A Visit With Josh at The Beekman

At around 3 pm on Saturday afternoon, my mom and I headed over to The Beekman mansion for a visit with Josh Kilmer-Purcell: writer, farmer, and soon-to-be reality TV star. Brent, unfortunately, was predisposed and was promoting the Beekman wares in Manhattan at the offices of Martha Stewart Living where a craft fair was taking place.

Our time with Josh at the farm was so very special. From the moment we pulled up to this impressive Nineteenth-Century masterpiece of a home we felt welcome. Josh greeted us at the side door and we were hastily brought indoors, warmly hugged and made to feel at home. The house is incredibly spacious indoors with massive fireplaces, shiny wood floors and large windows that look out over the acres of land.
The room where we entered was one that had been used for the last several months by a large film crew and it was devoid of any furniture, except an incredible antique piano. Josh and Brent will be the stars of a new reality TV show set to air this coming spring on the Discovery Channel. Titled "The Fabulous Beekman Boys," the show will chronicle the young couple's adventures on the farm and their burgeoning business pursuits. (Martha makes at least two cameo appearances, I was told!) Both of the 'boys' are very excited about the new show!

Josh took us on a tour of the amazing house, which is still mostly bare of furniture. Josh explained that they want the furniture they choose for the home to be perfect and appropriate. In the dining room, however, an enormous table holds its ground next to a gigantic fireplace and the room's stunning proportions. The table was designed and built by Brent for the room, and it is stunning.

All over the house there are quirky elements, such a huge stuffed turkey in the corner of the dining room and a gaggle of gossling sculptures in the upstairs hall. The nickel-plated bedframe from the Turkey Hill collection by Martha Stewart Signature shines in the couple's blue bedroom. Josh said he wanted Martha to sign it, but that dream never came to fruition.

My favourite spot upstairs was a secret back hallway that connects a small guest bedroom, Josh's writing studio and the staircase to the attic (which we also visited!) to the main hall. It's a little warren of old, rustic rooms. It's where I would spend all my time, I'm sure, if I lived there.

Downstairs, it is the kitchen that holds the most allure: Warm and beautifully appointed with wood trim, terracotta tile and a large fireplace designed for cooking. A gorgeous glass table with two long benches is the perfect centerpiece. (Someone had written me asking me to observe their appliances: two dishwashers, two gas ovens with gas elements, a large fridge and - I think - a microwave.)

After our tour indoors, we headed outside into the wintry weather for a tour of the grounds. We visited the Beekman crypt, which was wonderful to see. It had a small iron chandelier inside, two big brick slabs and several human bones (including a jaw bone) scattered around the scene. The tombstones of the Beekman family all rest inside the crypt, sheltered now from the elements. Then it was to the barn to visit the Beekman goats, who adore visits from us humans! They presented themselves proudly, baah-ing and singing noisily as we entered. They rushed to the gates to greet us and the large lama who keeps watch over the herd came over to inspect us too, but kept her distance, suspicious and guarded. (She is responsible for keeping hungry coyotes at bay.)

Back inside, Josh, my mom and I sat for hours in the kitchen, feasting on Beekman Blaak cheese, homemade rosemary crackers and homemade sparkling apple cider by the roaring fire. Josh showed us some of the latest editions to the Beekman collection. My favourite was a metal fruit spoon made from Eighteenth-Century molds owned by a master blacksmith who works and resides in the area. They are soon going to be among my collection of kitchenalia!

After dark, the three of us headed back to the American for dinner, where a big Christmas party was taking place. The dining room was bustling with guests. Josh, mom and I sat in a quiet corner and had a wonderful dinner together. Josh had to leave a bit early to get Brent at the train station in Albany but we so enjoyed our time together. As my mom said after he had left: "What a kind and gentle soul he is." Indeed!

The front of the Beekman mansion is much closer to the roadway than I had imagined. It is an impressive facade! Like many of the buildings in Sharon Springs, the Beekman mansion was also in a state of sad disrepair only a decade ago. The previous owner of the property fully restored it and Josh and Brent intend to maintain its elegance for years to come.
The back of the house boasts a long, elegant porch. We arrived at the Beekman just as a snowstorm began to move in: the first of the season, heralding the arrival of the Canadians! (We bring snow everywhere we go!)

Josh leads my mother to the crypt. It's not as cryptic as it sounds!
These soggy apples were the only real spots of colour in the landscape that day, dusted by snow and ice.

The Beekman property is comprised of 60 acres of rolling hills and groves. There is a large pond on the property, which serves a practical purpose: all rural properties like this must have a pond for fire-prevention purposes.

Meet the ladies responsible for the glorious Beekman soap and cheese! They're hardworking lassies. They were so excited to see us!
I love this photo of Josh preparing the cheese. And that sparkling cider was so, so good!

My mom sits happily at the kitchen table.


Ailsa said...

What a lovely diary Andrew. Can't wait to see the show -- if indeed we get it in Canada! It sounds like an idyllic existence...

sweetlocal said...

I'm so glad you shared your visit to the Beekman with us. I love the goats!

Elaine said...

It sounds like you had a lovely visit with Josh. I love all the photos of the snowy Beekman.

Carolyn said...

That house is beautiful!! Being snow covered makes it all the more lovely.
Remind us in the spring about that reality show. Sounds like something I would LOVE!