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Blue Hill at Stone Barns is a temple of farm-to-table cooking, located in the rural town of Pocantico Hills in Westchester County, New York. Before you visit this charming and romantic spot that celebrates the bounty of the season, here are five things to keep in mind:
1. There’s no menu per se. Rather, you’ll have three dinner options: a five-course meal for $108, an eight-course meal for $148 and a 12-course meal for $208. All three menus actually offer the same amount of food; where they differ is in the variety of options presented. Although you can state your culinary preferences and allergies, there's not much choice in what you’ll be served. The kitchen only serves what’s in season and ingredients harvested from the adjacent farm.
2. Plan to arrive at least an hour early to walk the grounds. The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurant is located at Stone Barns Center for Agriculture; visitors are welcomed to roam through the open-air greenhouses, gardens and livestock shelters. As long as you're wearing comfortable shoes, a stroll makes for a lovely prelude to dinner, not to mention helping you work up an appetite.
3. Blue Hill at Stone Barns is about a 30-minute drive from New York City. Valet parking is available, or you can take a 40-minute Metro North train ride to Tarrytown. Outside the station, you’ll hail a taxi for the 15-minute ride to the Hudson Valley restaurant.
4. The restaurant has a wonderful onsite concierge who can assist with any whim or need you may have, whether it’s assisting with local lodging and transportation, setting up an insider’s tour of the farm or providing you with additional information about historic landmarks.
5. Dine early. The five-course meal here takes about three hours to complete, while the 12-course meal can last about four hours. So, unless you want to get back home in the wee hours, it’s a good idea to seek an early reservation. The dining room is also at its prettiest during those hours when dusk dissolves to twilight and then fades to darkness — something you’ll witness as your meal and the evening progress.