The Villa at Saugerties: A Romantic Mediterranean-Style Catskills Retreat
159 Fawn Rd | Saugerties, NY
An upstate escape means different things to different people, from scouting out the very best swimming hole in the mountains, to pulling up a chair for a farm-to-table meal, to choosing roads less traveled in search of antique treasures and vintage bargains. For me, it almost doesn’t matter what I’m doing when I’m in the mountains — it’s more the pleasure of knowing where I’ll be after a day well spent, while peacefully waking someplace completely special.
Special doesn’t begin to describe the heaven that is The Villa at Saugerties, a luxury bed-and-breakfast, and four-season destination situated on 3.6 pastoral acres in the historic town of Saugerties. Months later and I am still not over how utterly perfect and at home I felt during my stay. Combining reclaimed barn beams, and 19th century Belgian and Italian antiques, with modern pieces from Morocco, Mexico, and the Hudson Valley, the Villa’s undeniable romance lies in its sun-drenched gardens, local and seasonal dining indoors and out, lush private patios, wood burning fireplace, and forty-foot heated swimming pool. Behind this romance are the kindest of hosts, Joe Moseley and Amanda Zaslow, a couple who have gone above and beyond in fashioning an easy luxe getaway while looking after you like the dearest of friends.
With backgrounds in the food / television, and interior design worlds, Joe and Amanda were profoundly inspired by their honeymoon in Spain, where their favorite days were spent at a quiet place in the countryside about an hour north of Barcelona. Extra time spent with the proprietors, a chef and his wife, made a lasting impression on the newlyweds as they observed the couple’s love for the humble locale, the land, the community, and most of all their guests. “They wanted every single person to feel special, to feel the love of what they were doing, and we felt it,” says Amanda. “And we said if we could ever do something like this and make other people feel the way we feel right now, that would just be the best.”
In 2010, after months of searching, giving up, and beginning their search again for a place that would speak to them, they came upon The Villa — a quirky Mediterranean style house, seemingly dropped into the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. It was their Spanish inspiration in the heart of the Hudson Valley, and the perfect site to embark on their journey. After six years of extensive repair and renovation, they finally pulled the curtain back to host their first guests on New Years Eve 2016. “The idea was to have a place that you didn’t have to get on a plane, but could drive two hours from the city and really feel like you were somewhere else,” says Amanda. “To have a true escape and be treated with such care and love. Because that’s why we fell in the love with the idea. It was all from the heart.”
- Location: Saugerties, NY
Two Queen Bedrooms / Two King Bedrooms
3 Private Outdoor Patios Set Within the Gardens
Deep Soaking Tubs or Walk-In Showers
Gas Fireplace in Each Bedroom
40-Foot Heated Swimming Pool
Complimentary Full Breakfast
Saturday Night Multi-Course Dinner at The Barn (Additional Fee)
Short Drive into the Village of Saugerties, Woodstock, Hunter, Catskill, and Hudson
The Villa’s graphic logo is that of a quatrefoil, a shape Joe and Amanda saw plenty of while traveling in Spain. Amanda’s idea for a quatrefoil window had been aesthetically in line with other details they were working on, like the integrated architectural grilles found throughout the Villa. “The shell pattern in the grilles was reminiscent of Spanish roof tiles, the mountains of Spain as well as the Catskills,” says Joe. “Everything here has a story.”
Just two hours from New York City, the Villa at Saugerties retains an intimacy that makes it feel like the place is all yours from the moment you step inside. The downstairs living area was the perfect place to take a book and morning coffee, begin a game of Scrabble, or catnap with a cozy throw.
Amanda excels at blending colors, textures, and light to create spaces that are simultaneously comfortable and arresting. Glass-like Venetian plastered walls, vaulted ceilings, and grey French oak floors are soft and timeless in their subtlety. “We don’t have a lot of art,” she says, “but you see the beauty of a piece of furniture, you see the clean line of our dining table. You see that the chairs are low and don’t go above the table, purposely allowing you to see everything else. I like to focus on those details as opposed to all of the things you could add. I like to take away.”
Amanda’s artful eye carries over to the landscaped grounds which, in season, explode with color, from blooming dahlias, hydrangeas, and lilacs to low-growing succulents and ornamental grasses. “Amanda had zero experience with gardens before we did this,” says Joe. “She immersed herself into the learning experience of gardening, plants, and design, and then specifics about which plants grow well and when, and when the bloom cycles. It’s amazing the level of detail she has put into it for having never done it before.”
