In the charming hamlet of Port Henry, a new establishment has opened to fill the needs of visitors coming to enjoy the Adirondacks.
If you are ready to stop for the night, the Village Inn offers immaculate lodging that lands squarely between a hotel and a bed and breakfast. If you just need a bite to eat, then the Red Brick Café will fix you up with a tasty panini and the best espresso around.
Travelers can now better plan their journey knowing there is a welcoming spot not far off the Northway and right on route 9N.
The day I stopped in, Tim Bryant greeted us from behind the counter. Tim is the owner of the Village Inn and the Red Brick Café and has done extensive renovations on the historic building to make it the swankest spot for miles around. Tim realized that 9N is a major thoroughfare that has few accommodations along the way.
Large numbers of visitors come through this region, either while following the scenic Adirondack Coast shoreline, entering the Adirondacks from Vermont via the Lake Champlain Bridge, coming off of nearby Interstate 87 (the Northway), or stepping off of Amtrak's Adirondack Line at the Port Henry Station.
His plan has always been to provide accommodations for these underserved travelers, and I expect that even he is surprised that his enterprise is becoming a destination in itself.
The Red Brick Café offers breakfast and lunch fare. The food is top-notch, made with quality ingredients, and prepared to perfection. One thing you should know in advance - they make dessert crépes that are amazing, so save room!
The manager, Timur Dzhambinov, will most likely be the person making your panini and pulling your espresso. He oversees every aspect of the Red Brick Cafe, from the menu to the sourcing of the ingredients. Timur is also a world-class photographer, and his stunning photos grace the walls of the café.
I’ll admit it, I’m an espresso snob. I don’t beat anyone over the head with my snobbery, I just know when espresso is good and when it is bad. There is so much bad espresso in the world that one tends to be content with any espresso that is just so-so. Then, you taste good espresso, I mean GOOOOD espresso, and you remember! Coffee distilled to an intense essence, all the flavors of the bean unbound an instant before you taste it. Yessssssssss.
The Red Brick Café’s is hands down the best espresso you will have in your travels, and I don’t care where you are coming from. Port Henry is blessed with this miracle (cue the angelic choir sound clip). Having said that, I have a little confession. Timur has ruined me for espresso. His latté is so good, I can’t remember the last time I actually ordered a plain old espresso. Milk stretched with steam to make a perfect level of sweetness to balance the strength of the espresso - it is just soooo good!
My wife and I ordered well-balanced meals on our visit. I had a medium latté and a giant chocolate chocolate-chip muffin and she had hot cocoa and cheesecake. Hey, sometimes you gotta remember you can do anything you want once you’re an adult!
Andrea advises “Every day, once a day, give yourself a present…” I’m not sure where she picked up that sage advice from, but I’m inclined to agree.
The Red Brick Café is a relaxed atmosphere, with natural light flooding in from the huge windows that look out upon the wooden deck and Port Henry’s Main Street. A system of old-timey belt-driven fans whir silently overhead and no matter where you sit you can enjoy the art gallery vibe while you eat. The music selections are eclectic and contemporary, with a world beat flavor, ideal to set the tone for your experience.
While you are there be sure to check out the selection of locally made items, such as hand-turned bowls and honey from our nearby apiaries, and also browse the unique imported food items such as my favorite, roasted buckwheat groats!
An exceptional gallery of photos were on hand to enjoy while we ate.
For folks in a hurry, there is a self-serve to-go coffee station. Their awesome coffee in your hand and out the door before you can say “Jack Flash”- Hey! don’t forget to pay!
The second story of the building is the Village Inn, where four rooms are available to guests. The recent renovations carefully preserved the historic character of the original building while providing modern amenities. There is something comforting about ascending the wide stairway to the ancient newel post and banister at the top of the stairs.
The rooms are large, clean, and furnished with unique and colorful trappings.
Let’s face it, we judge our stay at any hotel by the bathrooms. The Village Inn bathrooms are huge. I’ve been in hotel rooms smaller than these bathrooms, and they are well lit and clean.
The bathtub/showers are also roomy, and spotless.
Whether you are bicycling your way along the Adirondack Coast on a leisurely trek, or zooming down the Northway on a whirlwind tour from Canada to Florida, you will find the Red Brick Café and the Village Inn to be a convenient stop on the way. Boasting superb accommodations and fare, once you have visited, you just might make it your destination next time around!
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