve fasted a bit before your spa treatment, you’ll be glad – Monteverde’s Chef Neil Ferguson serves up quite a dish at the restaurant downstairs. This ex-Gordon Ramsey staffer turns out an ever-changing menu based on seasonally available items. Seated in the Veranda, a rounded dining room that offers sweeping views of the grounds, river and foliage outside, guests can relish items like beef carpaccio with pickled shallots, arugula, lemon confit and flakes of parmigiano reggiano with an entrée of succulent braised halibut, a tender selection served with boulangère potato, fennel puree and cooking juices. During warmer weather, guests can dine al fresco on the patio or in the Chef’s Garden, under a romantic grapevine trellis next to an organic herb and vegetable garden. If an after-dinner stroll is in order, you can wander among the grounds for superb star-gazing before heading up to your room to warm your toes at your private hearth.

River views from the private deck and through the paned windows are extraordinary

In the morning, the sunlight beckons and a breakfast of fresh blueberries, granola, yogurt and moist carrot muffins await on a tray with orange juice and fresh coffee outside of your room. It’s the perfect healthy, energizing mix if you plan to hit one of the many nearby hiking trails in Bear Mountain State Park. In pleasant weather, stop by the Annsville Creek Paddlesport Center just down the road to enjoy the Hudson by kayak or canoe.

Monteverde is only a few minutes cab ride from the Peekskill train station, and a convenient and gorgeous Metro-North ride along the river. If you prefer a more extravagant means of getting there, the inn offers a special autumn getaway package that includes transportation by limousine (during which guests partake in champagne and sample bites from Manhattan’s Allen & Delancey Restaurant, where Ferguson is also chef). As if that weren’t enough, the package also includes dinner at Monteverde Restaurant, an aromatherapy massage, breakfast and a one-night stay in the Garden House, an old stable that has a new life in seven swanky, bright and well-designed rooms (that are easier on the wallet than the suites). One night is all you need to leave feeling rejuvenated, but if you can stay longer, why not?

Monteverde at Oldstone Manor
28 Bear Mountain Bridge Road
Cortlandt Manor, NY 10567
914.372.1212
www.monteverderestaurant.com

Originally published October 2008
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