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Shopper’s Diary: A Botanical ‘Speakeasy’ in Freehold, New York

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Shopper’s Diary: A Botanical ‘Speakeasy’ in Freehold, New York

December 5, 2023

“We’re kind of a speakeasy shop,” says Todd Carr, describing Hort & Pott, the store he co-owns with his partner Carter Harrington. It’s an apt description for their unique, appointment-only shopping destination located in Freehold, New York, about 20 minutes west of Hudson. Filled primarily with handmade and vintage finds for the home and garden, the botanically focused shop is currently dressed up for the holidays. “It’s more like an event when people come. We have candles lit in the shop, there’s music playing and incense burning, and we have the fires going,” Carr says.

Carr and Harrington came to retail after careers as a garden editor and an interior/window display designer, respectively, when they moved out of New York City in 2016. Hort & Pott’s current location is the latest iteration of a business that has evolved over several years. Hort & Pott, short for horticulture and pottery, began as a series of pop-ups and later a more permanent installation in a barn in Oak Hill, New York. The newest shop is situated in a 1920 boarding house on a former dairy farm that the couple purchased in early 2020 and are slowly fixing up. 

Carr and Harrington hand-make many of items carried in the store, including seasonal wreaths and artful cement planters. Photograph by Mia Allen, courtesy of Hort & Pott.
Above: Carr and Harrington hand-make many of items carried in the store, including seasonal wreaths and artful cement planters. Photograph by Mia Allen, courtesy of Hort & Pott.

Hort & Pott’s business model is to open for four consecutive weekends during the Hudson Valley’s peak tourism seasons; then Carr and Harrington close up shop for a few weeks before the next four-week stretch. This unusual calendar is necessary because so much of their inventory is handmade and vintage that they need time to both source and make the products, like the seasonal wreaths ($100 to $200) and ornaments ($10 to $30) currently for sale. “We shut down and basically create new pieces and new displays for the next openings,” says Carr. The couple also stock items from other Hudson Valley artisans, like Laurel and Ash maple syrup, which is made by friends.

For 2023, Hort & Pott has also opened an online shop, which Harrington is gradually building up. “It’s a distilled version of what we have in the shop,” he says. But for the full experience—which in December includes hot apple cider, a fire in the outdoor firepit, and more candles than you can count—you’ll want to book a time slot to see the shop in-person (this weekend is the last one they’ll be open in 2023). Reservations are booked online on the half hour. “It’s very loose, too. It’s just meant to kind of help space people out, so it doesn’t become too crazy in the shop,” says Carter. 

If you miss your chance to snag a spot, they’ll be back in spring with potted bulbs and Easter decorations. In the meantime, here’s a tour of their store, decked out for the holidays.

Photography courtesy of Hort & Pott, unless otherwise noted.

Hort & Pott makes the faux bois planters that line the front walkway; prices range from \$75-\2\25.
Above: Hort & Pott makes the faux bois planters that line the front walkway; prices range from $75-225.
This year Hort & Pott has five Christmas trees decorated in the shop–each with its own theme.
Above: This year Hort & Pott has five Christmas trees decorated in the shop–each with its own theme.
Carr and Harrington found the antique mantle in a barn “way up on the mountain,” and say it influenced the interior concept for the shop.
Above: Carr and Harrington found the antique mantle in a barn “way up on the mountain,” and say it influenced the interior concept for the shop.
Every sense is activated when you walk through the store.
Above: Every sense is activated when you walk through the store.
Harrington scoured architectural salvage shops for old windows to use in the shop.
Above: Harrington scoured architectural salvage shops for old windows to use in the shop.
Hort & Pott is known for its artisanal wreaths, which range from \$\100 to \$\200. Many of the materials are foraged from the surrounding property.
Above: Hort & Pott is known for its artisanal wreaths, which range from $100 to $200. Many of the materials are foraged from the surrounding property.
The store sells both vintage and new ornaments with prices ranging from \$\10 to \$30.
Above: The store sells both vintage and new ornaments with prices ranging from $10 to $30.
Hort & Pott in the summer, when the store&#8\2\17;s palette turns green and lush.
Above: Hort & Pott in the summer, when the store’s palette turns green and lush.

For a tour of their former garden, see:

For other stores on our radar, see:

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