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Marion wrote: I am a sea lover. Seems to be an interesting cruise. david martin Abrahams would love to travel on it.

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Mohonk Mountain House
Out-of-the-way Yankee

Mohonk is many things at once; an historic castle perched on the summit of a glorious mountain, with luxurious, TV-less rooms, tall ceilings, acres of wood, and lounges with stately libraries.  But it’s also a retreat where silence gently shakes the horns, crowds and work concerns out of your ears.  Your days are packed full of activities if that’s your preference; skating, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are all on the complimentary docket for winter; for spring, boating on the crystal-clear lake, hiking along miles-long trails, tennis and other recreation is available free with your room price.  Or you can do nothing at all.

Lots of Room at the Inn
The 261-room house itself is an architectural wonder; a turreted seven-story building stretching nearly 1/8 of a mile, it’s surrounded by more than 28,000 acres of state park land and private preserves. The spacious rooms and halls are hallowed and cavernous, yet Mohonk exudes warmth. It really feels like someone’s house, albeit someone whose last name is Gates.  The price also includes three fine meals a day. 

Meals Fit for Royalty
Speaking of meals, please plan on exercising the restraint of a monk unless you plan to leave a few pounds larger than when you arrived.  The meals are American, meaning wholesome foods prepared with seasonal, local ingredients, and the spectacular natural setting is the final touch.  There are equally delicious “Sound Choice” items, appealing to the tastes of health-conscious guests, as well as vegetarian options, and Kosher meals are also offered upon request. Dine in the spectacular Main Dining Room, the intimate East and West Dining Rooms, or in the comfort of your own room.  Come dressed: during dinner, jackets are required for gentlemen age twelve and over, and for ladies, dresses, skirts or evening slacks.   Also, Mohonk’s award-winning wine list (Wine Spectator, 2004) offers a wide range of selections to accompany your repast. The West Lounge is open from 5-11 p.m. daily, serving cocktails and light fare.

Tea, Sweets, Activity
For the overstimulated, easily bored 21st-century sort, there are a wealth of year-round themed programs available, from Ballroom or Swing Dancing, a Taste of Italy, Holistic living as well as the Art of Chocolate, Just for Couples, Jazz on the Mountain or a Scottish Weekend, among others, many where children are invited to stay free.  And speaking of the kids, there’s lots to keep them occupied, too, from storytelling to magic to mime while you and yours explore the grounds or simply unwind.  Take afternoon tea and cookies, also included in the room price, as is nightly entertainment like movies, music or dancing.  You can get a more reasonable rate, as well as little less maddening crowd, by staying from Sunday into Monday as we did, and prices also drop during the week if you feel like playing hooky from your life.

Relaxing Body, Mind, Spirit at the Spa
The Old-World charm of Mohonk has been given a modern-day spin at the recently opened Spa.  There, you can find your own perfect balance of activity, rest, and play.  They offer up yoga, Pilates, Qigong, aerobics and water classes, as well as a full menu of services and signature treatments.  While in the Spa you can relax in the solarium or near the stone fireplace, take a dip in the indoor heated swimming pool, or if you’re visiting in the warmer months, in the outdoor heated mineral pool. The Spa also houses a state-of-the-art Fitness Center, steam and sauna rooms, The Elixir Bar, and offers a variety of teas, sports drinks and snacks. Complete the untangling of physical, mental and spiritual knots with an Energy Balancing Massage, Stress-Buster Back Therapy, Cedars Exfoliating Body Glow or an Herbal Rejuvenation Ritual before your return to the real world.

The Gift Shop: Something for Everyone
The Mohonk Gift Shop on the ground floor is over 100 years old and combines turn-of-the-century charm with modern-day flair.  Visit the Victorian-style Soda Fountain and enjoy an old-fashioned egg cream. Opposite the Soda Fountain is a gourmet food section feauturing treats such as homemade local chocolates, fine aged Antico Mercante balsamic vinegars and infused oils. Once sustained, wander the rest of the store, which offers a distinctive selection of keepsake treasures for you or your family, friends, and co-workers.

Thumb through books from regional and international best-selling authors, pick up  comfy logo sweatshirts for taking it easy as well as fine linens by Margaret O’Leary. Choose a soothing Baudelaire soap from bath/spa section or a Luminary luxury boxed candle from the candle boutique.

The Fine Art of Observing Nature
The beauty of Mohonk’s grounds can’t be overstated, and a visit must include a stroll through the gardens, a cornerstone of Mohonk since the land was purchased in 1869. Landscaped impeccably, their focus is grounded in mid-19th century picturesque influence. 

The original design has been maintained through the years as the gardens have matured and evolved. Guests can enjoy large masses of flowering annuals, perennials, and tropical plants, set against magnificent vistas and views. Walk through The Mohonk Greenhouse and inhale the bouquet of orchids, begonias, and fuchsias. You’ll also find splendid gardens throughout the grounds, including ornamental grasses, herb collections, peonies, rock gardens, container gardens, and a butterfly garden.

A scenic, easy trip by car, train or bus from most any location in the Northeast, Mohonk Mountain House is located in the heart of the Hudson Valley’s Catskill region. Amtrak trains arrive and depart from Poughkeepsie, and Adirondack Trailways provides bus services to New Paltz.  If air travel is your method of transportation, Stewart International Airport in Newburgh is 25 miles from the Mountain House, Albany Airport 70 miles out, and the New York City area airports are less than 100 miles away.  Mohonk will even provide transfer service from area airports, bus or train stations, prices available upon request. 

About Josh Max
Josh Max is a freelance writer and automotive enthusiast.

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