Valley Rock Inn & Mountain Club is a Nature Lovers Dream Come True
The idea of getting out of NYC to a place that makes you feel like you are a million miles away yet you are quite literally one hour ( by car or train ) away from the concrete jungle sounds impossible. A place that almost tucks you in with its immediate charm and beauty, that you instantly can’t believe a place like this exists.
The minute I stepped foot on the property of The Valley Rock Inn and Mountain Club, I felt like I was somehow teleported to a European Villa. I took a train from where I reside on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to the Sloatsburg, NY train station and from door to door it was a little over an hour. In this town it can often take just as long to go from one end of the island to another in a cab. In July I had the wonderful opportunity to experience a “Bootcamp Weekend” at the Inn and Club. I had read up a lot on the space and it’s incredible proprietor but nothing quite prepared me for either!
Micahel Bruno has an acute attention to detail that took my breath away. This also isn’t his first foray into space and design as he founded 1st Dibs and has received countless awards over the years for design and preservation. Not only did he create and design this space but he is quite the host. He has brought a real sense of beauty and excitement to the Sloatsburg community which is definitely felt by not only those that work there but also those that were staying and dining there.
What Michael has created is truly a “Nature Smart” space. The landscaping alone takes you to a place far removed from a stones throw from the train station. The design of the guest homes, restaurant, pool house, and even General Store are deeply rooted in biophilic design with nature at the forefront. As someone who is deeply moved by nature focused / biophilic design, I was in awe with the attention to detail. The first thing I realized when I stepped into the General Store was the fact that I could smell the fresh food and flowers. It was nothing like walking into any store that sells food in NYC, where everything is primarily processed and packaged and you don’t get the scent of freshness.
The restaurant serves delicious meals that is also so fresh and mostly farm to table. I think I tried almost everything on the menu and not one item was less incredible than the next. They also have a full bar at the restaurant and the space is all open air so I can’t even imagine how beautiful it would even be in fall and spring. I know that there is also another indoor space that is under construction now that looks like a lodge, as if it is sitting in the hillside of Vail, Colorado. Yet, another addition I look forward to going back to see
When I was invited to come and experience this space, I was excited and nervous all at the same time around the idea of an almost all day outdoor bootcamp on Saturday. I am outdoors every day and I love to do long runs, etc but a back to back to back of all day activity? I was up for the challenge! We began the day with yet another incredible meal and then we were off. We set out for a 22 mile bike ride north and e-bikes were offered to us which I had never tried before. I mean, I don’t need one of those, I’ve done plenty of triathlons in my life and I understand the hills around the Hudson Valley. That was my ego speaking and then I shook that off and said that I would gladly partake in using the e-bike and thank God I did! WOAH! Those hills were no joke. The coasting down the hills at 30 mph felt great, it was the rolling hills and going up up and up which was tough but wonderful all at the same time. We then parked our bikes at the foot of the hiking trail. We hiked for 2 hours and the views were utterly just as spectacular as the views on the bike. The sensation of awe came over me many times throughout the day. We walked by a gorge with a small waterfall and stumbled upon a butterfly gathering, it was as if it was placed there just for our viewing pleasure. We couldn’t ohhhh and ahhh enough at the finding. Plus, there are a million photos I wanted to take in nature their but we were moving at a quick clip as we had many sights to see. We got back on our bikes and then it was off to kayaking. We parked out bikes at a camp site, had another wonderful meal that was prepared and brought to us and we swam in the lake and then jumped into our kayaks. I quickly set out for the middle of the lake and just sat there with my eyes closed and listened to the beautiful sounds of the lapping water on the sides of my kayak. Am I in heaven? It certainly felt that way. The sky was so blue, the trees surrounding the lake were so green and the water was a beautiful reflection of them both. I was having a moment and didn’t want it to end but it was already time to get back to land and jump back on the bikes and head back to Valley Rock.
That evening were able to join in the monthly Farm Dinner with close to 80 others from the local commuity and what a treat it was. Again, Michael is quite the entertainer and host. Drinks were served in the lush gardens around spectacular water features with beautiful music softly playing throughout the property. I think this was the moment I told Michael that I was ready to become a full time resident. Dinner was served on a long communal table which was such a wonderful way to get to know the neighbors and community of Sloatsburg and surrounding towns. Michael hosts these dinners once a month and they are posted on the website on the calendar of events, see here for upcoming dinners: https://valleyrockinn.com/events-schedule/
Also, you don’t need to be a guest of the property, just sign up and pay.
The next day we had a lovely breakfast and then straight to yoga. I was a tad bit sore from the day before but it was the good kind of sore that I knew I had activated muscles that I wasn’t using that often. As a group we were able to choose what we wanted to do for a few more hours before our departure and our group was very happy to swim in the pool and lounge a bit before it was time to head back to the concrete jungle.
To say I want to go back as soon as possible is an understatement. I can’t recommend The Valley Rock Inn and Mountain Club enough. If you are looking for a great place to eat, to drink, or to just pop by then you should check out all that they have to offer. If you are planning an event or want to get away for a night or two, the guest homes are also breathtakingly beautiful in design. Each home has an exquisite front porch that is surrounded by trees and bushes and makes you feel like you are right at home, even if your home doesn’t have a front porch!
I will leave you with this thought, if you want to experience something truly beautiful and deeply well thought out with nature at the forefront, go! Your senses will appreciate it!