Written by Carol Cheli
Historical content: Guy Cheli
A year ago, I wrote an article in the Summer 2021 issue of this magazine entitled: Threes a Charm: A COVID Experience” which was about the experience my daughter Jillian faced while planning to be married during the height of the Covid pandemic. Jillian and Paul were engaged and planned to be married on April 23rd 2021. Because of restrictions due to the pandemic their plans, the “Macro wedding” would have to be postponed until the following year, 2023. To briefly review, not wanting to wait to be married Jillian and Paul were married at Town Hall and what followed was a “Micro wedding” of immediate family of 9 that took place on the original wedding date in Montauk. After they exchanged their vows in front of God and our immediate family, we all went to Gurney’s restaurant for a celebratory dinner.
Fast forward to April 29th, 2022, the “Macro wedding” with 150 of their friends and family took place on schedule one year later at the beautiful venue, Le Chateau, in South Salem New York. Luckily, Covid didn’t impact the wedding, although it was a concern. Jillian’s dreams came true on that wonderful, historic, magical fairytale- like venue that every bride dreams of.
The venue itself can only be described as grand and elegant. The land was purchased by financier J. Pierpoint Morgan in the early 1900s, as a gift for Dr. William Stephen Rainsford, the former rector at St. George’s Episcopal Church in lower Manhattan and his wife. The stone Tudor-style building, originally called Savin Rock, was designed by Atterbury & Atterbury prominent architects at the time. The rooms are trimmed with cherry wood and oak. Doors of leaded glass lead out to magnificent flower gardens. Large windows frame the spectacular sunset. Massive stone fireplaces and a grand staircase leading to the second floor make this building truly a masterpiece. The Rainsfords lived at Savin Rock until his death in 1933, when the property was sold to Fredrick Samsone of Greenwich. The property was sold to a North Carolina real estate firm in 1960, with the idea that the house and 30 acres would become a Roman Catholic convent. The deal was never completed. In 1966, a group including Brooklyn Dodgers great Jackie Robinson proposed a golf and country club to be called Pleasant Valley, but the proposal was abandoned when a lawsuit was filed by disapproving neighbors. Another project to convert the property to a swim and tennis club never materialized either. For the next few years, the mansion and beautiful grounds languished and became a squatter’s haven, The Lozach family purchased the property in 1971, and restored the house and property to its original grandeur. In 1973 Le Chateau was created. The restaurant served the finest French cuisine, and with its lovely gardens and stunning westward views became a favorite destination of locals and travelers seeking fine French food and wine. In the fall of 2016, Fairfield Catering Group purchased the property. The lobby and cocktail areas were expanded and updated while maintaining its historic and antique charm and detail. In 2017 Le Chateau reopened exclusively for private events.