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Looking for a romantic day trip and bed-and-breakfast experience outside of New Jersey? Whether you’re traveling with your significant other, fiance or spouse, here’s a close-to-home adventure that doesn’t require an airplane ticket. And it’s just right for an engagement trip, honeymoon vacation or mini-moon getaway.
I recently discovered this unspoiled hamlet, tucked away in New York State, just two hours from my Morris County home. Blue Barn Bed and Breakfast is a little gem, chic but unpretentious, rustic but luxurious. The creator of this Hudson Valley retreat, Joni LaCasse, dotes on honeymooners and other patrons with perfectly appointed bed linens, bright and cheery furnishings, funky artwork, homemade cookies and fabulous country breakfasts served in her antique dining room with walls painted the color of butternut squash.
The effervescent Joni, who bought the historic building and the business in 2015, provides an escape from the cares of the modern world. “This blessing has come with the inspiring challenge to retain the rustic charm and beautiful architecture of the original 1830 home, while making it my own,” she says.
The sweet cottage, built on a creek-side property in Millbrook, New York, has evolved through the years, with additions added in 1890. Choose from three sleeping rooms in the main house, each with a queen- or king-size signature bed, luxury linens and mattress and private bath. Each room is uniquely decorated with elements such as cozy reading chairs, pine armoires, locally-crafted furniture, clawfoot bathtubs and one even offers a private balcony.
A free-standing stable was also built in 1890, and Joni transformed it into a cool carriage-house suite with fireplace and full kitchen. (This happens to be one of my favorite spaces to relax and reflect.) The murmur of the stream outside calms the senses, while adjacent gardens provide beauty and bounty as they have for hundreds of years.
Sit down to breakfast in simple country elegance around an artisan-made farm table, or choose a more intimate table for two. Joni’s rotating menu, designed to be nutritious and delicious, features locally sustained menus. “Each season of the Hudson Valley brings numerous bounties to be savored,” Joni says. “My flower, herb and vegetable gardens delight both the eye and the palate. In addition, Millbrook is blessed with an abundance of amazing local farms and artisans, their specialized varieties of foods and products are used daily in my preparations.”
Seasonal goodies at Blue Barn BnB include three-egg omelets, asparagus and smoked salmon with dill sauce; mushroom and cheese, savory or fresh berry-filled crepes with a dollop of creme fraiche and lemon zest; baked French toast and banana pancakes with local Taconic Distillery bourbon maple syrup; as well as fresh-baked cranberry scones, frittatas, quiches, local bacon and sausage, sweet-potato hash, and simple yogurt with fresh fruit sprinkled with Sarah’s local homemade granola.
As for nearby activities, choose from gourmet restaurants, wine and bourbon tastings, kayak tours, as well as maple syrup and vinegar shopping throughout the Hudson Valley; hiking, hunting and fishing at Orvis Sandanona or Tamarack Preserve; horse trials at Fitch’s Corner; and apple picking in season at a local orchard. The world-famous Innisfree Gardens are minutes from the Blue Barn BnB. Farmer’s markets offer organic produce, cheese and granola, while antiques shops and charming bookstores are in abundance. For cultural buffs, fun activities include galleries and playhouses, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, the Vanderbilt Mansion, Roosevelt Estate and Library, and the Sheep and Wool Festival.
My favorite area restaurants are Seravan, Charlotte’s, Canoe Hill, Cafe Les Baux and the Millbrook Cafe.
The Blue Barn BnB is located at 62 Old Rte 82 in Millbrook, New York, 12545. Joni LaCasse can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 845-750-2669.