The sound of roaring Beacon Falls and Fishkill Creek, the dewy scent of fresh air and foliage-covered Mount Beacon beckoning in the distance make it hard to believe that we are a 90-minute drive from home. Just 60 miles north of New York City is one of the dreamiest—and easiest—getaways imaginable in a modern yet elegant feat of adaptive reuse: The 23-room Roundhouse Hotel in Beacon, NY.
The breathtaking makeover was completed in 2012 by architect David Rockwell and a variety of local artisans. Nestled past Beacon’s most walk-able gallery, café and restaurant-laden stretch of Main Street, the Roundhouse’s main building overlooks a creek and waterfall. The redbrick, crescent structure was previously home to America’s first lawn mower manufacturer, part of a six-acre site of 19th century industrial buildings that now compose the hotel.
We arrive at 4pm on a warm summer weekend, ready to relax, unwind and leave the city behind. Entering the property, its lobby is welcoming and warm, spilling into the stunning 12-foot, floor-to-ceiling windows of Swift, its dramatic restaurant. Adjacent corner lounge 2EM, overlooking Fishkill Creek, erases the noise of the city as water rushes below, a meditative preview of what’s to come.
We’re thrilled to learn our deluxe king room (with a view) has a bed-facing vista of Beacon Falls. In-room minimalist design is paired with locally-sourced furnishings—like Atlas Industries’ gorgeous raw wood beds and desk, and Wickham Solid Wood Studio’s sliding bathroom doors. These make it easy to relax and absorb the serenity. Everywhere on the property the waterfall is audible; being here is a kind of sensory experience hovering between an urban and rustic visual aesthetic; the smell of wood and flowers, and the sound of moving water.
The past decade has been good to Beacon, its artistic emergence followed the 2003 unveiling of international attraction Dia:Beacon—one of the Dia Art Foundation’s outposts featuring its collection from the 1960s—and the exodus of artists priced out of New York City that followed. For a weekend getaway, the town has much to offer: Hiking trails like Breakneck Ridge; kayaking on the Hudson River; art galleries, coffee houses and a flourishing dining scene all within walking distance of the Roundhouse. We visited Hops, a craft brewery, enjoying the casual fare and a colorful beer sampler; Max’s on Main dished up a late dinner and our hummus was unlike any we’ve had, with notes of curry and a hearty texture.
Walking back down Main around 11pm toward the Roundhouse after a luxuriously late dinner, we noticed how quiet and still Beacon becomes. Its shops and eateries wait for morning in two- and three-story brownstone-style buildings, (think Park Slope or West Village). The air, however, is cleaner and crisper here and in this silence we can truly relax both mind and body.
Roundhouse owners Bob and Patti McAlpine—originally from Centerport, Long Island—discovered the dilapidated cluster of buildings shortly after they moved to the Beacon area in 2007 and had a vision of transforming the property into something truly unique using local design. In addition to the Roundhouse building, the destination also includes former felt manufacturer Mase Hat Factory, now used as a large-scale events space with a showstopping ballroom overlooking the falls. Two other former factory buildings on the property will host 18 additional hotel rooms, a spa and two condominiums.
“We fell in love with the property the first time we saw it,” Bob said. “It’s truly been a labor of love restoring the buildings to maintain their architectural integrity while applying a modern aesthetic to their interior design and function.”