Winter Family Getaway in New York

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With winter now officially underway, the northeast is bracing for what could be another very snowy season.  For those of us with kids in the New York City area, traveling this time of year is often focused on the nearby ski resorts and slopes of New England. There are alternatives, however, for parents (like my wife) who don’t ski but still want to have a weekend getaway to enjoy the charms of winter.

To get our family in the holiday spirit, we decided to spend the weekend after Thanksgiving at The Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York. This 142 year-old Victorian-style “castle,” nestled deep in the heart of the Catskills, reminded my youngest son of Hogwarts when we first pulled in. Although Mohonk is particularly popular in the summer months for its stunning hikes, mountain biking, fishing, tennis, golf, and world-class rock climbing– not to mention its beautiful gardens– there were plenty of activities to keep all of us happy now that the weather had turned cold.

Ice-skating Mohonk’s open-air Pavilion was great for skating but even better for sipping hot chocolate in front of an impressive 39-foot-tall stone fireplace. During select weekends, they even offer curling, broom hockey, and other special skating activities.

Winter sports Our family is set on making a return visit when snow is on the ground for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing– both complimentary for overnight guests– and downhill tubing.

Billiards The kids had fun playing pool in a cozy billiards room that had the only television I saw on the entire grounds (a plus for parents who want the entire family to ‘unplug’ for a weekend).

Swimming In the other “pool room,” you can take a dip in heated waters, a soothing soak that’s perfect after a long day of hiking outdoors. While I opted to read poolside, my wife took advantage of the spa and outdoor mineral baths.

Dining In some ways, our stay felt a little like being on a cruise ship. Outstanding full course meals were served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Since Mohonk is so popular with families, there’s a more casual buffet-style dining option available in the evenings. But because our boys are a little older and no longer fuss about putting on a suit jacket, we made reservations in the more intimate, formal dining room.

Follow Rainer on Twitter at @JenssTravel