Falling Leaves at Mohonk
10.22.2016 - 10.22.2016 45 °F
There is lots to love about New York. I'm a New Yorker so I may be partial but this is one beautiful state. We have big cities, beautiful countryside
with vast open spaces, lakes, rivers, history, food and so much more. Did I mention great people....four of which (3 New Yorkers, 1 Bostonian) are getting together today to visit the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz?!
We have been looking forward to this day and it has finally arrived. We have also been enjoying the beautiful fall weather...until today. Wind, rain and 45 degress for our day trip to Mohonk but who cares...we will have a good time no matter what. We know how to have fun and we make the best of a situation, why?...because we are New Yorkers (except one)...that's what we do. Well, this blustery day didn't take much effort... four friends, a beautiful landmark, a great lunch, pumpkins, an afternoon tea, falling leaves...and photo ops galore....what's not to love.
Our first stop is a huge pumpkin patch we spot on our drive before we even reach our destination. Jane throws the car in park and out we go to snap some pics. Cameras clicking like the paparazzi, ooohs, aaaahs and "oh my God, how beautiful" are our only comments. We are all in agreement... this is the largest patch any of us have seen to date. The wind is kicking up, raindrops coming down, the temperature dropping ... so back in the car we go. We drive another 20 feet when we spot another part of the patch with a murder of crows. The brilliant halloween color scheme of black and orange catches our eyes and we decide we MUST stop again to capture "the perfect shot".
Note to self: when spotting a murder of crows in a pumpkin patch, do not run toward them... waving camera and screaming "oh my God, look how beautiful!...I have to get this shot". These birds are not idiots.....the ones with the cameras?...questionable! Have you heard of the " flight or fight response"?! The sky turned dark for a few seconds but I did get another shot of the pumpkin patch with one lone crow who may have been contemplating the "fight" but shortly changed its mind. Lesson learned.
We arrive at the gate, register and make our way to the entrance. We opt for the Valet parking and now the fun begins.
Cameras clicking again before we enter the hotel...all four of us running in different directions to capture what we "spy with our eyes"! Just minutes late (but who's counting?)
I ask a hotel attendant (I'll call him Earl) "which way to the restaurant? " You can easily get lost here..several floors, rooms, porches, entry ways, hallways and people. We have reservations, it's the midnight hour and we don't want to miss lunch! Earl directs us to the Lake Lounge and off we go. Lunch is delicious..a grand buffet which we thoroughly enjoy but, foremost on our minds... is the exploration of the grounds. I wouldn't say we are "woofing" down our meals but we aren't wasting any time...let's put it that way. A quick trip to the dessert buffet, coffee, tea...yum, yum... and we are ready to go.
Back into the hallway, down the stairs and... we have no idea where we are going. We pass Earl again and I ask "which way to feed the fish?" Earl replies.." You wanna feed the fish?" (Talks to me like I'm 12 years old). I say, "yes, which way do we go?" Earl replies "That would be that way" as he points us in the proper direction. Once again, we are off...we find the fish, the lake, the gardens...gorgeous. We walk around on the porch and start a whirlwind photography session.
It's freaking freezing, windy and wet...but...what the heck...when in Rome....roam! We now all have photos of everything and every angle on this side of the hotel but...we want more. Apparently there is a walk to get another view of the area called Eagle Cliff. We are running around inside trying to find our way to Eagle Cliff to begin that walk .....when ....who do we pass AGAIN? You guessed right.. .my new buddy Earl (who reminds me of Burl Ives). I stop in front of him and smile. He asks (again with that tone of a parent speaking with a 12 year old) "what are you looking for now?" I reply "Eagle Cliff". He says " that would be that way" and again points us in the proper direction. He's not a man of many words but that is perfectly fine with us..the clock is ticking and we have no time for small talk anyway. Well worth the trek...we did acquire some of the most picturesque photos of the grounds and discovered some interesting spots to revisit.
There is so much more to see here that we will no doubt be returning. Mohonk Preserve and Mohonk Mountain House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986. A Victorian Castle situated on 8000 acres of cliffs, ponds and forests located in the Shawangunk Ridge (a section of the Apalachian Mountains). It's a magical place. A must see!!
Tea is served to day guests and it's just what the Dr. ordered. A nice cup of hot tea and some homemade cookies to warmup before we head for home...perfect.
Who knows, maybe you'll even spot a wood nymph!
PS...If you do decide to spend some time at Mohonk and need help navigating...just ask Earl...he'll point you in the right direction!