Most visitors do not think to look at the south wall of the building. If they did they would see the old fading sign that reads
“ A. Schoonmaker, Tailor Shop”.
The building that houses The Village TeaRoom, Restaurant & Bake Shop was built in 1833 by Alderd Schoonmaker. A simple trade’s man’s shop it was moved to its present location in 1914 from its original site somewhere on Plattekill Ave. Alderd Schoonmaker served the tailoring needs of the people of New Paltz until his retirement in 1881. Several other businesses were conducted in the building until the 1970’s when the Fairweather family built an addition joining the original building to an adjacent structure, creating two, one bedroom apartments. These apartments had many occupants over the years, judging by the amount of former tenants who have dropped in for tea or dinner since the opening.
During the process of turning a dwelling into an eatery and complying with the village code and all that entails much of the original structure was changed. Hand hewn beams while dripping with character were also riddled with powder post beetle damage. After a thorough dousing and sealing, most were saved and placed back in the ceiling decoratively. Other beautiful old wood was recycled into counters, trim and shelves. Stan’z Salvage in Kingston provided old doors and an “old” new interior stairs that was fashioned from a mish mash of newel post, hand rail and balusters.
Original old doors found in the attic were so small they could be used only as closet doors.
Linoleum was used for the flooring. This newly fashionable flooring is green and eco-conscious as it is made with linseed oil and flax, has natural anti-bacterial properties and no off-gassing. Its retro appeal honours the humble history of the building and it came in a great vintagey ruby colour.
The Fairweather Family’s contribution to the story of this building is acknowledged by naming the main dining room The Fairweather Room. Upstairs is The Schoonmaker Room in honour of the tailor who began it all.
As this venerable old building enters a new chapter in its history The Village Tearoom Restaurant & Bake Shop is honoured to be caretakers on the journey.