The Kenoza House is a formerly closed boarding house in the Catskill Mountains of New York. It has since reopened as Kenoza Hall.
Boarding houses began to develop in the Catskills in the late 1800s as working-class families sought refuge from the dirty, unhealthy city in the mountains. 1 Lodgers would rent one or more rooms for one or more nights, and meals were usually not included in the tab.
The earliest boarding houses were on farms that enabled rural families to supplement their farm income. 1 In some instances, farmhouses would be enlarged, or entirely new structures would be built to accommodate guests. Like tenements in New York City, the boarding houses typically had shared bathrooms and flexible spaces, where living rooms could double as bedrooms or workrooms. Privacy was a luxury.
The Kenoza House opened circa 1907 by John W. Armbrust as Kenoza Lake Armbrust House. 3 Amenities included boating and fishing along Kenoza Lake. Inside were pressed-tin walls and ceilings, an eight-burner coal-fired stove for the kitchen, and a fourth-floor water tank. The property was later used as a private residence by the Quirk family.
Sims Foster and his wife, Kirsten, acquired the Kenoza House in September 2017 with a plan to renovate the boarding house to cater to youthful city dwellers looking for an authentic back-to-nature, farm-to-table getaway. The building would include 18 guest rooms and a restaurant while the property would feature 12 one-bedroom cabins, a horse barn on six fenced acres of pasture, a lakeside event area, and a 65-space parking lot.
The Fosters had success with other establishments in the Catskills, including The Arnold House, which opened with a restaurant in 2014 atop a mountain in Shandelee; Nine River Road, which opened in a renovated old residence overlooking the Delaware River in Callicoon; and the North Branch Country Inn and restaurant, named one of the “Best Bed and Breakfast Inns in America” by Time Out New York magazine.
The Fosters opened the refreshed lakefront retreat as Kenoza Hall on July 1, 2020. 2 Spanning 55 acres, the restored boarding house features 22 guest rooms, a Kneipp-inspired wellness program, a full-service bar and restaurant, hiking trails, and private access to Kenoza Lake.
- Scheer, Virginia. “The Farmhouse as Boarding House.” Voices, 2000.
- Presser, Brandon. “The Best Last-Minute Weekend Getaways from New York City.” Harper’s BAZAAR, 1 Jul. 2021.
- “The Property.” Kenoza Hall.