The B-52s’ Kate Pierson Is Selling Her Woodstock-Area Motel
“We got so much press, and everyone wanted to do an interview,” says Pierson, who operates the 10-unit hotel with her wife, Monica Coleman. “It’s all just been word-of-mouth.”
The couple has run the hotel since about 2004. Pierson stumbled across the 6.5-acre property a few years before that. “It was more or less temporary lodging at the time I bought it,” she says. “Before it had been run as a roadside hotel, and people would bring their trailers and fish because we’ve got incredible trout fishing.”
After renovating the rooms, shoring up the property’s infrastructure, and inviting paying customers, Pierson and Coleman have run the lodging with an eye toward fun rather than material gain.
“We’ve turned a profit, but let’s just say it’s a modest profit,” Pierson says. “We’re just renting it on weekends.” Both have other obligations: They also own two other getaways, Kate’s Lazy Desert in Landers, Calif., and Kate’s Lazy Cabin in Lake Hill, N.Y. Coleman is a ceramic artist, and Pierson still actively performs.
Given these obligations, the couple has decided to put Kate’s Lazy Meadow on the market, listing it fully furnished with Elizabeth Peters of Heather Croner Sotheby’s International Realty for $2.2 million. The property has 13 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms. “We thought, this is a time to pass the torch to someone who can really use its full potential,” Pierson says. “Hopefully, someone buys it as a family compound.”
Before she founded Kate’s Lazy Meadow, “I never had a vision of owning a hotel,” Pierson says. “Some people say, ‘I’ve always wanted to own some kind of lodging or hotel,’ but since I’ve stayed in a million hotels, it just wasn’t my dream.”
But driving down Route 28 in the Catskills one day, she saw a “for sale” sign and pulled over. “I went down to the creek, and I saw hummingbirds and goldfinches flying around and got enchanted with the land and got inspired,” she says.
Researching the property, Pierson discovered that it was built in 1952. “That’s sort of a magic number for me, obviously, and I was like, ‘Wow, this is my era. It’s going to be so much fun, it’s going to be ’50s retro.’”
At the time, Pierson had no experience running a hotel, but she had decades of experience staying in them. “All hotels I’ve ever been in, no matter how good they are, there’s always someone hammering in the room upstairs, or hammering someone else, and you can’t get a break—you can’t take a nap,” she says. “I wanted it to be low-key for people to feel like they’re in their own vacation hideaway.”
First, she had to put in an entirely new septic system. The property sits on Esopus Creek, which runs into the Ashokan Reservoir, which provides drinking water for New York City, so “the water is closely regulated,” Pierson explains. There were also new roofs that needed to be put on the buildings. Only then could Pierson turn to the rooms’ décor.
The property has three buildings which cover a total of 4,795 square feet. The largest building has eight bedrooms and six baths. Next is a building with three bedrooms and three baths; the smallest has two bedrooms and two baths.
To furnish all of this, Pierson already had some objects—she calls them “tchotchkes”—in storage that she’d purchased on tour. “Fred Schneider [of the B-52s] and I would go ‘tiquin’—as he called it—and we’d fight over stuff,” she says. “But it was mostly just small things.” Once she bought Kate’s Lazy Meadow, though, “I just shopped ’til I dropped,” she says. “It was so much fun.”
Each of the 10 guest units is unique and filled with midcentury-modern décor. “Some of it’s high, some is low, some of it is kitschy, some is Charles and Ray Eames,” she says. “And some of it is macramé owls.”
The overall aesthetic, she says, “is a midcentury-modern fantasy land.” There are VHS tapes in every room with “cabin in the woods horror movies,” and “each room is so carefully curated, it’s just so sort of perfect,” she says.
The “staff” has always consisted of a single cleaning person, Pierson says. “At the beginning, we had someone who turned out to be a narcoleptic,” she explains. “We were always wondering why he had a bandage on his head.” Next came a friend of hers who’s “a drag queen,” she says. “He would do the housekeeping in drag and leave an envelope with tips that said, ‘Mama needs a new wig.’”
“It could be filled all the time,” Pierson says. “Winter is tough up here, and things close down, but lately we’ve had people who just want to rent all year round.”
The property could still function as a motel, but it could truly shine as some sort of family compound, Pierson says. “Everyone can have their own space and make their own coffee in the morning,” she says, “but it’s a place where everyone can gather.”
One point of clarification: “We’re not selling the brand or the name, because we still have Lazy Desert and Lazy Cabin,” Pierson says. “We’re not completely out of the business.”
The sale, though, is an indication of where Pierson says her true priorities lie. “I believe that this is something we could have franchised and made into something more and expanded the brand and done a product line,” she says. “But we’re just much more interested in doing our artwork.”
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