Chef David and Carolyn Hamer opened the River Spring Lodge just over a year ago, and have been providing guests with a one-two punch of delicious farm-to-table dining and the kind of hospitality and service that feels like a warm hug ever since.
It’s a pretty intimate affair – the lodge only has seven rooms – so it’s likely you’ll bump into fellow lodgers and your generous hosts at breakfast and dinner.
The lodge was recently added to the Select Registry, a list of more than 300 distinguished country inns, B&Bs and boutique hotels located across the U.S., Canada and Europe.
Most of the rooms are set on the second floor of the lodge, with just a few on the lower level reserved for groups. Many rooms have balconies and look over onto the wooded wetlands – it’s not uncommon to spot deer and other wildlife on the 20 acres at River Spring.
We stayed in the roomy White Pine Suite, which featured a loveseat, an executive desk, a devastatingly comfy bed (which was so lofty, we needed a step to clamber into), a heated ceramic bathroom floor, a 40″ Smart TV, Wi-Fi, plus a three-course breakfast included. Bathrobes and River Spring branded toiletries are provided for guests to use.
The biggest feature here is undoubtedly chef Dave’s “refined American cuisine”. The restaurant is available to non-guests but spaces are limited to enhance the enjoyment of diners. The dining room, kitted out with a fireplace and piano, overlooks the grounds.
You’ll need to reserve 24-hours in advance to give Dave enough notice; much of the bread, pastries and desserts are freshly made by him. We opted for Applewood-smoked duckling breast with black cherry maple chutney and some impossibly tender sous vide beef short ribs. Don’t miss the River Spring Lodge crème brûlée, which comes with a mango, raspberry and kiwi sauce medley.
Breakfast is an equally lavish affair, with three-courses of fruit “soup” and granola, eggs with bacon, ham or sausage, followed by a homemade blueberry muffin – which Carolyn kindly brought us to go with a ziploc bag.
River Spring Lodge is currently working on building out some trails that can be used in wintertime – until that’s up and running, spring or fall is the best time to visit, when the leaves are changing.
The B&B is tucked away in the woods of western New York between Buffalo and Rochester, which means it’s the perfect place to make a pit stop, serving as a base for attractions in both areas. Niagara Falls is just an hour away, but if that waterfall is passé for Torontonians, there are plenty more where those came from.
Letchworth State Park, often referred to as the Grand Canyon of the East, is a winding gorge just 50 minutes away. Recently voted Best State Park in America, Letchworth boasts three waterfalls, hiking trails and white water rafting – so whether you stay overnight and camp, or take a day trip from River Spring, Letchworth warrants a full day of exploring.
River Spring Lodge is pretty remote, so if you can drive in light hours, do. From the direction of Buffalo, turn left onto Church street for 2.5 miles and then follow your GPS directions down a winding lane to the boutique hotel. Since there’s nothing within walking distance, we recommend booking dinner ahead of your stay so you can kick back and relax for the night after check-in.
Rooms start from $189.00 (USD) a night.
961A Church Road , Darien Center, NY, 585-708-4212, riverspringlodge.com