For the last 140 years Mohonk Mountain House has become a legendary family travel institution. Originally, Albert K. Smiley acquired a 10-room inn along with 280 surrounding acres of exquisite grounds. Since then, Mohonk Mountain House has become a National Historic Landmark. The resort has been owned by the same family all these years, which is what’s at the core of Mohonk’s emphasis on embracing family closeness and unity.
When to Visit
Deciding when to visit? Any season you choose to spend here comes with its own perks. In the winter, one can skate in majestic outdoor pavilion, snow tube or enjoy the indoor pool and award-winning spa. Summer visitors love the lake activities, private beach, fishing, rock climbing and lawn fun. Still, the fall season seems to be the most heavily booked period, when guests descend on this location in droves to view the stunning explosion of fall foliage. No matter when you come, families can enjoy a variety of year-round activities including nighttime entertainment.
Choosing a room here can be a little overwhelming. There are more spacious suites that run in the high $1,000s, as well as standard rooms and tower rooms which will cost you a little less. It is best, however, to call reservations direct to let them know about your specific needs as rooms vary greatly, even within the same category. While nightly rates are high starting at $660 in the summer and many rooms going well above that, the cost includes the room, three meals, afternoon tea, kids club, entertainment and most resort activities. There are a few extras requiring additional fees, including snacks and carriage rides.
When planning your stay, there is no shortage of activities, so families would do well to pace themselves when setting up a schedule. The daily list starts with an early morning bird-watching hike and includes a variety of exercise and yoga classes, hikes (two a day) and many organized kids’ activities, such as a visit to the barn museum, archery or a guided mountain bike tour, as well as arts and craft programs.
No surprise that the resort was named as one of the “Best Hotel Kids’ Programs in the U.S.” by Travel + Leisure magazine. The Kid’s Club offers a Junior Naturalist camp, horseback riding, an outdoor tennis program, an art exploration session and organized hikes for teens. There will not be a minute of boredom for the kids, which means parents can sneak away to indulge in a bit of pampering at the award-winning spa or quietly enjoy the great outdoors by scrambling up the rocks at Sky Top Tower or laying low in one of the many gazebos called “summer houses” and seeing the view from Huntington Look Out.
With such an emphasis on togetherness, dining here is also a family affair. The historic dining room is quite loud due to the many children, but it offers amazing views of the Catskill Mountains in a dramatic wood-paneled setting that helps to drown out the din.
Guests can choose to enjoy the family buffet for lunch, breakfast and dinner or order a la carte for the evening meal in a separate, more formal room for an experience that’s a little more elegant. The resort menu emphasizes farm to table cooking and partners with more than 20 local Hudson Valley farms that supply them with fresh produce. Kids love the old-fashioned ice cream parlor, while adults needing some privacy can enjoy a drink and light snack with a spectacular sunset view at Spirits on the Sunset or a private chef tasting menu at the famous Chef’s Dinner Table (no kids allowed).
Fortunately, there are many packages available for families who can’t swing the high cost of an overnight stay. For rates starting $70 and up per person, one can book a day at the resort for horseback riding or tennis, lunch at the carriage house and access to the Mountain House. These packages include free reign of the hiking trails, the house history tour, afternoon tea and cookies, the greenhouse and Victorian Gardens, and even the nightly entertainment. Of course, most just come for the day to gape at the stunning scenery.
Part mountain lodge, part luxury resort, part active sleepaway camp for families, the Mohonk Mountain House never disappoints and continues to draw visitors, offering something for everyone more than 100 years after its inception.
Elina Furman is a frequent contributor to Westchester Family.
When You Go …
Mohonk Mountain House
1000 Mountain Rest Road, New Paltz, N.Y.
Rates: $660 in the summer and up, double occupancy (meals and activities are included).