I welcome you to stay in my original creekstone Arts & Crafts country house, set on 40 acres of private woodlands, stream and wetlands in Woodstock, NY. It has been in my family for three generations, and is a haven for creating both fine art and narrative fiction writing. My great-uncle, Anton Otto Fischer, did most of his work in the studio 200 feet to the east (which will soon become available). Google him. He was famed as both a marine and landscape artist. There is a book of his life and work on the living room window ledge.
Any questions you may have will, hopefully, be answered by the Handbook that is on the dining room table or sideboard. It is a user's guide to the house and community.
In less than five minutes, you can be in the storied village of Woodstock, where I was born and raised. A diverse array of shops, restaurants and cultural institutions will greet the casual stroller, offering temptations galore. In 45 minutes, you can be in the heart of the Catskill Mountains for hiking, sightseeing or skiing. Belleayre Mountain, where I learned the skills of downhill racing, Hunter Mountain, a world-class ski resort, and Plattekill, the best-kept secret of the Catskills, are all less than an hour away.
My three-story Arts & Crafts home easily accommodates eight adults, making it an excellent value as well as a spectacular experience. It was designed and built by a woman, Elizabeth Ashley, in 1918 -- before women "got the vote!" From the moment you turn into the gravel driveway, the house and property envelop you with a feeling of welcome. I remember this unique trait from childhood, and I still hear it from people today.
Each of the four bedrooms has its own unique character. The entry door faces north, so I will identify them by the points of the compass.
Second floor west contains a private library with my many of personal books, and a writing desk where I wrote most of a novel (as-yet unpublished). This room also has a fireplace that is charming to look at, but is poorly designed and will fill the house with smoke. Queen bed, bureau, closet.
Second floor east has a private doorway out to a screened "sleeping porch," a pre-air-conditioning feature often found in Woodstock houses. The porch is furnished for casual gatherings at breakfast, lunch or cocktails, and offers a treehouse view of the yard, and the cavorting canines. Queen bed, bureau, closet.
The third floor master bedroom (west) has high, peaked ceilings, under the rafters, and treehouse dormers that gaze out to the north and south. Queen bed, bureau.
The third floor east is a smaller room with queen futon and writing desk. There is a printer that will interface with your computers.
Cotton bedding, down comforters and superior pillows gently soothe you to sleep after a long day of exploration, relaxation and fine dining.
The second floor bathroom is newly renovated with an Italian tile shower, European style, and pedestal sink.
The third floor bathroom has a clawfoot bathtub that is original to the house, and caters to those in need of a long, hot soak in the treetops.
The kitchen is newly renovated and updated, with all the modern acoutrements a chef could want, blending old-world with new. Marble tiles and white oak butcher block countertops, stainless steel appliances, gas range, and place settings for twelve. It is truly a chef's kitchen, and I have personally cooked many fine meals there, as have our guests for three years. The cabinets are original to the house.
The dining room has un-hewn chestnut beams hand-decorated decades ago by my great-aunt and my cousin. There is room at the table for eight, and the addition of a small folding table increases seating to ten. The table, sideboard and corner cupboard are all original Arts & Crafts pieces, and I believe some or all of them were locally built.
With a stone fireplace, ample seating for eight, a round oak Arts & Crafts table and natural chestnut log beams, the living room is a unique and extraordinary space that will both comfort and inspire you. Large windows overlook the yard on two sides, which is fenced-in to safely contain kids and dogs, and original cabinets contain games and toys. Firewood and kindling are provided, and fires are allowed.
The walls are decorated with original art and prints, many from local artists. A signed Jamie Wyeth print adorns the fireplace mantel. Lucinda Knauss, Calvin Grimm, Cornelia Schmitter and Lillian Lent are among those who live or lived in Woodstock. A couple of pieces by my great-uncle are featured, and the oil of a small boy, on the right as you enter the living room, is me!
Grill to your heart's content outside on gas or charcoal, and enjoy a delicious meal of steaks, burgers, chicken, fish or veggies at the massive bluestone slab table I moved in by myself. The outdoor fireplace is available for chilly nights, when you just don't want to go inside.
Play a round of cutthroat croquet, or swat a birdie across the badminton net, if you like, Those games, bocce and horseshoe are stored in the former chicken coop, the largest of the three outbuildings inside the yard.
For those who must stay in touch with the office or loved ones, high-speed internet wi-fi is available, and a printer can be found on the third floor. Make unlimited phone calls anywhere in the US or Canada on the landline. High-definition TV, with cable DVR and DVD player are in the living room.
And finally, as a longtime dog-person and the proud parent of an enormous rescue dog, a mix of American Bulldog and Black Lab, I welcome your well-behaved canine housemates to share the home with you. The yard around the house is fenced in, and provides ample room for your beasts to burn off excess energy or lounge about in the sunshine or snow.
I look forward to your stay very much... and I think you'll want to come back time and again!