Stone Ridge, New York is a well preserved and historic landmark village located in the southeastern part of the Catskill Mountains. It is one of ten hamlets that make up the town of Marbletown and it sits perched on (you guessed it) a ridge that runs along the flood plains of the Rondout Valley in Ulster County just south of Kingston.
Driving through the Main Street District, along what was once America’s oldest thoroughfare, you notice immediately the way the homes on US 209 sit right on the edge of their lots, pressed up against the road at the top of the ridge. This is in part because the road inevitably had to widen in order to accommodate larger vehicles and trucks midway through the last century, but also because Stone Ridge has no side streets due to the wetlands on either side of the ridge.
At first glance, the buildings along Main Street appear to be on tiny parcels of land, but go behind one and you realize that there is more space than the eye can see from a distance. Many of the handsome properties of Stone Ridge sit on 20-acres or more with multiple outbuildings as the land slopes down to the floodplains. The most notable house (shown above) is the Wynkoop House where George Washington once slept.
For centuries the ridge has been the only consistent way for travelers to pass through the flood plains. First the nomadic paleo-indians of 10,000 BC to the Lenape Tribes centuries later, to the Dutch settlers of the 17th century to the Americans of the revolution and beyond. And yet, with all its antiquity, Stone Ridge still offers its residents and visitors something fresh and contemporary, as evidence by its food, hospitality and thriving culture.
We started off our day by heading over to The Roost, a local favorite restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch. The pecan waffles were the true hit at this place.
The hash and eggs with avocado came in second. Always a plus when bottled sparkling water is available, especially at a breakfast spot.
Patrons of The Roost, siblings Brian and Jo, were headed to a World’s Fair reenactment of the 1939 event that happened in Flushing, Queens NY. They drove a 1939 Buick and all of their clothes were vintage from that era. As I approached them, to my surprise, they were just as interested in the guy shooting photos.
For lunch, we headed over the Lekker 209. Owners Luke and Nina, husband and wife, are shown here. What I liked about Lekker 209 is that they’re using local farm products and cooking cleanly by avoiding industrial seed oils. They cook with ghee and rendered animal fats like tallow, lard and olive oil for the lower heat cooking or in their dressings.
Our fantastic lunch comprised of beet pasta with fresh farm cheese and microgreens, a chicken sandwich and avocado toast with turmeric and a nourishing bone broth. The bone broth is a must-buy on the way out the door. Not pictured here was their amazing grass-fed burger.
The bacon Bloody Mary hit the spot. Not shown is their cold brew from Six Depot Roasters and the turmeric latté–a steamed milk concoction with honey turmeric and a sprinkle of black pepper. It’s incredible.
After lunch, we wandered about town and stopped by the Antique Barn, located behind the post office. This hidden gem has some wonderful pieces including a collection of snow shoes, lots of home goods and decor and a 1964 Dodge Van in great shape.
We stayed overnight at the very elegant Hasbrouck House. Some of offerings in the rooms include an array of gifts like Saratoga water, hand crafted chocolate, house-made jerky, a savory nut mix, bread and butter pickles, wine and champagne. Our room had a split door that opened up to the porch on the road side.
The grounds are gorgeous with a crystal clear pool and cleared trails that lead to an orchard lake with rows of apple trees. At dusk, the team at Butterfield, a fine dining restaurant located at the Hasbrouck House, begin to forage. Shown here is the sous chef cutting chive seed heads that still had a few remaining flowers on them.
Inside the hotel, the restaurant and the first tables were beginning to seat, as the staff hurried about lighting candles and preparing the bar for the evening.
The smokehouse is an original building and its resurrection came without delay when Chef Shawn Burnette arrived at Butterfield. Burnette came here with most of his years training as a chef in the area of charcuterie (spent working in France and in his home state of South Carolina). The building is a cornerstone for his nose-to-tail approach to working with animal products and is essential when buying whole animals from farmers.
Chef Burnette is dedicated to hyper-localizing his menu. He’s thinking in terms of mileage for his sourcing. Burnette hopes to be refined sugar-free by next year when he fully switches to maple sugar and sorghum sugar, both locally sourced. Shown here is 63º egg in a nest of fresh arugula–hands down my favorite dish.
Butterfield works with local farmers in the area and will soon oversee a 140-acre farming operation, which will be the long term purveyor of foods for the restaurant. Pictured is Chioggia beets, golden beets, red beets with fermented red onions, spelt risotto and farm cheese.
The roasted bone marrow and beef heart is gently steamed at the bone, the marrow carefully removed and then mixed with shallots and bread crumbs. Finally the heart is grilled, sliced and stirred in with the marrow, roasting at 550º. A spectacular dish.
Before we left the next morning, we made a last stop at Davenport Farms Nursery to take in all the fall feelings. There were plenty of mums, pumpkins and locals milling about the store, eating cider donuts and drinking hot cider.
Photography and Words by Lawrence Braun