She was only 14 years old, but Eileen Hartmann was already making a buck while working at the Cromwell Manor Historic Inn in Cornwall. Exactly a buck.
“I got paid a dollar a day making beds and I was happy about it,” she says.
Today, Eileen owns the bed and breakfast on Angola Road and she’s happy about that, too.
“I grew up right across the street from this building, sometimes we would play over here,” she says. “When it came on the market in 2011, I made an offer and bought it.”
The historic manor was built 200 years ago by David Cromwell as his family farmhouse.
“He was a gentleman farmer and this property had more than 800 acres at one point,” Eileen says. “The Sutherland House is also on the property. It was built in 1764. Originally it was a tavern and the Cromwell family lived there while the manor house was being built.”
Eileen was born in Queens in 1959, but moved to Cornwall with her family when she was only 6.
“My parents came up here every August until they decided to relocate here permanently,” she says. “My dad worked for AT&T and my mom worked as a baker at Cornwall High and was well known for her peanut butter cookies.”
Eileen graduated from Cornwall, the old high school on Main Street, in 1977.
She received her associate degree in business management from Orange County Community College, her bachelor’s degree in business administration from SUNY Oswego and a certificate in sports and special event management from NYU.
Somewhere along the way she went to work for an accounting firm in Manhattan and in 1994, she started her own business called the Hartmann Management Group.
“I started out handling the financial needs and staffs for wealthy people,” she says. “And I’m still doing that today.”
Eileen would spend weekdays living in Manhattan and weekends in Cornwall.
“It was the best of both worlds. I had a city life and a nice laid-back country life as well,” she says. “But as you get older, your responsibilities change.”
In 2005, her father passed away and she ended up spending more time with her mother.
“My sister lives in New Zealand and my brother lives in Texas, so it was me,” Eileen says. “My mother passed away in 2015.”
Do management skills help her with running a bed and breakfast?
“There was definitely a learning curve, but was similar to what I was already doing,” she says. “But hospitality is an interesting industry because you get to meet all kinds of wonderful people.”
“We get people from all over the world here,” she says. “Storm King Arts Center visitors in the summer and West Point families all year round.”
So, does she still make beds?
“I have staff that does that, but I do on occasion!”
John DeSanto is a freelance photojournalist. Find more of his 845LIFE stories, photos and videos at recordonline.com. Reach John at firstname.lastname@example.org