Photo by Marie
Photo by Marie

Get ready to fall in love.

This post is for the off-beat couple.  The pairs who love the idea of a New York wedding but don’t buy into the hype surrounding Manhattan.  The couples who don’t want to see tourists out the corner of their eye distracting them from a Central Park ceremony. 

Upstate New York is beautiful.  We’ve got breathtaking scenery with our lakes and mountains and a lot of venues that can complement all of that nature with an intimate ambiance for your precious moment.

You won’t have to stand in line anywhere for the justice of the peace, waiting behind a frowning couple that’s visibly pregnant.

You won’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn, scrambling to do your hair and hide the bags under your eyes for the glimmer of a chance for some privacy in Central Park.

You also won’t have to break the bank.

These inns are ranked in order of preference, prioritizing ambience, affordability and convenience.

10 Upstate New York Inns You’re Going to Fall in Love With

Best-in-Class

#1: Barcelona Lakeside Bed & Breakfast, Westfield, NY (near Erie/by Lake Erie) http://www.barcelonalakeside.com

This property is such a perfect option for either an elopement or intimate wedding for up to 25 guests.  Just across the street from the property is Lake Erie giving the inn ample lake and garden views.  It’s also only about 5 minutes away from the heart of Lake Erie Wine Country, the largest grape-growing region east of the Rockies.  Their breakfasts are farm to table and they can their own peaches…as opposed to having peaches come in a can that were put there by a man in a factory downtown (sorry, I had to!).

They list their elopement and wedding packages pricing right on the website, always a good sign that they want to be open and honest with you.  Elopement packages start at $595 and require a two night-minimum stay.  Room rates range from $99-129 per night but it looks like the property only has four rooms so expect the inn to be sold out in advance during peak seasons.  Weekdays or off-season dates may be easier to find here.  Packages include an officiant, witness, bouquet, boutonniere, custom cake and concierge to plan honeymoon activities.  All in, you could have a romantic, intimate and tasteful elopement at Barcelona Lakeside for under $1,000.

To host a small wedding, site rental fee is $800 but doesn’t include food, beverage, linens, flowers, etc.  With a max guest list of 25 people, though, a lot of those extras could easily be taken care of with DIY projects or a catering service to stay under $5,000. 

#2: Friends Lake Inn, Chestertown, NY http://www.friendslake.com

Want to get married in the Adirondacks?  Consider Friends Lake Inn, in the heart of the mountain region, closer to Montreal than it is to NYC.  The inn has about 17 well-appointed rooms and is situated north of Friends Lake.  The property exudes romance.  The elopement package for just the two of you is $1010 but includes an officiant, cake, dinner for two, breakfast and one night’s stay.  A two-night stay may be required and rates during peak season start around $270 per night, including breakfast and possibly a 3-course dinner.  If you want to have a handful of guests join you, Friends Lake Inn offers a couple more elopement packages between $2000-3500.  They also offer wedding packages for a ceremony and reception on-site with catering and reasonable site fees and dining options.  If you wanted to have more than a handful of guests attend, you could make something work here for under $5,000.

Given the location, this would most likely have to be a mini-vacation for the party which makes this option more convenient for a true elopement rather than an intimate wedding.

#3: The Fern Lodge, Chestertown, NY http://www.thefernlodge.com

Another Adirondacks location that is also located along Friends Lake.  It offers  five luxury rooms.  Elopement packages are $395 which includes the officiant, witness, cake, bouquet, boutonniere and a bottle of prosecco. And up to four people max, including the couple.  This option would require a room stay but for how many nights is unclear from the website.  I would assume a 2-night stay minimum.  Peak season rates are between $350-400 per night.  I’m sure you could find weekday or off-peak season rates that could make this package work for under $1000.

They also offer a “petite” wedding that would require that the entire lodge be reserved by the wedding group for two nights.  That rate is $5900 and includes:

  • all 5 rooms that can accommodate 12 adults
  • Full 3-course breakfast for 10 people
  • 2 hour wine and cheese welcome
  • Boat tour on Friends Lake including wine and beer (or fireside if the weather is poor)
  • Unlimited use of the property for the ceremony and reception for up to 20 people (not including catering)

Their petite wedding option is already over $5,000 without catering so I don’t recommend it as an intimate wedding option for the sake of your marriage.  However, for those of you who would be open to a budget between $5-8K, I think this could fit nicely.

#4: Landmark Inn Cooperstown, Cooperstown, NY http://www.landmarkinncooperstown.com

For the couple who love their baseball and beer, the Landmark Inn could be the perfect venue for your elopement.  It’s located in Cooperstown, home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the Ommegang brewery.  The inn offers eleven rooms with rates ranging from $179-$427 per night, depending on the season and room.  Breakfast is included. 

