Cedar Lakes Estate is one of the most storied and idyllic wedding venues in upstate New York, surrounded by 500 acres of verdant valleys in the spring, summer, and fall, snow-capped mountains, and ice-crusted lakes during the most magical time of the year: winter. That’s when they transform into a cozy woodland retreat and operate as a hotel until wedding season returns come April.
Before becoming a lauded wedding estate and winter resort, Cedar Lakes had a prominent past as a summer camp for Team USA gymnasts and soccer players in the ‘90s, many of whom went on to win gold medals and play for the World Cup. Today, they still channel that spirited camp counselor energy with an enthusiastic team of staffers (plus their event planner/chef owners-sisters, Lisa and Stephanie Karvellas) who are armed with adult-friendly games and a never-ending supply of gourmand hot chocolate.
Given their summer camp roots, it’s no surprise there’s an extensive roster of complimentary activities such as snowshoeing and sledding, cornhole and curling, cocktail hours, game nights, and ice skating, as well as layer-on experiences for an additional cost, like snowmobiling, ice fishing, massages in the pop-up snow globe spa, and drive-in movies.
Then there are the specialty Cedar Lakes classes with a nostalgic spin (and a boozy twist) like “Crochet and Rosé,” a cross stitching class with hot mulled wine, and “Dad Jokes, Chocolate, and Whiskey,” a fireside tasting of local dark spirits, single origin chocolate, and you guessed it—the best dad jokes.
Although there’s no shortage of activities to keep you occupied outdoors, their indoor accommodations are just as alluring, with 18 different types of cottages and main house suites ranging from woodsy to luxe.
Our favorites would have to be the Poolside Cabana, outfitted in a mix of warm woods and stone, antler chandeliers, and fur throws, or the quaint Garden Suite with alpine wall coverings, artisan tiles, and an old-school stove. Both feature the best amenity of all though: a gas or wood-burning fireplace for cozied-up winter nights.
In addition to these larger dwellings, there are also a number of smaller, Sleepy Pine Cottages with king-size beds, spa-like rain showers, and the only necessity a weekend in the woods really calls for mini-fridges.
As for the on-site dining options, these are just as curated as the adventure outings. If there’s one thing worth mentioning about the food at Cedar Lakes, just know that you’ll never go hungry. From over-the-top buffet brunches and multi-course, fireside dinners in the Pavilion, to happy hours in the Treehouse, the Sisters of Cedar Lakes have thought of everything so you never have to leave the grounds.
Should you find yourself hungry or thirsty outside of the scheduled meal times, they also have covered sunset happy hours you can reserve, and private dinners in one of three tricked-out igloos that can be booked separately. They’ll even deliver a made-to-order cocktail kit to your room with all the essentials needed to whip up Espresso Martinis, Moscow Mules, and Maple Old Fashioneds, with syrup tapped from the neighboring trees: Hudson Valley living at its finest.
Location: Port Jervis, New York
The Vibe: Tucked-away Hudson Valley compound that operates as a Pinterest-worthy wedding venue three seasons out of the year, and a winter wonderland resort the fourth.
Our favorite thing about the hotel: The ice skating rink under a cascade of twinkling lights that serves as the ultimate Instagram backdrop. So dreamy.
Food + Drink: For casual bites and game nights, there’s the Treehouse, for farm-to-table brunches and dinners, the Pavilion, and if you’re still feeling peckish, there’s a well-stocked Canteen with local cheeses, craft beers, and freshly-baked snacks in case you get the munchies. And if you hit the road a bit later on the way out, they’ll even pack you a boxed lunch for $25 per person. Seriously, they think of it all here.
Amenities: Almost all the rooms have gas or wood-burning fireplaces, there’s an old-school Nintendo station and board games in the Treehouse—plus complimentary snacks served daily—and outdoor fire pits around the property for sipping cocktails while staying toasty. Should the weather allow for hiking, there are also handy maps of the many Cedar Lakes trails available in the Canteen.
Nearby attractions: Highpoint State Park for powdery-fresh cross-country skiing, the Town of Port Jervis for eclectic antique shops and downtown art galleries, the famed Storm King Art Center to witness more than 100 modern American & European sculptures, Mohonk Mountain for incredible hiking, and Dia Beacon—a museum on the banks of the Hudson River that warrants a day trip.
Rooms: 18 luxury cottages and farmhouse suites.
Pricing: All-inclusive winter getaways at the estate vary by the cottage category you book, but the cost per night starts at $275 and there is a nightly resort fee, which includes all meals, although alcoholic beverages are available for purchase. There is a three-night minimum for weekend stays and they are closed for overnight stays on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Closest airport: Cedar Lakes Estate is only a 90-minute drive from New York City, but the Newburgh Airport would be the closest at 32 miles away, with Newark, White Plains, La Guardia, and JFK all under two hours away.
Other articles you may like: