_Human nature is said to have a fight or flight mentality. Sometimes flight is the perfect solution to your situation. Your situation might be a quick getaway in celebration of your remarkable fifteen years together or you might be avoiding the press from that “incident” last week that you thought would surely blow over by now. Whatever the reason, sometimes you just need to get away.
That is exactly the situation I found myself in recently. The solution was a brief stay in Bedford, New York at Richard Gere’s place. Ever since I ran into Richard and his wife Carey last year at Barney’s I’ve been meaning to go to The Bedford Post Inn. And now that the Bedford Post Inn is a Relaix & Chateaux property and Richard is the Relaix & Chateaux Guide Ambassador for 2011 it was definitely time to visit. A plan was made and off we went.
The thoughtful NY State Troopers had pulled over most of the other drivers so the roads were empty and the drive up from Manhattan took a total of 55 minutes. We made a brief stop at the Thornwood Express Hand Car Wash so the car could enjoy a little spa treatment. And it was a good thing, not because frequent visitor and neighbor Martha Stewart was there upon our arrival, because when we pulled into the Bedford Post Inn there were some beautiful cars in the lot. You don’t want to give your car a complex do you? As we walked into The Barn, the more casual restaurant at the Bedford Post Inn, Ralph Lauren pulled up in his immaculate convertible Ferrari. The Barn is extremely popular with the locals and gets rather crowded. Ron Howard was lucky to get his table when he did. I think because Ralph Lauren looked like had just rolled out of bed in his sweat pants he decided to get some baked goods and coffee to go.
The Barn is casual and its popularity is starting to show in the seat covers but aside from that this restaurant is just like the breakfast table at your home. Except this kitchen has a larger team of food lovers and they are all trained to make your brunch fantasies come true. The menu isn’t complicated but full of good options. After asking the kind young waitress a few questions I ordered the Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and a small salad instead of the potatoes. Tim decided on the classic scrambled eggs, bacon, and potatoes. The anticipation was building as we saw some delicious looking dishes being delivered to the table around us and the hush that would follow once people started eating was a good precursor. The food was delicious and just the right amount. Tim thoroughly enjoyed his eggs and decided that these could be some of the best breakfast potatoes he’d had in a very long time.
_Then disaster hit! The waitress delivered the dessert menu. Yes, you did just hear dunt dunt dun!!! I didn’t want dessert. But when we stumbled on the words Lemon Curd Pound Cake we realized we needed dessert. Plus I have read on the internet you can die from lack of Lemon Curd Pound Cake. So this would be like saving my life. Right? Meghan the Pastry Chef creates what can only be described as heaven. I can’t even tell you more about it or I might find myself in the car on the way back to Bedford. When you go, order it! In fear of being tempted by any other tricks up the kitchen’s sleeve we decided we’d better go and officially check in to the hotel.
A Bachelorette party was checking out and The Inn quickly transformed itself from bachelorette excitement to private relaxing escape in a matter of moments. Decorated with pickled wood, comfortable furniture in soothing shades of blue, cream, and grey, along with photographs of flowers and other images of nature, the Inn can easily be described as casual elegance. Or as they say “like your place only better.” Was that them looking in my window that stormy night? Regardless, we were escorted up to the second floor to room number five of the eight-room Inn. Tori pointed out where to doc ipods, how to turn on the radiant heat in the bathroom floor, and how to operate the shower temperature before taking her leave. The on-site yoga classes had already ended for the day. So unpacking sounded like the more obvious thing to do. Suddenly the only sound was that of the gentle breeze blowing through the windows on this perfect Spring day. I sat down on the bed to quickly check a few emails when suddenly the breeze swept through the room causing all the luxurious elements of the room to conspire together to make me sink deeper into the Frette sheets and take a deep nap in the middle of the afternoon. There is nothing more luxurious than an afternoon of deep sleep with a gentle breeze keeping life at bay.
Just like the weekends at your country house, wine and nibbles are available to enjoy while you look over books or magazines in the library. It was a nice way to flip through Richard’s book PILGRAM with images from his travels to visit his Holiness the Dalai Lama and others in Tibet. But in the event you have already spent enough time in Tibet with the Dalai Lama there are few other books to look through.
Not fully ready for dinner but ready to move on we headed down to the empty bar at the Farmhouse restaurant. The lovely bartender proceeded to make an excellent Vesper for me and a Manhattan for Tim served in round martini glasses that almost looked like a fully opened tulip. Clearly their idea of getting out to nature is working on me. The Farmhouse restaurant is more formal than The Barn but with its Shaker chairs and comfortable décor it gives the feeling of a relaxed formality. It was a Sunday night so not full but fortunately not empty either. It was the kind of crowd that included other guests of the Inn, a newly engaged couple, a neighbor who had given the cook the night off, and the Japanese couple who photographed each dish. I think I lived in Tokyo too long as I began to itch to take pictures of my food too. And who wouldn’t when the food was this beautifully presented.
The Farmhouse had recently acquired the wine collection of a nearby resident. The collection included some decent wines that have been cellared and all but forgotten. Naturally we felt compelled to try one and settled on the 1985 Clos des Forets Saint-Georges Wine from Nuits-Saint-Georges, one of our favorite areas in France. It was a perfect partner with the House Pate and Duck Liver Mouse as well as the delicate Mushroom Minestra. The pasta dishes we had were light, lively, and full of flavor and perfect with the Bryce Pinot Noir. My final dish was the tender Branzino with baby fennel, lemon, and capers, which was a wonderful blending of flavors. Tim’s final dish was the Veal, which he found less exciting than all the previous courses. Jeremy McMillan the Executive Chef is an incredible chef who will be in the news for years to come. But don’t take my word for it read Alice Gabriel’s NY Times review.
After an impossibly restful night of sleep I became convinced that something was being piped into the room to cause such a deep sleep. What is it? How can I get more? I’m clearly trying to avoid the reality that it could be the fresh country air. We make our way down to breakfast back in The Barn which only has two patrons when we arrive and while it never reaches the capacity of a Sunday brunch, it has a nice little crowd of locals and visitors sitting down to breakfast or getting things to go. Everyone who gets items to go seems to be on a first name basis with the crew. My breakfast is the poached eggs and Polenta with Maitake mushrooms and Parmigiano while Tim does a repeat of yesterday’s breakfast to confirm the potatoes are really are amazing. Needing to walk off some of this we opt to walk around the property for a bit. It is another beautiful crisp Spring morning and the neighborhood seems to realize it. As if on cue two women head into the Bedford Post property on horseback to ride the trails with a Weimaraner following all three looking like a scene right out of a movie. Suddenly I recognize the feeling of not wanting to leave. The only solution for me is to go quickly before I start asking about adding on another day.