Getting Away To Mohonk Mountain House - My Family Travels

Your guide to experiencing this lodge near New Paltz, New York as a relaxing weekend getaway.

Located 90 miles north of New York City on 2,200 acres of the Shawangunk Mountains, and open throughout the year, the venerable Mohonk Mountain House (800/772-6646) hosts generations of returning guests. Victorian furnished lounges with worn Oriental rugs and fireplaces or wicker rocking chairs on the mountain-view porch could be the setting for a relaxed conversation, now or a century ago.

If a new baby has deprived the family of much needed sleep, consider a getaway to another, more gentle era at this classic mountain resort.

In the Past

Founded in 1869 by a pair of Quaker twins who eschewed smoking, drinking, dancing and card playing, the Smiley brothers offered spiritual pursuits such as nature walks and prayer meetings to their early guests.
Located on a half-mile-long clear mountain lake near New Paltz, New York, this pristine resort and its undeveloped land were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986. Mohonk continues its traditions by offering a serene, peaceful, voyage back in time.

In the Present

This red-roofed, wood and stone Victorian castle, complete with turrets and towers, is a favorite spot for nature loving families. In fact, family reunions have become a treasured ritual at Mohonk, where group activities, afternoon teas, nature walks and other programs are organized by their very own reunion coordinator.

Everywhere, the focus is on enjoying nature’s gifts. Put baby in a carrier and explore the woods on foot, choosing from among 85 miles of hiking trails. If you have a sitter, try horseback riding; if not, book a ride in their horse-drawn carriages. Any time of year, families can visit the extensive gardens. In summer, the waterfront activities such as swimming, boating and fishing at the lake front beach are ideal with little ones learning to crawl.

After a rest on the resort’s big veranda, climb up to Sky Top, a stone tower on the highest point on the property, which affords a few of six neighboring states.

During the winter months your family can enjoy ice-skating, snowshoeing and miles of cross-country skiing. As classic as most of the resort facilities are, Mohonk has also invested in a beautiful spa that encourages guests to indulge in pampering that the Smiley Brothers probably would have hated. New moms and dads can book private babysitting service and take time off for themselves.

For the Family

Complimentary, age-appropriate children’s programs are available every day from mid-June through Labor Day and only weekends and holidays the rest of the year.  Camp programs keep kids 2 to 12-years-old (divided into three sections) busy during the mornings, after lunch, and in the evenings, with field games, pony riding, frog hunting, arts and crafts, shuffleboard contests, swimming, boating, fishing and other low-key activities.

Teens from 12 to 17 enjoy organized activities during summer, such as mountain biking, rock scrambles, golf and tennis, as well as making friends and relaxing together in the Teen Lounge. Campfires and square dances are typical evening events and family events such as barbeques, taffy pulls and hayrides are also offered. Babysitters are available for hire as necessary.

Parents and older children appreciate that most activities such as ice-skating, snowshoeing, boating, fishing, fitness center, tennis and weekday golf are included in the rate. Horseback riding, weekend golf, carriage rides and massages are available for an extra charge. Mohonk also hosts special Theme Weekends, such as Garden and Nature, Mystery, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Ballroom Dancing, and Culinary programs such as The Art of Chocolate.

Mohonk Mountain House Rooms and Rates

A variety of traditional accommodations are available, many with balconies and fireplaces, and most offer views of the lake or the mountains.  For 2011, winter specials begin at $152 per adult per night, with reduced rates for children. For late spring and early summer, rooms with a queen bed and an extra single begin at $752 per night. Three meals daily: dinner, breakfast, and lunch, plus Afternoon Tea and Cookies – are included in all room rates, however some feel that the cuisine could be more innovative.

Also, don’t forget your finery. Men over the age of 12 (!) are required to wear jackets at dinner and women must dress accordingly.

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