Of the limited reasons to welcome the frigid season, enjoying a meal near a cozy fire ranks right up there, especially if the fireplace in question happens to be in a comfortable restaurant where the food and drink are equally exhilarating. Here are 11 such Hudson Valley spots where a crackling hearth awaits.
With weathered plank floors, beamed ceilings and cozy nooks, this Revolutionary War-era tavern is something to see if you're a history buff, if only for a drink (110 Main St., Tappan; 845-359-5476; 76house.com). The dining areas each have original fireplaces, two fronted with carved wood and the other covered in Dutch tiles. The menu is mostly traditional American, with dishes like Yankee pot roast, crabcakes and roast duck with black cherry Cumberland sauce.
The Bird & Bottle Inn in Garrison
This out-of-the-way inn and restaurant dating to 1761 delivers history and hospitality in generous portions (1123 Old Albany Post Rd., Garrison; 845-424-2333; thebirdandbottleinn.com). There are three charming settings for dining: the cozy taproom, another called the map room, and the main dining room, which features a big brick hearth. The staff is neighborly and efficient, and the contemporary American cuisine reliably pleasing. Dinner is served Thursday through Sunday, and a Sunday Champagne brunch draws midday tipplers from miles around.
This is one of the valley's go-to destinations for special-occasion dining and romantic rendezvous (11 Kittle Rd., Chappaqua; 914-666-8044; kittlehouse.com). Housed in a stately 1790s farmhouse, the restaurant has a softly lit, semiformal dining room as well as a casual taproom whose antique mahogany bar serves as a meeting post for local gentry. Ask for one of the tables near the big wood-burning fireplace. The enticing seasonal fare with global accents is complemented by a world-class wine selection, 5,000 bottles and counting.
Hoffman House in Kingston
A registered national landmark, this fortress of a home was constructed around 1679 (94 N. Front St., Kingston; 845-338-2626; hoffmanhousetavern.com). With its distinctive roof, beamed ceilings, plank floors and a fireplace in each of the enchanting dining rooms, it's a fine example of early American Dutch architecture. The menu could best be described as continental, featuring many familiar American standards. Beware: Some say the venue is haunted, which may account for the defensive firearms mounted on the walls.
This graceful, Tudor-style manor house has the kind of baronial setting that is increasingly rare in the Hudson Valley (1410 Route 35, South Salem; 914-533-6631; lechateauny.com). Constructed in 1907, it has a trellised brick and stone exterior, carved chestnut paneling and sweeping staircases. The dining rooms each feature a massive, wood-burning hearth, and the food is a blend of French and new American.
This 200-year-old stone structure, now a romantic restaurant that serves a melange of American and Italian fare, has served as everything from a grist mill to a rubber plant, and later, a pharmaceutical firm (2 Scarsdale Rd., Tuckahoe; 914-771-7661; www.theoldestonemill.com). There is a plush main dining room which features an original brick fireplace, and three attractive private rooms, all with fireplaces.
Located in the historic Huguenot section of New Paltz, this old-fashioned tavern has a Colonial-style dining room with a large hearth and a glass-fronted, wood-fired stove (215 Huguenot St., New Paltz; 845-255-7888; rockandrye.com). It serves a creative roster of eclectic American food, and the owners, true cocktail aficionados, take pride in their seasonal libations.
The sleek, airy design at this renowned American restaurant allows sweeping views of surrounding woodlands and a large free-form pond (117 N. Rte. 303, Congers; 845-268-6555; www.xaviars.com). This is the most formal of the restaurants owned by celebrity chef Peter Kelly, and the food is invariably surprising and good. Adjoining the dining room is a lounge called the Bully Boy Bar, which has overstuffed chairs surrounding a four-way stone fireplace.
Entering the reception room of the historic Beekman Arms hotel with its Colonial-era artifacts, old maps and stuffed chairs facing a deep stone hearth, makes you feel that winter isn't so bad after all (6387 Montgomery St., Rhinebeck; 914-876-1766; beekmandelamaterinn.com). An adjacent tavern, which features low-beamed ceilings, a giant brick hearth and a long wood bar, is dripping with country charm. It's a local hangout on weeknights, but on weekends it's ceded to stressed out evacuees from Manhattan.
Part of a 30-room luxury hotel on the picturesque Esopus Creek, this spacious contemporary restaurant, which features a sophisticated global menu, is airy and cheerful (25 S. Partition St., Saugerties; 845-247-0700; diamondmillshotel.com). A floor-to-ceiling brick chimney anchors a sizable dining area set with cafe tables and high-backed gray banquettes, and the handsome wine cellar, which features a fireplace, is a great spot for cocktails. A larger private room also has a hearth.
Secluded on a wooded 14-acre compound, The Farmhouse at Bedford Post restaurant is part of a complex that holds a luxurious eight-room country inn, a casual restaurant called The Barn, a bakery and a yoga studio (954 Old Post Rd., Bedford; 914-234-7800; www.bedfordpostinn.com). The three seating options feature fireplaces.