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The Top of the World

A Family Visit to Mohonk Mountain House

Our drive to Mohonk Mountain House was short enough that I only heard “Are we there yet?” once from the back seat. We were across the Hudson River and through the little college town of New Paltz in a little over an hour.  After a few more minutes and a winding climb up wooded slopes we had arrived: our kids’ eyes widened as we pulled up to the resort.

“It looks like a castle!” our oldest exclaimed. He wasn’t wrong. Stately stone walls and towers blend perfectly with the wood, warmth and welcome of a luxury mountain lodge. Breathtaking views of the countryside surround the charming front porch, with green hills rolling into the hazy blue distance. The smoky scent from the ornate fireplaces waft throughout the lobby and first floor, and the wood floors creak pleasantly underfoot. There is so much to see and do it was tough to keep the kids close while we checked in.  

For our first activity we climbed to Sky Top, a stone tower at the highest point of the mountain. We took the walking trail that leads to the top but there’s a more challenging and rockier path for those looking for more adventure. With two kids under five we had no trouble reaching the tower and were rewarded with magnificent views of the lake, the resort and the surrounding countryside. On the way down we stopped at the lily pond to let the kids spot frogs and goldfish swimming among the floating white flowers.

After a short rest in a rocking chair on the back porch of the resort, watching the kids excitedly feed the rainbow trout of Mohonk Lake, we decide to get a closer look at the water. We chose a rowboat over a canoe and I handled the oars while the kids navigated and my wife took pictures. We passed the beach where guests swam in the cool water and rowed by beautiful, angular stone outcrops.

About the time our kids were finishing up their horseback ride the weather became threatening. We said goodbye to the horses and reached the indoor pool just before the clouds burst.  The children and I splashed around happily while my wife, claiming that a massage was an absolute necessity, took a trip to the award-winning spa. She blamed the extreme muscle fatigue from our climb up the mountain.

I’m glad we worked up our appetites because the food at Mohonk is fantastic. We had the choice of a formal multi-course dinner or the buffet dining room and we happily sampled both during our stay. The menu is varied, sophisticated and often relies on fresh, local ingredients. Having young children means we have some picky eaters and the friendly staff made a meal especially for them. It was so good the kids got mad at us for stealing their food. Some diabolical genius put the dessert options right next to the exit, and though we planned on walking out we ended up taking a few treats each before moving on.

The resort had plenty to keep us occupied between golf, the lake, the kid’s camp and the hiking trails. By the second day the children were leading us from place to place, chattering excitedly about the next activity. My favorite times were back in our room all together, tired from the day’s activities but laughing and giggling like a bunch of kids at a sleepover. I feel like I’m always working, so I’m thankful when a trip allows for ample time with the family.  Like the building, the lake and the mountain itself, the Mohonk experience is unique and timeless.

  • Skytop Tower
  • Mohonk Summerhouse View of Shawangunk Mountains
  • When season allows, the Granary at Mohonk opens. It's an outdoor dining experience with stunning views of the Lake Mohonk and Sky Top Tower
  • The resort
  • The resort
  • The main dining room
  • Rocking Chairs on the Lake Porch
  • The beautiful grounds
  • Mohonk Boat Dock
  • Grove Lodge: with six guests rooms, and a stunning Great Room, it is a perfect fit for guests who desire a more private Mohonk experience.
  • Grove Lodge: with six guests rooms, and a stunning Great Room, it is a perfect fit for guests who desire a more private Mohonk experience.