Ninety miles from New York City, the legendary Mohonk Mountain House is a perfect four-season home base for New Yorkers to escape and get outdoors. Housed in a Victorian castle, high atop a hill and overlooking a lake, the National Historic Landmark is surrounded by 40,000 acres of pristine forest and 85 miles of hiking trails.
After visiting several times with day passes, we finally booked a stay at the Mohonk Mountain House for an actual weekend getaway. What we experienced is unlike anything else in the Hudson Valley — or Upstate New York, for that matter. You get the sense of Mohonk’s majesty from the very approach, where visitors enter via a long winding driveway, driving for ten minutes until reaching the massive castle.
Inside, the resorts hallways and lounges are bustling with visitors from all over the world. It’s home to 265 rooms, styled to be simple and cozy; furnishings are reflective of the Victorian style of the rest of its interiors. Many rooms have upgrades like fireplaces and balconies.
Wandering Mohonk’s expansive halls, it’s easy to get lost, but that’s part of the fun. After check-in, we suggest grabbing a glass of wine from the Carriage Lounge, then aimlessly walking around to explore the resorts many nooks and crannies. If you’re lucky, you’ll find an empty library or lounge, and can cozy up to your own secret fireplace.
A Magical Winter Getaway
Summer is high-season at Mohonk Mountain House, and it’s easy to understand why. Its gardens are famous, and activities like horseback riding and hiking are definitely more appealing in the warmth of the summer. That said, we suggest you pile on a couple extra layers and head Upstate ASAP — because in winter this place is just as magical, if not even moreso.
Mohonk’s interiors feel more “at home” in winter, with its many cozy fireplaces, ornate wood details, and Persian rugs — plus, an indoor pool where it’s always 81 degrees. Outside, the lake freezes over, the trees are dusted with snow; the woods take on a peaceful silence. An ice-skating rink is just steps from the Mountain House, and guests can skate to their hearts content for free; a massive stone fireplace sharing the pavilion helps set the wintery mood. In addition to all this, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are also included in the price of a stay.
Heading to Mohonk Mountain House? Here’s What to Do.
The star of the show at Mohonk Mountain House is not the House itself, rather, its surrounding landscape. Its many trails are easy to follow with a map; those less confident can opt for a hike with an expert guide or the resident naturalist. The absolute can’t-miss trail is the Sky Top Path, which skirts along the cliffs that overlook Mohonk Lake, offering incredible views all the way up. At the top, its legendary tower sits high in the clouds, and an incredible place to take in a sunrise or sunset. Other popular trails include Eagle Cliff and Bonticou Crag. Read about those here!
Not a hiker? Bad weather? No worries. Mohonk provides a daily schedule with something to do at any and every hour. Don’t miss the House Tour, which gives you an overlay of the land, but also traces the history of this 150 year old landmark. Other activities include yoga, painting classes, snowshoeing, ice skating, garden tours, and even wine tasting.
Last, don’t miss the spa! A variety of services include massage, facial, energy therapy and more. Included in the treatment price is admission to the day spa, so check in early or stay after your service to enjoy the heated outdoor mineral pool, sauna, or steam room.
Dining at the Mohonk Mountain House
There are two dining spaces at Mohonk Mountain House. The main dining room features panoramic mountain views and dramatic cathedral ceilings. Food is buffet-style, featuring freshly baked breads, an extensive salad bar, delicious entrées, a carving station, and homemade desserts. New in 2018, scattered around the buffet are Chef’s Action Stations, where chefs cook up more customized plates for guests. For a more intimate experience, make a reservation at the Lower Dining Room, where three-course meals are prepared from local Hudson Valley farm ingredients. All meals are included at a stay at Mohonk Mountain House; booze is not. But where you might suspect huge markups on wine, the prices are actually quite moderate, especially given its Wine Spectator award-winning menu. Cheers!