If you’ve spent any time searching for big, cozy cabins (or barns, in this case) upstate, you probably already know your options are pretty bleak. Most large rentals are purely that–just large rentals–and are missing the more personal, thoughtful details that make cabins and smaller homes so appealing. It’s rare to find a big house that feels designed purposefully, with a reasonable price tag that isn’t too far from New York City.
In our case, Denny and I were in search of a place that could host 20 people for an intimate holiday dinner party. We’d recently met the folks at Barn on the Pond during a summer market, who got us excited about their huge red barn in Saugerties. Aside from the two fireplaces, the huge outdoor firepit and the airstream trailer on premises, the barn also had a luxury kitchen and large open living room, perfect for a small gathering. Big red barn with an amazing kitchen for our party? Sold.
Just over the 100-mile mark from New York City in Saugerties, Barn on the Pond sleeps up to 15 people. The house has three totally private bedrooms, one lofted bedroom, several fold-out chair and couch situations, and an airstream that sleeps 3-4 people. In short, the barn sleeps four couples comfortably, but for groups of friends and family that are a little more comfortable with each other, you can really pack ’em in.
Ideal for parties and events, the barn has a large gourmet kitchen, which fit up to 6 of people comfortably–I speak from experience, as our group took turns in and out the kitchen all day, prepping for our potluck party. It comes fully stocked and equipped with all new appliances, a large stove with 6 burners, 2 sinks, 2 ovens, 2 dishwashers, and 2 refrigerators. Cooking utensils, and pots and pans were plentiful. Don’t feel like cooking for your event? Barn on the Pond has a list of private chefs who regularly work at the house. Wanna skip the trip to the grocery store? Just let their concierge know, and they can arrange a delivery for you. Nice weather? Enjoy cooking on one of the two outdoor BBQ’s. The staff at Barn on the Pond can arrange anything from fire pit setup, to an on-call massuese, to organizing your private event.
Adding to the list of amenities, the double-sided gas fireplace in the living room cozied up the large living room. (The other side of the fireplace opens up to largest bedroom, with two double-beds.) Outside, another gas fireplace was the centerpiece of a big patio which overlooked the Catskill Mountains. We’d heard from some friends who stayed here that this was their favorite spot to hang out, though we much preferred the massive fire pit, which seated our whole group. For some quiet time, enjoy laying down with a book on the outdoor “floating bed”, which is basically a giant swinging hammock.
For our weekend at Barn on the Pond, we invited some friends who we knew would appreciate the big kitchen–Paul of Sweet Paul Magazine, a food and lifestyle magazine; Hagan and Katie of Place Invaders, a secret pop-up dinner club; and James of Phoenicia Flea, curator of a traveling flea market in the Catskills. We also invited some market vendors and friends from the area, rounding out to a perfectly sized potluck party. With everyone’s prep work happening all weekend, it was tough to leave the house, but we did manage a dinner at Miss Lucy’s Kitchen in Saugerties.
Speaking of leaving, though technically located in Saugerties, the Barn on the Pond is actually a little closer to Woodstock; both are about a 20 minute drive away. (Check out our Woodstock post for our guide there.) For an amazing hike, check out Overlook Mountain, where big cement walls are all that remains of a hotel sit near the top of the mountain. After the hotel, it’s just 10 more minutes to the top where you can climb a firepower for some of the most spectacular views of the Catskills. If you’re not into hiking but want to spend some time outside, Opus 40 is also right down the road from the barn: a monumental 6.5 acre outdoor sculpture garden built from indigenous bluestone. The artist behind it, Harvey Fite, spent nearly 40 years creating this labyrinth, hand laying each piece, swirling with ramps and terraces around pools and fountains. (Note that the photos in the above gallery were taken with snow on the ground; winter tours are available by appointment only.) Another outdoor point of interest nearby is the Saugerties Lighthouse, accessible from a half-mile trail along the Hudson River. Pack a lunch or snack to enjoy on the public patio, overlooking the Hudson River.
Besides a weekend getaway, Barn on the Pond is also ideal for weddings, photoshoots and other events. (Check their event page for rates and information.) For weekend renters, the barn rents at $800 a night–a steep-sounding number, but when you factor in how many people it sleeps, you can’t find a cooler, or better deal.