Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mohonk Mountain House, New York

A recent day visit to Mohonk Mountain House in New Palz, NY, gave me a chance to find out if the resort is really as spectacular as the adverts claim.
Day visitors have to park at the Gatehouse and either take a shuttle or walk the two miles to the Picnic Lodge, the only building open to them unless they have a dinner reservation or a spa treatment booked. As we got there too early for the first shuttle, we opted to walk.

The route starts out on the Hugenot trail, a tree-lined path through the woods,
 but then emerges to provide panoramic vistas of the surrounding countryside. For those not scared of heights, wooden structures offer the chance to literally walk  out on the ledge to sit and admire the surroundings.

Just past the Picnic Lodge we came to the flower garden, with its stone summer house, and got our first glimpse of the hotel.

The resort offers a multitude of activities depending on the season:
mini-golf on the lawn
the beach and swimming area

boating and paddle-boarding
An alternative use for the ice-rink off  season - tricycle polo!

the hotel nestles against steep cliffs

There is also horseback riding and tennis, but all these activities are for hotel guests only. We were there for the hiking - the property contains 85 miles of trails and fabulous views.

lakeside walkway
One trail runs around the lake from high up on the cliffs behind the hotel to along the water's edge on the other side, a short distance of it cutting through the rocks.

view of the tower at the top!
view of the tower from below
Another trail leads up to the highest point of the property and the Albert K. Smiley Memorial Tower, also known as the Skytop Tower. 

The entrance to the scramble
For those who like a challenge there is an alternative route up, the Labyrinth, which involves scrambling over the rocks. A sign at the entrance to the trail warns that participants should be physically fit enough for the forty-five minute climb up. Stupidly, I let the warning scare me off though in hindsight I'm sure I could have managed it. As we walked up the more sedate trail to the top we were able to see other hikers tackle the scramble. 

But whichever way you choose, it's worth the effort, the views are simply magnificent. From the top of the tower you can see New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Vermont. I only wish they'd had some of those handy signboards at the top of the tower indicating what exactly you were looking at in each direction.

Looking down on the hotel

Not sure how many states you can see here!

At $26 per adult for a day pass, it's not the cheapest day out, but it certainly allows you a glimpse into this beautiful resort, which would otherwise be beyond most budgets. The problem is, having been for the day, it whets the appetite for a longer stay. With the cost of most of the activities included in the all-inclusive rate (including 3 meals and snacks) I don't think I'd have any problems keeping myself occupied - so probably not the best choice for a writer's retreat.  But as a source of inspiration?  Just let's say, I'm keeping my eye out for any special deals!


  1. Great photos, Mel! I'm dying to get out your way :-)

    1. It would be great to see you here, DV.