July 23, 2020
By Kathryn Nohilly (WVLT Summer 2020 Intern)
Set on 12 acres of peach and apple orchards in New Paltz, sits a historic home that today is a bed and breakfast where people from all walks of life can enjoy the natural beauty of the Hudson Valley. Welcome to The Inn at Kettleboro.
For current owners, Michael Aiello and Robert Witkowski, the Inn was a chance to transition to a new way of life using a childhood home and a love for entertainment.
“Michael was born and raised in the house that is now Kettleboro,” explained Witkowski, who grew up in nearby Kingston. It was Michael Aiello’s grandfather who purchased the land that the Inn sits on in 1950. The building functioned as a home for Aiello’s family. His parents lived there into their 90s and until their passing.
Witkowski and Aiello bought a house for themselves next to the family home in 1996 when both were still commuting to the city for work. But they had always toyed with the idea of entering the hospitality business.
For a long time, their love for entertainment remained a hobby. It wasn’t until Witkowski retired from a career in IT in 2011 that the idea became more serious. He says he and his husband were “looking for the next chapter in our lives … after much research we decided running a B & B would work best for us.”
The couple began work transforming an old house into a modern getaway with historic charm. In 2014, after extensive renovations, their new chapter began as a bed and breakfast, The Inn at Kettleboro.
The website boasts the Inn’s proximity to “some of the best hiking trails in the Hudson Valley” that includes less than a half-mile walk to the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail. The house is positioned with sweeping views of the Shawangunk Mountains and offers its visitors a farm to table breakfast every morning. The building itself has a rich history that extends beyond just that of the Aiello family and is in fact, loosely entwined with the history of New Paltz itself.
In 1830 the bones of what is today the Inn at Kettleboro were built on land that was owned by a descendant of the Dubois family, known for member Louis Dubois a “founding father” of the New Paltz area. The house functioned as a private residence for nearly 200 years during which time it was owned by four different families.
The resonant past of the building is what led to a relationship between the Kettleboro Inn and the Wallkill Valley Land Trust (WVLT). As Witkowski recalls “The Kettleboro house was on the first Wallkill Valley Land Trust historic house tour “Houses on the Land” in 2011.” It was this tour that exposed him to the WLVT and led him to become a board member for the nine years following. “I have always supported the work that the Land Trust has done,” Witkowski shared. He is taking some time off from the WVLT this year to spend more time with his husband Michael who recently retired.
Witkowski is appreciative of the WVLT because of their work in preserving his favorite parts of the area. He says what he loves most about it is “the natural beauty of the area and its ability to allow many people to hike and bike and climb and explore it.”
The Kettleboro Inn meanwhile, has certainly done its part in allowing visitors from all over to enjoy an authentic Wallkill Valley experience. “Without a doubt, the people are the best part of the job,” says Witkowski, of his many patrons in the past six years. “From New York to LA, from Florida to Washington state, from Brazil to Australia and from Great Britain to China — it has been a pleasure meeting them all.”
While the pandemic forced the Inn to close its doors for some time, it is once again welcoming people with “many safeguards to ensure guests have a healthy experience.”
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