The Mae House, as it is now.

A year ago today almost exactly, I stood in a bathroom mirror of a house located in a tiny town, across from the city of Hudson, 15 minutes away from the Amtrak, through a slow and ridiculously sunny winter and snapped a photo. I left the house and texted my ex, that this house was the one, and fell strangely in love with its soul seen through its nearly 200 year-old walls. In love in ways we aren’t allowed to prescribe to things that hold so much monetary value. Especially things that aren’t quite yours. Especially, when one doesn’t even know how to go about purchasing a house. 

Three arduous months later, I closed on the house and began to steam roll my idea of how it could be a short-term rental that respected its community, but also that somehow changed a tiny bit of the landscape of how BIPOC experienced nature. It was a topic that became increasingly clear to me the more I isolated with my kids in our Brooklyn apartment. The time from seed, to purchase, and now the house being almost done with renovations, feels like it has gone by at an alarming pace. To others, the reaction I almost certainly get is how well I’ve handled it. And how seamless I’ve made it seem. All of which is an acknowledgement of how social media skews perception. 

Creating this house, as a business model, has brought me to my knees in ways I didn’t think possible. And in many ways I needed and wouldn’t have received otherwise. My awareness, of what we do, who we are, and what we are capable of each and every night, how it can expand (and contracting) is so deeply woven these days. At times, it has been a queasy rollercoaster ride I couldn’t wait to get off.

That bathroom I was afraid to peel back, no longer has a tub inside. The new soaking tub, courtesy of Kohler has been moved over to a reimagined closet and was hooked up yesterday. Where the oversized mirror once lived in that rugged bathroom, a mural of native plants now adorn. A smaller schoolhouse mirror hangs besides. The old mirror found a home on the fireplace, which awaits a lime wash. 

No renovation or home is truly done, so I’m not going to get ahead of myself here. But I think I am going to extend myself some grace and celebration this week in acknowledging that we are almost there. And with that, the website is up and nearly finished too. While we wait to take full photos of each room, here’s what I want to share, keep going. Whatever it is. Even if it isn’t a house. The peace that I did, although I tried not to, is filling me. The folks who are letting me know they’ve been encouraged are the ones holding my hand as we round this long and narrow corner. 

This is a short term rental, but I believe in its effort to give residencies, donations to a local farm supporting the formerly incarcerated, in its ability to allow others to vacation, to inspire, and more importantly to hold my own family. 

Our March and April bookings are open, in case you’re wanting to visit Upstate, NY. Come visit!

(photographs by Nina Barry)

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