The Historic & Charming American Hotel

Saturday, May 31, 2014
Once upon a time, back in 1847, in the tiny village of Sharon Springs, NY, a hotel was built by Nicholas LaRue .  Sharon Springs, located in Schoharie County,  was once known for its "springs".  These springs were once considered to be "the fountains of youth" and the village once housed several spas and hotels and bustled with activity and visitors.  Those days came and went and eventually the town fell deserted for the most part, including the grand American Hotel.  After being vacant for more than 30 years, Doug Plummer and Garth Roberts purchased the American at a tax sale for the bargain price of $18,000 back in 1996.   After an extensive renovation, a good deal of time and TLC, the American Hotel opened its doors in 2001.

This past week I was able to take a bus trip sponsored by the Friends of the Clifton Park/Halfmoon Public Library in conjunction to their Two Towns-One Book program.  This program was designed to "bring people together through the shared reading and discussion of a common book".  This year the book was, The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir?
As part of the year-long celebration of this wonderful book, the Friends of the Library hosted a variety of related events.....including hosting the author Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Dr. Brent Ridge, (well known as the Fabulous Beekman Boys), and a fun and informative talk by Doug Plummer, co-owner of the American Hotel and............Mayor of the Village of Sharon Springs.  I was first introduced to Doug - "Paul Bunyon in a kilt" (you've got to read the book to understand that) when I read The Bucolic Plague.  I knew then that Doug was a "full of life, love and humor kind of guy" but being with Doug at his talk, and when he hosted our bus group for lunch at the American, Doug can only be described as a visit to Disney World for a three year much fun, you never want it to end.   Doug is one of those people who, in his first sentence, makes you feel as if you've been friends forever.  He is easy going, pee-your-pants funny in the most natural, unassuming way and genuinely warm and friendly.  He may be an inn-keeper, a restaurateur, a comedian and a mayor, but he easily could run for president of the U.S. and win and I told him so during our visit.  After five minutes with him, you wish he was your big brother.  But this blog isn't about's about the amazing American Hotel.  (Sorry Doug!)
 We left Clifton Park at 8:00 a.m. bound for Sharon Springs.  Now let me say, our "intended destination" was the Beekman 1802 Farm, the setting of the Bucolic Plague, but since this was a year of related events and Doug and Garth are frequently featured in Josh's memoir, it was only fitting that a visit to the American be part of our trip.   Our visit was intended to be a lunch stop, but Doug graciously (and I mean generously) allowed our tour of two buses, 80 people to stop there first to use the restrooms!  I said it was generous!!!   Once we were all "relieved," on to the farm we went before finally coming back to the American for lunch.

During lunch, Austin, who is clearly more than a waiter at the American broke out in song and gave us a Broadway worthy rendition of "Oh What a Beautiful Morning"!   He seriously IS more than a waiter....and like Doug, he is full of charm, wit and personality.

Doug came in during our entree course and gave us a brief, but funny, history of the village including stories about the resident ghosts....not only at the American, but around the village as well. 

 Our meals were delicious, beginning with either a cream of asparagus soup or fresh spring green salad, followed by one of 4 entrees offered our group of 80 and a delicious layer cake for dessert.    My entree was pork with braised red cabbage.  My hubby ordered chicken breast with basil, tomato and mozzarella, and my mom had the three cheese, baked stuffed crepes.  All were delicious and expertly prepared and served to our group which ate in two sittings.  Although we were late in arriving from the farm, the staff were efficient but never made us feel rushed to make room for the second half of our group.  Although the American can seat a good number - it could not accommodate our large crowd in one sitting, which was fine as those in the second sitting enjoyed wandering the town's wonderful shops.  In turn, after our meal, we had time to browse and although I rarely buy "stuff" these days, I found plenty to buy in Sharon Springs.  Be sure to watch for an upcoming blog about the town and it's other offerings, as well as a blog featuring the Beekman 1802 Farm.

 The atmosphere at the American Hotel is inviting, cozy, classy and full of interesting things to look at.  When you visit, be sure to ask Doug to tell you the story behind this portrait, which is displayed the coat closet.
I actually have a brighter version of this photo, but I thought this was more fitting?  Don't you agree, Doug?

 The American Hotel is on the National Registry of Historic Places.  In addition Doug and Garth have been the recipients of the:

The Preservation League Of New York State 
    "Excellence In Historic Preservation Award" 2002

 The New York State Office Of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation "New York State Historic Preservation Award" 2003

The Otsego & Schoharie County 
    "Preservation Award" 2002

 This front desk was crafted from a number of trees, of different varieties, that were cut down when Doug & Garth bought the property.  What a beautiful way to make use of what might have otherwise been discarded!!

Note the Certificate of Excellence Award from Trip Advisor!!!

I may only live a little over an hour away, but I'm feeling compelled to spend a  night at the American Hotel.   When doing some research for this blog, I read a number of reviews on Trip Advisor.  Every one raved about the accommodations, the ambiance, the delicious breakfast and every single review mentioned Doug and Garth and how warm and welcoming they are to each and every guest.  Every one made mention of feeling like Doug and Garth were old and dear friends - from the moment they arrived at the American!  What a compliment that is and having spent just a couple of hours there, I can fully agree with all the reviewers.  Sharon Springs and the American Hotel are a well kept secret (or were until the Fabulous Beekman Boys arrived in Sharon Springs and met Doug and Garth.   Take a trip to Schoharie County and see what everyone's talking about!  You will not be disappointed.  Please use the links provided below to visit the American Hotel website, as well as the Village of Sharon Springs.  And stay tuned for an upcoming blog on the Beekman 1802 Farm.....another truly beautiful and interesting treasure in NYS.

To view the photos in a slide show format - click on any photo.  Once you are at the show, just click the pics along the bottom of the page to move from photo to photo.   

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