Yesterday Paul and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary! Just the first of what will hopefully be many, many more decades together. To celebrate this milestone we took our first trip together without kids, since having kids. We wanted to go away for just a few nights, didn’t want to fly, had to be someplace we didn’t especially want to go to with the kids, and someplace that would be nice in winter. We had always been interested in going to Mohonk Mountain House and this seemed like the perfect time and place to splurge and treat ourselves to going there. It’s a beautiful historic old hotel resort in the Catskills that has been there since the turn of the century. It was amazingly beautiful and it was just right for us-gracious, old-fashioned, fantastic food, lovely in winter. Our room had a beautiful wood burning fireplace, windows and door that looked out over the lake and mountain, and a lovely balcony with rocking chairs. (no tv! working transoms over the doors!)
Our trip began on Wednesday. We left the kids in care of my mother (who stayed with them and looked after kids, house, and animals-thanks, Mom!) and headed north a couple hours to Saugerties, where we had lunch at the little restaurant we discovered several years ago and liked very much-Miss Lucy’s Kitchen. From there it was back south to Mohonk, but for this we took a pretty route rather than return to the Thruway. And we’re so glad we did! First of all, we had our new geocaching app and fervor and we stopped to look for three of them that were en route. We easily and happily found the first in a parking lot. The second one turned out to be an “earth cache”-not a thing to find, but a destination for people to discover. In this case it was a spectacular water fall, old mill, and fantastic striated rock cliff that showed layers of rock thousands (millions?) of years old. The falls were really neat–raging and creating such a mist that there was a constant rainbow, but it was also so cold that the boulders in the river had snow and frosty ice on them. (If you can’t tell how big these falls are, take a look at the top of the falls-those “branches” across the top are entire trees that fell across rocks.)
After that we continued on until we arrived at Mohonk. You wind your way through woods and then there it is in front of you-a big old grand spectacular hotel. We checked in and enjoyed the tea (and, in fact, they have their own blend of black tea which was very strong and great), checked out our room (delighting in the aformentioned things like view and fireplace) and then headed off to the spa. We had booked massages, but I had no idea what a truly spa treat we were in for. Solariums, luxurious robes, fancy teas, steam rooms-you could spend hours there! After being pampered it was time to dress for dinner. Dinner is a three course meal where you have several selections for each course. Holy cow, the menus were amazing. The first night I had pumpkin bisque with creme freche and cranberry chutney; sauteed prawns with grits and andouille sausage; and creme brulee. Paul had seared scallops; smoked duck with pineapple and red onion relish; and the giant creme puff with hot fudge. Needless to say, we were stuffed.
Thursday we woke up to see it snowed beautifully.
After the lavish breakfast buffet we bundled up and walked over to the skating pavilion. It has a roof, but no walls, so you can skate and see the lake. The fireplace was huge and it was a beautiful place to twirl around the ice.
After that we began to explore.
Little peaked roof seats and viewing areas dot the grounds and woods. I imagine in the summer months it is very different looking, filled with bright flowers everywhere. In the winter certain paths were closed for the season, including a hedge maze. This is the path we started to walk up:
Isn’t it enticing? Footprints showed a few other people had walked that way but we only ever saw two other couples. It was very beautiful and peaceful, especially when it started to snow again. We made it to the Sky Top Tower, which is a peak that overlooks the hotel, lake, and beautiful mountains and woods. I imagine in the fall it is a spectacular view. For us the snow and fog made the view somewhat limited, but it was still awesome to be up there.
After a few hours in the very cold, we were happy to return to the hotel for hot chocolate and an afternoon of reading by the fire, playing Banangrams at tea, visiting the garden shop, swimming, and exploring the hotel (it was filled with parlors, nooks and crannies, old fashioned furnishings, and old pictures.) Dinner that night was equally decadent.
A few more pictures, another lavish breakfast buffet, and we were on our way home. The kids were thrilled to see us when we got home, and it was nice to see them too. But I have to say, it was really nice for us to be away on our own. It was mentioned more than once how nice it was to go for that long cold hike with not a single person complaining about being cold, legs hurting, and whining! Oh, and that night we did one of our favorite cozy family things-eating pizza while watching a Hiyao Miyazaki movie together (Spirited Away, in this case). So time apart, and time together. It was a great way for us to celebrate!