Built in the 1960s, the 40-foot pool features a bluestone patio, dining area, double loungers and umbrellas overlooking the field and weeping willows, with a wooded Catskill Mountain backdrop. Non-swimmers will be just as happy pouring some wine and watching the sky turn pink here before dinnertime.
Each of the four unique guest rooms are the ideal place to rest and relax, with King or Queen beds dressed in soft Matteo linens, gas fireplaces, hand laid Moroccan tiled bathrooms with marble sinks, radiant heated floors, and deep soaking tubs or walk-in-showers.
“I believe a lot of people think that if they say, ‘I’m a mid-century modern person,’ then everything needs to be mid-century modern,” says Amanda. “And I think when you do that, it can make a place feel cold. And if you do that with all antique pieces, it can make a place feel stuffy. For me, the combinations I think about are warmth, shape, texture, pattern, color, fabric — all of those things kind of play into one another.”
“If you think about the way things are made, and if you pick objects and furniture and pieces that have an interesting character to them,” says Amanda, “then you don’t necessarily need to have art because I find it can be cluttered. For this space, we feel like the gardens, the texture of the walls and its sheen, the way it changes with the light — that’s the view for us.”
A sense of connectedness is important to Joe and Amanda. When they first moved to Saugerties, they knew they wanted to involve themselves in activities benefiting the community. Neighbors Judith Spektor and her husband, Barry Benepe, a founder of The Saugerties Farmers Market and Union Square Greenmarket in New York City, were welcoming and supportive of the couple’s plans to open a bed-and-breakfast, immediately introducing them to the community by way of the market. Each year, Joe and Amanda proudly participate in the market’s main fundraiser, the Harvest Home Dinners, where volunteers open their homes and prepare a delicious home-cooked meal for a small group of paying guests each September and October.
Joe cooks simply and from scratch with fresh, local ingredients, ensuring the utmost quality of his menus. His breakfasts may include fresh fruit, yogurt, chia seed pudding, eggs, pastries, breads, and locally smoked salmon, along with hot dishes like traditional Spanish tortillas, savory vegetable pancakes, or thick cut French toast with local syrup or honey. Additional preparations of tapas style dishes is where Joe seriously shines — think patatas bravas, pane con tomate, simple local greens, and roasted seasonal vegetables.
On Saturday evenings, Joe and Amanda invite Villa guests to join them for a prix fixe, four course dinner at The Barn, their private residence. Using locally sourced, organic, and seasonal ingredients, Joe prepares a feast of rustic, simple dishes served family style on a sixteen-foot table with cast iron legs, in a twenty-foot-high dining space featuring hand hewn beams and bistro lights above. “We’ll be in the kitchen doing our thing, and then all of a sudden, the room will burst out in laughter, and we’ll just look at each other and feel like we’re going to cry,” says Amanda. “It’s nice to hear someone say something is so lovely, but when you hear people laughing, and they stay an extra hour at the breakfast table just sitting and talking, then you know they’re really relaxed and having a good time, and that, to us, is what it’s all about.”
Voted one of America’s coolest small towns, Saugerties is situated between the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains, in Ulster County, New York. Home to antique shops, art galleries, restaurants, and boutiques, the Village of Saugerties is where locals and visitors alike frequent cafes, independent bookstores, and the mom-and-pop shops that have endured in notable turn of the century buildings for decades. Guests can visit the Saugerties Farmers Market before taking a picnic basket to the historic Saugerties Lighthouse for a nature walk and a sunset bite on the Hudson River, or visit Opus 40 for an outing through a remarkable bluestone sculpture and park, built by one man over the course of 37 years. Nearby small towns to visit within 20 – 35 minutes include Kingston, Woodstock, Hudson, Germantown, and Rhinebeck — each with their own character, and all with fabulous antiquing, indie shops, music, food, and stories.
Black-Eyed Suzie’s, Silvia, The Red Onion
Our Bookshop, Bosco’s Mercantile, Shop Little House
The Saugerties Lighthouse, Huckleberry Point, The Hudson Valley Garlic Festival, Opus 40