Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Emerson Resort in Mt. Tremper, NY

The Emerson

The billboard said, "The World’s Largest Kaleidoscope!" That got our attention on our drive along the New York State Thruway between New York City and Albany. It was a "gotta’ do" so John turned off at the Kingston exit and took Route 28 to check it out. The kaleidoscope is part of the Emerson Resort and is a metaphor for the resort. The definition of kaleidoscope also suits the Emerson, for like a kaleidoscope it is "complex, colorful, with shifting patterns or scenes."

The 60-foot silo that was an essential part of the original farmstead took a colorful and imaginative turn when it became a giant kaleidoscope with a patriotic theme. Certified as the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope in 1997 by the Guinness Book of World Records, it is a tapered three-mirrored kaleidoscope with each mirror measuring 5 feet wide at the top, 15 feet wide at the bottom, and 37 feet tall.

It is the anchor of the resort’s Country Store which is housed in the original barn and is now a kaleidoscope of upscale shops featuring Howard Miller Clocks, Simon Pearce glassware, Mario Batali cookware, mouth-watering culinary delights, and much more.

The newest part of the resort incorporates the 1860s farmhouse connecting it to the store, spa, restaurant, and accommodations with the tag line, "There’s a Silk Road running through the Hudson Valley…" Silk Road? Another shifting pattern. The Emerson offers a choice of accommodations in the Lodge, which is done in comfy but upscale Adirondack style or in the Inn, which opened in March 2007, which has incorporated 17th century intricately, hand-carved wooded doorframes from Rajasthan, India.

The Rajasthan influenced is also found in the Phoenix Restaurant with tasseled canopies over the dining area and so named because the Emerson Inn came about after a fire that destroyed part of the resort in 2005. Djan (pronounced John) Paunovic, the Restaurant Manager, whose European accent is due to being raised in Europe but he was born in born in Brooklyn. When he suggested that we have their Signature Cosmopolitan John thought it was a great idea. But it was the Lychee Peachy that got my attention. I love lychees and they are seldom found on a menu of any kind so the Lychee Peachy was my choice. The Signature Cosmopolitan was a smooth mix of Ketel One Infused Lychee Vodka, triple sec, and cranberry juice, with a lemon accent. Djan blended Ketel One Infused Lychee Vodka, peach schnapps, cranberry juice, and added a cherry to make my Lychee Peachy. After one sip – of each - I questioned, "Lychee-infused Vodka? I don’t think I have heard of that before." Djan explained, "That’s what makes our cocktails so special. We infuse the vodka ourselves." Nice touch.

The next day we continued our kaleidoscope adventure, with a stop at the Zen Mountain Monastery just across the creek from the Emerson and a stroll through the streets of Woodstock. We stopped to talk to Shawne Ruffing the manager at the Emerson Restaurant in Woodstock. The upscale restaurant is comfy with stained glass light fixtures providing a kaleidoscope of colors along with the artwork all created by local artists. "It is amazing how the Woodstock concert became such a landmark and put Woodstock on the map. The street was lined with "fun" shops and plenty of tourists."

Shawne chuckled, and shared, "Woodstock the music event was not held in Woodstock! It was held in Bethel. They planned to hold it here but ran into problems and had to move it but they kept the name, and we are the beneficiaries!" Shaking our heads over that one, we drove back to the Emerson where John ordered the Emerson’s Signature Cosmopolitan and I had another Lychee Peachy.