Mohonk Mountain House

I got married over the weekend! And this blog post is my first as a husband–wow, that sounds weird. After a beautiful wedding in New York City that exceeded both our our expectations, we embarked on our two-day “mini-moon” to get some relaxation and downtime before going back to work in DC. Our destination was the historic Mohonk Mountain House, a 146 year old resort outside of New Paltz, a town about 1.5 hours north of the city.

Mohonk Mountain House lake kayaks

The lake in front of the hotel

We arrived at the gate of the resort after dark. The road up the mountain switched back and forth through dense fog, shrouding the road in a white mist illuminated by our headlights. The outline of the Victorian-style hotel was barely visible as we pulled up to the valet. The air was chilly for a June evening, but we warmed up as we walked into the lobby of the 146 year old hotel. It was a Sunday night so the lobby was pretty empty; we could hear our footsteps creaking through the carpeted floor. We checked into our suite, which had a fire place and antique furniture out of another era, but had a modern bathroom with tile flooring. The deck overlooked the half-mile long Lake Mohonk directly below us, but our view from it was obscured most of the weekend by fog.

Emily by the boats at Mohonk

Emily by the boats

Minimoon at Mohonk

The next morning we went on a short hike along the lake, but turned back because it began to rain and we were not dressed for the cold. It was still a gorgeous setting and we enjoyed looking back across the lake to see our room up on the sixth floor of the old hotel. We toured other parts of the grounds, including the gardens and the labyrinth, and saw the barn but didn’t go in.

Lake Shore Trail Mohonk NY

Lake Shore Trail

Mohonk exterior

Mohonk exterior

The resort creates a daily schedule of activities, including a house tour, a barn tour, hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, and a whole lot of other things.

With outdoor activities out of the question, we did the house tour, which began in the Lake Lounge, a beautiful room constructed with American chestnut and filled with all sorts of beautiful antique furniture and fireplaces. The tour guide gave us an in-depth background on the history of the house and its different wings.

Lake Lounge Mohonk

Lake Lounge

Lake Lounge Mohonk

Lake Lounge

Though the tour was really informative, we broke off from the group about two-thirds of the way through so we could get lunch in the gorgeous Main Dining Room. In fact, basically all we did during the two day stay was eat. The food exceeded our expectations. Breakfast and lunch consists of a buffet with all sorts of good stuff, including vegan items for Emily. Like all overnight guests, we were on the “Full American Plan,” which includes three meals and afternoon tea as part of the room rate. The hotel requires guests to dress up a little bit at dinner, including a jacket for men. Having no clean slacks available, I had to re-wear my wedding suit pants. We enjoyed getting dressed up and eating an excellent meal in such an old-timey setting.

Mohonk Mountain House Main Dining room

Mohonk’s Main Dining room

mohonk restaurant

Semi-formal dinner

Our weekend consisted of not much more than eating, managing the fireplace in our room, reading our congratulatory wedding notes, and looking at our pictures. Though the weather was pretty bad and limited what we could do in terms of activities, it gave us an excuse to just chill out and enjoy what the hotel itself had to offer.

Emily stoking the fire

Emily stoking the fire

I couldn’t recommend this place more–it’s so close to NYC yet a whole world away and a step back in time. Just don’t watch The Shining before you go. As I turned the corners in some of the longer hallways, I half expected to see those two little ghost girls staring at me. I didn’t see them–maybe they were around the next corner.


Kevin is based in Washington, DC and writes about his travel adventures in the Mid-Atlantic region and around the world. Through entertaining writing and eye-catching photography, he aims to provide readers with useful information as they plan their next trips.

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