The Mohonk Mountain House
By David Krell
Location: New Paltz, NY
Country clubs, for example, would be desired by everyone if it did not seem as if what members enjoyed most was the fact that most people were not welcome.
In fact, it may be the most amazing and awe-inspiring location I have ever been to which never felt pretentious or locked in to an upscale and limited mode of thinking.
Of course there are rules, for it could not exist as it does without them, but the manner in which they are enforced is the appeal. Guests must dress their best on a daily basis, the speed limit is an awkward 5 miles an hour and certain outside influences, such as shots of alcohol, are not permitted.
But the difference between the Mohonk Mountain House and every other perfect resort is that Mohonk's purpose in regulating such rules are for the benefit of the guests.
In other words, taking shots, for example, puts one in a state of recklessness, or at best, mindlessness. Mohonk wants every guest to experience clarity, peace of mind and most importantly, a sense of purity rarely found anywhere in the world- and while intoxicated, one cannot reach such a state. This pure and peaceful view has been a part of Mohonk's ideal since it first opened.
In 1895, Mohonk Mountain House held the first of many annual conferences on International Arbitration," as well as a series of annual conferences which helped Native Americans to share their voice in government.
He was also serious about having nature intermingle with the resort, purposefully keeping the border between where the resort ends and nature begins as vague as possible. Smiley felt that the more a person was involved in and surrounded by nature, the more at peace he or she felt. To make sure Mohonk stayed this way, Smiley purchased acre after acre of nearby land.
The second the owner of bordering acreage showed any sign of disrespect towards their land, Smiley would purchase it from them, as if to spare the land from its owners torment and give it a more safe and purposeful home.
Over the years, Mohonk has been praised for existing under this eco-friendly message of peace and purity, and that message continues to this very day.
Upon arrival, guests are greeted by an overabundance of Mohonk employees.
This will become a trend for the weekend, as there always seems to be more space and help than is needed and I constantly felt as if I kept seeing the same 20 people over and over again. I also never worried about having a great meal, or finding whatever it was that I needed at any particular moment. As I walked into the impressive dining hall for my first meal, I muttered to myself, "I want to eat outdoors, it's so beautiful."
And before I could even process whether that option were possible, three Mohonk employees came over with a conveniently designed bag of drinks, utensils and two tightly closed to-go containers saying, "you will want one for your appetizers and main course, and the other for dessert- our desserts are wonderful, but I do recommend you return for a meal in our dining room."
They were right, the desserts were wonderful, so was the meal in the dining room later that evening and no, they did not respond in unison- but they were awfully close.
As I was learning the foxtrot from professional dancer, Jeni Breen, I could see the sun shining perfectly on the lake outside- or maybe it wasn't shining perfectly, but it looked that way from my vantage point.
I could also see guests' enjoying the sense of calm I so desperately wanted to be a part of- their relaxed faces rocking back and forth on the picturesque patio. Unfortunately, the exact reason Mohonk is ideal for such a dance weekend is the reason I did not want to be dancing.
Because Mohonk is such a special place and will now forever be a part of my life, I will do what all attached family members do- make up an excuse as to why he or she isn't perfect, blaming improbable circumstance as to the reason for its imperfection. In this case, global warming.
Each year, Mohonk organizes the Dance Weekend for mid-March, because during this time of the year, it is still far more comfortable indoors than outdoors, but on this weekend, it was 70 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. Or in other words, it was perfect, just not for dancing indoors on a sunny day.
The Mohonk Mountain House is very close to the ideal for such a vast range of people, as the goal for any establishment is to be widely accepted and sought after by as many demographics as possible, while limiting the amount of alienation brought forth upon those demographics; though that balance is almost impossible to achieve.
Country Clubs nowadays are less popular than ever before, and the middle class represents quite a majority, but similar to the famous vocalist, Adele, who is enjoyed by everyone despite her obvious similarities to cliche pop music, the Mohonk Mountain House has achieved that balance of approachable luxury, allowing anyone to take advantage of its property.
And everyone does take advantage, but the best part is that you will never notice they are all there with you.
Promotional consideration was provided for this coverage.
? 2012. EMOL.org. New York Entertainment Magazine. All rights reserved