By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to ALLOTSEGO.COM
FLY CREEK – Kellie Dupuis and Kelly Hart don’t just want the Inn at Fly Creek to be for visitors.
They want it to be for everyone.
This summer, the Town of Otsego estate atop Bedbug Hill will be rented out to Dreams Park families.
But “what interests us most about this property is hosting weekend events,” said Kellie. “Wine tastings, bridal fairs, Ommegang events, Octoberfests – we want to use it for the community. It’s too beautiful not to share.”
Dupuis and Hart, both from the Albany area, are the face of the investment team that purchased the former B&B Ranch at auction last November.
“My husband” – Kevin Kelly – “came up and looked at it, and we got involved. Now I’m learning how to be a country girl!”
Today’s inn was developed by Ralph Chamberlain as his own state in the 1980s and ’90s. A successful public relations consultant in New Jersey, he retired here and played leadership roles in fundraising for Bassett Hospital’s clinic building, and for Glimmerglass Opera and Hartwick College, as well as operating Fly Creek’s popular Sportsman’s Tavern, where NYCAMH is now.
Chamberlain undertook extensive renovations, adding the master bathrooms to every suite, the indoor pool and stables, all of which are still in use. He passed away in 1999.
In the first years of this century, the property belonged to Jim Johnson, who owned stations in three counties as an owner of the Oneonta-based BanJo radio group, now Townsquare Media.
In 2012, Johnson sold the property to James Giombetti, a businessman from the Philadelphia area, who created the B&B Ranch, a leisure club and B&B for members that included a restaurant.
The property was foreclosed on last year, and put up for auction in November. Though listed at $2.7 million, it was purchased on New Year’s Eve day by Francis J. Clifford, East Greenbush, for $975,000. His partners include Kelly Hart’s husband, Eric, and Dupuis husband Kevin Kelly.
“Selfishly, we’d like to keep it for ourselves!” said Dupuis. “We haven’t missed a weekend up here since we bought it. We would work all day and then sit in the living room watching the sun set.”
In all, the house has eight bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, a commercial kitchen and a full kitchen, an indoor pool, a sauna and a Jacuzzi. “The house is huge,” said Hart. “If you’re wearing a FitBit, it’s easy to get your 10,000 steps in!”
Though the building itself was in good condition, Dupuis said many of the “mechanicals” needed work, and a heating system, pool liner and dehumidifier were added, as well as appliances and furniture.
“We were sleeping on air mattresses at first,” she said. “But we had a lot of fun nights ‘camping.’”
The suites are all named – the Adirondack Room and the Fenimore Room, as well as the Sunset Room, which Dupuis said offers the house’s best view.
The inn will no longer include a restaurant, but both the commercial and the house kitchen were left intact, so visitors are welcome to cook or bring in a caterer. “Staffing isn’t in our plan,” said Dupuis.
But guests won’t be lonely. Fly Creek’s Taylortown Equine is boarding its 22 horses at the stables, and offering trail rides around the 335 acres, which include waterfall and woods trails.
And if horses aren’t your scene, you can always visit with the Alpacas. “Christine Vuolo” – of Connemara Farms – “gave us her alpacas,” said Hart. “They’re a real attraction and they’re good for the pastures. We’re going to breed a couple too.”
There are also tennis courts, a basketball court and hiking trails.
This summer, the partners intend to rent the whole house to Dreams Park families, rather than run it as a bed and breakfast, renting individual rooms. “It’s the quickest way to get people in here,” said Hart.
But in the future, they hope to market the property to brides looking for a beautiful place to get married. “We could very easily see a bride getting her picture taken in front of these views,” said Hart. “The sunsets really are the most beautiful sunsets you will ever see.”