History of the Land
Built around 1870, The Ferns was originally a small resort hotel in an area rich with getaways for city folk and passing travelers. Almost no hotels survive from this era. Down the road is the site of Yama Farms: a gigantic, ornate Japanese-themed estate where luminaries such as Henry Ford and Thomas Edison took their leisure. Barely a trace of Yama Farms exists now -- after decades of fires and neglect, the once sprawling, manicured estate has returned to forest. Nearby also is the vast Nevele Resort, which after years of decline closed its doors in 2009.
Access to The Ferns resort was granted off of what is now Route 55. Guests were dropped off across the Rondout River and crossed the bridge to a rolling lawn that led to the hotel. The house-side bridge structure still exists, though the bridge itself has long since disappeared.
The original Ferns hotel burned to the ground in 1930. In 1937, architect Christian A. Holzinger designed a 3-bedroom, 2.5 bath home for Mr. and Mrs. A.P. Campbell. The design appears to use the foundation of the original hotel -- photos indicate that the structures are nearly identical in length and width.
The home has passed through several owners since, and the last three have been dedicated to its preservation.
Among locals, the house is most famous as the site of a gigantic marijuana bust in the early 1980's -- in which the only piece of furniture discovered was a sex-swing in the livingroom. Yes.
The Rondout River is now a rollicking creek, an outlet for the Rondout Reservoir a few miles up the road. The house has a spring-fed pond and a site for a second pond. 62 acres of land rise above the river -- beautiful forest with winding pathways and an abundance of animal life: wild turkeys, deer, foxes, bald eagles, blue herons, white owls, shy bears, squirrels, chipmunks and turtles, to name a few. Around the porch are five different lilac bushes which provide a heavenly scent throughout the Spring, and the grounds are lavishly planted with perennials including daffodils, peonies, Rose of Sharon and butterfly bushes.
The house features two fireplaces -- a woodstove in the dining room and a gas fire in the livingroom. The floors are hardwood, in pristine condition, in every room but the kitchen and bathrooms. The bathrooms feature the house's original, beautiful tilework, also in excellent condition. The house has a full attic and full basement as well as a small garage and potting room.
Two outbuildings currently exist at The Ferns: a one-room writers cottage up the hill, which is fully insulated and cozily comfortable with a small heater in the winter; in addition, a vintage, restored 1960's Shasta Trailer perches in the back yard. Both can accommodate extra guests when the need arises.
Click here for a photo tour of the grounds and the inside of the house.