in my humble opinion

Everything old is new again

By JONATHAN CHARLES FOX
Posted 5/12/21

“Have you seen it yet?” my neighbor, Steve, asked while we were schmoozing outdoors a couple of days ago. “Seen what?” I responded, assuming that he was pointing out his new …

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in my humble opinion

Everything old is new again

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“Have you seen it yet?” my neighbor, Steve, asked while we were schmoozing outdoors a couple of days ago. “Seen what?” I responded, assuming that he was pointing out his new birdhouse, or a flower that he had cultivated from seed, or yet another wind chime added to his growing cacophonous collection. “The Bradstan,” he said, “It’s amazing. You should give Scott a call and get a tour. Honestly,” he continued, “It’s absolutely gorgeous.”

By “Scott,” he meant Scott Samuelson. Scott, along with his partner, Eddie Dudek, have owned and operated The Bradstan Country Hotel for decades. I’ve always loved the Bradstan: a gorgeous Victorian bed and breakfast situated overlooking White Lake in beautiful Bethel, NY and considered by many to be the best B&B for miles around. I did know that the guys had shuttered the inn and that it had been reverted to a private home, sumptuous in design and a showplace in its own right.

I also knew that Scott and Eddie had teamed up with Dan and Joan Silna, who had purchased the Eldred Preserve several years ago, in hopes of breathing new life into the old hunting/fishing/skeet-shooting lodge, which is also home to a woodsy restaurant that had changed hands a number of times over the years. “You’re aware that the Old Homestead is making a comeback too, right?” Steve asked, referring to Alice and Paul Edelmen’s acclaimed steak house, originally located in Rock Hill, NY. “You know how I love a good steak,” I said to Steve. “And as long as they are still making their famous cinnamon raisin bread, I’m in.”

“I’ve been watching the construction progress from afar, but if they’re close to opening, I’ll call Scott for a sneak peek at the place. Thanks for the heads-up” I told Steve, scrolling through my phone for Scott’s number. Even driving past the old Eldred Preserve, one could see that the property, consisting of more than 800 acres of bucolic woodlands and boasting a stunning 40-acre private lake, had been undergoing a transformation worthy of a proverbial phoenix rising from the ashes.

“Sure,” the preserve’s chief operating officer Scott responded. “We’re crazy busy, but I can carve out some time to show you around. Besides” he added, “it’ll be nice to see the Wonder Dog.” Charming.

“Busy” doesn’t begin to describe the scene playing out before my eyes as I pulled into the lot. A veritable army of folks bustled about the grounds of the brand-spanking-new Eldred Preserve, now home to the reborn Bradstan Boutique Hotel, a complex of buildings that includes 28 rooms and suites, corporate meeting facilities, private cabins and an events center, all of which are nestled into the gorgeous grounds of the old preserve. Scott walked me through the property, pointing out the design and décor, while giving me the rundown. “Our first conversation with the Silnas took place in 2016,” he said, “which led to us partnering with the Edelmens and the Old Homestead, which was very exciting. The architects and designers came on board in 2017 and we broke ground in August of 2019.”

“This is an enormous undertaking,” I exclaimed while getting a look at some of the rooms. “It is,” Scott replied, “but very, very exciting. We have eight rooms in the main building and three lodges, each with five rooms: two standard rooms, two junior suites and one signature suite. And the furnishings are different in every single one. Phillip [of La Bossiere Interior Design and Decoration] did the interior design... The hotel provided a new and unique challenge for him, as their specialty has always been residential design,” Scott explained. “He created an ambience for us comprised of common areas and beautifully appointed rooms that are more like you’d find in your own home, rather than a hotel, which is really special.”

Floor-to-ceiling windows complement the walls of steel and glass, enhancing the “outdoors-looking-in” design that is all-encompassing. “It’s all about the landscape,” Scott enthused. “Guests can literally be lying in bed drinking all of this in,” he said with a sweeping gesture, referring to the magnificent, impressive (IMHO) grounds of the preserve. On our way to see the new Old Homestead, we passed the fitness center, fire pits, picnic areas, ponds, streams, a waterfall and outdoor seating areas galore. “While we’re vastly different that the old Eldred Preserve,” Scott explained, “We think it’s even more beautiful than ever before. Don’t forget the pristine lake,” he said, referring to the enormous body of water that will soon be sporting rowboats and kayaks. There’s plenty of room to hike and there will also be “a few fishing spots,” according to Scott. “Yes,” he elaborated, “while we’re no longer a fishing-and-hunting lodge, if guests bring their fishing poles, they can certainly drop a line while staying with us. Why not? And we have WiFi literally everywhere, so guests can work and play while visiting.”

As for the restaurant, bar and event space, the architecture and design are, once again, the stars of the show—but will not be outdone by the attention to the home-style dining the Edelmens bring to the table with their years of expertise. A vast cache of wines and spirits, along with special aging cabinets for the beef, only add to the menu, which will feature farm-to-table meals that change with the seasons. “It’s all so beautiful,” I said, as my tour concluded and folks stopped in their tracks to admire my dog. “You seem to have left no stone unturned,” I suggested to Scott, who was beaming after giving me the grand tour. “The attention to detail is amazing,” I said. “When can I have dinner? Or recommend friends stay in one of these stunning suites? The place is really gorgeous, in my humble opinion.”

“Reservations are being taken, even though we don’t officially open until June,” Scott said. “We’ve even booked a few weddings already,” he added with enthusiasm. “Oh,” I responded, “I hadn’t even thought of that.” Entertainment, special events and private parties are all in the offing at the Eldred Preserve, and its website sums it up nicely: “The concept that weaves three Sullivan County legacy brands, the Eldred Preserve, The Bradstan Country Hotel and The Old Homestead Restaurant, together to create a completely new hospitality experience.” In other words: everything old is new again.

For more information, visit www.theeldredpreserve.com.

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