Thirty years ago my husband spent his first summer at a “Y” Camp in Milford, Pennsylvania.
And 25 years ago he was a camp counselor getting reprimanded for inspiring kids to make lewd objects during woodshop while squiring a fellow lady camp counselor to Woodstock on off days.
It is unclear whether he enjoyed camp more as a kid himself (lying down on the field watching the shooting stars, getting handed a can of beer by a counselor when he was shedding tears in the bathroom upon seeing the exotic girl he had a crush on kissing another boy), or as a young adult with better luck at love visiting local sleeping establishments in neighboring towns like Port Jervis, Middletown, all the way to Woodstock.
In any case my husband was highly intrigued and cautiously excited to be one of the few people that signed up for the very first Camp Reunion Weekend for the campers of the late 80s on Facebook. As we went to our local drug store to plan for the weekend, stocking up on bug spray and sunblock, we complained about our ailing backs, growing waistlines, and dark circles under our eyes.
Yes, 25 years had passed, and we were no longer indestructible teenagers rolling down hills, getting bitten up by mosquitos, and jumping into lakes drinking bug juice.
Something else happened during these 25 years. With the hipsters and artists and young professionals of NY getting priced out Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island and the coveted East End where the light reflects off all four sides of water producing the most glowing hue on your loved ones for Cupid to starting working his magic on, Hudson Valley and the Poconos became a destination in and of itself. With gorgeous Victorian architecture and leafy summer canopy – 72% of Mildford buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, thus, Milford itself constituting a National Historic District – Milford in my mind may be one of the best kept secrets of this region.
Whether you are thinking sausages, cheese, home goods, antique furniture, old books, jewelry or vintage clothing, Milford has it all and only one or two of the select best. When we found Hotel Fauchere, a Relais & Chateaux establishment, founded in 1852 by M. Louis Fauchere, Master Chef of New York’s Delmonico Restaurant, and Fretta’s Italian Food Specialties, first established in 1906 in Little Italy of NYC with stores moving from Bleecker Street to Brooklyn to now Broad Street on Milford Connecticut, we knew we were ahead of the curve.
A stay at the Hotel Fauchere (above) includes a silver platter of cookies and milk at night, and a classy continental breakfast on its porch in the morning with croissants from its own Patisserie Fauchere that tasted like how croissants are described in the French children’s book, Le Petit Nicola. Buttery and chewy, yet light, airy and flaky, I’d been ordering croissants for 20 years in Manhattan in search of this texture and had finally found it 90 minutes outside NYC.
You don’t need a map or much direction. Just stroll along Broad Street and Hartford Street, and you will find everything you need. This intersection is where my husband got his first ever traffic ticket.
RATING: 4 Whistles, for those seeking a cute weekend getaway without dealing with the hipster crowd in the Hudson River Valley.
Hotel Fauchere – gorgeous and lovely all year round.
The Delmonico Room at the Hotel Fauchere – splurge on grilled scallops, they actually will give you more than three.
Bar Louis at the Hotel Fauchere – Try sushi pizza and sip a cocktail while making eye contact with a large photo of Andy Warhol and John Lennon.
Fretta’s Italian Food Specialties on Broad Street for sausages, cheeses, and your sandwich for lunch. They will also ship for a flat fee of $25.
Forest Hall Antiques on the 2nd floor of a building listed on the Historic National Register. This gorgeous space used to be a part of Yale University’s Forestry School, hence, the name.
Willow for home goods and some fashion items.
Books & Prints at Pear Alley for old books and to see a picture of President Clinton in 2008.
Elizabeth Restucci Antiques on Broad Street for antique jewelry, and Elizabeth also has a picture with Bill Clinton in 2008. Secret Service took the picture with her camera when she told them she voted for him twice!
Ghiggeri’s for fine olive oils and balsamics.
I’m proud to share that we bought something in every single one of these shops. Tried and true, to its ultimate core!
Lead-In Image Courtesy of Hotel Fauchere (401 Broad Street, +1 570 409 1212)