GOSHEN—The Anthony Dobbins Stagecoach Inn, now called the Stagecoach Inn, has been given a new life under its new owners Faith Ferguson and Ron Boire of Warwick who reopened it Labor Day after over a year of renovations.
The original part of the house, which Boire said was built in 1747 and county tax records state 1750, was made into an inn by Anthony Dobbins, a wealthy landowner in the town, and has since had various reincarnations as an inn, a tavern, and a private residence.
When Ferguson and Boire stumbled upon it, it was owned by the children of Margo George, a famous model and modeling agency owner who had inherited it through her husband’s family. George operated it as an inn for years and left it to her children when she died in 2011.
Her daughter Barbara was pulling out of the driveway when Boire and Ferguson drove by in 2014 and offered to give them a tour of the then-nine bedroom, two-story, 5,665-square-foot house set on 3.2 acres across from Goshen’s Village Hall.
Ferguson had been looking to acquire an event space to complement her event planning business, Faith Ferguson Productions, and while they weren’t particularly looking in Goshen, the couple were sold after their first tour.
George’s children were also sold on them, Ferguson said. They wanted to sell the house to someone who appreciated its historic charm, was from the area, and who would carry on the vision George had for it.
True to their intention, the couple tried to keep as much of the original building as they could, and even went to the property’s estate sale to buy George’s furniture back.
That said, “We’ve touched every square inch of the house,” Boire said, pointing to the repainted walls, touched-up trim, redone staircase in the cafe, and the reupholstering of much of George’s furniture.
On the bottom floor they converted a closet to a bathroom and redid the kitchen, which used to be part of a separate apartment, and made it into a cafe.
They took the nine bedrooms and converted them into five, each with its own bathroom, color theme, and name.
Their names reflect former owners or significant people who stayed there: The Roosevelt for Eleanor Roosevelt and The Guggenheim after a Guggenheim family member who reportedly stayed there, The Hickok after George’s last husband William Hickok, The Dobbins after the inn’s original owner, and of course The Margo after George.
Outside they put up fences around the property for privacy, cleared out the brush that had grown up in the yard, and replaced the koi pond and a stone walkway with two patios off the solarium and cafe.
They made an effort to keep the slate roof, rebuild an old stone wall next to the patio, scrub the paint from the granite window sills, and redo the original blue stone patio to keep the historic feel of the place, “which is absolutely not the most financially smart way to do it,” Boire said.
They both call it a business investment-turned labor of love, and one that has cost them upward of $2 million, Boire estimates.
Eventually they expect to make it back through hosting private events and renting out the rooms upstairs, which have been mostly sold out since they opened. This is all with limited marketing and only a primitive website that has several photos, contact information, and a brief history of the inn.
Boire believes most of their customers are from the New York City area and found them by searching for Hudson Valley inns, a Google Adwords term they used as one of their few marketing tools.
The Hudson Valley, they predict, is going to become even more of a destination for New York City vacationers than it already is, and they don’t expect their business to slow down any time soon.
While relatively new to inn keeping, their motto, to under promise and over serve, has so far proved effective. The inn has five-star reviews on Facebook, TripAdvisor, The Knot, and two glowing reviews on Airbnb.
And they plan to keep that momentum going with further upgrades to the house—finishing the balcony off The Margo room, putting a porch over the back patio, doing more landscaping, and restoring the old doorbell that sits at the top of the stairs next to the attic. If the demand is there, they may build a four-bedroom carriage house next to the inn where the garage is located now.
As for opening it to the community, their plan to put in a steakhouse restaurant backfired due to public opposition to the projected traffic, noise, and odors it might generate. But it’s brought them back to what they originally wanted to do with the place—use it for events and to house a few guests—which they said is a good thing. When all was said and done, they didn’t want to be a full service restaurant.
They do plan to open it to the public through some ticketed events like cooking demonstrations or tastings, and they are already on the Catholic Charities Christmas tour set for Dec. 3.
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