I discovered the Stickett Inn, an urbane little gem tucked into an unassuming roadside plot, thanks to its location a mere two-hour drive from my apartment in Brooklyn. I’ve since stayed there twice, once in a wavy August heat wave, and once during an unexpected winter snowstorm. Both trips involved a grave and spontaneous need to escape New York City for a couple of days—and this place fits the bill perfectly.
The first time, a friend and I took off after work on a Wednesday and made it to Barryville, the hamlet on the Delaware River where the Stickett Inn sits overlooking a very minor road junction, just in time to get dinner at the restaurant down the street before last order—at 8pm. We certainly had escaped the city.
The Stickett Inn had opened only recently on my initial stay. By the second visit, a small building to the side of the main inn had been transformed into a store and coffee shop. It’s great for a browse and for picking up an interesting souvenir. I can’t, however, recommend getting your morning coffee here, not when the cheapest drink on the menu is the $4 americano, and not when there’s a larger and more reasonably priced grocery and coffee shop just across the street. I’ll get my other major complaint out of the way now, so that I might more properly gush the rest of the way down the page. At this relatively high price point, I expected at least light housekeeping service during our stay. There was none, and by the time we left, our small trash bin was overflowing.
Also as luck would have it, I stayed on both visits in the “Drink” room, a two-room suite on the first floor with its own door out to the sanctuary of a backyard. True to its name, a tray of barware encourages mixology. It’s one of five rooms in total at the Stickett Inn, each with a different theme, and each showcasing the owners’ serious design skills—just like the inn’s name showcases their sense of humor.
There’s the “Steam” room, with an actual steam room for two. The “Soak” room has a deep round tub. The “Eat” room has a full kitchen and a balcony to dine on. Finally, the Cottage offers two bedrooms in an adjacent building–it’s pet-friendly, and it’s also the only accommodation in which children are allowed.
In the “Drink,” the living room is higher on style than comfort. And if it were my living room, I’d put a floor lamp in there somewhere, whether it meshed with the design vision or not. The sofa, though perfectly Instagrammable, is not one that you want to curl up on with a book and a blanket. I considered this a missed opportunity as the snow rolled in and especially after I peeked into the “Steam” room across the hall, with its deep velvet sofa. Still, the old wide-plank wood floors, the interesting artwork and the two big old windows there for the gazing helped me forgive that sofa for forcing me to sit up straight.
The small bedroom is happily dominated by bedding from the Brooklyn shibori genius behind the brand Upstate. The bed beneath that spectacular duvet cover is comfortable as can be, and the blackout shades make sleeping in too easy.
Throughout the suite, details heighten the aesthetic–the coffee table book Cabin Porn, the hanging bedside lamps, the canteen hanging from a wall hook. You can’t see the wifi, but it works great, and this, too, adds to the general delight of the place.
The bathroom, too, is a looker. The shower has some notable issues with its water pressure, but otherwise, it impressed me. The Malin & Goetz toiletries, especially, were a nice touch—you don’t expect that kind of thing from this small an operation.
About that backyard. Earlier, I called it a sanctuary, and it is, but it’s also got a transporting quality, and you half believe that you’re on another continent when you’re back there. A picnic table, lounge chairs, some subtle landscaping, and more importantly, a hot tub and a fire pit come together to form a mini-paradise.
For a place so firmly in the sticks, the inn exists in a constellation of businesses other spots that make a stay here into a self-contained vacation, without the need to get into the car. Just down the street is a rambling junk store that can easily fill an afternoon. A short walk across the Delaware River (there’s a bridge right there) lands you at Rohman’s Inn, once a stop on a railroad line and today a true dive bar in the best sense of it, with an old wooden bowling alley upstairs.
The Stickett Inn is one of those little secrets you have mixed feelings writing about, because you’re not so sure you want the word to get out. It’s not because it’s perfect, but because it so nearly is, and because the imperfections are so human, and on a scale that makes them endearing.