This column is a continuing series by Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group which runs every Thursday.
This past weekend I had the good fortune of participating in the New Paltz Wine & Food Weekend at the legendary Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York. I was there as a celebrity chef preparing a food demonstration utilizing products grown right here in the Hudson Valley. Spring ramps, local morels, hen of the wood mushrooms and stock made from chickens raised close by. I’m happy to say that attendees seemed to enjoy my work.
While there were many parts of the weekend I enjoyed, including sampling and discovering many terrific wines that were presented, I loved best spending time alone with my wife, Rica, exploring all that the Mohonk Mountain House has to offer. Having spent my whole life in the Hudson Valley, I am sorry to say I had never visited this truly special place.
The long winding road that leads to the resort is astonishing in its beauty and the resort itself is a throwback to another era. Rooms were spacious and well appointed with period furniture and a working fireplace. No T.V.’s meant my wife and I could enjoy each other’s company and the calmness of the Valley.
Sitting outside on our private patio looking out over the lake at the Shawangunk Mountains was time well spent. Walking the corridors of this turn of the century hotel I was taken with the history that was framed on every wall. Presidents, titans of industry, cultural icons and local families have all stayed at Mohonk and relaxed in the hospitality of a bygone era.
Nina and Albert Smiley -- direct descendants of the founders -- have updated yet preserved Mohonk at the same time. Since 2006, the resort has been serving alcohol in the Carriage Lounge; prior to then it was a “dry” resort and now the hotel offers a world class spa and gorgeous indoor pool for all season vacations.
The kitchen, under the direction of executive chef Jim Palmeri, is on point and uses the bounty of local crops, poultry and livestock to create a true farm to table experience.
Mohonk Mountain House is at 1000 Mountain Rest Rd, New Paltz, (845) 765-3286, www.mohonk.com/ .