Danskammer’s public rooms pay homage to the early Dutch who settled the Hudson Valley and to the influence of the Dutch East Indies Company under whose patronage Henry Hudson made his accidental voyage of discovery in 1609 of the Hudson River estuary. This voyage would lay the foundation for the future New Netherlands. Even after the English took control of the Dutch colony in 1664, the Dutch population retained many facets of its culture and expressed those values through traditions of food preparation, religious practice, political outlook, social tolerance, domestic architecture, place names, and language use. Nearby New Paltz, Kingston, and Hurley — and farther afield the Albany Institute of History and Art, the New York State Museum, and several historic mansions in the state capital — continue to safeguard important cultural artifacts of the Dutch emigré culture and its intermingling with other populations in the greater Hudson Valley.
Echoing Dutch culture, Danskammer’s living room is outfitted in shades of Delft blue and cream, and its walls are hung with ship paintings recalling the rich maritime culture of the Dutch trading companies and its local expression in river vessels plying the waters of the Hudson River.
The Hudson Valley also gave rise to a distinctive heritage of arts and letters that would help define a distinctive “new world” culture for the early American Republic. One seminal component of that evolving national heritage was a loose federation of 19th century artists commonly defined as the Hudson River School. Selected reproductions of their art work hang on Danskammer’s walls, much of it anchored in specific Hudson Valley landscapes which still evoke a distinctive time, place, and geography. Danskammer House borrows liberally in its interior design from these paintings and invokes the seasonal colors and luminous surfaces captured by these artists in their landscape paintings, most especially their plein-air infatuation with cloud-filled skies, crystalline waterways, verdant meadows, and mountain vistas, still cherished by outdoor enthusiasts who come to the Hudson Valley for hiking, climbing, and paddling in the great outdoors. To strengthen these connections, the inn’s public rooms and guest quarters have been named in honor of selected 19th century artists who belonged to the Hudson River School or who were affiliated landscape architects associated with Andrew Jackson Downing and his disciples.
Throughout the residence, the innkeepers have paid special attention to selecting lighting fixtures and ceiling medallions that evoke the ambiance of a fine town residence of the late 19th century. Likewise, the Windsor-arched, cast-iron fireplaces, period mantles, and tiled hearths have been retrofitted with electric inserts that still emulate the charm of that by-gone era. Guests can enjoy the sparkle and warmth of fires now conveyed by less dangerous, electronic technologies.