Last fall one of my girlfriends invited hubby & I to Oktoberfest at Bear Mountain. Steins, pretzels & sausage? Count me in! So we came, we saw, we ate & drank and took a ton of photos (natch). After stalking the Bear Mountain Inn Instagram page (as I tend to do), I discovered they were hosting an photo contest featuring photos taken from Oktoberfest. The winner won 2 nights at the Inn. I entered a photo and hoped for the best. A few months later I received an email announcing my photo as the winner! I was so stoked. I never win anything so I was more than surprised. We scheduled our trip for mid-May in hopes that the weather would be compliant.
We headed up this past Wednesday afternoon after a few delays (Low tire pressure! Jon couldn’t find his travel bag! Tons of traffic!) and arrived around 4:30 completely STARVING. We checked into our room and were pleasantly surprised to find that it was very modern and updated. I had initially expected it to be a little more rustic & cabin-y but it was super cute. I quickly changed and we headed to the restaurant where we were given the option to sit inside or outside at their Blue Tapas Roof Bar. It was sunny and close to 80° so we sat outside. Our waiter was lovely and recommended the fish tacos and OHMYGOD HE WAS SPOT ON. Swordfish tacos with pico de gallo and avocado aioli. To say they were one of the greatest tacos I have ever eaten is an understatement. And I consider myself somewhat of a taco aficionado (if someone knows of an open taco aficionado position, CALL ME) . They were knock-your-socks-off-slap-your-grandma delicious!!! After dinner we walked around the lake and headed to a vintage car show near the lake, which provided for some amazing people and car (but mostly people) watching. We turned in early since we planned on hiking early the next morning.
Thursday morning we were up and out of our room by 9:30 to make the complimentary continental breakfast offered by the Inn*. The breakfast was pretty basic but it was more than enough for us for a full day of hiking. I had scrambled eggs, sausage (sadly bacon was not an option), coffee (because duh), and a banana nut muffin (obviously the most superior muffin in the muffin family). We grabbed a map from the front desk, decided which trail we wanted to hike. They ranged from easy to challenging to difficult. We opted for challenging because while we’re no slouches, but we’re also not exactly expert mountain climbers either. The trail we chose was called the Perkins Tower (or Major Welch ) trail, which actually crossed over sections of the Appalachian Trail. After we established which direction north was thanks to our iPhones (really unsure how anyone survived prior to the internet) we started out on the trail. It was fairly steep and admittedly I was a little nervous about it. I had on pink Reeboks. Not exactly the kind of hardcore hiking boots I’m sure most people would recommend when scaling 1300 foot mountains. Uphill was rough. Since we left early and had the trees covering us, the sun wasn’t too much of an issue. It was a cloudless 80 degree day and that was a major concern of mine. I brought aviators, a hat, 2 bottles of sunscreen and bug spray. The trail itself had markers on trees that were red circles on white tags. We kept an eye out for them as we made our way up. When we finally got to the very top (after pausing several times to catch our breath) we were beyond thrilled to find a vending machine that had not only water but Vitamin Water, which I’m pretty sure saved my life. Walking a little further, we arrived at the lookout ‘scenic view’ that apparently you were able to drive to (I seriously contemplated taking an Uber down at one point). The view was a stunning 360 degree view of the mountain, surrounding mountains and islands, the Hudson River and if you looked a little further out, you could even make out the vague silhouette of the Manhattan skyline. A gentleman with a pretty legit looking camera asked us to take a photo of him, and then returned the favor and took a few of us. Travel Tip: Always ask the person in the crowd who looks like they know how to a decent photo if you need some to photograph you. This guy was amazing! He took multiple angles, zooms and I actually liked every picture he took, which never happens. If you’re reading this mystery photographer, thank you!!!
The way down was tremendously easier. It was strictly downhill and there were stairs! No super steep rocks to shimmy down! There were waterfalls! It was glorious. We got back to the Inn around 2:30 and decided to head to the zoo because it was closing at 4:30. A quick mile long walk and we were there. The zoo is filled with animals that were rescued from the area. You know, nothing frightening. Just black bears, bobcats and snakes. Lots of snakes. RATTLESNAKES. Thankfully all were behind a fence or glass. There were trailside museums filled with random facts about the area, from Mastodon fossils that were found a few miles north to a pretty major battle that occurred during the Revolutionary War.
By the time we got back to our room we cleaned up quickly and headed to dinner at Restaurant 1915 (Fun fact: 1915 was the year the Inn was founded). We ordered the mussels to start, Jon got the Hibernator which is meatloaf stuffed with mac and cheese. I was dangerously close to ordering the swordfish tacos again but opted for the steak. Our server was lovely and informed us that in addition to the rest of Bear Mountain’s rich history, Jackie Robinson signed his MLB contract with the Dodgers at the Inn, as well as had spring training.
Friday morning we got a massage after Thursday’s adventure and went on one more quick hike to the Hudson Dock, snapped some quick pics and headed home as the rain began to fall. Bear Mountain was a much needed getaway for us and definitely the kind of trip that we would both like to take again.
*Fun little side note about Thursday morning: My husband tried to kill me. Rather than the typical 20/20-Dateline-throw-your-wife-off-a-mountain-and-make-it-look-like-an-accident style of murdering your wife, he opted for the more subtle, lesser known spray-sunscreen-and-bugspray-on-the-bamboo-bathroom-floor and make it super slippery, not tell your wife and then she almost cracks head open and/or break her hip. All before climbing a mountain. THANKS JON.