Camptown: The New High-Style Cabin Retreat in the Catskills

Rivertown Lodge in Hudson, New York, debuted in 2015 and set a new standard for locally sourced, inventively designed hotels in the Hudson Valley and Catskills 100 miles northwest of NYC. Designed by Workstead, Rivertown was the first project of Ramshackle Properties, Ray Pirkle and Kim Bucci’s boutique hospitality venture, and is a favorite Remodelista retreat—and source for natural materials designed to take a beating.

Eight years later, Pirkle and Bucci have just opened their second Ramshackle venture: Camptown, a resuscitated motor lodge and cabin enclave in Leeds, NY, that that they designed themselves. Working with a roster of talented local artisans, they preserved the essence of the down-home resort while imbuing it with a sophisticated rustic-modernist vibe: log walls meet cognac leather. Claim your cabin while the place has yet to be discovered.

Photography by Lawrence Braun unless noted, courtesy of Camptown (@camptownleeds).

The Lodge and Restaurant

camptown sign. upland creative design. lawrence braun photo. 0 Above: Formerly the Rip Van Winkle Motor Lodge—it’s just over the Rip Van Winkle Bridge in the town of Leeds at the foot of the Catskills—the hotel dates from 1968 but the surrounding 26 cabins were built starting in the 1930s. It now has a new sign and a standing seam metal roof. Scroll to the end for a glimpse of what the place looked like when Pirkle and Bucci took it over. camptown lobby. upland creative design. lawrence braun photo. 1 Above: Originally the dance hall, the lobby’s old stone hearth is inset with grinding stones from a nearby grist mill: “it was all here but had a terrible case of bulbous grout; we ground it out and cleaned it off,” says Pirkle, who with Bucci added custom metal log racks and Rowland Butler-made mirrors that follow the angle of the vaulted ceiling.  The circular Coin Sofa is a John Derian design. camptown lobby. lawrence braun photo. 2Above: For tête-à-têtes: Fritz Hansen Fred armchairs and a Shaded Gable sconce by Workstead. camptown casa susanna, upland creative design. lawrence braun photo. 3 Above: Casa Susanna, the in-house Mexican canteen, is just off the lobby. Chef Efrén Hernández formerly ran the kitchen at Rivertown Lodge; here, he makes Jalisco specialities,. The original log walls are painted Farrow & Ball’s Tanner’s Brown—Pirkle and Bucci say they looked to Le Corbusier’s Cabanon for design inspiration. camptown casa susanna, upland creative design. lawrence braun photo. 4 Above: “We love a roadside booth,” says Pirkle. The Verner Panton Flowerpot lights are a nod to the rusty green pendant lamps that were among the room’s existing relics.  The back corner banquette is upholstered in Rambler, a cotton-jute from Zak + Fox. camptown casa susanna, upland creative design. lawrence braun photo. 5 Above: There’s a Big Chill Classic Fridge in the bar, which has a leather counter: Pirkle “expects the many drink rings will bring a richness to it.” The cherry “back bar” built by Tony Gorga of New York Handmade is loosely based on a Shaker sewing table. “Our goal was to infuse modern Shaker elements without scrubbing away the sense of history,” Bucci told The New York Times.

A Lodge Room

camptown nook room upland creative design. lawrence braun photo. 6 Above:  There are 24 guest rooms in the main lodge. The Nook, shown here, has a queen-size bed atop built-in storage: “Space was limited, but we wanted guests to have everything they need: closet, drawers, dining table and chairs, settee, extra bedding, coat rack, and a full shower, so we referenced the economy of scale of Shaker washrooms,” Pirkle tells us. “The Shakers are so much a part of our New York history and so adept at beautiful, functional design that it made sense to adapt it.”

The Simple Linen Quilt is by Hawkins New York; the Welsh Blanket is from Melin Tregwynt. The nook light is the Menu Cast Sconce Wall Lamp.

The Pantry

camptown pantry. upland creative design. lawrence braun photo. 7 Above: The Pantry—with cabinetry from deVol in the company’s Clerkenwell Blue—is stocked with snacks, produce from the area, as well as meat and vegetables for cooking or grilling. It operates by the honor system. The tables and benches are by Another Country.

Cabin Life

camptown cabin porch. upland creative design. lawrence braun photo. 8 Above: There are 26 cabins on the 22 acres surrounding the lodge, no two exactly alike. This one has a blue painted floor—the reverse of traditional porches with sky ceilings—and a Penobscot Bay Porch Swing. Photograph by Chris Mottalini. camptown cabin. upland creative design. lawrence braun photo. 9 Above: The knotty pine paneling and wood-framed windows are original, now joined by wooden half shutters from Graber and a DIY cherry and acoustic fabric frame to “soften the impact” of the air conditioner. This cabin is a Two-Bedroom Kitchenette Deluxe with Fireplace (a Morsø stove). The Case Study Daybed is by Modernica. camptown cabin kitchen. upland creative design. lawrence braun photo. 10 Above: The compact kitchen in this two-bedroom cabin has an iio Retro-Mod Fridge and a plate rack by Woodchuck, a company Pirkle discovered on Remodelista. The cement floor tiles are Erica Tanov’s Jacobsen design from Clé Tile. camptown cabin bedroom. chris mottalini photo. 11 Above: A walnut Distrikt Platform Bed with built-in side tables stands on eco-friendly blue Marmoleum. As at Rivertown Lodge, all of the beds have Frette sheets: says Pirkle, “I don’t think there’s anything better that’s out there, and the company has a well-priced commercial line.” Photograph by Chris Mottalini.


camptown catskills cabin kitchen before 12 Above: The enclave was built and run by the same family for 80 years.  camptown catskills cabin before 13Above: The first cabins date from the 1930s and more were added nearly every decade.

Camptown is open year-round; rates start at $219 in the lodge for a Nook for two; cabins start at $159 for the tiniest and go up to $499 for two bedrooms, a kitchen, and bathroom with a freestanding tub. A pool and swim club are opening on the property this summer.

For more getaway ideas, see The 13 Best Places to Stay in the Catskills and Hudson Valley.

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