An Artist Owned Airbnb Cottage Tucked Away in Esopus, NY

In Ulster Park, one of the many hamlets in Esopus, NY, contemporary artist couple Bill Brovold and Hawley Hussey have turned a little cottage on their property into a cozy Airbnb hideaway, conveniently located just twenty minutes from New Paltz and two-and-a-half miles south of Kingston. Albeit small with room enough for two, the space is private and homey beyond words, outfitted simply with a warm bed, table and two chairs, and a sweet kitchenette they stock with milk and eggs from local farms, handcrafted spices from Rockerbox Garlic, and a variety of vinegars and oils. Bill, who is as warm a host as he is adept in the kitchen, supplies their guests with his freshly baked bread, homemade maple syrup, and hand roasted coffee beans — the very best beginnings of a delicious country breakfast.

The two met in the early nineties at a nationally curated art show in San Francisco where, as fate would have it, their work hung side by side. For fifteen years, they kept in touch with handwritten letters. In 2007, when Bill moved from Detroit to New Paltz, he wrote one last letter to Hawley. “He said ‘We should really connect now — it’s the perfect time,’” recalls Hawley, a self-described “ocean girl” who was living in Sea Gate, Brooklyn, in a little beach house at the far western end of Coney Island. “Bill was the mastermind. He would make these elaborate maps of the Hudson River Valley and we would go on these long drives and look at five or six houses,” she says, “but really his eye was for this place in Esopus which had a house, land, a beautiful free standing cottage, and all this magical stuff that was there already — a koi pond, a waterfall, and forty years worth of gardening.”

During the year, in between busy weekends, the cottage doubles as “The Ayles and Day Artists’ Retreat,” named for their moms, a mini artist residency that Bill and Hawley curate themselves for their large network of musician and artist friends. “We have quite a list of people who want to get up there, so we open it up as much as possible,” says Hawley. “It’s not a huge place to make art, but it’s a great place to conceive of a piece.”

  • Location: Esopus, NY
  •  
  • Features:
    1 bed
    1 bathroom
    12-foot skylit Kitchenette stocked with local ingredients
    Country breakfast supplied by owner
    Assorted selection of books and DVDs
    Access to property’s land, including koi pond and vegetable garden
    Wifi

    Book Here

Cozy airbnb cottage in Esopus, NY. andnorth.com

  Bill and Hawley have spent years traveling to and from Orkney, the islands off the coast of Scotland, for art and music festivals aplenty. Since Hawley’s art is largely inspired by the bold, striking personalities of the Coney Island boardwalk, “Selkie” is the name they gave the cottage, a nod to the old mermaid legends of Orkney.

Cozy airbnb cottage in Esopus, NY. andnorth.com

  “After Bill redid the kitchen floors, we were just kind of putting everything together. We had plates, we had a cutting board, I got a nice knife, Bill had a coffee maker. But I was getting all these extra little things and Bill was like ‘You’re getting too much, we don’t need it, we have stuff.’ And then our first guests were coming and Bill calls me from Bed, Bath & Beyond and is like ‘I got the cutest little things to separate soy milk from half and half,’” says Hawley, laughing. “He had caught the bug.”

Cozy airbnb cottage in Esopus, NY. andnorth.com

  “We travel a lot,” says Bill, “so we ask ourselves ‘what do we like?’ There’s nothing worse than getting a package of lousy coffee and creamer.”

Cozy airbnb cottage in Esopus, NY. andnorth.com

  “Bill has this fantastic demeanor as the “Lord and Master of the Airbnb.” He just has this welcoming graciousness about him, and the way he problem solves, it makes people feel really confident,” enthuses Hawley. “I always learn from him. I know that if something breaks, Bill will know how to fix it. He’s the provider. He’s like a cowboy.”

Cozy airbnb cottage in Esopus, NY. andnorth.com

  As much as they can, Bill and Hawley look to support the area’s local producers and farms. Their closest neighbor is the Ever-Growing Family Farm, a family owned farm growing vegetables, eggs, and rice utilizing sustainable methods. Bill has brought many of their Airbnb guests over to the farm to pick up what they might need for a meal at the cottage. The two have also fallen particularly in love with the handcrafted spices from Rockerbox Garlic, a line of spice powders made with organic U.S.-grown garlic and onions. “We wanted to promote the vibe that was happening — that Hudson River Valley boom of locally crafted, locally made,” says Hawley. “It just felt nurturing to help each other. It’s all word of mouth up here.”

Cozy airbnb cottage in Esopus, NY. andnorth.com

  “I curate the bookshelves. I just have them loaded with cool books. And we’ve had people borrow books and then send them back weeks later,” says Hawley. “We’re thinking about an honesty box, like how people do it with vegetables in the country. How fun it would be to do the same with books.”

Cozy airbnb cottage in Esopus, NY. andnorth.com

  “We’re really into people being warm enough and comfortable enough when they’re here,” says Hawley, making mention of the bed’s handmade quilt and a blanket they bought at a local antique store that depicts all of the lighthouses of the Hudson River Valley. “There’s a cedar chest that we found where we keep a lot of great extra blankies.”

Cozy airbnb cottage in Esopus, NY. andnorth.com
Cozy airbnb cottage in Esopus, NY. andnorth.com
Cozy airbnb cottage in Esopus, NY. andnorth.com

  “We feel like because we’re connected to so much of the farm-to-table life and the musicians and artists, that the people coming up here should enjoy that,” says Hawley, who’s keen on sending guests to The Rosendale Cafe, an intimate music venue about five miles away that serves some of the best vegetarian cooking in the Hudson Valley. “We encourage people to have a car because we’re a little off the grid, but Bill has picked people up from the bus station, which is really nice.”

Cozy airbnb cottage in Esopus, NY. andnorth.com

  “We’ve had really good guestbook experiences in our travels, like at The Witchery in Edinburgh, when the guestbook was as big as the Bible,” remembers Hawley. “With ours, we’ve literally received notes and drawings from people being like ‘It’s 8:15 in the morning… Mary’s making your home roasted coffee and I’m writing in my journal.’ It’s darling.”