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Jun 1, 2013 12:35 PM

4 nights at the Mohonk Mountain House over July 4th weekend...

I just booked 4 nights at the Mohonk between July 1st and July 4th.

We have reservations in the formal dining room for the first 3 nights and for their outdoor lobster boil in the Granary on July 4th (followed by fireworks at night).

I would have loved to have eaten at A Tvaola in New Paltz as well, however they are closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. We don't want to miss the outdoor lobster boil and fireworks on Thursday, July 4th and don't want to leave the Mohonk right after checking in on our first night (we're driving up from NYC) so we're stuck with the formal dining room or buffet at the Mohonk for the first 3 nights.

Can anyone please give me an idea of what to expect? I'm always a bit wary about overpriced assembly line meals with recycled ingredients at large resorts like this. How does the kitchen fare?

Lastly, are there any really great restaurants in town that you would recommend as an alternate dining option for at least one of the nights? We're from San Francisco but will have been in NYC for a week prior to arrival at the Mohonk, so we're used to eating well!

Part of the appeal of the Mohonk for me is the immersive experience of staying in a historic mountain retreat buried deep in the valleys surrounded by picturesque Catskill landscapes. While it will surely be a tourist family circus over the July 4th weekend, it's still an escape from city life, and we want to spend the majority of our time lounging dockside, boating and swimming in Mohonk Lake, exploring the scenic trailheads, stirring old fashioned cocktails fireside in the great lounges and parlors, etc. In other words, I want to dig our roots at the Mohonk and drive into town as little as possible over the course of our stay! However, we want to eat well and the meals are expensive - we'll be really bummed if we end up with recycled stews and soups from the previous nights dinners by the end of our stay!

All that to say... can anyone please give me an idea for where to set expectations for dining at the Mohonk and whether it would be advised to eat a few good meals in a nearby town, assuming any exist? Are there any TRULY amazing and inspiring restaurants within a 20 min. drive that would be worth our time and effort?

Or should we give the Mohonk a pass by overlooking the food and just enjoying the unparalleled surroundings?

Thanks in advance for your input!

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  1. Don't set your expectations high. The food is mediocre. The BBQ lunch is nice. The buffet breakfast and lunches are abundant. The formal dining is a bit better but not great. But, the buffet dining room is very nice, very lodge-like. The mountains are wonderful and the hiking paths are great. The rooms are old and ours actually sloped. It's a bit like staying at the hotel from The Shining. The rockers on the porch are nice but you'll never get one. And the kids....... Oh, there is a great spa.

    2 Replies
    1. re: wincountrygirl

      Thanks so much!

      You hit the nail on the head... The one downside I'm not looking forward to are the crowds and parades of kids running around the property. I just hope we won't run into the same problem with the canoes and boat rentals as we do those porch rockers! We're staying in one of the antique Victorian 'tower rooms' in the turrets with views over the lake, so I have high expectations for the accommodations. It's such a beautiful place that we'll have a great time regardless!

      Would you recommend cancelling one of our formal dinners for a buffet meal, or will we be eating breakfasts and brunches in the same lodge-style room? I'm generally not big on buffet style dining. My wife is a pescatarian so she usually has more trouble than I do with resort food (we visit a lot of Nat'l Parks in California!)

      Are there optional barbecues in the evenings as well, or is that only during the afternoons in the Granary?

      I'm just trying to decide whether three consecutive meals in the same dining room will be too much... do you remember if the menu varied much between nights?

      Thanks again!

      1. re: OliverB

        I think the meals were included, but it's been about 3 years. Breakfast and lunch are served in the lodge style room and breakfast was good, lunch not so much. My husband and I are not fans of buffet either. I'm sorry I don't remeber much about optional,evening meals. But, the town is really cute and I bet you could find some nice places to eat there. I'm sure your room will be lovely, and the area is majestic.

    2. Hi OliverB,
      I can't personally comment on the food at Mohonk since I've never eaten there, but I can assure you that the area is very beautiful and you will not be disappointed at the scenery. I understand your feelings as a fellow CH since you will no doubt be eating extremely well in NYC and you're used to excellent chow coming from SF. But I might do as you say in your final sentence, and focus more on the scenery for your Mohonk leg of the trip than expecting to be blown away by the food.

      My husband has been to a lot of work retreats at Mohonk and he said the food is fine ( and that there is a lot of variety). I'm sure others on this board will chime in with some local recommendations. The town of New Paltz itself is cute to walk around. I've heard of the Gilded Otter but haven't been. (


      You also may want to check out the Shawangunk Wine Trail. The quality of wine probably won't blow you away coming from CA but it is beautiful driving around to the different wineries. Brotherhood is cool, and Stoutridge has an especially interesting philosophy. Not sure if you'll have kids with you or not but a lot of these places would be totally fine to bring kids. (


      I'm not sure what route you are taking up, but if you are going up the west side of the river, and are at all into beer or amazing buildings, give Newburgh Brewing Company a try. They are turning out fine beer in a converted paper factory and the space is incredible. This is very family friendly (lots of games for big and little kids :) and a fun, chill place to hang out with great views of the river. (The area is a little dicey but don't worry.)

      I really think you will enjoy your time in the Hudson Valley after what I'm sure will be a jam-packed week in the city. Relax and enjoy!

      See you on the SF board, as I'm planning my 10 day trip to SF, Sonoma county, and Mendocino... I am having similar reservations about our trip to Mendocino, where food options seem really limited compared to our first 7 days, but the scenery looks like it will make up for the food!

      1 Reply
      1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

        Thanks so much for all of your great tips and suggestions; I'm looking into all of them now! I'm trying to determine the most interesting and scenic route to take and will map out all great food stops en route too.

        I'd be glad to help you with any SF, Sonoma and Mendo suggestions too... don't miss Cafe Beaujolais in Mendocino btw, the one and only truly great meal we've had there. Apparently there's a good burger place too, but we didn't try it.

        Thanks again for all the tips!!

      2. The spa is great. The food is B-. The area is terrific.

        New Paltz is a very cool town and the ideas posted by others are solid.

        1. Has anyone eaten at The Village Tea Room Restaurant & Bake Shop in New Paltz and if so, is it worth a visit for lunch or dinner?

          1. I've eaten at the buffet dinner - think old time boarding school food and you won't be far off. Don't focus on the food - it's just not on a Chowhound level.

            The rooms (old fashioned upscale), hiking trails, common areas and lake are magnificent, though (as is the next door Shawangunk Preserve - we like to hike to the top of Bonticou Crag).

            The town of New Paltz is quaint college townie. Haven't had any NYC level dinners there, but we like Main Street Bistro for funky omelettes and granola bowls, good burgers.