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The Sablewood
A Rich History

Set in the immersive landscape of the northern Catskill Mountains, The Sablewood is home to a rich and vibrant history. We invite you to read on and discover the many stories it has to tell.

Our Story in a Slideshow

The Life of a Barn

A Region Steeped in History

The picturesque Schoharie Valley situated in the northern Catskill Mountains is known for its rich farmland on the valley floor surrounded by gorgeous mountain views. The first European settlers from Palatine, Germany chose this valley because the breathtaking beauty reminded them of their homeland. [Photo: By CJH Photography]

A Region Steeped in History

The picturesque Schoharie Valley situated in the northern Catskill Mountains is known for its rich farmland on the valley floor surrounded by gorgeous mountain views. The first European settlers from Palatine, Germany chose this valley because the breathtaking beauty reminded them of their homeland. [Photo: By CJH Photography]

An Agrarian Heritage: Deep Roots Build Strong Countries

The Schoharie Valley is known as “The Breadbasket of the American Revolution,” and played a significant role in the formation of the United States. The agricultural output of the region including wheat, corn, and vegetable crops fed much of George Washington’s Continental Army during the war. [Oil on Canvas: AUG.COUDER 1836]

The Burning of the Valley

Because of this key role, the valley was subject to a series of raids by the combined forces of the British, loyalists, and natives who sought to burn fields of crops in an effort to cut off the food supply to Washington’s troops. The “Burning of the Valley” led by Joseph Brandt and Andrew Chrysler in October 1780 stormed directly through Highview Springs Farm destroying crops and buildings along the way. [Photo: Janice Barchat]

The Sablewood is Born

The Sablewood was originally built as a multi-functional barn for cows and horses as well as goats, pigs, sheep, and chickens, with abundant hayloft storage upstairs. Local craftsman hand hewed the massive native timber of the valley to create the impressive barn beams, several of which measure 40' in length. The earliest recorded deeds show the farm was owned by the Schaeffer family who we believe were the original builders based on initials marked on the beams. [Photo: Lisa Shaul]

English Style Post & Beam

English style barns feature a main entrance that is along the long side of the barn. Our “grand entrance” is the original entrance in the center of the barn. There are three main bays which used to have a floor above to store hay.  The original hayloft ladders still exist in the main barn flanking the chandelier, and the original hay trolley track is still intact on the ceiling near the peak of the barn. [Illustration & Reference: About Barns by Ann Gourlay Gabler and Mirko Gabler]

An Equestrian Center…

Beginning in the 1960s the farm was converted into a Morgan horse farm. The main room of The Sablewood was used as a riding area and the addition known as “The Stables” was added to create a long line of stalls for the horses. The famous Morgan stallion Tutor lived on the farm for several years and sired many foals. The current bathrooms maintain the character of the original horse stalls. [Photo: The Morgan Horse, April 1964]

…and Home to Local Theater

In 1975 The Sablewood took on an additional function when The Every Man Theater Group, founded by local Hollywood movie star John McGiver (famous for his role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s among others), put on a production of the Hudson Valley based play Rip Van Winkle, directed by Regina Betts. [Photo: Tommy Lee Walker]

A Bright Future

Forty years later The Sablewood had fallen into disrepair and was then sold. After a multi-year tremendous family effort to restore it, The Sablewood opened for functions in 2018. Visiting the barn is an unforgettable experience. We hope many people will get to enjoy this piece of history while celebrating special occasions with family & friends, brimming with happiness and love. [Photo: Danni Laraia]

What's in a name?

The Sablewood is named for its rich black (sable) wooden siding and is the only barn in our upstate NY area that has been black for well over 50 years. 

When the farm was sold in 1961 the new owner purchased it with aspirations of converting it into a grand equestrian facility. During his travels to Kentucky, he admired the tobacco barns which were painted black to raise the heat inside to help cure the tobacco. Over time, more and more Kentucky barns were painted black as a fashion statement, and this new owner brought this “bit of fashion” home to NY. 

Although the barn has been known for its black color since the 1960s countless people have inquired about The Sablewood’s color throughout our restoration project. Typical barns are red, gray, brown, or white – but almost never black.

We love that The Sablewood’s black color has always been unique. It’s timeless elegance allows the beauty of our natural surroundings to shine, and it’s neutral palette highlights any colors our couples choose to design their event with. With that, the tradition of the fashionable “sable” color is here to stay.

Traditional Schoharie Attractions

Schoharie is an easy commute for visitors from downstate and the Capital district. The area has always been a destination for the local farms stands and orchards as well as and historic tours. A growing tourist industry attracts visitors for year-round recreation.

Photo: View from the trail to the summit of Vroman's Nose, Schoharie County, NY [CJH Photography]

Natural & Historic Points of Interest

Visitors come to Howe Caverns, Secret Caverns, The Old Stone Fort, and the Iroquois Indian Museum. The Old Covered Bridge in Blenheim was the longest single span covered bridge that was unfortunately destroyed by flooding from Hurricane Irene in August 2011. It has now been rebuilt and reopened for visitors.

Photo: Old Blenheim Bridge, spanning Schoharie Creek, Schoharie County, NY [U.S. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division]

Action & Adventure

Enjoy Miles of Hiking trails including Vroman's Nose, which is a local “must see,” as well as kayaking down the Schoharie Creek, Golfing or mini golf at Gobbler’s Knob.

Photo: East Kill Schoharie Creek Confluence, Schoharie County, NY [lightphoto2]

Shopping, Eating & Drinking

Visitors enjoy a variety of shopping for antiques and gifts including some wonderful local favorites like the Carrot Barn and Apple Barrel Country Store & Café, as well as touring variety of local eateries, breweries, distilleries and vineyards. Beekman 1802 Farm & Mercantile is a brief trip away.

Photo: Fall colors in Schoharie County, New York [Raymond B. Summers]

Photography Credits (if not otherwise noted): Danni LaRaia Photography, Lisa Shaul

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