120 Howland Ave, Beacon
The Swann Inn is a lot like the city of Beacon itself: artistically resurrected while maintaining the framework and flavor of its past. This Gothic Revival Victorian at the foot of Mount Beacon was built in 1866 and over the years has been a one-family home, a boarding house, and a home for the The Dutchess Ski Lodge’s instructors and equipment. When innkeepers Neil and Darlene Caplan bought it in 1995, it was a six-family home that had fallen into disrepair. With a lot of love, labor, and money, they turned the home back into a single-family residence and then a Bed and Breakfast.
When you step into the Inn from its wide rocking-chair porch, the Caplans’ hard work and heart is evident. In fact, the restoration is so complete, you feel as though you’ll see Judy Garland sliding down the highly polished banister or singing in the parlor like she famously did in the turn-of-the-century-set film Meet Me in St. Louis. The Swann Inn’s parlor is now The Red Parlor Suite, comprising a sitting room with a piano and Victorian sofa, a bedroom alcove with a queen-sized canopy bed, private bath, and its own sitting area on the porch. Upstairs are three standard rooms, with private baths and a variety of period features like claw-foot tubs and queen-sized sleigh beds, some with garden views. There is also a suite, which is not quite as Victorian-feeling, but sleeps six and has a kitchenette and a foosball coffee table. Neil and Darlene (nee Swann) are friendly and full of information, especially about nearby Bannerman Castle (Neil is the executive director of The Bannerman Castle Trust). They obviously care a lot for this beautiful lady, and it shows.
When you check into the Inn, Neil will show you the common room (filled with Bannerman Island art and books) where you can sit on the sofa and relax by the fireplace in the afternoon and evening, and dine for breakfast. Darlene is the cook and you will be told of specialty breakfast options and asked about dietary needs before you turn in for the night. Some of Darlene’s specialties include banana nut whole wheat-blend pancakes, orange cinnamon French toast, and (gluten-free!) almond amaretto Belgian waffles. But before the hot breakfast arrives, you start off with a sweet treat: homemade pina colada sorbet and a fresh-fruit plate (arranged by Neil). Keurig coffee served on vintage china is available 24 hours a day, as are fresh baked goods (homemade and from local bakeries), snacks, and fruit.
Rates: Summer weekend rates start at $160/night.
Take a Bannerman Island tour, if you are there May through October. When you book your reservation at the Inn, ask about the Bannerman Island Tour Package. Hike Mount Beacon: the trailhead is only a three-minute walk away (788 Wolcott Ave) or just walk along Beacon’s bustling Main Street.
Visit DIA: Beacon and see what helped transform this gritty, industrial city into an artsy, tourist destination (3 Beekman St, 845.440.0100)