Cheese and Cracker

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Nick Churton of Houlihan Lawrence’s London office visits a lovely area of the Hudson Valley just three hours, but a world away, form Manhattan.

Broker: Houlihan Lawrence

Agent: Katherine Jennings

No visit to Old Chatham, nestled in New York’s verdant Hudson Valley is complete without spending a while at the Old Chatham Country Store and Café. It is a landmark hereabouts, an institution that lends this pretty village centre celebrity status through the simple expedience of being charming and welcoming in a delightfully olde worlde sort of way. It looks as if time has stood still here. But that is just the surface. What is on offer is bang up to date in the taste department. The central table heaves with home made breads, cakes and other delicacies. The counter buzzes with activity. In the large room next door, a giant ancient blackened stove warms the café, its walls covered with work by local artists. A wonderful simplicity belies the polite but constant procession of locals and other pilgrims getting their weekly – or in some cases – daily cake fix whilst reading the papers or chatting to friends. This is how a café should be.

Also on sale are some very fine locally produced cheeses, which brings me seamlessly to the Old Chatham Shepherding Inn just three minutes’ drive away. No prizes for what this beautifully proportioned colonial house used to be. But today it is a wonderful private family home and dairy enterprise.

Dating from the 1790s this sedate home was built when George Washington was president. Some features, like the stone fireplaces and exposed beams, are little changed since then. The layout also reflects the Georgian influence of that age. Period building this may be but like the nearby café, there is so much more going on. The house is surrounded by fenced pastures and fabulous views, and there is a complete barn complex with sheep creamery/dairy ideal for those keen on a great ready-to-go, farm-to-table opportunity. This is after all the home of the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, celebrated for its sheep’s milk cheese and yogurt. The house offers six guest suites with additional office suites, and art studio suitable for conversion to further guest space. Plus there is a tennis court, separate wine cellar, a large greenhouse – I could go on but there is so much to take in. It makes a wonderful family home. But it could be the best B&B ever or a hotel or a retreat or a spa or a… the list is endless. Its a cracker. The best thing to do is retreat to the Old Chatham Store and Café for lunch and think about what a great place this is to live, what a fabulous opportunity it affords and how this could well be the best home you will ever own.

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