Driving down Route 30 toward Roxbury, New York, has many perks—beautiful foliage, rolling hills dotted with grazing cattle, and pristine open spaces—but if you make a quick turn up Scudder Hill road before hitting the village, you may see something a bit odd. Neon sculptures of angels, cherubs, and a bright cobalt blue Mother Mary peer down at you along the gravel driveway leading to two massive German Black Forest doors. These unusual attractions are a sign you’ve found Villa Sposa, otherwise known as Villa Shalom.
The house once belonged to Robert “Father Bob” Purcell, a pastor in the small village of Margaretville, New York. Seemingly a pillar of the community, years after he retired the Albany Diocese’s Sexual Misconduct Review Board found “reasonable grounds to believe” that Purcell had sexually abused minors, and he was removed from the priesthood. After Purcell and his mother both died, and the villa was gifted to a convent of Messianic nuns who used it as a summer retreat for a few short years. Eventually, the building was put up for sale and the wilderness began to overtake it until it caught the eye of a local entrepreneur.
Reborn as Villa Sposa in the winter of 2019, the building was scrubbed down and renovated, though it still retains eccentric touches. It has since become the first and only micro resort in the area, and is available for nightly rentals or intimate events and performances. However, perhaps a more intriguing aspect of the villa’s rebirth lies in its secretive supper club known as the Velvet Society.
Not much is known about the mysterious club—photography is strictly prohibited during their events, and their social media accounts are all private. What is known is that each dinner party is specifically themed, and invitations are incredibly hard to come by. Perhaps, if you are vacationing in that neck of the woods, you may stumble across one of their events and get invited inside, though you would be sworn to secrecy about it.
Know Before You Go
Visitors are more than welcome to request a tour. It is also available for nightly booking through the villa's personal website or AirBnb.