When I was a kid, my mom used to take my sister and I to Mohonk Mountain House, and we loved it. I’ve always had a love for all things fancy, and a giant old Victorian house that asked you to get dressed up for dinner was right up my alley (it still is)! I have so many childhood memories of being there. I think we went a total of four times, and each time was a little bit different. The first time, I believe we were just with my mom. Another time, we went with my mom but my best friend’s family happened to randomly be there at the same time (we didn’t live in the same city at the time and this was well before we could just talk all the time via text, so it made sense that we didn’t know each other’s family’s plans and it was a surprise), another time we went in the summer with our neighbors, and the last time I got to bring another best friend and our cousins and grandparents also joined us.
When the idea of a day trip came up for the girls’ staycation, Mohonk wasn’t on my radar right away but when I remembered it, I immediately wanted to go. It is INSANELY expensive to book a night there (however, if you look it up, keep in mind that it is all-inclusive so you’re not really spending anything extra unless you’re a big drinker or go to the gift shop). Even so, we decided to book a brunch, which included access to the house and grounds for the day.
Mohonk is located in New Paltz, which is about 2-3 hours away from the city, depending on your route and the traffic. We got ourselves ready relatively early and headed out. Our brunch was scheduled for 12:15, and I didn’t want to be late. I also knew that if we were early, there would be plenty of time to take pictures and check out the grounds a little bit before we ate. I was so excited to go back. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but cannot justify paying for (at least not for an overnight stay), so the day trip plan was perfect.
My first impression: this place is EXACTLY the same. And that made me extremely happy. It was old-fashioned when we went in the late eighties and early nineties, and it’s much the same way now (except they have wifi!). The decor is still Victorian and the old-fashioned fancy vibe that I used to love so much is still alive and well. I also found that I have a weird muscle memory about the building – while I didn’t know exactly where things were, walking around everything started to see more and more familiar and things were more or less how I remembered them to be.
We were early for our brunch, and so we went out to the porch that overlooks the lake. Same beautiful view to enjoy from the same wooden rocking chairs! I don’t think I have ever been so delighted in my life for something to be completely unchanged from my childhood.
We walked around a little bit, but didn’t want to venture too far from the building since our brunch time was impending. We scoped out some walking trails for after we ate, and planned to get back out there later in the day.
The dining room was also just as I remembered, and we were seated at a table overlooking the mountains in the front of the building. Three courses were included with the price of the brunch, so we had prepped by having a super light breakfast so we could fully enjoy the whole thing. I ended up getting the lobster bisque, corned beef hash and a chocolate torte. They also served some fruit, yogurt and pastries beforehand so I, of course, had to have a chocolate croissant as well! It was all very good, and I love the luxury of a multi-coursed meal.
After brunch, we went back outside, and I was enjoying finding all the spots where I had taken familiar family photos. As I was the only one there from my family, I didn’t exactly recreate them, but I did try to take one that had the same general vibe as some of our family pictures.
Nostalgia realized (it was a big nostalgic weekend, apparently), it was time for hiking. The main, steep route to the Sky Tower was closed for the day, so we started walking along the lake hoping to find another way up. I was a little disappointed the main route was closed, as I really wanted to walk up to the tower, however the views from the walk along the lake are also lovely.
As we were walking, we could hear and see people at the Sky Top Tower, so we knew there was some way to get up there. After some trial and error, we figured out how to get there using the long way around. It was a long walk, but not particularly challenging. It was uphill but, for the most part, a gradual slope so even someone not used to hiking would be able to do it. The terrain is also not rocky, and the path is well-kept so it’s extremely accessible to most people, and the views once you get to the top are so worth it!
It felt so good to be moving out in the fresh air, something I haven’t done enough this past year. Masks didn’t have to be worn outside unless you were passing/in close proximity to other people, and that didn’t happen very often so it was just two hours of breathing in mountain air. (I slept fourteen hours that night.). The weather that day was perfect for hiking also. It was sunny and warm, but not too hot. It was also just a little bit windy which made for a nice breeze while walking (but which was also, admittedly, quite chilly when you got to the top and were standing still – thankfully I dressed in layers!).
Before bringing this post to a close, here’s a few more images from the day – seriously everything there is just so pretty!
Post hike, we sat on the rocking chair porch for a little while before it got too chilly, then headed inside to check out the gift shop for a little while before heading back to Brooklyn. All in all, it was a really fun day and a great way to get out of the city for a little while!