The recent visit to the Mohonk Mountain House in upstate New York in the Hudson Valley was perfect in every way. Lene and I drove directly to the hotel that looks a little like The Shining and which has enough hallways and corners to get you completely lost if you don’t have a compass! But the views from the rooms….the beautiful lake…the trails…the gardens…the blue skies and sunshine…the peace and beauty were absolutely wonderful. We hiked ourselves silly, and enjoyed most of the amenities the inn has to offer…and the food, absolutely yum-o. What a spectacular find!

** Tuesday, Day 1**: I met Lene at Newark, and we wended our way to Mohonk. We managed to get a little lost trying to find the front of this gigantic hotel, but finally make it after asking several people how to get out of the parking lot. Seriously.

Our room looked directly out onto the lake and mountain trails beyond, and the views were incredible…enhanced even more by the marvelous weather. So after quickly unpacking, we took a quick hike around the grounds, soaking in the peace and beauty.We had booked dinner at 8, so had plenty of time to ramble.

** Wednesday, Day 2:** We ordered breakfast in our room, then booted up and set out to hike around Mohonk Lake and up to the Sky Top, high atop the Shawangunk Mountains…just gorgeous.

*The beautiful lake at the base of the mountains*

We climbed to the top of Sky Top and took in the breathtaking view, which went on forever.

After which, we hiked down and walked over the grounds, taking in the colors of the flowers, and the wonderful fencing that was made of twisty tree bark and wood.

*The fences around Mohonk House were absolutely beautiful*

This takes us about 3-4 hours. I kept thinking of “The Last of the Mohicans” and wondering how on earth Cora raced up those mountains in that long dress and flats!** **

*Mysterious Mohonk Mountain House*

We managed to get back in time for tea at 4PM! After which it was time for a massage, after which fresh grapes and lemongrass were served on the terrace – we lounge about in our robes sipping and nibbling, looking at the views…and then, it’s time for dinner!! Fresh salmon is the order of the day…drinks to begin with. And so ends the first perfect day at Mohonk. I have to say, acting rich is ** very **nice!

** Thursday, Day 3**: Up we get, ordered breakfast, and since we had to be out by 11AM, we’re out on the grounds and rambling around in another hike up the mountain,

and into the rocky scramble which we thought was the Labrynth and Lemon Squeeze, but actually is not…still, it was a nice little climb over, under and through the (sometimes sharp-edged) boulders.

*I wish I could hike every trail on the 1200 acres!*

Then we were on the road to Manhattan.

We arrived at the ferry and it took a moment deciding on where we could park the car. More faffing about on that, but Lene finally figured it out! And dragging our luggage, we got on the ferry toot sweet and that was our first view of the Manhattan skyline.

The view of the New York skyline across the Hudson is embodied perfectly in “*Let the River Run*”, the Working Girl anthem by Carly Simon: “*Silver cities rise….the morning light, the streets that meet them…and sirens call them on with a song….” *Loved every second of this iconic ferry ride.

Incredibly dramatic, wonderful. The sky was a pale, cloudy blue…the water fairly calm. We took lots of photographs as we approached…another carpe diem moment.

On landing, we flagged down a taxi…as the taxi took off, he almost wiped out a bicyclist – not hard to do, everyone bicycles and drives like crazy here. And the horns – they are the soundtrack of New York – the taxis hooting, the ambulances and sirens screaming – all the time….

So, off we went to W – our home away from home, in Union Square. What a beautiful hotel – very modern and the lobby was pristine and elegant.

*The W Hotel room in Union Square*

Again, our room had magnificent views – looking directly across New York to the new World Trade Center. Lene had brought champagne, so we had a glass and toasted to the start of another perfect part of our trip.

*Union Square, home to the W Hotel*

We ordered room service (one of my favorite things) and since we didn’t have enough time to really eat a full meal, I inhaled a burger – which was delicious!!! While wolfing our dinner, we were cleaning up preparatory for once again taking off in a taxi, flagged down by our wonderful doorman, to see ‘Phantom of the Opera.” Lene’s son had managed to get us tickets, and the seats were the best. I could get used to this!

**Friday, Day 5: **Friday morning was spent at the Museum at the new World Trade Center, all the exhibits moving and poignant. We watched videos of the day, the stories of the victims and the terrorists, saw the artifacts saved from the old sites, photographs that told the story … an amazing experience.

Time marched on…and we left the Museum and took the subway (another first!)

to Greenwich Village, which I have wanted to see all my life.

To actually walk around Washington Square was so meaningful to me.

*Bleecker Street*

The parks everywhere, the architecture, the people…it was everything I wanted to see.

We passed O’Henry’s with an iconic photograph of Dylan lounging in the window – the close up photo of this photo in the window makes it seem as if he is still forever young.

We searched for brownstones,

*Lene looking to buy a brownstone?*

meandered around Soho,

*The Café Clover in Greenwich Village*

had lunch at a charming small restaurant called the Café Clover…the food was not only delicious, but beautifully prepared. One dish, Crispy Cauliflower, was something I’d never eaten and it was absolutely yummy….

We wandered about and looked at everything, until our feet could take it no more. So we skipped back down into the subway, and it was back to the W – and dinner and drinks at the hotel’s beautiful modern restaurant…very New York.

*Dining at the W*

As mentioned, our hotel room looked across New York to the World Trade Center – and it was a dramatic and emotional view: shafts of light shot up to the crescent moon from the old Twin Towers sites, and just to the right of the light was the new World Trade Center, spired and seemingly covered in diamond lights….just incredibly beautiful.

**Saturday, Day 6**: Off to Bloomingdale’s for a ramble around the store, and then it was back to the W to pick up our luggage, grab a taxi and head back to the ferry…and so onto New Jersey where we finished up with a wonderful get-together, wrapping up another great New York memory….

So much in so little time. What a wonderful journey … and so beautiful!

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