Simple old Polish cuisine, dominated by fresh local products and own vegetables as well as a menu depending on the seasons and seasonal fruit, vegetables and mushrooms, eastern hospitality, beauty and closeness to nature – these are the main advantages of the place. The buildings of Zaścianek manor are located only 100 meters from each other, in the Podlaski Przełom Bugu Landscape Park and the Natura 2000 Area.
SLOW LIFE IDEA
“I had a dream, a small guest house in the Bieszczady Mountains’- says Zbyszek. Meanwhile, by accident, he and his wife Elżbieta bought a plot of land in Borsuki with a small house for the family in mid. They also purchased a wooden presbytery from 1923 in the village of Neple, founded by the Niemcewiecz family. It turned out to be in such good condition that it could be completely reconstructed for several guest rooms and the fulfilment of youthful dreams. They called this place “Zaścianek”. Friends started to come here, then other acquaintances and the first guests enchanted with the place. The rectory began to bustle with life again and smell like home cooking from a tiled stove. The decision to move to these regions permanently was only a matter of time. The couple discovered another historic building that perfectly fits the neighborhood of the presbytery – an old school from 1919. Today’s Dwór Zaścianek was built on its foundation. The front and silhouette of the building make random tourists stop to take photos and talk about the history of the place. The building is an impressive manor house, that hosts arranged according to their own passions. It is full of old furniture with soul and history, inherited from my uncle. Old trees and forest grow around, and a lavender flower bed in the driveway is Elżbieta’s favorite.
They love the place and have created a balance between what they were looking for and what the guests were hoping for. It was the visitors’ support that helped to achieve the unique atmosphere of Zaścianek.
Throughout all these years, since Zaścianek opened its doors wide to guests, its threshold has been crossed by various characters and personalities. One of the returners was Bogusław Kaczyński, who knew the area very well, because he came from Biała podlaska and as a child he used to come to the summer resort in the neighboring village of Serpelice. The manor was also visited by Anna Milewska – Julia nee Złotopolska and Czesław Lang, who instilled the cycling bug in the whole family of Elżbieta and Zbigniew. Thanks to this, bicycle rallies are organized together with the Association “Nadbużańskie Dwory i Pensjonaty”, and lovers of two – wheelers are especially welcome at the manor. Periodic concerts are organized, so you can listen to such mastes as Edyta Geppert, Anna Maria Jopek, Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski or the Walk Away band. The hearts of the guests were stolen also by Urszula Dudziak, who during the concert herself tried to maintain the balance between singing and the desire to talk to the audience of Zaścianek. At the end, she took those willing for a walk full of colorful stories from her life. Such moments are remembered for a long time.
The manor house is situated in the area of the Podlaski Przełom Bugu Landscape Park and the Natura 2000 Area. There are extremely valuable natural areas that are characterized by great biodiversity. The extensive meadows and forests surrounding the property provide ideal conditions for various types of activities. These areas have been immortalized over the years in the photos and paintings of great Polish artists. Natural values are one of the greatest tourist magnets.
The region, apart from flora and fauna, can boast an extremely varied cultural heritage. It is a real melting pot of cultures, languages and traditions. Nearby is the most famous place of Orthodox worship – the Holy Mountain of Grabarka.
The famous horses from Janów Podlaski graze on the Bug meadows, and 40 kilometers from the manor house in Drohiczyn, one of the five Polish coronation cities!
YOU DID NOT KNOW
On Grabarka, the highest located Orthidox sanctuary in Poland, there is a spring with miraculous properties – this is the place that pilgrims visit on the Feast of Transfigurations, on August 18/19. They carry crosses with them and on their knees they go around the church three times before going down the spring.
In the Diocesan Museum in Drohiczyn there is a baptism certificate of the last king of Poland, Stanisław August Poniatowski.
In the village of Koterka / Tokary there is a blue church hidden among forests, surrounded by marshes. There is a dramatic story connected with it : after World War II, the border separated the village from the church and the cemetery, but twice a year without any obstacles, after the border is opened, the faithful can visit the graves and pray in the church.
Only here, near Drohiczyn, a local specialty is “zaguby”, a pasta dough like a strudel, filled with fried potatoes stuffing, Slightly slanted pieces are boiled and salted water and served with a crackling lard.
WHAT WHERE WHEN
Every year, the mansion hosts cyclical cultural and culinary events, such as “Young Potato Weekend”, “Asparagus Wine and Jazz”, “Apple Weekend” or “Russian Weekend”. Once a year, at the beginning of summer holiday, you can go to the “Bike Rally Szlakiem Nadbużańskich Dworów i Pensjonatów”.
From interesting events in the area: every year in the Janów Podlaski Stud, the Arabian Horse Auction “Pride of Poland” takes place, and in the Museum of Agriculture the Father Krzysztof Kluk in Ciechanowiec – Bread Baking Festival.
IN THE OFFER
The hosts look for inspiration in the family recipes and among famous chefs, such as Agata Woda, Joanna Jakubiak or David Gaboraud. The hosts also cook regularly with the cooks, engaging guests to help and organize theme dinners with best wine and music. The hosts of the manor house have won the Mazovia Culinary Heritage Network Award and are also members of Slow Food, and are constantly looking for the best local products and their authors. They prepare meetings, tastings and culinary workshops.
Another advantage of the place is “eastern hospitality”, that Elżbieta and Zbigniew were taught in their families. They follow the principle “Guest at home, God at home”, that makes visitors feel at home when relaxing in this place. The owners make every effort to ensure that everyone who visits the mansion can fully rest, forget about the worries of everyday life and take advantage of the charms of surrounding nature.
The third advantage is the nature that makes you want to come back here. Its closeness may overwhelm some people, because at first even silence can be tiring. In the long run, the smells of the forest, singing birds and sunsets over the oxbow lakes give great joy.
The owners of Zaścianek are Elżbieta and Zbigniew Aftaruk All family members have the soul of explorers, travelers and gourmets. They are fascinated by the world, so they travel and invite those who have been to the farthest corners and want to tell about it. They like good food, so they feed their guests the way they like best. They love Polish cuisine, they make all cold cuts, preserves, cakes and bake bread. They are happy to share this knowledge with guests during culinary workshops. They also like to taste life – spend time actively, ride a bike, walk with Nordic walking poles, canoe on the river, and cross – country skiing in winter. They love nature, walks in the woods, gazing at the current of the Bug, sometimes lazy and calm, and sometimes agitated and swift. They love bonfires at dusk and admire the starry sky.
On Sundays, after guests have left, they put on their cycling clothes and go for a ride around the area or sit on the terrace with a glass of good wine. They have achieved a real balance at work and in life!