Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Mohonk Mountain Magic

A winter getaway during a winter that's acting like spring is PERFECT for two people who don't do well in the cold. While I'm sure many guests were bummed about the record low snow fall in New Paltz, we didn't miss out a bit on snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. It was cold up on the mountain, but not like normal cold for this time of year, and that made the drive up, the stay, and the drive back everything a quick vacay should be.

Driving up was easy. North to New Paltz, bringing back days of undergrad driving double the distance. Given our trips to Cooperstown, Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, I'm getting really familiar with this route. Plus, I'm learning more and more how I ❤️ NY. And this time we got to cross the Tappan Zee, which is my favorite bridge. What? You don't have a favorite bridge?

I was in charge of driving. Eddie was in charge of taking pictures.
When we got to New Paltz, we figured it couldn't be much farther. Technically, it wasn't. However, when you get to a gate house and the friendly attendant tells you that you've still got two miles to go and to stay under 20 MPH because there's no guard rail and it's a curvy mountain, it feels like a bit of a ways.

 I might also point out that despite the sunny weather, the day downstate started out with snow, hence the lovely sheen over the windshield.
Signs of winter in a spring-like March
Finally, we made it to Mohonk Mountain House, and our room was already available for us, so we could settle in. It was a fancy room. It had no television. Instead, it had views. At certain angles, it looked like we were in a castle. Very fancy. We pretended to be totally in our element. (We were totally out of our element: nature + fancy schmancy).
Better than television
That's a bit of snow on the floor of the balcony.

Instead of watching tv, we spent some time figuring out what the hell this is. We still don't know.
Pretty at sunset
Then off we went to explore the house and get some lunch. Lunch on arrival day was not included in our meal plan. The host at the buffet explained that we could purchase lunch for $107 or for lighter fare, we could go to the Carriage Lounge. After Eddie gave a nod of Okay, I was all like, Yeah, and where is this Carriage Lounge? I understand that you have to cover your costs, but there's no way I eat $50 worth of food at a buffet, so I wasn't paying for someone else to chow down on duck and roasted beets (this was not your everyday Golden Corral Buffet).

The Carriage Lounge proved to be our kind of place. Eddie got a burger. I got a veggie panini. The one thing about it that wasn't our kind of place were the children at the table nearby who complained non-stop about how the mom promised to go to the pool and they weren't going to the pool and she didn't promise they were going to the pool and they wanted to go to the pool. Oh, and then one of them came over to the table and stared at me while I was eating. Just stood there and stared. About two feet from me. Eddie, being the more kid-friendly of the two of us, said to him at first, Hey buddy. The kid didn't answer. Instead, he stood there, staring at me. I refused to make eye contact and kept muttering to Eddie that it was getting really weird.

The kid walked away, but then reappeared moments later. Actually, just his head reappeared as he craned it around a wall behind me to stare again from a different angle. All the while, the parents were, well, I don't know. At one point, their smallest child was alone in her high chair, so there's that.

Once we finished, we had time to explore the massive house. Even though it's massive, we ran into the same family about two more times that day. No worries. There was no more staring.
We participated in two activities after exploring. One was a game called CatchPhrase and we played with other guests for about an hour. Eddie called for guys verse girls, and my team did pretty well considering two of the women could not read the word they were supposed to say without the help of glasses or someone whispering it to them. We also had afternoon tea. Mmmm, you know my style, Mohonk.

Both nights offered fancy dinner. That means that two nights in a row, we got all dressed up and went to dinner and then went dancing. The dinner on the first night was the sit-down one, and the second we made it back to the Carriage Lounge to avoid three courses. I also had a glass of wine, which means I got very drunk and took a Zantac and a nap before the music started. Party. Animal.

Fancy night 1
Just because I'm fancy doesn't mean I won't be an idiot.
Fancy night 2
Big Band
We did some slow dancing, but not much other dancing. As you can see, not many people were dancing at all anyway.

In between all the fanciness, we got in some culture. We went over to the Barn Museum at 9 AM, and it was more of an open-air museum, which meant it was 20 degrees and we were out in it.
There he is again!
Because we had to
We also learned about rocks on a geology walk. During the hike, we heard what at first sounded like an animal. It wasn't. It was the ice shifting. The sound is pretty amazing, and every time it happened, we all kind of stopped whatever we were doing and listened. Also, the tour guide climbed into a bush to find a porcupine. He didn't find it.

Icy Lake
Sky Hall--Had it been warmer, we may have hiked up to it.
Frozen, we stood by a fireplace as soon as we got back inside. We found a favorite fireplace in the library on the first floor.
At lunch, I had the fancy food and Eddie, well, he found  heaven:
Taken covertly
Later on, we went for another walk to see the greenhouse. On the way back, we found a sign that said Maze Entrance, but we didn't find a maze unless it was a really bad maze that had no beginning or end. We walked all the way around to the lake side to get in some sun, and then headed back inside to sit at the fireplace.
Partially frozen only
I made it!
Later on, we played a rousing game of Connect Four. Then we played a fantastic game of Scrabble. Basically, our time at Mohonk consisted of walking around, eating, pretending to be fancy, and relaxing by a fire. This is the essence of "getaway." The next day, we had breakfast and then headed on home. But first, a short stop in New Paltz.
More friends
Reeeeeaaaallllll fancy.

No comments: