Audrey’s Farmhouse: A Pet-Friendly B&B in the Foothills of the Shawangunk Mountains
2188 Bruynswick Rd. |

Envisions of a life upstate can sometimes take an unforeseen turn. Up until a year ago, Sally Watkinson and Doug Posey saw themselves buying a part-time shotgun shack with some land in the country, a simple weekend retreat from the city fit for an escape with their two large dogs. Specially fond of their trips to Storm King and Dia: Beacon, the Hudson Valley had been calling to them for quite some time. But when Doug saw the sale listing for Audrey’s Farmhouse, a pet-friendly bed and breakfast in the hamlet of Wallkill, he suggested they book a stay with the dogs to see what it was all about. “It was just so peaceful,” sighs Sally, remembering their quiet weekend in the farmhouse suite, a former chicken coop they later found out. “And the house, the house was gorgeous,” emphasizes Doug. “It had all these quirky, amazing things about it, but it also had an aura and that aura hasn’t changed.” 

The aura is real. I felt it as soon as I walked into the rustic low-beamed kitchen where Doug stood frying egg sandwiches in time for my arrival, and while reading in the sitting room, sunlight gleaming through the open dutch barn door. I felt it with every step I took across wide plank hardwood floors and with every cross-breeze that smelled of flowers.

Last May, Sally and Doug bought the 1740 Dutch farmhouse and its detached studio cottage from longtime owners Audrey and Don Leff, a sweet couple whose convivial hospitality for people and dogs alike helped them gain notoriety for being one of the most pet-friendly bed and breakfasts in the country. They quickly took over operation of Audrey’s Farmhouse, but also began stripping back on some of the decor to try to make the place feel more like their own. “We wanted to let people know who we are and also expose the beauty of the house a bit more,” says Sally. When they weren’t hosting guests, the pair worked tirelessly at repainting and outfitting five guest rooms, two living rooms, and one perfect little kitchen with a handpicked mix of antique and mid-century modern furnishings. Today, the house is decorated with the couple’s contemporary touches, but not overly so; structurally, nothing has been changed.

I fell in love with Audrey’s Farmhouse. There is a bona fide magic to the house that just cannot be replicated. I’d give anything to be there right now swaying in a hammock, snacking on a cider donut, and planning the day’s adventure.

  • Location: Wallkill, NY
  •  
  • Features:
    5 guest rooms
    Pet-friendly
    Fully-equipped kitchen
    Two fireplaces
    Outdoor fire pit and hot tub
    Plant-filtered swimming pool
    Aesop bath products
    Roku TV

    Book Here

Audrey's Farmhouse in Wallkill, NY. andnorth.com

  My weekend began the moment I came downstairs in the morning to a fresh pot of Chemex brewed coffee and Sally’s homemade banana walnut chocolate bread to nibble on before breakfast. (For the early morning risers and dog walkers, Sally and Doug leave out a French press.) Still in my slippers, I stood by the window to watch a couple of the dogs chase each other in the dewy grass.

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  “Years ago, when we moved on a plane from Portland to New York, we stayed in a hotel while trying to find housing,” says Doug. “Trying to move somewhere to live is already difficult, but trying to stay somewhere overnight with pets is literally almost impossible. Audrey and Don were just doing it — they were doing it for so long.”

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  The lucite tables in the Game Room are from an upcycled furniture shop in downtown Highland. The lucite lamps have belonged to Sally for as long as she can remember. Doug snagged the leather couches from an architecture firm that was selling off all their office furniture. “I saw their ad on Craigslist, literally called them and was like, ‘I’ll be there today.’”

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  Smatterings of the remaining blue paint can be seen on the farmhouse’s original wide plank hardwood floors.

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  Antelope taxidermy found at Vintage Emporium in Newburgh gives this room whole new meaning, but for me, the Game Room was where I felt most at home. I did my best lounging here amid the many stacks of reading material and quintessential rainy day games.

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  As important as it was to update the farmhouse with stylish touches, resilience and longevity had to be kept in mind. “We have blankets tucked around the couch cushions to make the space more durable for pets,” says Doug, “and that’s like a real country farmhouse thing, because in a lot of these houses, people are literally coming in from the farm. Blankets get tucked around the cushions and that’s just the way it is.”

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  Our country breakfast was served at the barn table, a handcrafted piece that Sally and Doug found on Craigslist years ago. “We replaced the metal struts it was originally on with table legs from a guy on Etsy who only makes table legs,” says Sally. “We’ve taken a lot of pieces in the house and modernized them a little to make them more our own.” The credenza, which was bought a long time ago at an old prop house in San Francisco, is one of Sally’s personal favorites.

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  The hutch, original to the house, stores and displays the kitchenware used for Doug’s breakfasts each morning. When he carried out a platter of bacon, eggs, and a cutting board of waffles and strawberries to be shared family-style, the bottle of Oliverea Schoolhouse Maple could not get passed around the table fast enough.

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  A private Dutch staircase off the kitchen led me up to the Cathedral Room, a spacious room with vaulted ceilings, en suite bathroom, queen down feather-topped Jenny Lind bed, and natural light pouring in from attic windows every which way. “We use a firm foam mattress and a two-inch feather top on all of the beds, so you get that amazing sinking feeling,” says Sally, who also provides guests with extra blankets to lay out for their dogs.

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  Accessed through the garden, the Suite is the only room on the ground floor. It is cozy beyond belief with a slanted wood ceiling, French pine poster bed, cushy seating area, and private bathroom with a cast iron clawfoot tub and separate shower.

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  Although it was such a gift to have the Cathedral room all to myself, the 18th-century Jenny Lind daybed would have been perfect for a second or third guest had I not travelled alone. Before taking myself out to dinner that night, I wrote for a bit at the antique writing desk and watched the sky turn to sherbet as the sun went down behind the Shawangunk Ridge.

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  There was also a second door that connected to the Woodstove Room, an attribute surely appreciated by large families, weddings, and whole house rentals. With a separate sitting area and en suite bathroom, the Woodstove Room is the only guest room with a working wood stove and a King down feather-topped poster bed.

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  Sally and Doug have long loved the botanically based products of Aesop, a luxurious beauty brand based in Melbourne, Australia.

Audrey's Farmhouse in Wallkill, NY. andnorth.com

  “You’re on holiday when you’re up here — it’s your time,” says Sally. “Whatever you want to do, whatever is going to make you comfortable, we’re here to help. Even if it’s just staying out of your way and letting you enjoy the house.

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  The Mohonk Preserve, Minnewaska State Park Preserve, and the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail are all just a short drive away from Audrey’s Farmhouse. The area is packed with pet-friendly trails — from the waterfalls and ice caves at Sam’s Point Preserve to the rolling meadows and footbridges of Poets’ Walk Park. Whether you’re coming back from a long day of adventuring, or staying put on the property, there are hammocks, a hot tub, and an outdoor fire pit for all to enjoy, in addition to a new plant-filtered swimming pool that is well on its way to being completed in time for summer. The farmhouse is a 10-minute drive from a host of dining options in Gardiner, including the one I chose to eat dinner at over the weekend — Tuthill House at the Mill, a restaurant and tavern housed in a historic 1788 grist mill with gorgeous stream views. On Route 208, Wright’s Roadside Market is open year round, selling preserves made with local ingredients and the most delicious cider donuts I have ever tasted. On my way back to the city, I made sure to stop for lunch at The Village Tearoom, a farm-to-table restaurant and bakeshop in the heart of New Paltz, approximately 20 minutes away, and for those looking for a little art and culture, the house museums of Historic Huguenot Street are also located in New Paltz as well as the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art.