Who knew that a casual summer picnic would result in the establishment of one of the world’s top ten greatest destinations: The Mohonk Mountain House Resort and Spa?
In 1869, Albert Smiley took some of his friends and family to Paltz Point—now called Sky Top—to celebrate the summer harvest of his farm. It was here where Alfred gazed upon the calm, shimmering lake surrounded by forest, and immediately fell in love with the small inn perched on the ledge.
“Albert established a home where he and his family could live in a beautiful natural setting and where guests could enjoy recreation and renewal of body, mind and spirit inspired by nature,” said fourth-generation Smiley family member and director of Mohonk’s mindfulness program Nina Smiley to Hudson Valley One.
Now, 150 years later, the Smiley family has transformed this small inn and vast property into the architectural phenomenon known as Mohonk Mountain House—a cornucopia of towers, balconies, wooden gazebos and a wonderland of hiking trails, paths and carriage roads.
“The fact that we are still in business as a family-owned and operated resort after 150 years is pretty remarkable,” said fifth-generation Smiley family member and President of Mohonk Mountain House Eric Gullickson. “I believe this has been possible because of the family’s commitment to the natural environment and ecology of the ridge in which we are situated and continuing to stay committed to preserving the principles of wellness of the body, mind and spirit.”
The Mohonk Mountain House has stood not only as an advocate for the Hudson Valley’s environment, but also a fosterer of emotional awareness. As the director of the mindfulness program, Nina teaches how mindfulness can help with insomnia, relationships, diet, pain and parenting and even holds Forest Bathing, which is practicing mindfulness in nature while experiencing the sights, scents and sounds of the outdoors.
Do not fret, there are plenty of ways to join in the 150th anniversary celebration! The Smiley family invites one and all to join the current generation of the Smiley family as they lead special activities on select weekends throughout the year.
“As our guest, you become a part of our family history, and we hope Mohonk Mountain House will always remain a part of yours,” Mohonk Mountain House’s website states.
Now that the “Brewmasters Weekend” on April 5 to April 7 has passed, the next opportunity to indulge in one of Mohonk’s luxurious, anniversary weekend events is June 28 to June 30. The Smiley family will host hikes, tours, a breakfast cookout, archery tournaments, mindfulness sessions and even a canoe ride on the lake Albert gazed upon 150 years ago.
“Without our loyal guests we would simply not be able to fulfill our mission to provide recreation and renewal of the body, mind and spirit in a beautiful, natural setting,” Gullickson said. “We resonate across all the generations and it is so fascinating and such an opportunity to be able to meet so many wonderful people that have made Mohonk a part of their lives.”
Can’t book a trip to the bustling mountain house? Visit the Samuel Dorsky Museum for a taste of the mountain house’s essence with the exhibition entitled “Art of the Hudson Valley,” featuring the evolution and history of Mohonk Mountain House.
“The principles of our founders are very much alive today in the way in which we operate, and they have been consistent through the generations,” Gullickson said. “This is a key aspect in keeping the true essence of Mohonk alive and healthy today and for the next 150 years.”