Looking for a little extra sparkle in your holidaymaking? Hasten to Goshen, where Faith Ferguson has renovated a 1747 landmark inn into a classic Hudson Valley dining and lodging experience. The holiday decorations are sumptuous, the fireplaces are roaring, and the welcome mat is out.
“There are people who look at the Stagecoach Inn and assume, ‘too fancy for me,’ but my goal was to reinvent it while preserving it,” says Ferguson. “This house has amazing bones, five fireplaces, 14-16 foot ceilings, a lovely spacious feel. This was a wealthy home and became an upscale inn. In our hands, it’s also a place where everyone and anyone is invited for drinks, dinner or to stay the night. It’s an experience to cherish.”
Ferguson knows how to orchestrate a welcome. She ran her own full-service event company for 30 years. “I always kind of wanted to have a venue of my own,” says the Warwick resident.
About five or six years ago, Ferguson was beginning to feel that the time had come, when she and partner Ron Boire spotted a fateful For Sale sign driving through Goshen. They turned around and a second look just as the current owner was pulling out of the driveway, and ultimately were invited inside. “I walked into the foyer and immediately thought, I got this,” says Ferguson. “I knew exactly what the place wanted to be.”
To modernize the historic inn, Ferguson added private baths to each of the five guest rooms and updated electric, cable and wi-fi. She also tackled the public spaces, converting the formal living room into a lounge, which allowed a dozen people to fit around the central fireplace instead of six. They also added cozy tables and chairs throughout. “The lounge is an extension of our bar, which seats five or six,” she says. “Then in the solarium, which had had tablecloths, we went for a more casual feel with great wood tables. Of course our casual might still be someone else’s formal.”
That’s sort of the point. Casual is available all over the place, and there’s only one Stagecoach Inn. Anthony Dobbin, who bought the place in 1791, was farming sheep there when he noticed that coaches kept cutting across his property. He saw an opportunity where others may have only seen an annoyance and converted the house to an inn, and, sure enough, many were glad to have a stopping place. Governor George Clinton stayed here while reviewing the troops; judges from the nearby courthouse were pleased to have a tavern at their disposal, as were the horsey set who established Goshen as a mecca for lovers of harness racing.
Now it’s a mecca for lovers of fine food, drink, and comforts. “The vibe changes with the seasons,” says Ferguson. “We did quite a bit of updating out of doors, and in the warm weather everyone loves to spend time on the covered porch or bring a cocktail out to the yard. In the winter, we’ve got five roaring fireplaces. It’s the coziest thing ever.” An event space that can accomodate 80-100 guests is under construction, meaning that events with the signature Faith Ferguson savvy will be able to be scheduled year-round.
“A lot of people say, ‘This is like visiting someone’s home for dinner; you feel the welcome the minute you walk in the door,” says Ferguson. “A big part of that is our team. Our innkeepers and staff are the best. When my husband and I dine out we can’t help but notice the difference.”
When you dine or do brunch at Stagecoach, you’re in for a treat. You can choose between the classic Spode Dining Room or the light and airy Solarium. The menu is composed of Continental classics: Eggs Benedict ($14) or French-toasted cinnamon Challah bread and caramel apples ($12) are among the brunch offerings; there are yummy-sounding Shareable plates of cheese and charcuterie ($17) or brisket tacos ($9); entrees range from the Stagecoach Burger ($14) to a filet mignon ($34).
At the bar, you’ll find a vast whiskey selection (among other fine potables) and several small plate munchie choices for under $5. Candied bacon, anyone? Clearly Ferguson is serious when she says, “I wanted to keep the mojo and the grandeur, while making it somewhere locals can stop for a cocktail and a bite on a whim. I wanted to refresh this part of the Hudson Valley legacy so it’s got a good start for the next 250 years.”
Schedule a stop at the Stagecoach and spoil yourself like a 19th-century judge. You can learn more at Stagecoachny.com, find the latest specials on Facebook, and find enticing photos on Instagram (@Stagecoachinnny) or just call 845) 294-5526.