My name is: Kristin Soong Rapoport.
I live in: Brooklyn, NY.
I’m known for being: Managing Partner, Wildflower Farms.
I'm talking about: Wildflower Farms, Auberge Resorts Collection, Hudson Valley.
Before I started working on this, I was: Working on Wall Street.
My interest was sparked when: I’m originally from Northern California and started coming to the Hudson Valley to rock climb on the Shawangunk Ridge. We eventually bought a house at the base of the Ridge and became friends with some local young farmers who taught us how to grow our own food, herbs and flowers and make teas and salves. We saw how our friends and family embraced our life in the Hudson Valley and wanted to share the area and the knowledge we were growing with more people.
The idea behind it is: We conceived of and built Wildflower Farms as a place for people to gather just outside of New York City, but to feel a natural world away. The entire 141-acre property is oriented around a breathtaking view of the Shawangunk Mountains. The wood, stone, ceramics and fabrics used were carefully selected to harmonize with the natural environment. We brought in Auberge Resorts to run the property at a luxury level. The result is a very special property where guests can hike, take foraging and botanical baking classes or experience the healing power of shinrin yoku forest bathing.
My favorite lesser known detail is: There are over three miles of trails that surround the property, passing through orchards, fields, farm and woodlands. If you take the Whiskey Trail that connects Wildflower Farms to the Hudson Whiskey distillery, there is a quiet detour that reveals the Natural Playground. This secluded space was inspired by the living, sculptural hills of Maya Lin's Wavefield at Storm King Arts Center and intentionally developed at a scale to appeal to children and adults alike. Two ancient boulders cast off from the Shawangunk Mountains mark the spot and encourage free play.
A moment of true retreat happened for me here when: We maintain a flock of Icelandic sheep on property that came to us from a loving farmer who could not take care of them anymore. We have natural predators like bear and coyote in our region and needed a way to protect the flock. Some local farmers recommended getting donkeys to protect the heritage breed sheep, chickens and pigs that we raise. Shortly after the donkeys arrived, the jenny gave birth to a tiny foal. She did this overnight, unobserved in the pasture and without any complications. It was miraculous and I move through the property with a new-found feeling of protection.
Escaping is so important for all of us because: Nature restores us like nothing else can. The wild plant life here has been evolving for millennia and being in it puts you at ease and makes you stronger and more resilient. Retreating in nature restores innate wisdom and ancient rhythms and allows you to come back into your daily life more attuned to what matters and what truly sustains you.
The words I live by are: There is a true self in everyone that moves through life with grace and ease. At some point, you just have to leave behind the familiar and trust that revealing the whole you will allow the most powerful and inspiring you to be embraced.
One truth that is so important, but people don’t always realize is: It’s very easy to make someone’s day.