Saturday, September 26, 2009

Favorite Places in Sharon Springs

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, it’s no secret that I’m in love with Sharon Springs, New York. This quaint village captured my heart on our first visit last spring and embedded its charm into my soul last weekend during the first annual Harvest Festival. Here are a few of my favorite places:

The American Hotel

Built in 1847 by Nicholas LaRue of Esperance, NY the American operated as a hotel until the 1950s and then as a private religious retreat until the 1970s. After 30 years of neglect, owners Garth Roberts and Doug Plummer (two of the most fabulous people you will ever meet) saved the property from demolition with an extensive four year renovation. The American Hotel reopened in the summer of 2001.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the American Hotel offers guests nine individually designed rooms, a cozy tavern to enjoy a nightcap and a beautiful dining room to enjoy food prepared by Chef Lee Woolver. The American menu features high quality seasonal and locally grown ingredients.

The porch of the American is beautifully decorated and calls out to guests to sit, relax, and enjoy.

Hotel guests are treated to a hearty breakfast each morning featuring their signature corncakes with Granny Smith apples, bacon and maple butter. Food Network host Rachel Ray featured the American and the delicious corncake breakfast on her show “40 Dollars a Day.”

The American Tavern/Lobby area is comfortable and cozy

Hotel owners Doug and Garth are wonderful hosts for your stay.  Need information or advice on great places to visit?  They'll be sure to direct you.  Need a good laugh while enjoying one of Dougs great martinis in the tavern?  You'll be rollling on the floor.  Doug and Garth very quickly became friends.

Cobbler & Co

While I was busy at the Harvest Festival, David ventured off to visit a local shop across the street from the American. When he returned he told me I HAD to visit the shop named “Cobbler & Co.” I was off to explore!

Cobbler & Co. is a twelve-room, eclectic gift shop with an ever changing array of gifts, cards, and home décor.

The original structure, built in 1898 was a one floor millinery shop, operated by Florence

Fonda. The building had a second story of boarding house rooms added in the early 1900s and was known as Florence Cottage. Subsequently, a shoe repair business in the building for almost 50 years closed at the end of the summer season in 1970. The D’Amico family operated their shoe repair shop in the front room, lived in the back of the first floor and continued to rent rooms on the second floor.

Once the D’Amicos retired, the building remained unoccupied and untouched for almost 30 years. All the original shoe repair equipment, shoe shine chair, cash register, coal stove, even the boarder’s kitchen, their clawfoot bathtub, beds and dressers upstairs were still in place. Many of these artifacts have been left in their original places for today’s visitors to enjoy.

Each of the rooms in the Cobbler & Co. have their own specialty selection of products for sale. You could spend hours in the shop and I’m still not sure you would see everything!

Meeting business owner Maureen, was like seeing an old friend. Her warm, welcoming and friendly nature immediately made you feel like a regular customer and a friend. I spent a half hour with Maureen talking about the history of the building and Sharon Springs. I could have talked with her all day!

The Black Cat Café & Bakery

A visit to Sharon Springs would not be complete without a visit to the Black Cat Café & Bakery.

David and I enjoyed our visit to the Black Cat on our first visit to Sharon Springs and we were anxious to return to enjoy the atmosphere and the excellent food.

When you enter the Black Cat, you can’t help but notice that each table is different, each chair is different, and patrons are obviously enjoying their visit. Intimate conversations take place while ‘standards’ play in the background, making the Black Cat Café a wonderful place to catch up with a friend and enjoy a good meal.


Tony, the owner of the Black Cat always has a story to share. There are no strangers at the Black Cat.

After Tony and his family visited Sharon Springs during a summer vacation, they (much like everyone) fell in love with the village so full of history. Daughter Isabella had a love story of her own, meeting a black cat that was living behind the American Hotel. The elegant black cat became the inspiration for the new café and Bakery.

The Black Cat is more than a café. They share their love of cooking with cooking classes and have published a cookbook of their favorite recipes.

The menu is simple and delicious. When you want to hang out with your best friend, who wants fussy food?

There are so many places to see and explore in Sharon Springs.  Make your vacation a trip to Sharon Springs.  Tell Garth, Doug, Tony and Maureen we said, "hello!" 


Elaine said...

I am so glad you gave us a closer look at Sharon Springs. It sounds exactly like my kind of town and I hope I get to visit some day.

I also LOVE your window photos!

Michele said...

I live in Palatine Bridge which is just north of sharon springs and my husband and I LOVE to go to the Black Cat cafe on Sunday mornings. It is such a great atmosphere, the food and pastries are delicious and Tony is great to visit with. Glad you enjoy it too!


Kenn, I can't wait to explore this amazing town and your guide is helpful! We're going on October 24th and staying at the American, spending a day at Beekman with 'the boys' the following day. Can't wait!

Kenn said...

I'm so happy for you Andrew! You will fall in love with this wonderful little village as well as the farm, the goats, the guys, the scenery.. It's just an amazing place.
Take lots of pictures!


Cathy-by-the-river said...

Found your blog through a Twitter link--yeah! My husband and I turned off Route 20 and stopped in Sharon Springs on the last leg of our Maine vacation. The American Hotel doesn't serve lunch and the Black Cat was closed the day we were there but we're going back--just a good one day drive from Western New York. Loved seeing the artichokes growing in the American Hotel's flower bed--how much fun is that? Thanks for all the info on Sharon Springs.