What do you do when you close a beautiful hotel overlooking a picturesque lake? Why, you live in it, of course.
Eddie Dudek and Scott Samuelson have embraced their beautiful, five-bedroom, five-bath vintage jewel of a home since before they opened it as the Bradstan Country Hotel bed-and-breakfast in 1991. Although B&B operations ceased in 2018, the house remains as gorgeous now as it has ever been.
There isn’t much history available at your fingertips on the internet, beyond that the building started its life in 1900. During the late 1940s, it operated as Brown’s Royal Hotel, one of about two dozen hotels and camps catering to New Yorkers hoping to catch the lake’s cool breezes (and maybe a trout or two).
The house, across the street from White Lake, caught the eye of Dudek and Samuelson in 1985. By then, it had been closed for a while, and decay had set in. But the couple saw the house’s beautiful bones; after gutting it down to its beams, they restored it to its circa-1900 beauty—with a few modern touches, naturally.
By 1991, it was a bustling bed-and-breakfast. True to their roots as entertainers (Dudek was a dancer; Samuelson, a singer), they converted the large parlor into a real cabaret. Musicians such as Julie Wilson, Karen Mason, and Ann Hampton Calloway mesmerized those who gathered around bistro tables and along the chestnut-colored bar—but none were as dear to the owners as singer Nancy LaMott. When the unparalleled chanteuse passed in 1996, the Bradstan honored her memory by naming their cabaret room after her. Although the tables are long gone, and songstresses no longer enchant guests, there’s a certain ambience when you enter what’s now Dudek and Samuelson’s living room. Is it the bar that’s still there? The handsome fireplace—where you can just imagine someone resting their elbow or their drink as they listen to a torch singer belting her heart out?
Perhaps it’s Lois.
Her cool demeanor sizes you up on your way into the cabaret/living room or on your way upstairs. Dressed simply but elegantly, her hair is chicly short and her eyeliner is always on point. Is she a ticket-taker, a bouncer, a gadfly who’s taking names to report in the next issue of Variety? At this point, no—she’s a mannequin (shhhh, don’t tell her).
“We had a Halloween party, and a friend asked, ‘You do have a witch, don’t you?’” Dudek explained. “Uh, no, we didn’t. So he provided this ‘lady’ and we dressed her and named her Lois.” Now she presides over the entry, coolly assessing whoever enters.
Ah, the entry. Back in 1985, dull concrete steps rose steeply to the house’s ample porch. That didn’t mesh with the grand hotel idea; those steps are still there (do you know how expensive and messy it is to jackhammer concrete?), but you’d never know it for the stately wooden twin staircases leading from the front patio and hiding that past misstep.
Enter the cheery red doorway and a stunning foyer greets you. To your left, a massive, jaw-dropping mirrored armoire. Ahead, ivory curtains are parted to allow you a peek inside (hi, Lois!).
The home is a marvel of detail. Crown molding accents nearly every wall. To your left is an inviting dining room (which served as the breakfast room during the B&B’s heyday). A quick look at Yelp reveals photos of fun couples gathered around this table for French toast, coffee, and invigorating conversation. Although the room is mainly empty now, it’s still a happy place, with gold walls, red cornices over the large windows, and a unique chandelier dangling over the large dining table. Off the dining room is an efficient kitchen, with cherry cabinets that were installed from a vintage tear-down. Now, Majolica vases, Fiestaware, and whimsical roosters line the tops of the cabinets and decorate the walls—“they’re either souvenirs from our trips, or gifts from friends,” Dudek explains.
Back in the hall, Dudek points out the twin half-baths near the cabaret room before leading the way upstairs. Here are five gorgeously appointed bedrooms, each with its own bath. Some rooms were converted from two rooms to one: those now have “sitting rooms” or expertly designed dressing rooms. All of them are beautifully decorated, and the north-facing rooms have windows that look out onto sparkling White Lake.
Walking through the rooms at the former Bradstan Country Hotel, admiring the antique furnishings and period lighting, not to mention the pristine wallpaper, you definitely get a good vibe about the history of the place. A lot of love, and a whole bunch of fun, happened here—and it continues even though it closed to the public three years ago. It’s nice to know that such an exquisite property is cared for and endures.
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