“I love meeting people,” says Donna Bracci, owner and proprietor of the
Valley Brook Inn & Cottages (201 Kingston Ave., Rte. 209, Wurtsboro, NY, 845/888-0330, www.thevalleybrookinn.com ). She’s in the right business.
Her father acquired Valley Brook, situated in the southwestern Catskills, in 1996, back when it was a bungalow colony. The 80-year-old structure has been completely remodeled, and now it is an inn and banquet hall with seating capacity for 150 people, auditorium style, in its beautiful banquet space with a large, cozy fireplace, walls of windows and hardwood floors. The banquet hall can also be set up with conference tables and chairs, and seating for up to 300 guests can be arranged out of doors. Valley Brook Inn specializes in retreat weekends, wellness seminars, weddings, conferences, birthdays and family reunions, corporate banquettes, graduations and more. Some return corporate customers include dental groups, political groups and motorcycle clubs hosting fundraisers and benefits, and “we host a lot of reunions in the summertime,” says Donna, who took over the business in 2004.
Valley Brook is not only a conference center. There are eight comfortable hotel rooms arranged around the banquet hall and 19 cottages for longer stays. Rustic in style, the cottages have been remodeled in pine tongue and groove to accentuate the natural surroundings. They vary in size, but each has a kitchenette, a porch and comfy sleeping quarters. Five are available for year-round use.
In addition, Valley Brook has a pool on the premises, a brook running through the grounds, and it even offers zumba and kick boxing classes to guests and members of the Wurtstboro community.
Who comes to Valley Brook?
“We get all sorts of people,” says Donna. “We have people that come back every year. Some of our guests even remember Valley Brook from when it was a bungalow colony, when they stayed there as kids.”
A variety of people from families to young folks to older folks come to Valley Brook for the scenery, the comfort, the rich history of the region, the variety of things to do and the convenience. Set right in town, it is still private, “set back from the road and hidden a bit,” says Donna. Valley Brook offers authentic country atmosphere with the convenience of walking to dinner and drinks, or shopping Wurtsboro’s interesting selection of stores and galleries. Guests stay for a night, a week, a month or a summer, says Donna.
Guests at Valley Brook can feel good about how things are run. “I do green,” says Donna. “I am obsessed with recycling. I don’t waste anything; I donate everything.” Old linens will go to the local Good Will; spent mattresses are given away free on craig’s list.
Her enthusiasm is contagious, and her guests “feel the love.” She says, “I just love meeting people. They are so interesting, everybody’s stories, from Germany to Long Island.” And,” she finishes, “it’s nice to get my city peeps back up here.”