Mohonk Mountain House remains a place nestled into both the rocks of the Shawangunk Mountains and a pre-digital era. Nonetheless, delightful new traditions manage to merge into the setting. Breakfast in the open air of the expansive front porch came about during the Covid era but has remained—a just delightful way to start the day.
This image also further exhibits the trend I explored in another recent image, showing both a view and a space for the viewer.
This photograph places into contrast the way humans made linear forms and nature exists beyond those patterned limits. Not only do the sloping hillsides contrast with the columns, but even the shadows cast by the Sun take orthogonal shapes and skew them to other angles.
A great landscape photograph is one in which the viewer can imagine themselves; unsurprisingly, some of my own favorite pictures are ones featuring an obvious spot for the viewer alongside a gorgeous setting.
A quiet early morning at Mohonk Mountain House’s dock has a place for every boat and every boat in its place. I like the way the path of the dock mirrors the path of the mountaintop in the distance. This calm-before-a-busy-day setting is also a metaphor for Decaseconds: I finished processing all of my pictures from a trip to Mohonk at the end of last summer. Like the boats, my work is organized and ready to be shared.
While downstairs, guests of Mohonk Mountain House enjoy breakfast on the porch, the upstairs porch/balcony is a quiet place to take in the morning.
Atop forested cliffs, the view to the porch and dock of Mohonk Mountain House has a “child’s treehouse” quality that matches well with the magical feeling of the place.
This visit to Mohonk Mountain House, in its 152th year of operation, comes six years after my last stay. In the time since, I’ve upgraded my kit (and my skills) and put both to use to get this stacked-exposure (i.e. “fake long exposure”) view of the hotel’s face on Labor Day weekend.
On a winter’s stroll through the forested grounds of Mohonk Mountain House, a snowy gazebo makes the perfect place to stop and enjoy the sunshine.
From its perch in the hills above New Paltz, Mohonk Mountain House has an exceptional view on clear days.
Mohonk Mountain House’s dock is normally busy with canoes and paddle-boats during the warmer months, but that’s… uh… not the case when ice and snow encrust the wood.
The Mountain House seems to float above its eponymous lake—I’ve lately been imagining it as an overgrown version of Howl’s Moving Castle.
From modern lasers to something a bit older: the lakeside view of Mohonk Mountain House, looking much as it has for more than 100 years. The sheer face of the cliff contines into the structure and reflects in the water.
Mohonk’s Skytop appears as a small castle atop the hills near the hotel, but its reality is a bit more mundane: it was constructed as a watchtower for forest fires in the early twentieth century. Though no longer in use, it adds an extra hint of magic to the whole setting. The hotel (off to the left) sits on the water, and the tower touches the sky.
There are many ways to define the seasons, with varying degrees of usefulness. (Solstices and equinoxes seem to have only the thinnest connection with the weather.) Perhaps the most valuable differentiation between times of the year is when one can reasonably be out on the water: “Spring” is that first moment when an afternoon in a canoe doesn’t sound miserable.
Even the grandest of hotels have infrastructure that supports the guest experience. For a grand old hotel like Mohonk Mountain House, that infrastructure is charming enough to be interesting in its own right.
Those early-twentieth-century structures—boilers and exhaust stacks and hand-painted signs noting the protocols for refilling the massive fuel oil tanks.