August 8, 2014 user

Historic Catskill Schoolhouse repurposed as boutique inn

Nestled in the quiet town of Barryville, NY, in the heart of the picturesque Catskill Mountain region, sits the Hillside Schoolhouse – a beautiful 120-year-old schoolhouse which has been restored and re-purposed as a boutique inn.

Step inside and discover the awe-inspiring 1,400 square foot main floor, featuring original hardwood flooring, clapboard, slate chalkboards and soaring 16-foot ceilings.

Combining historic charm and contemporary design, Hillside Schoolhouse provides a welcome alternative to the typical bed and breakfast crowd.  Designed with a mix of new, salvaged and antique furnishing, this gem in theSullivan County feels more like a unique home than a hotel, with a communal kitchen and dining area for all guests.

The Hillside Schoolhouse came about after Bronson and Courtney Bigelow, a young, creative husband-and-wife team from New York, discovered the 1893-schoolhouse, which had been turned into a gospel church in the 1950’s but was later abandoned. They wished to restore the timeworn beauty, which was dilapidated and surrounded by overgrown forest, while staying true to its original schoolhouse form.

After purchasing the property and dropping the building’s religious designation, they spent seven months renovating and redecorating, making sure to stay true to the building’s rich history.

The couple made use of the high ceilings by adding two extra guest rooms in the cozy light-filled attic, which have views of the vintage bronze bell in its alcove.

Bronson Bigelow traded in his job as a lawyer to act as the Schoolhouse’s innkeeper, and he and his wife left the city for the beautiful Sullivan County.

Bronson also concentrates on designing and handcrafting custom furniture to feature in the hotel. The schoolroom has become a showroom for his designs, including a 13-foot custom dining table with cast iron legs, up-cycled antique iceboxes, handcrafted coffee and side tables, and vintage industrial objects and trophy-top bookends. His stunning furniture focuses on salvaging old items like metal ice boxes and factory carts and creatively transforming them.

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Guests at Hillside Schoolhouse enjoy luxurious amenities including king beds, private baths, C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries products, complementary WiFi, air conditioning and cable television.  There are several great restaurants located nearby, as well as ample outdoor activities, including hiking, canoeing, rafting, tubing, horseback riding, golfing and skiing.

Since the lovingly restored Hillside Schoolhouse opened in the summer of 2013, news has spread fast and it has remained in high demand. Only 90 miles from New York City, it’s the perfect place to escape for a weekend and discover a more simple life in the country.

The Hillside Schoolhouse is located at 259 Van Tuyl Road, Barryville, New York 12719.

For more information or to shop Bronson’s handcrafted furniture, visit the website here.

To make a reservation, call (845) 557-8565 or email

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