New Paltz, New York, USA
A Victorian castle resort right in New York! Check out this Hudson Valley resort and spa that’s was started back in the 1870s by one family.
This resort started on a much smaller scale back in 1869 as a 10 room inn designed by the Smiley Brothers to house their family and friends. The brothers bought 300 acres of land and as the demand grew, so did the resort’s size. The resort has had 5 different US President’s visit it and today features 259 unique rooms, cottages and lodges. The resort also has a world class spa, conference facilities, stables, golf course, indoor heated pool and more! The average nightly price includes 3 daily meals, majority of the resort activities, fitness classes and afternoon tea & cookies and generally starts around $700 USD/night.
Day Pass Option:
Now while I appreciate everything that the resort has to offer guests who stay over, we opted instead for the cheaper option and just did a day pass to enjoy the hiking there. This option includes the use of their 85 miles of hiking trails and pricing is as follows:
- Adults: $21 (Monday-Friday), $26 (weekends/holidays)
- Children (under 12): $16 (Monday-Friday), $21 (weekend/holidays)
- **Families: $55 (Monday-Friday), $70 (weekends/holidays)
- **Families are considered 2 adults and 2 children
Please keep in mind that this day pass option does not include access to the interior of the house, lake activities or dining and does not allow for animals to join.
Time of Year:
I’ve been to the resort a few times now and I strongly recommend going in fall, just when the leaves have changed their colors. It can be a little hard to pin down just exactly when that perfect moment is, though I’ll say it’s usually in late October. Despite the season, except maybe winter, expect it to be pretty crowded on the property overall. The resort is very popular with conferences, weddings, and family vacations, combine that with people just coming in for the day and you’ll have some overcrowding on the trails. Just be patient as you first head out on the trails and know that it will thin out as you get a little further out.
Lemon Squeeze Hike:
Now there are a lot of hiking trails to choose from, but our favorite is called the “Lemon Squeeze”. Named after the iconic ending, this hike is actually considered a rock scramble and requires climbing over rocks through narrow & tight at a semi-steep incline. The end of this hike features a long, tall ladder (50 ft.) that leads to an opening at the top of the rocks (60 ft.) In order to get up the last 10 ft., you have to wedge yourself up, without ropes or ladders, and climb out the top of the hole.
Now I’m an active hiker, but I’ll admit that I was a little squeamish at the very top of the Lemon Squeeze. Wedging your body against the rocks while knowing that the only thing semi-preventing your 60 ft. fall is the next hiker below you is a terrifying realization. Regardless once it’s your turn you simply have to gather up your courage and climb to the top!
If this rock scramble sounds a bit too much then don’t fret, as there are trails that lead right up to ending view and you can walk the whole way up instead of climbing over rocks. If you are uncomfortable with small spaces then definitely skip the squeeze, as it’s certainly narrow. Overall the rock scramble is fairly easy the whole way, though keep in mind that you are climbing up and over larger boulders, so if you have any issues with walking or have smaller children, then this trail may not be for you.