We arrive at the Mohonk Mountain House by ten. It’s iconic “summer house”–the inspiration for its logo–stands on a large rock to the right of the hotel’s main entrance. Called “one of America’s castles,” the National Landmark and historic moutain getaway has earned the name. The Mountain house boasts at least five floors of principally balconied rooms, with rustic dark wood and guilded-age light green facades along its interconnected structures, seperated by semi-circular castle-esque firebreaks. It has lost none of its majesty since I last saw it thirteen year ago. We soak the beauty of the house in before entering.
“under construction” signs a power saw whining within
The same hardwood porches flank its eastern and western walls. The eastern porch overlooks the half-mile Mohonk lake, a genuine sky lake (one fed by precipitation alone). The western porch provides a wide vista of the Catskill Mountains.
The same carriage roads–of granulated gravel–flank the lake as well as ascending the surrounding cliffs to Skytop tower. Our brief walk along the Lake path ended at the closed Labyrinth, a rock-scramble trail that offers a challenging climb to the tower. We turn around and hike instead along the skytop path, with its ubiquitous summer houses that we’ve called gazebos all these years. When we look down from one, we see snow along the scrambles of the labyrinth. The snow survived the summer-like weather in the shade provided by steep crevices. Only our high vantage allows us to see them.
sky on water another summer house another photo
Our path ends at skytop tower, a medeval-style stone structure serving as a memorial to Mohonk Mountain House co-founter Albert Smiley. We affectionately call it the “lighthouse.” While our path ends, our walk does not, since Frankie enters the tower. We climb the modern steel staircase up to the 360 degree viewing rampart. Our reward? Unobstructed views of the Catskills, the distant Hudson Highlands, and the other peaks and ridges of the Shawangunk Mountains.
a kidney pool below atop a nearby hill SUNY New Paltz