The greatest escape from the city I’ve yet to find lies in a gorgeous mountain house built in 1869 called Mohonk Mountain House. Perched up on a huge mountain, this historical palace feels like Disneyland for adults. It has a 75 gorgeous miles of hiking and biking trails, a glorious lake with canoeing, stand up paddle board and row boats; live music; award winning spa treatments; sunset views and cocktail hour; a dining hall with three-course dinners to refuel. Breakfast, lunch and dinner and tips are all included in the hotel price fee, so you’ll only get a bill if you purchase alcohol. With a mountainside view of the Catskills and full length windows, the large dining room is such a treat and the food is delicious.
For breakfast and lunch it’s a buffet with everything you could possibly imagine. Made to order omelettes, oatmeal with white chocolate, french toast, dollar sized pancakes, muesli cereal prepared with milk and dried fruit, fresh fruit, etc. While you might find this trip a fitness and leisurely work out trip, you can totally reverse all the work. As you enter the dining hall, the hostess seats you immediately (don’t forget to make a reservation) and it’s usually a great window seat. You can choose from the dinner buffet or three-course menu, so obviously go with the three-course menu so you can benefit from the bountiful fresh produce that is cooked fresh right when you order. The menu changes each night as well so you have something new to look forward to if you are there a few nights. On Friday, I went with the Lobster Bisque with Cognac-Macerated Figs. Perfectly creamy and just the right way to start off the evening. For the main, I tried the Roasted Alaskan Halibut with Hive Polenta, Mushroom Duxelle, and Tomato Confit. The fish seemed a little dry but it was nothing a lemon couldn’t fix.
However, the desserts stole the show. While they were already out of the chocolate lava cake and Apple Cobbler, I was “forced? to go with the Chocolate Decadence tart. Hallelujah this decision was made for me because it was basically one of the best brownies I’ve ever had topped with dollops of homemade chocolate icing that sealed the deal. I was able to sneak in a scoop of vanilla ice cream since the other two desserts were sold out and because our waiter was oh, so kind. This dessert rocked.
Another thing to note here at at Mohonk, is they are very accommodating to vegetarians and those with gluten-free restrictions. Saturday evening the dinner was ten times better. The Seared Jumbo Scallops with Grapefruit Emulsion and Japanese Sweet Mountain Potato Puree is something that I will continue to dream about. First of all, receiving two of these bad boys for an appetizer was amazing and a more than fair portion. They were perfectly seared and a delight. The Pan Roasted Sea Bass with Vegetables a la Grecque, Chanterelle Mushrooms and Thyme Lemon Butter. Flaky as can be and one of the best pieces of fish I’d had in a while, this is a must order.
Sure you can come here for the food, but it’s the views, clean air, greenery, gardens, flowers, blue skies and friendly faces that make Mohonk Mountain House a destination you can’t miss while living in New York. Just take an hour and a half bus using the brand Trailways to New Paltz and the hotel will pick you up from the train station and drive you through the farm like town to the house just about 10 minutes away. While it might seem like an expensive trip for one or two nights, everything is included and it probably ends up being the same cost of living for one weekend in the Hamptons. Try something different and go see that Hudson Valley!