Thanksgiving is closing in. For some people, the holiday piles on the pressure to nail it in the hospitality department. But how can you take your entertaining and hosting prowess to the next level?
For starters, you could try to be the one to snag Martha Stewart’s Thanksgiving-Inspired Farm Stay. The upcoming Booking.com vacation listing will be for one night only on the Saturday before Thanksgiving (that’s November 18). Surely the chance to meet Martha Stewart while spending the night in her Bedford, New York, farm’s Tenant House would give you a lifetime of domestic cred.
“It’s a charming place right amidst beautiful gardens next to my big original greenhouse,” she told CNN Travel about the standalone, 1,800-square-foot guesthouse with two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
The Tenant House sits on the property of Stewart’s primary residence, a 153-acre Westchester County farm called Cantitoe Corners that she bought in 2000 for a reported $15.2 million.
“Whoever the lucky couple is, I think they will have a lovely time and be entranced with the charm of Bedford. … the whole township is just beautiful,” Stewart said, adding that the ginkgo trees have just turned golden and fall foliage is currently peaking.
When the Martha Stewart booking opens
In the one-off Booking.com collaboration, would-be guests can try to book the overnight stay on a first-come, first-served basis when the booking window opens at noon ET November 16. The one-night stay comes two days later on November 18.
The collaboration with Martha Stewart marks the first time the domestic doyenne is opening up her guest house to the public this way for a stay, she said.
After Stewart’s nieces and other family members enjoyed staying in vacation rentals during travels to places such as Germany, India and the Catskills in New York state, it piqued her own interest, Stewart said.
“I’ve been interested in it from an investment standpoint as well as from a personal standpoint,” Stewart said about the kind of vacation rental technology that Booking.com offers in addition to its inventory of hotel stays and other accommodations.
This is not the first time Booking.com has worked with celebrities and made their residences available for reservations.
Mariah Carey and Sarah Jessica Parker have collaborated with the brand, offering stays in a New York City penthouse and Hamptons hideaway, respectively. And Booking has also brought sitcoms such as “The Office” and “Friends” to life via vacation rentals during promotions.
Priced at just $11.23 for the night to honor Thanksgiving’s date this year, the farm stay, one of 7.3 million reported listings of homes, apartments and other unique places to stay on the site, can be reserved the same way as any other overnight stay on Booking.com. Just follow the prompts on the site to input your personal details and payment information.
“We’re excited to offer this incredible travel experience at Martha Stewart’s iconic farm as one of the amazing home properties on Booking.com that guests can book,” said Angela Cavis, head of communications in North America for Booking.com.
A full itinerary catered by Stewart awaits
For a maximum of two people, the overnight experience includes a full itinerary created by Stewart that’s designed to share her favorite Thanksgiving-inspired and fall traditions.
“We have so many experts in our company. And to have a Thanksgiving-inspired weekend for these guests, we thought it would be great,” she said.
Stewart said her team is similarly interested in “this kind of hospitality business that Booking.com is involved with.”
“It’s so popular now, and we are always avant-garde about new technology and new types of businesses,” she said.
Check-in starts at 10 a.m., and guests will kick off their stay with a welcome tour of the “fall-ready” Tenant House as well as a guided tour of the property alongside her head gardener, Ryan McCallister.
Stops include Stewart’s Instagram-famous chicken coop, home to more than 200 chickens (hard-boiled eggs are among the snacks she often takes along on flights, according to Stewart), as well as the farm’s gardens and stables.
Guests can get Thanksgiving-ready for their own celebrations while learning the ins and outs of wreath-making and table-setting skills during a demo with Kevin Sharkey, executive vice president, executive director of design of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Stewart said Sharkey has been with her for more than 28 years and is well-known for his table settings and holiday decorations.
A little Martha time
For those looking for one-on-one time with Stewart, 82, the highlight of the stay might be brunch with her at her Maple Avenue House on the property, which doubles as the set for her Roku show “Martha Cooks.” The meal will be prepared by James Beard award-winning chef Thomas Joseph, executive vice president, culinary of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.
The experience will also include airport transfers through Booking.com, welcome snacks and an off-property lunch and dinner at restaurants recommended by Stewart, including The Inn at Pound Ridge by Jean-Georges, as well as signed copies of her cookbooks, among other goodies.
And when you’re ready for some exercise, Stewart suggests county park Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, right down the road from her farm. And she says guests may also enjoy observing the many animals on her property.
Inside the guesthouse
Images from the Booking.com listing hint at the comforts that await guests at the Tenant House, where they’re in for an inviting if brief getaway (check out is between 11 a.m. and noon November 19).
Plenty of windows bring natural light flowing into the cozy cottage, which was the original and first building on the property and dates to 1884.
Surrounded by beautiful gardens, it has a kitchen with open shelves, an espresso maker and farmhouse sink and cozy furnishings throughout in mostly neutral tones, with splashes of color.
The listing mentions such amenities as free private parking for one car, Wi-Fi, a kitchen, terrace, garden and flat-screen TV and states that children, pets and smoking are not allowed.
It’s worth reading “the fine print” at the bottom of the listing before trying to reserve your stay. It states that guests must be 21 or older and will be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement and are subject to security screening before entering the property.
Guests are not permitted to prepare their own meals (all meals are provided).
Mind your manners at the manor
As expected in a place where manners matter, guests must “behave as good citizens during their stay and be cooperative with all the staff present on the premises,” according to the listing.
For conversation starters with Stewart should you land the stay, you might consider asking about the style of turkey she plans to prepare for Thanksgiving this year (one will be a parchment-wrapped bird, she said) or the new recipe she just developed for a crumb-topped apple pie – an alternative to her famous mile high apple pie.
“It’s a delicious, delicious pie and something you could learn to make prior to Thanksgiving,” she said, teasing the recipe that will be posted on TikTok and Instagram soon.
She may have other tips for your celebration, too. While a perfect holiday “is possible, it doesn’t always happen,” Stewart said.
“Have a menu pre-chosen prior to the holidays. You can set the table a week in advance, but make it festive,” she said. “Set yourself a timetable and check it off as you get your tasks accomplished.”
The topic of travel is always a good bet for friendly chit-chat with someone who has seen this much of the world, too.
Stewart just returned from a trip to Mumbai, India, and is hoping to visit Vietnam soon, with many places still on her list.
“My whole travel plan for the next 40 years or so, however long I’ll be traveling, is basically where I haven’t seen yet,” she said. “I’ve been to many, many, many places. But I’m always curious about places I haven’t been.”
Terry Ward is a Florida-based travel writer and freelance journalist in Tampa who has traveled many places but never to Bedford, New York.
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