At the New Pridwin on Shelter Island, Character Lives On

Behind The Hedges magazine, 2022, year in review, The Pridwin, Shelter Island
After a two-year renovation, the Pridwin has opened for the summer 2022 season.
Tria Giovan

Over the ferry to Shelter Island, down at the end of Crescent Beach, sits a classic American resort called the Pridwin. For much of its 95 years it has remained the same — a large main building overlooking the Peconic Bay across to Greenport, cottages dotting the seven acres, a casual restaurant where the fire department would hold its annual dinner.

After 60 years of running the hotel, the Petry family has taken on a partner, Cape Resorts, to achieve an impressive two-year renovation and restoration, which is being unveiled this summer, just as Shelter Island is undergoing a transformation and being re-discovered, if you will.

The Petrys know the property’s potential as a luxury year-round destination resort. Cape Resorts, which runs Baron’s Cove in Sag Harbor, has helped them realize a longstanding dream, with a more contemporary approach and state-of-the-art services and amenities, while also preserving character and tradition. “It’s just got such a heritage,” says Curtis Bashaw, the managing partner of Cape Resorts.

“It’s sort of iconic — its campus that’s seven acres on the water with the docks, the pool. It’s really a destination resort in the fullest sense of the word.”

The 49-room waterfront hotel includes four floors in the main house, where there are two floors for guest rooms and two for public areas, along with 16 individual, freestanding private cottages with fireplaces. There is a pool, a full-service spa and a restaurant, as well as a private beach with 120-foot east and west docks that offer a full bar and food services, as well as water activities, such as sailing and fishing.

The Pridwin, Shelter Island
The Pridwin in 1937, the year it opened.Courtesy of the Pridwin

Deep History

Glenn Petry, the current owner, says the Pridwin first opened in 1927 and his grandparents Fred and Mildred Petry started visiting it in the early 1930s. “They were actually patrons of the hotel through the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s,” he explains.

Glenn’s father and mother, Dick and Edie Petry, were married in 1957 and while working in New York City, “my father had one eye looking out to escape the city,” he says. “My grandfather noticed that the Pridwin was for sale in 1960-61,” and he offered to invest in it if his son would do the work.

“So my father and his best friend at the time, Paul Mobius — they went to the Merchant Marine Academy together — partnered up and took over the Pridwin in 1961. The first season they ran it was in ‘62.”

The Pridwin, Shelter Island
The Pridwin and its dock as seen in a photo in 1957.Courtesy of the Pridwin

Glenn grew up on Shelter Island and worked at the Pridwin in the summer. “I took a bit of a hiatus after college . . .I was not involved in the hotel for many years.” That is until his father was ready to semi-retire around 2000, after running the hotel for 38 years.

Glenn was introduced to Bashaw about five years ago. “I heard what he had done to Congress Hall. It was precisely the type of thing that we had always hoped to do at the Pridwin because, the Pridwin has always been super seasonal, you know? My father expanded it when he first took it over. It went from Memorial Day to Labor Day and it was over. He was able to expand it to six months with weddings and things on the weekends, in the off-season.”

But, Petry knew there was even more potential. “I’ve always just felt the property to be magic.”

The family visited Bashaw’s Cape May property, full for the holidays with its decorated ballroom and Christmas buffet. The visit convinced even Glenn’s father.

The Pridwin, Shelter Island
The main house, though completely renovated, has maintained the hotel’s image of classic Adirondack summer camps.Courtesy of the Pridwin

“The island kind of has always bent towards the North Fork. But the most recent pressures on the island have come from the South Fork,” Petry says. “I think my dad was eager to kind of keep it bending to the north.” He didn’t want it to lose its character.

“The beauty of what we’re doing right now is we are keeping the same number of rooms and the same number of seats in the restaurant. There’s not any kind of additional use to the property,” he says.

Some of the space is being used differently. They sacrificed some rooms to make other rooms larger, but they also gained a few cottages. “We end up at the same number of accommodations, but just using the land differently, because we did have space to grow.

“There will be more guests, which will be better for the island too, because it’ll be people visiting in the off-season, which is like the goose that lays the golden egg for so many small businesses.”

One of the things Glenn also liked was that he saw Congress Hall is a source of pride for the Cape May community and that is his hope for the Pridwin. “She gets her makeover and Shelter Island will be very proud again.”

Cape Resorts is a leading regional hospitality investment and management company with a portfolio of nine resort properties in New York and New Jersey, including a collection of hotels in Cape May, NJ, such as the historic Congress Hall, which is 204 years old.

Bashaw plans to extend the hotel’s season as they have done elsewhere.

