Two years ago, we stayed at the lovely Minnewaska Lodge, which felt like a mix between a hotel and bed and breakfast. At the time, it was late September and misty so we had limited views, but I could imagine what it would have been like to sit in the Adirondack chairs overlooking the cliffs just off the Great Room on a cloudless, sunny day. The complimentary breakfast was unlike the typical carb-only, sugar-filled breakfast. They had granola, yogurt, fruit, eggs, and more. I also like the staff – friendly, attentive and warm. Yes, it is true that hotels must be friendly to guests, but there is a difference with just being nice and being warm.
This year, we decided to tackle New Paltz in one day, with only two goals in mind – hike Mohank Preserve and drink coffee at Cafeteria, my husband’s favorite. We arrived at the entrance of the Preserve around 11 AM and were told it was $25 per person to enter the park. We were a bit surprised but I must admit that once we completed the hike, we thought it was well worth the money. The hike is perfect for those with small children and even for those looking for a bit of adventure. Click on the website to learn more about your various options, including biking, riding horses, and climbing cliffs.
We hiked to and around the Mohank Mountain House area, where the path was initially quite easy. It was more of a walking path. Our true adventure began at the Mohank Mountain House where we decided to take the Labyrinth Trail to the Skytop Tower and have lunch. Little did I know what we were in for. The sign said we’d be climbing rocks and ladders, but this was more of an intensive rock-scramble that tested many of my fears. With the encouragement of my husband and other hikers, I am happy to report that I made it out just fine and feel so good about overcoming this challenge. My favorite part of this rock-scramble was the Lemon Squeeze (see photo below), an approximately 20-foot high, 2-foot wide crevice, where the only way to get through was to take off our backpacks. I enjoyed figuring out how to turn my body and where to place my feet and hands in order to get through. Once we were out, we rewarded ourselves with a lunch overlooking miles and miles of fields and forest. By the time we were ready for our descent, our legs were happy that all we had left was a walking trail.
During our descent, we ran across several deer that must be used to the hikers, because they barely moved as I approached to take a photo (see below). We also walked the grounds of the Mohank Mountain House, which had paddle boats, rocking chairs that overlooked the lake, mini-golf, tennis courts, horses, flower beds, a children’s playground and much more. We made a mental note that once we could afford their rates and the two-night minimum, we would return.
We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around New Paltz’s Main Street going into stores that sold old books, handmade journals, and crafts, and finished our day at Cafeteria, where we had coffee and sat by the window in antique chairs watching all the people pass by.
We’d like to come back for the Woodstock-New Paltz Art and Craft Fair, which takes place every year during Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. The artists that show they work at this fair must apply, which means the show must have high-quality products.
Another option for this area is to pick your favorite fruit. We did two years ago at Apple Hill Farm, which has several varieties of apples and other fall-related things such as hay rides and pumpkin patches. My personal favorite is the sunflower garden. There are several other options such as Dressel Farms, which has strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples, etc. Click on their website to view the calendar for when you can pick your favorite fruit.
How to Get to New Paltz:
We chose to take the Metro North to Poughkeepsie, which took about 90 minutes, and then rented a car for just $25 for the day. This was a nice option as it allowed us to rest on the train and avoid tunnel traffic while at the same time giving us the flexibility to drive where we wanted to. You can also drive or take a bus from New York City, which drops you off at Main Street.
Enjoy your trip!
|View of farmhouse along hike.|
|Getting through one of the many crevices.|
|Hiker just climbing out of the Lemon Squeeze.|
|Deer near the Skytop Tower.|
|Mohank Mountain House.|
|Tulip garden on Mohank Mountain House’s grounds.|