Most peoples’ summer weekend escape fantasies usually include bicycling, swimming holes, a campfire, and great food. Throw in local live music, a weekend flea market, and a stay in a funky Victorian suite adorned in awe-inspiring detail in tribute to Jimmy Hendrix… and the “experience” at the White Dove Rockotel in Woodstock, NY can’t be topped! Owners and creators Martin and Erin have turned their musical passions into a true work of art and livelihood; the buildings and grounds have been lovingly restored and renovated using as many original fixtures as salvageable. Erin’s past work in the fashion and graphic design industries is perfectly paired with her husband, Martin, a design contractor. The two lovebirds met as many hippies do: during a magical summer following Phish on tour. Now nearly 20 years later, they opened the White Dove Rockotel, which seamlessly balances the decor and vibe of the 1960s–record players and vintage vinyl in every room!–with completely modern amenities, to make your stay as comfortable as possible.
We stayed in the “Experience Suite,” a 750 square foot apartment that sleeps up to five. It’s named for Jimi Hendrix (arguably the greatest guitar player of all time) and the decor is a nod to his clothing: a mix of mod psychedelia and baroque Americana. Specialized wall treatments, hand drawn wall paper, one of a kind textiles and an eclectic mix of vintage and designer furniture create a truly unique–and definitely psychedelic–experience. The spacious master bedroom features a king bed, seating area, and full bathroom with a walk-in rain shower. If you’re traveling with friends or family, a large separate living room has a queen pull-out and twin daybed to comfortably accommodate extra guests. The very purple living room is equipped with a six foot home theater screen with surround sound, and a purple glitter fireplace. (Yes, you read that right: purple. glitter. fireplace!) The apartment also has a full kitchen with a full size range, fridge, dishwasher, and dining area. Outside, there’s a private screen porch with an additional dining area and lounge space, equipped with a heat lamp for cold weather. To socialize with other guests, head to the DIY firepit in the evening or check out the courtyard, with lots of seating. Other White Dove amenities include an MP3 dock, wifi, record player & vinyl, cyber concierge and writing desk. If you must watch TV, a smart TV has Netflix and Pandora accounts, many free streaming channels, or access premium channels from your home subscription.
My husband and I took a Trailways Bus from NYC, which drops riders off an easy .5 mile walk to the White Dove Rockotel. We checked in early afternoon, explored our suite and the grounds, then headed to the “Big Deep” local swimming hole using the beach cruisers provided by the hotel. Since we escaped the city early on a Friday, we had this idyllic little swimming hole all to ourselves! After an afternoon of swimming, we grabbed food and drinks at The Bear Cafe and checked out local live musical acts The Grain & The Grape and Burnell Pines at the legendary Bearsville Theater.
On Saturday, at the recommendation of Escape Brooklyn’s Woodstock guide, we headed to Shindig and had one of the most memorable and delicious breakfasts we’ve had in a very long time: soft-shell crab eggs benedict and blackberry pancakes! After breakfast, we picked up inner tubes at the local hardware store and returned to the Big Deep, following the meandering stream down to several other small swimming holes away from the weekend crowds. Afterwards, we browsed the flea market and several of the funky shops in town, our favorites being Woodstock General Supply and Shop Little House. For dinner, we stopped into the newly opened Tinker Taco Lab.
Our Sunday itinerary was very much the same: a mix of biking, swimming, cruising around town, and a stop at a local estate sale. I made sure to pick up a couple bars of Fruition chocolate before hopping on the bus back to the city. Though the weekend went far too quickly, we’ll definitely be back to see our new friends Erin and Martin to stay in yet another crazy-cool room at the White Dove Rockotel, and sink back into the fun and funky Woodstock vibes!