As much as I love city living, sometimes I envision a more idyllic, slow-paced alternative (purely fantasy considering my fear of downtime). Beacon, up in Dutchess County, New York, packed with homey restaurants, galleries, and charming boutiques, would be just the welcoming place to take this leap.
After years of pining to visit Dia:Beacon, set in an old Nabisco box printing facility, yesterday, on a day the museum is normally closed, I was invited to come up and join a few fellow writers for an insider’s tour that involved wandering through Richard Serra sculptures and being gripped by vertigo peering into Michael Heizer’s steep geometric forms.
Dia:Beacon was just a cultural bonus, however. The real mission of the 70-minute Metro-North journey was to visit the Roundhouse at Beacon Falls, which when complete, will encompass a boutique hotel, restaurants, lounge, and event space spread throughout a collection of circa 1800 mill buildings.
For the earthy, modern look developer Robert A. McAlpine turned to New York City-based Rockwell Group. For yesterday’s occasion, David Rockwell, along with the myriad local artisans who crafted everything from the metalwork to the stools in the lounge that I wanted to sink into for an Old Fashioned or two, were on hand—as were the mayor of Beacon and the executive director of Dutchess County Tourism. After all, a stylish hotel complex in the midst of cutesy bed & breakfast country is sure to be an economic and tourism boon to this neck of the Hudson Valley.
So far, the Patio, a sprawling outdoor restaurant overlooking Fishkill Creek and those glorious Beacon Falls, has been unveiled, as well as soaring Swift, an upscale dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows, comforting woods, and tactile red chairs, adjacent to the aforementioned intimate lounge.
Rooms will be ready to sleep in come September, along with a stunning catering and event facility (the first shindig will appropriately be McAlpine’s 40th wedding anniversary celebration). On the next visit up, perhaps I’ll stay a while.