37 years of distinctive hospitality
Osbornville vs. Windham
Considered “America’s First Vacationland”, this area of Greene County, NY has offered exquisite lodging accommodations and distinguished hospitality for 195 years. The Catskill Mountain House, designed to be one of the grandest hotels in the world, operated in its prime from 1850 to 1900 and welcomed famous guests and three American presidents! Although no longer standing, it was perched on the cliff face by North Lake where guests often hike, swim and explore Kaaterskill Falls today.
Sprawling resorts began to nestle among the Northern Catskill Mountains, offering a cool refreshing retreat for affluent socialites looking to escape the heat of the summer, the stress of city life, and the stuffy air that shared conditions, like the then common tuberculosis. Windham, originally a part of Woodstock, was constituted a separate town, March 27, 1798. Two years later the new county of Greene, named for General Nathaniel Greene of Revolutionary fame, was established from parts of Ulster and Albany counties. The original name of Windham Village was Osbornville, after the family of Osborns – Bennet, Milo, Nathan, Merritt, who were so active in building the village. The Osborn domain was over 100 acres and incorporated what is now Windham.
In 1848 the name was changed to Windham Center. This was done by an Act of Congress instituted by Assemblyman Zadock Pratt of Prattsville. It was rumored that this was done because of resentment against Bennet Osborn who reportedly campaigned against Mr. Pratt before his nomination for assemblyman.
The Osborn House, a family built and owned this seasonal vacation complex, swelled to a capacity of 300 summer tourists in the early part of the century. The 100-acre property changed owners several times and eventually over time was parceled off and neglected.
In 1976, Lenore & Vito Radelich purchased the Osborn House Grill, located directly across from the inn and opened up La Griglia, a 175 seat Northern Italian restaurant. Several years later, they had the opportunity to purchase two of the original cottages of the former Osborn House. Imagining their former glory, Lenore and Vito began work on these Queen Anne Victorian Ladies.
The front building of the inn is a design by architect, George F. Barber. In the mid 1800s, Barber produced his first architectural designs while working for his brother’s construction firm. In early 1888, Barber published The Cottage Souvenir, which contained 14 house plans. The bulk of Barber’s business followed the ‘catalog architecture’ model popularized by earlier architects. Barber’s great innovation was his willingness to personalize his designs for individual clients at moderate cost. Though his firms’ records no longer survive, it is believed that he sold as many as 20,000 plans in his career. Since he frequently modified his designs to fit his clients’ needs and specifications, his houses are sometimes difficult to attribute with any certainty, however, certain elements are thumbprints of Barber.
In 1890, Barber published The Cottage Souvenir No. 2, in which we find ‘Design No. 142’ that is the front of the inn. Albergo Allegria showcases Barber’s signature ‘key-hole’ window, front porch and stained glass. This building, originally named ‘Cottage 2’ by the Osborn’s, remains on its original stone foundation and has not moved since it was built circa. 1892. Its sister house, ‘Cottage 1’, was originally located 200 feet to its right. In 1984 Vito and Lenore moved the cottage, with all its dishes resting in their cupboards, intact 400 feet. Remarkably, nothing was damaged and the Radelich’s attentively rescued all salvageable wood, stained glass and even corner moldings. The original staircase was reassembled in the newly built section joining these two structures; painstakingly echoing the detailed trim and carefully painted woodwork of the originals.
In discussing his architectural philosophy, Barber argued that Nature has ‘faithfully and accurately adhered to the Divine law of harmony,’ and that no place should adhere more closely to the fundamental principles of nature than one’s house. Barber considered proportion the most important element in architecture, likening it to harmony in music, ‘without which all else is a failure’. He described ornamentation as the next most important element, as it gives proportion expression. Lastly was ‘harmony of form,’ or the relationship of curved and straight lines to one another.
Vito and Lenore, resonated Barber’s philosophy. After a two year period, the inn was completed and named Albergo Allegria, Italian for the ‘Inn of Happiness’. Furnished with period wallpapers and antiques throughout, all bedrooms were designed to offer guests modern amenities in a setting filled with character and history. The twelve guest rooms are named after the 12 months of the year; the four suites after the four seasons.
The former Osborn House horse stables were transformed into five Carriage House accommodations. Opened to guests on December 24th 1996, these deluxe rooms are located just behind the inn and provide spacious lodging for seekers of privacy and indulgence. Several of the main house fireplaces are framed with the historic solid oak floorboards of the original horse stables. With each room named after a different herb, the Carriage House overlooks wild thyme fields, the inn’s vegetables and herb gardens and is just a stone’s throw from the Batavia Kill creek that runs though the inns property.
Albergo Allegria continues to offer guests a restful oasis amidst the peaceful luxuriance of the surrounding Northern Catskill Mountains. We are proud to be part of this area’s tradition of classic hospitality.
Greene County Registered Historic Site
Experience Albergo Allegria, the Inn of Happiness – Est. September, 1982