“Curtis had kind of cracked the code on that at Congress Hall and he had also done an absolutely stunning restoration of that hotel,” says Glenn.

“We’re confident in that we’ve done that in the other markets where we’ve been,” Bashaw says, adding that Congress Hall had a season of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend at first. “Then Memorial Day through Columbus Day, and we’ve now turned it into a year-round destination, filling up with weekend getaway folks all year long. And we think that the Pridwin, because of its size and the public spaces that it has both inside and outside, we’ll be able to really push the season through the holidays here.”

Eventually, he hopes it will be open year-round.

The Pridwin, Shelter Island
Custom rag rugs in ivories and blues adorn the guest rooms.Tria Giovan

“This has eight times as much public space as Baron’s Cove,” Bashaw says. “We have three fireplaces in the public spaces of Pridwin; the main lobby, the bar area and then outside on the covered terrace. So we think we can create a cozy winter destination vibe,” he continues. “We’ve got the nook on the landing. We’ve got the main lobby. We’ve got the lower lobby. We’ve got a game room. We’ve got the bar. You’ve got plenty of places to hang out, even if it’s a blustery weekend.”

The hotel at Baron’s Cove, which underwent a major renovation in 2014, closes for five weeks in January and is open just before Valentine’s Day. The restaurant remains open at least every weekend and its season has also been extended each year.

He believes it is the generosity of space and the grounds that set the Pridwin apart, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

“I’ve been observing and coming out to the East End for 30 years and have always loved Shelter Island,” Bashaw says, adding it’s exciting to see what else is going on on Shelter Island.

The Chequit, a 150-year-old hotel and restaurant in Shelter Island Heights, just underwent a renovation overseen by Stacey Soloviev, in partnership with Soloviev Group, the parent company of Crossroads America, whose CEO is Stacy’s billionaire ex-husband Stefan Soloviev — one of the nation’s largest landowners. The Ram’s Head Inn also changed hands last year.

Glenn Petry agrees. “Everywhere you look there’s something of significance happening,” he says. “Some of the old places are turning over and getting renovated and then a bank turning into a restaurant,” referring to the plans from Valerie Mnuchin and her father Robert. Her brother is Steven Mnuchin, the Secretary of the Treasury during the Trump administration.

“I think the ferry will always maintain the special character” of the island, Glenn Petry says.

The Pridwin, Shelter Island
A breathtaking water view from the Pridwin’s pool deckTria Giovan

Mix of New and Old

Colleen Bashaw, the vice president of Design for Cape Resorts and Curtis’ sister, oversaw the property’s re-design, described as “playful, yet classic and casual with an eclectic mix of old and new” to achieve the feel of a timeless seaside resort.

“With the distinctly beautiful landscape of Shelter Island, our aesthetic for The Pridwin builds upon the hotel’s image of classic Adirondack summer camps and cottages,” Colleen Bashaw says.

They kept the exterior white with its signature hunter-green window casements. “It’s important to all of us that The Pridwin still feels like somewhere people can ‘return’ to, where they can relive their fond memories while also creating new ones,” she adds.

The upper lobby’s reception and concierge area feature original wainscoting and hardwood floors. Three dramatic chandeliers were salvaged from the 1927 dining room. She repurposed classic pieces, from the original wicker furniture in the lounge to the original china.

The Pridwin, Shelter Island
Guest rooms feature brushed oak cannonball beds with rope trim.Tria Giovan

In the lower lobby below, there is a separate check-in area with a lounge and convenience shop called “Edie’s,” named after the Pridwin’s late matriarch. A “history hall” features photographs, original property signage, old room keys and hotel mementos from the past 95 years.

The Sea Spa is also located on this level, complete with three treatment rooms and a hammam, a type of steam bath.

The main dining room and adjoining Crescent Bar, which will serve fresh fish and seafood, feature wood and teal banquettes with hand-painted checkerboard floors, as well as candy red, white and pink cabana stripe awnings over the bar areas and window valances. A double-sided fireplace extends towards the porch lounge and outside dining areas that provide views of the water. We also hear the Pridwin’s beloved freshly baked breakfast donuts are making a comeback.

In the hotel rooms, guests will find custom rag rugs in ivories and blues and hand-brushed oak cannonball beds with rope trim.

The 16 private cottages, ranging from studios to two-bedroom duplexes, are named after the variety of trees found on the island, such as Frasier, Black Cherry, Red and White Oak and Hickory. Each boasts a wood-burning fireplace, a kitchenette and a private deck with a water view.

This article appeared in the July 2022 edition of Behind The Hedges. Read the full digital edition here. Read previous “At Home in the Hamptons” features here