Hello from historic Mohonk Mountain House. We are here this week with three generations to enjoy time together and the beautiful collaboration with nature that Mohonk offers. This property has been operating under The Smiley Family as a mountain retreat since 1869 and it is easy to see why families return year after year to this all inclusive resort. Currently my kids are at camp – with staff Naturalist Michael taking them (and the incredible counselors) on a nature hike. I am posted up in a rocking chair overlooking the mountains. It took this type A personality a good 24 hours to downshift into Mohonk speed, and I am loving it.
Know these things before you go, make peace with them, and you will have an epic family adventure:
1. It is busy here. Sometimes Disney busy.
2. ALL dining options with kids are all buffet style. Pros and cons to that… you can feed the hangry child asap but you are also on duty to carry each plate to your table.
3. Set your dining standards appropriately. You will not go to bed hungry but you likely won’t be asking for a recipe.
4. Service isn’t why people come here. The staff is very nice, but not ‘Four Seasons polished- make anything happen type of service’. I am a recovering hospitality professional (I actually have a degree in hospitality management ) so I am sucker for amazing service.
5. The majority of rooms do not have TV- which is actually amazing. Shower while your kids are at camp because the TV will not babysit for you. Ha. They do have TV rooms and show big events like The Masters or World Cup. (No, The Batchelor is not a big event so set your DVR at home).
6. The mindset is that of being at family sleep away camp. Once you get in that space you are ready for Mohonk.
They have over 30 different room types so if you don’t see the perfect fit listed online for your crew call and speak to someone on property. If you need a bathtub for little ones or adjoining rooms just go ahead and pick up the phone. I recommend doing this anyhow as you will want to make your dining reservations ahead of time as well.
The rooms are charming, cozy and clean. Most have fireplaces, but as I mentioned, no TV. Most rooms either over look the lake or the mountains with a fantastic sunset view. Equally stunning.
I told you its trough dining so hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised. Breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as afternoon tea are included. If you are looking for a quick breakfast or coffee there is a quick continental option. If you want the full breakfast the main dining will have stations for omelets, Belgian waffles, crepes and more. There is also a quick continental breakfast. Lunch is either the indoor stations or outdoors at the Granary. The Granary is picnic style outdoors. (Bring your own water bottles to the Granary please because they give you something
resembling a shot glass as a cup and you are going to have to go back and refill all the cups 45 times). For planning purposes if you do the kids camp, it runs 930-1230 then 2-5 and an evening session for the older ones so schedule your meals accordingly. Make your dining reservations when you book your room for the most options for large groups. We did 12:45 lunch and 7pm dinners. Babysitting services are available through the kids camp if you wanted to go to the adults only dinner option. Most of the babysitters are counselors at the kids camp so you will get to know them. Our little one was so wiped out she would fall asleep in the stroller at dinner which worked perfectly so we could roll right over to s’mores, stars, and live music by the campfire.
There are so many things to do it is hard to know where to begin. While planning your visit parouse the daily activity guide online. Yoga, history tours, guided nature hikes, on your own hikes for every level, mediation, bingo, kids camp (ages 2 and up), spa, archery, paddle boarding, canoeing, fitness center, carriage rides, tennis, playground, lake swim, indoor pool, barn museum… and so much more. We didn’t get to do all of it in a week. All three generations were amply entertained around the clock. We rented a car with the idea of going into the charming historic town of New Paltz but never made it. Days passed quickly and many hours were spent as a family getting ready to cheer the sunset or choosing a board game to square off with. Every hike, or even a walk to the playground was rewarded with sightings of snakes, groundhogs, birds, chipmunks, or deer. My kids favorite memory – hands down they liked getting stuck at the pavilion in a rain storm. I would have guessed when Daddy took us all in a row boat, but being all together is the best in any weather. It was a week well spent. Unplugged but totally connected to what matters most.
*Amazon Prime currently has a video on the history of the property, it is under a series called Historic Hotels of America.
What to pack:
- There is no dress code so really anything goes.
- Hiking shoes (or a stable fitness shoe)
- Vest for layering
- Fitness/hiking clothes
- Bathing suit
- Light rain jacket
- Light sweater
- Lightweight clothes for lunch (or wear your fitness clothes)
- Dinner outfit – perhaps white jeans and a top or a sundress
- Evening shoes
- Backpack for hiking
- A good book
- Your own hairdryer (the one they supply is rubbish)
- Jogging stroller
- Ergo carrier
- *they offer send out laundry services which are great to keep your luggage light!