Mohonk Mountain House, upstate New York: Luxury and Victorian loveliness
The Mohonk Mountain House, perched above a brilliant blue lake in the Shawangunk Mountains about 90 miles north of New York City, has continued to thrive for more than a century. Named the No. 2 resort spa in the United States by Conde Nast Traveler, the hotel was built in 1869 to cater to the wealthy crowd escaping the bustle of Manhattan or looking for respite in the midst of natural beauty. These days Mohonk combines what made it successful during the Victorian era with modern day amenities. The result is luxury, relaxation and fun that evokes memories of your grandparents’ childhood.
There are nooks for curling up with a good book, parlor tables for board games and enough to do to keep any age busy. Each month there are different activities and events. For example, June has a photographer’s week followed by a music week.
Along with making its name as a conference center retreat, Mohonk is where people living in the Mid-Hudson Valley region of New York head for a special occasion. A meal or spa reservation or a grounds pass allows you to enjoy much of what the resort offers.
Playing tennis, taking in a carriage ride, or golfing are activities that cost money, but hiking is free. Trails run from easy to difficult. If you hike around the lake, stop at one of the historic gazebos to enjoy the property’s ambiance. There are guided nature and bird walks for those who want company or help in identifying Mohonk’s wildlife.
Day and meal guests may also swim in the lake and rent a canoe or kayak.
If you do go, take time for the Barn Museum, one of the oldest and largest barns in northeastern United States. The museum has displays that chronicle aspects of American history dating back to 1880. The museum’s collection of 19th century horse-drawn vehicles includes: a water wagon, doctor buggies, and surreys. Hotel room at Mohonk Mountain House
Although the hotel isn’t open to day guests, feel free to visit the gift shop near the lobby. Those who are guests for meals can enjoy Mohonk’s sitting rooms, parlors and entertainment. The last time we were here, we went to a comedy act after dinner before heading home. Another time, we took advantage of the hiking trails and a dip in the lake.
Mohonk offers specials year round, so check the website before booking. In June, for example, there is a day spa and meal package.
Rooms range from standard ($340- $670 for single occupancy) to the Mountain View Suite ($2500-up to four guests). Room prices include all meals and most resort activities. Each day tea and cookies are served in the afternoon.
Insider Tip: If you do go, make sure to read the displays about the history of Mohonk near the reception desk. One of the reasons why this part of New York is so pristine is because of the vision of the Smiley family who founded the resort. There are also displays about flora and fauna on the first floor. The hotel is truly a museum of sorts.
Mohonk Mountain House
1000 Mountain Rest Road
New Paltz, NY 12561
Spa Information: 877.877.2664
General Information: 845.255.1000
Photos (except for photo of standard room) courtesy of Jamie Rhein. Standard room photo, courtesy of Mohonk Mountain House.