New Year's Eve 1995 at Mohonk Mountain House

New Year's Eve 1995 at Mohonk Mountain House

Being avid cross country skiers with a day and a half from work in the winter holiday season, my girl friend and I decided we wanted to do something special for New Year's Eve. We did not want to drive too far outside of New York City (an hour and a half from NYC) and there had to have enough to do there to keep us busy for a long weekend. Lake Placid was too far and the Catskills were too predictable. So, we decided to take the plunge to revisit Mohonk Mountain House as house guests.

Mohonk is a beautiful Victorian mountain house which has expanded over the years into a huge full-service hotel. It is located on the top of a mountain next to a lake (lake Mohonk) overlooking beautiful valleys and surrounded by forest. It is a national historic landmark. It has miles and miles of trails suited for hiking, cross country skiing, jogging and mountain biking. One may purchase a day pass which entitles use of the outdoor activities for $9 on the weekend. Or for a flat rate, one may stay the night, enjoy three meals a day in their huge dining room and enjoy unlimited access to their facilities.

Here is a picture of the house viewed from the lake:

We took a Victorian style room which was the middle of the road offering. It was pretty pricey at $335 per night. All meals are included in the price (and they were all great). They tacked on a 15% service charge and then taxes on top of that so all said and told it came out to be about $400 per night. There was no tipping because of the built in service charge. Usually when the service charge is built in the service is poor however, our service was great. Our room had a fire place and when we ran out of wood, all we had to do was call guest services and up came more wood and fire starter.

Check in is a 4 pm which is pretty late. We arrived at noon, expecting to be able to check in and get right to skiing. However, since we couldn't, we put our bags in a holding room and changed in the locker rooms at the gym. As guests of the hotel on day of check in and check out one enjoys unlimited use of facilities. So we went cross country skiing until 4 pm tea time and check in. Here is a picture taken from the cross country trails of the tower across from the hotel:

There is a path that you can ski up to get to the tower. The tower itself was built in memory of Albert K. Smiley who as legend has it, hiked up to "Sky Top" himself and decided that Mohonk should be where it is. That was in 1869. Today the hotel is still run by the Smiley family. Alfred's fingerprints are still visible on the estate in that his ideal of a healthy, conservationist retreat are strongly adhered to. For instance, the menu, which gives a surprising variety of choices, has a number of healthy items at every meal. There is a health club; though not huge it is adequate and even includes a sauna. There is ample cross country ski equipment to be had free of charge to guests as well as snow shoes and ice skates. The lake was frozen over when we were there and we went ice-skating on it.

In addition to all the physical activities available, there is a library and quiet reading rooms hidden all around the main floor of the house. One can easily curl up around the fire place with a good book. There is a parlor where, after dinner, we were treated to music, story telling and dance.

Lastly, Mohonk has a wholesome family atmosphere. When we were there, there were scads of children running about between activities. There is a children's activity list posted each day where kids can get together and play in a supervised environment and enjoy the numerous natural splendors around them. For that matter, there is one for adults as well.


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