the world are hotels of such stature and history
they can quietly sit without the need to advertise
heavily to attract tourists and visitors. They
are so famous that they are just known, their
accommodations are sought after and their reservations
lists are usually full. Each has a unique attraction
bringing people to them, a distinct ambiance
and distinctive hospitality that sets them apart
from all other places in the world. They just
are the best of the best, the reason for the
trip not just a place to stay while on a trip.
House is one of these very special places.
in 1869 on the deep blue waters of isolated
Lake Mohonk high atop the Shawangunk Ridge,
this 251 room Victorian wood and stone castle
is the sole survivor in the competition of the
great New York mountain resorts. The Mountain
House and its surrounding thousands of acres
of protected lands were the creation of Albert
and Alfred Smiley, Quakers believing in the
pure life and healthful regenerative powers
of nature. Beyond the hotel, Mohonk offers 85
miles of hiking trails, tennis, golf, swimming
in the lake, golf, horseback riding, carriage
rides, spa services, children's programs and
all manner of low impact winter sports.
The Mountain House
itself is a marvel of wood and stone work. It's
interior and exterior surfaces are the pallet
for exuberant rustic Victorian details. The
main stairway rises straight up in an explosion
of plainness and functionality subtly overlaid
with the pride of workmanship an overwhelming
belief in the absolute beauty of wood. The paneled
walls of the public rooms glow with rich oak
and pine and in the cooler months the great
fireplaces are ablaze with scented woods filling
the parlors with another warm glow. On any of
the 238 private balconies or any of the many
public porches you must sit in one of the countless
rocking chairs to have a true Mohonk experience.
Sit rocking gently and people watch, enjoy the
sun and the brisk clean breezes caressing you
and fall into a nap only to be surprised at
how relaxed you feel when you awaken.
Mohonk is that kind
of place, it invites you to relax into a totally
different aesthetic, to experience life in a
simpler and more gracious time. Walk the trails
up to the Observation Tower atop the ridge for
an extraordinary view of the Shawangunks and
Hudson River Valley. Scramble about in the boulders
or stroll the easy carriage paths, take a paddle
boat out onto the lake or join in a group ride
on horses down at the barn. Take a carriage
ride out to the lookout points for a leisurely
journey into the landscape or wander on your
own, Mohonk is about the incomparable landscape
and being outdoors in regenerative nature. It
encourages you to suspend your hectic life for
a little while and enjoy yourself and your companions.
You are lulled past your disbelief in your ability
to relax and recline into a slower pace. The
formal gardens lure you to sit and look and
the rustic crafted "buena vista" huts
out on the trails trick you into stopping and
gazing out at the world. By the end of your
stay the unique castle, the extraordinary grounds
and the spectacular setting will win you over.
Not the least expensive
place to stay and not a place you can just drive
up to for a room, Mohonk Mountain House is more
than worth the little effort and dent in your
credit card to experience. You can go in for
the day by purchasing a "Day Pass"
at the gate, a real bargin for hikers!
Mohonk is the final
remnant of a time and philosophy of hospitality
that has all but died in our frenetic world.
It's a throwback to a belief that a sense of
place and differentiation are important. Mohonk
is the last grand and glorious New York mountain
resort that attracted Presidents and the top
of society. Mohonk offers classic music concerts
and afternoon teas, walks in nature and the
pleasures of polite social interactions. Mohonk
is the last unspoiled resort shunning commercialism,
rooted in its belief of stewardship and preservation.
Go to Mohonk for an afternoons hiking or a weekend
stay, you'll be transformed.