Wouldn’t it be great to set off on a whim to spend a few days in say … Italy, France, Spain? Some warm destination near the Mediterranean. For most of us such an off-the-cuff adventure is probably not in the cards. But if you target your getaway search a bit closer to home you may find just what you’re looking for, sans the jet lag!
Instead of traveling to an Italian villa in Umbria or Tuscany, head to Saugerties, New York. Just outside of town, husband and wife owners, Amanda Zaslow and Joe Moseley, have created a bit of European luxury that’s the perfect year-round getaway oasis; no passport required.
While on their honeymoon in a small country retreat north of Barcelona, the young owners had a memorable experience, and the seed of an idea began to grow.
After returning home to Manhattan, Amanda and Joe quickly got back into their respective career routines, Amanda in interior design and Joe in the food TV business. But the two couldn’t shake the thought that becoming hosts to guests of their own might be their way forward.
They started spending their weekends searching around upstate New York in the quaint towns north of the city, looking for a place with the potential to give guests the kind of experience they had on their trip to Spain. On one such trip, they came across a Mediterranean villa on a good-sized property for sale — not a common style in the northeast, so it seemed a good omen. They decided to go for it.
The property had the feeling they were after but needed a lot of work. They rolled up their sleeves and started a six-year renovation and landscaping project, finally opening their doors to the public in 2016.
Every morning Joe applies his considerable culinary skills to preparing breakfast for the occupants of the Villa’s two queen and two king suites. He also can offer advice on local activities, but for those guests preferring relaxation over activities, the heated pool, immaculate grounds, and well-appointed living room are quite adequate to fill a few days. Cozy little nooks for playing Scrabble or reading a book can be found throughout the house.
Saugerties has excellent dining, but on Saturdays, Amanda and Joe offer a communal dinner at their private barn adjacent to the Villa. This delightful event elevated a wonderful stay to a really special event for us. We had a lovely evening enjoying Joe’s delicious cooking and chatting with our fellow guests, with Amanda and Joe playing the consummate hosts. Many of our fellow guests were also from New York City, and we found, to everyone’s surprise, that we all had acquaintances in common, making New York seem like a small town.
Amanda’s skill for creating comfortable, inviting spaces is on display throughout the property. Her years of experience in the world of interior design shows, in the flow of the space, the coziness of the rooms, and the attention to detail. Her talent for mixing antiques with modern touches, warm fabrics and textures, makes the house feel both homey and luxurious.
I really admire people that find a way to turn their passion into business. Amanda and Joe have come up with something unique here, a refreshing departure from the typical East Coast country getaway.
We are looking forward to visiting when the leaves change, and later when the garden is snow covered and a fire is crackling in the fireplace. Anytime of year, it’s a great place for a quick European-style getaway.
Planning a visit to Saugerties? Here is the current weather and what to expect for the next few days.