7. The Vegetarian Hotel

A wooden chair decays in the pool of a Borscht Belt resort
Outdoor Pool, Vegetarian Hotel, Woodridge, NY.Photo by Marisa Scheinfeld from The Borscht Belt: Revisiting the Remains of America’s Jewish Vacationland

The Vegetarian Hotel in Woodridge, New York was, unsurprisingly, a hotel for those who wanted meatless alternatives. A postcard from the hotel reads “For health and pleasure. Enjoy wholesome meatless meals, health lectures, all sports, heated swimming pool, free boating, solarium, entertainment and band, folk dancing, luxurious accommodations. Special diet, spa-like atmosphere.”

The hotel was founded by Fannie Shafer, a Russian immigrant who relocated to the Catskills after her workplace burnt down in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, in the early 1900s. The hotel was thriving by the 1940s under her leadership and eventually the leadership of her son, Verb Konviser. The hotel closed down in the late 1980s.