13 December 2018

A Day at the Bear Mountain Inn at Christmastime

A few months ago, I made some plans that necessitated a long weekend trip up north in late November into early December. I don't travel often and prefer to take things slow, so I scheduled a stop at the Bear Mountain Inn in upstate New York along the way to my final destination. While the rest of my plans ultimately fell through, I did end up keeping my reservation at the Bear Mountain Inn for a little break in the mountains before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season really got underway.

The Bear Mountain Inn is a historic hotel located in Bear Mountain State Park near Stony Point, New York. It's been open almost continuously since 1915, though it was closed for major renovations between 2005 and 2011 to revive the building's original rustic atmosphere. That aesthetic certainly comes through today, with lots of stone and wood finishes, warm earth tones, and bear motifs tucked in almost every corner. Two little twin bear cub statues even greet you as you come in the front door:

Over the couple of days that my dad and I stayed at the inn the staff was working to put up Christmas decorations. There were even more up by the time we checked out, so I didn't manage to photograph the finished result in some cases! But I especially loved the colorful wooden cutout toy soldiers guarding the staircases in the lobby and the Santa scene peeking through one of the windows, since they had a retro flair that suited the history of the hotel:

Since the inn is located in a state park, there are lots of outdoor activities right outside the hotel. My city-slicker dad and I, a small town girl, stuck with walking the paved paths around the inn, but we checked out the ice rink and the merry-go-round buildings--complete with bear-adorned signs, of course--from the outside, as well as the signs for the Appalachian Trail, which crosses through the park:


Of course the main attraction of Bear Mountain State Park is its scenic natural beauty. The inn is located right next to Hessian Lake, and the mountains are visible from all around. It must be a lovely place to spend a warm and sunny day, with boating and fishing on the lake and picnic tables with wonderful views, but there was a kind of peaceful beauty about the landscape on the cold, quiet mornings when we took our walks:

I would definitely like to return to the Bear Mountain Inn someday, perhaps in the spring, summer, or autumn when I could enjoy some of the warmer weather activities the park has to offer. There are many nearby historical sites related to the American Revolution that I'd like to visit as well, and I'd love to spend some more time exploring the nearby towns of Garrison and Cold Spring, which we saw glimpses of after driving over the Bear Mountain Bridge. All in all, I highly recommend Bear Mountain as a weekend getaway for nature lovers and history buffs from the greater New York and Philadelphia regions.

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