The Claryville Center property was purchased in 2007 by Frank Nicoletti. The buildings were totally gutted and rebuilt with lumber harvested from Frank’s nearby 200 acre estate. The restaurant and motel rooms were opened in 2008 and the Blue Hill Wines & Spirits was opened in 2009. Frank’s main focus is the continued development of the property. With the opening of the Claryville Art Center in 2014 and the Claryville Event Center 2015, Frank is concentrating on the completion of the Blue Hill Brewing Company which should open later this year.
Frank’s wife, Irina, oversees the Blue Hill Lodge & Café, the Blue Hill Deli and Market and Blue Hills Wines & Spirits. The Café is a full service gourmet restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner all year round. Willy Mendez, formally the chef at the New Age Health Spa, is the chef at the Blue Hill Café. Chef Willy, as he is called, also is the manager for the restaurant and all the other Blue Hill entities including Blue Hill Catering, which offers catered events in the Claryville Art and Event Centers. Chef Willy prepares fresh meals every day and people travel from the far corners of Sullivan and Ulster Counties to experience his specialty meals. Willy’s wife, Savannah, is the Director of Operations for all businesses at Claryville Center, a constantly expanding job, with the opening in 2014 of the Claryville Art Center and the opening in 2015 of the Claryville Event Center. Irina Nicoletti has devoted the last few years to the development of the business and is the face of the Blue Hill Café. She is there most evenings to greet the customers, most of whom she knows personally. Irina spent the last 20 years in fashion on Madison Avenue working for Valentino and other famous designers. Irina’s charm and beauty, Chef Willy’s cooking and Savannah’s business acumen and personal style make an unbeatable team, bringing class, sophistication and delicious food in what is a beautiful, but still rural environment. Irina, Willy and Savannah are a close team and they are the essence of the Blue Hill business. See the Catskill Confidential article from 2011 for a more in depth description of the development of Claryville Center.
Article from 2011 Catskills Confidential – Download [PDF]
In a quiet valley set deep in the Catskill Mountains, in the heart of the wilderness known as the Catskill Park, resides tiny hamlet of Claryville, NY.
Acres of unbroken forest and miles of trails cover the mountainous landscape, but Claryville itself is a hidden glen of country culture – every home a carefully groomed show-piece of fine craftsmanship, every street a paved pathway to paradise.
Sitting amidst it all is Claryville Center, a haven for locals and visitors alike… and a never-ending passion for owners Frank and Irina Nicoletti.
“I’ve known everyone here since I was a child,” relates Frank, a Manhattan attorney who’s spent at least some part of every year of his life in Claryville.
His great aunt left the family property to him upon her passing, and he built a home that became known for its gracious parties in support of local causes, especially the Frost Valley YMCA.
In the meantime, Frank purchased the parcel that once hosted the locally famous Blue Hill Lodge, a German chalet renowned for its hospitality. Frank resurrected that tradition by opening the Blue Hill Café, Deli and Grocery in 2006, adding the lodging accommodations the next year, then the Wine and Spirits Store in 2008, thus creating Claryville Center.
“I love to improve and build on things,” he says, moving on with construction of the Claryville Art & Event Center and the Claryville Brewing Company.
Irina had a long career in fashion working on Madison Avenue for Valentino and Versace, among other designers. Frank and Irina were married in 2009. Although they live comfortably in New York City, Irina has absolutely fallen in love with her home in Claryville. “I brought fashion to Claryville,” she explains. Irina’s touch is evident throughout the property, which is first and foremost immaculately kept.
Just a walk across the lawn is the Wine and Spirits Store – a single room with a breathless array of fine wines and liquors, personally selected by Frank.
The five rooms at the Blue Hill Lodge smell fresh and inviting, with quilted bed covers and sprigs of local flowers exuding a cultured but relaxing charm. Cable TV and Wi-Fi are available, but most guests are immediately attracted outdoors, where mature cherry and pine trees beckon, along with grassy fields that bring a wondrous contrast to the mountainous terrain. The Cabin at 933 on 10 acres on the Neversink River is also available to rent by the month, week or weekend. This two bedroom cabin is completely refurbished and offers beauty and seclusion just one mile from Claryville Center.
It’s a popular place not just for guests but for residents, as the nearby Town of Neversink in Sullivan County is “dry” (no alcohol sales allowed.) Claryville is bisected by the Sullivan / Ulster County line, so the Wine and Spirits Store’s location in Ulster’s Town of Denning meets many a need.
So does the café, deli and grocery store, all conveniently housed in a single structure. The fully stocked deli and grocery are the only such offerings for miles around, making Claryville Center a prime destination for hikers, bikers and locals.
The café, too is unique, offering a setting easily accommodating a relaxed meal or a formal dinner, with a chef from El Salvador, Willy, well-versed in everything from quiche to jambalaya. Be it breakfast, lunch or supper, the menu is extensive and changes seasonally, though such satisfying mainstays as pancakes, fresh salads, burgers, pizza, panini’s and pasta are available seven days a week. Homemade bread and desserts are made daily and have earned rave reviews from near and far alike.
Irina’s Russian heritage and world travels bring a European flair to the café offerings, and her sense of fine design permeates its carefully set tables, along with a gorgeous stone fireplace.
To insure that the ambiance remained local, the café was built with hewn timbers milled from trees harvested from Frank’s property. The café walls are adorned by art from well-known Russian painter Alexander Kaletski.
Those who come across Claryville Center are inevitably charmed and amazed by the array of sophistication of the services… and by the Nicolettis themselves.
“I love people,” admits Irina, her smile flashing brighter than the sun. “I love good service for myself, and I try to give that to others.”
“For me, it balances out my life,” Frank adds with an infectious sense of utter relaxation.
Passion, beauty and creativity define both the couple and their creation, where every day is to be savored.
“It’s not about quantity but quality,” Irina explains. “This is our fun,” Frank agrees.