I love Bell-ans because Bell-ans is all about the love. I see it every day, I hear it every day, and I know how incredibly blessed I am to be able to “come to work” here. To be surrounded by artists, entrepreneurs, goats, chickens, ducks, horses, a pig and a peacock? To look towards Clausland Mountain as the sun comes up, and to see the radiant glow of the great lawn at dusk? Yes, blessed.
But even more that all that, I am a lucky woman to be married to an amazing man, James Dodge, who took on the development and management of the Bell-ans property and vintage buildings when his father tragically passed in a race car accident. James is an artist and gave up his education in film making in order to continue his family’s legacy and tradition. His amazing mom, Catherine, lives a beautiful life on the property in her historic red stone house, one of the finest examples in America of Dutch Colonial architecture.
Like James, Catherine has contributed to the community, actively helping people and adding her own voice and vision to Orangetown, which is only half an hour away from New York City, but still rural in some places despite the tremendous building and growth over the last hundred years.
Bell-ans is one of the remaining “green spots” in Rockland County that is so large it appears to be a public park, but is in fact privately owned by the Dodge family, privately preserved and privately improved by the family. That said, many locals and new citizens in Rockland love Bell- ans and stop by to visit the “farm,” enjoy the horses trotting about in the paddocks run by West Carbery Stables. They visit the artists in their studios, the businesses in their unique office spaces, are healed, practice yoga, and treat their children to art classes, the sweetest birthday parties, and amazing art exhibitions, openings, and celebrations on the lawn.
I am so in love with all these loves of my life, so grateful to be part of such a visionary and generous family, and to be the mother of our son Andrew, who is an artist in his own right. Life is good – and love is great at Bell-ans – “The Beautiful Years.”
With love and gratitude,