New York City is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, and for good reason. The city boasts a variety of great shopping and dining establishments in addition to world-famous museums and iconic attractions such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Central Park. Its whirlwind of activity and crowded streets, however, might not be for everyone.
Area tourists seeking a more tranquil and relaxing vacation can find solitude not too far outside of the Big Apple. Minnewaska Lodge, in particular, offers a peaceful and holistic experience just 90 minutes from New York City. Below are four reasons to vacation at Minnewaska Lodge this summer.
Surrounded by 25,000 acres of preserved wilderness near the Shawangunk Mountains, Minnewaska Lodge is a perfect getaway for outdoor enthusiasts and appreciators of nature. The lodge offers world-class hospitality and luxurious on-site accommodations.
Minnewaska Lodge has 26 unique rooms, some of which have private balconies offering picturesque mountain views, while others have cathedral ceilings. While many guests prefer to set aside their devices in favor of savoring the natural elements, the lodge’s rooms have cable TV and complimentary Wi-Fi for those looking to stay connected with current events or keep up with their work.
Minnewaska Lodge also has indoor and outdoor spaces where guests can congregate. Its Great Room features a Vermont Castings stove near which guests can keep warm while sitting on one of the many comfortable chairs. The room’s deck presents a great view of the Shawangunk Mountains. Outdoors, guests can sit around fire pits and relax in Adirondack chairs.
2. Complimentary Weekend Activities
Promising a “restorative escape” from day-to-day life, Minnewaska Lodge not only is perfectly situated to offer various self-guided outdoor experiences, but also organizes complimentary weekend activities for its guests. Events are ongoing from 8 a.m. until 9:15 p.m.
In summer 2021, guests can participate in outdoor slow flow vinyasa, meditation, and breath yoga classes on Saturday and Sunday mornings starting at 8. This is followed by a half-hour orientation session, through which staff members recommend local activities in addition to nearby hiking trails. Guided hiking tours are offered in the afternoon, inviting guests to learn about the area’s ecology and history. Outdoor evening yoga and fireside stories close out the planned activities for each weekend day.
Programs and classes are led by Erik Phillips-Nania, who serves as Minnewaska Lodge’s director of programming and activities. A former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees attorney, Mr. Phillips-Nania is an environmentalist with experience in ancient yoga practices. In addition to leading the lodge’s weekend activities, he organizes customized small group activities, including hiking and rock climbing.
A continuation of Blue Mountain and Kittatinny Mountain in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, respectively, the Shawangunk Mountain range is a breathtaking natural wonder with miles of white cliffs, deep oak forests, and clear mountaintop lakes, among other awe-inspiring scenery. Carved by boulder-laden glaciers more than 10,000 years ago, its quartzose rock markings are more pronounced here than those on bedrock surfaces in the Catskills and Hudson Highlands.
The Shawangunk Mountain range, affectionately referred to as the “Gunks,” is made up of the following six parks and preserves: Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Mohonk Mountain House, Mohonk Preserve, Huckleberry Ridge State Forest, Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, and Sam’s Point Preserve. Combined, these areas offer more than 760 miles of trails maintained by member groups and New York-New Jersey Trail Conference volunteers. The Gunks offer various challenging trails for veteran hikers in addition to gentle carriage roads presenting scenic views for less experienced hikers.
The area is also a great place for rock climbing, particularly at Mohonk Preserve, which offers more than 800 climbing routes with varying degrees of difficulty.
Those looking to venture a little further outside of the Minnewaska Lodge grounds don’t have to travel too far, as the lodge is centrally located in the Hudson Valley, which is rich in cultural and outdoor recreational attractions. Spanning 10 different counties, Hudson Valley features a number of popular and quirky river towns, mountain ranges, lakes, and historic sites.
The Hudson State Historic Park is a must-visit attraction. While there, make sure to traverse the 1.28-mile Walkway Over the Hudson, a steel cantilever bridge that connects Highland with Poughkeepsie. It was once the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge. Signage along the bridge provides details about its history.
For additional history lessons, visitors should check out the New York State Museum in Albany. This 100,000-square-foot cultural institution has more than 15 million scientific specimens and popular ongoing exhibits such as Birds of New York and Black Capital: Harlem in the 20s.
Some of the other iconic and historic attractions in the area include the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, the Motorcyclepedia Museum, and the New York State Capitol. Traveling the Shawangunk Wine Trail is also a great way to spend a day.