Elopement package starts at $300 for just the two of you but that doesn’t include the room rate with a 2-night minimum.  In fact, all it includes is the use of the grounds for your ceremony, for photography and a mandatory gratuity.  You’re on your own to get your wedding officiant, cake, flowers or any other details you would like for your special day.  This could work if you have a wedding officiant you want to use or would like to tailor the details for your special day.

 If you want, they offer other wedding packages that would allow for a few more guests but, while the package price itself may be within budget, the minimum room requirement increases with these higher level packages and that could easily tip the cost of your wedding over $5000.  You would need to take advantage of off-season rates to make this work for a larger party.

Gorgeous But Mind the Cost

The properties below are spectacular but they fall to the bottom of my list because they don’t list prices on their website and haven’t responded to inquiries I sent.  As their responses come in, I will be sure to update this post.  As always, the goal is to keep the budget below $5000, all-in.

#5: The Rhinecliff Hotel, Rhinecliff, NY http://www.therhinecliff.com

The Rhinecliff is a majestic estate in Hudson Valley.  It is literally on a cliff overlooking the Hudson River. It is a historic railway hotel, built to meet the growing demands of urbanization and the railway system, only ninety minutes away from NY Penn Station on Amtrak, then a two-minute walk from the station.  So your guests without cars could easily make the trip if you decide to hold a small wedding here. 

Their wedding website does not list any prices but they clarify that they are welcoming of a diverse range of wedding needs, including elopement plans.

#6: Buttermilk Falls Inn, Milton, NY http://www.buttermilkfallsinn.com

The images of this property make my mouth water.  It’s a 75-acre estate along the Hudson River, across from Poughkeepsie.  It offers a farm-to-kitchen restaurant, orchard, spa and salon on-site.  My favorite part is the stone bridge.  They also have a farm with alpacas!

There are eighteen rooms, including a wedding suite plus four carriage house suites that can be booked at Buttermilk Falls.   Rates range from $250-900 per night depending on the season and which space you’re booking. 

I did get a response from Buttermilk Falls but the information they sent was for traditional weddings even though I asked about elopement packages and gave an example of what I was looking for (similar to the packages offered by Barcelona Lakeside).  That leads me to believe that they won’t formally offer a budget-friendly elopement package for two.

If you’re interested in hosting a wedding here, they only have a handful of dates left for 2017.  Dinner packages start at $89 per person and drink packages start at $25 per person.  If you choose to have a wedding here at their Riverfront Patio location, it requires a buyout of the entire inn for the weekend.  I don’t need to crunch the numbers to tell you that this will end up being way over the $5000 budget.

But I still LOVE the property.  You could easily just book a couple of nights here when it’s convenient for you, bring an officiant like Judie Guild who charges around $200-300 for her services, and have a stealth ceremony here either in your room or somewhere on this magnificent estate.

#7: Mount Merino Manor, Hudson, NY http://www.mountmerinomanor.com

In the Catskills, this is a 19th century boutique bed and breakfast on a hill top.  It’s surrounded by one hundred acres of woodlands and is near the historic Olana House, the beautiful and eclectic home, studio and estate of Frederic Church, an influential artist known for his landscape paintings.  Mount Merino Inn has seven luxurious rooms.

#8: Peach Grove Inn, Warwick, NY http://www.peachgroveinn.com

You don’t have to make a trip to Georgia if you want a taste of the south.  Peach Grove Inn is a Greek-revival inn featuring massive rooms with antique furnishings, a baby grand piano and lawn for croquet.  It’s located in the lower Hudson Valley, near a wide selection of worthwhile wineries.  Only fifty miles north of NYC.  Waiting to hear back from them on elopement package pricing options.

#9: Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, NY http://www.mohonk.com

I’ve had a crush on this property for years.  It’s a national historic site hugging Lake Mohonk with spectacular views, a spa and a host of outdoor activities to explore.  They definitely offer a range of wedding packages and options but nothing specifically for elopements.   I’m waiting to hear back, but given the popularity of this site, I doubt they will formally offer something along the lines of the best-in-class inns listed above.

#10: Hasbrouck House (formerly the Inn at Stone Ridge) http://www.hasbrouckhouseny.com/#welcome

Established in 1757, this beautiful estate formerly known as the Inn at Stone Ridge will be reopening this summer as Hasbrouck House.  It is located northwest of New Paltz near Woodstock and Minnewaska State Park and Catskill Mountains. 

While previously the Inn at Stone Ridge, it was a popular wedding venue.  I imagine they plan to keep the inn as such with the revival.  The website looks like it’s still under construction so I don’t think they are up and running yet.  That’s good because you could get great deals here for a grand opening and you know they are unlikely to already be sold out.  They don’t even have a contact form running at the moment so I’m going to check back in at a later time.  But it’s a beautiful property in a great location.

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