Buttermilk Falls Inn and Spa in Milton, New York, offers an almost total immersion in the farm-to-table experience, with less plow-pushing and more glass-raising -- let's call it farm-to-spa. The Inn is located on 75 acres overlooking the Hudson that encapsulate an organic garden, an aviary, hiking paths and ponds. Roaming is encouraged.
Guests are free to pick at will from the fruit trees planted throughout the property: granny smith apples, donut peaches, shiso plums. And Buttermilk's full-service spa with a sauna, steam room and pool is housed in an open glass building, so you don't have to tear yourself away from the spectacular scenery. Local wines, by the glass or bottle, can be ordered to your deck chair.
The Inn's restaurant, Henry's at the Farm, uses ingredients from the onsite organic garden to create farm-fresh cuisine as well as cocktails incorporating the latest fruit and herb harvests. A recent visit brought us a shiso plum- and vanilla-infused vodka cocktail thickened with fresh plum puree. "We do whatever we can with what we have," our waiter told us.
Newly appointed head chef Chad Greer has been on a strictly seasonal schedule since assuming his role at Henry's, constantly adapting the menu to reflect what's fresh. Greer and his wife, previously based in Manhattan, fell in love with the Hudson Valley after skydiving in the area. Eight years ago, they moved to Ulster County permanently.
"I've developed a lot of relationships with farmers up here. I have my favorite potato farmer, my favorite tomato farmer, greens, everything. This is literally my eighth season in this area, and so there are farmers I've been buying lettuce from for that long."
Breakfast is served on the Inn's stone patio; it incorporates eggs from the chickens kept on the property (who are fed kitchen scraps), as well as house-made breads, sour cream waffles and frittatas.
Although Chef Greer enjoys cooking with the bold, sweet flavors of the property's summer harvest, he's looking forward to the cooler months.
"In this area, fall's probably the most exciting. We get a lot of 'leaf-peepers,'" he says. Greer anticipates a rush on butternut squash soup. "I just can't stop making it. I make the soup and my wife makes banana bread, and we turn those into croutons."
If you go
Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa
220 North Rd., Milton, N.Y.