Archive for the ‘Connecticut’ Category

Mohonk Mountain House and the Highest Point in Connecticut

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

Garden at Mohonk Mountain House

Garden at Mohonk Mountain House

If you love outdoorsy resorts and climbing to new heights then you’re going to want to check this out!  This time around, I decided to take in two different views, in two different states, in two very different locations.

The first location is called the Mohonk Mountain House, which is a castle-like hotel on a cliff, in front of a lake.  It’s a really fancy resort and there are trails all over the place, but the views you can get of the hotel and cliffs are amazing.  It’s quite the hidden gem in Upstate New York.

But the second location is found on a backroad in Connecticut.  Oh yes, I tackled yet another state high point, and this one goes by the name of Mount Frissell.  It was a confusing high point, and you don’t actually go to the peak of Mount Frissell (because that’s in Massachusetts), but it was an interesting challenge that I’m glad I went through.

But take a few minutes and watch the video below to see what treasures await you at these two locations…

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

If you want to check out the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York, then CLICK HERE for directions to where I started my hike.  The green arrow points to the parking lot for people who have purchased a day pass, in order to check out the resort’s grounds.  If you are staying at the hotel, you will of course be parking a lot closer.  There are also shuttle buses that will take you closer to the hotel, if you don’t want to hike.

If you want to check out Connecticut’s high point in Salisbury, Connecticut, then CLICK HERE for directions to where you should park.  The green arrow points to the parking lot, off to the right of the gravel road.  If you turn on the satellite view on Google Maps and zoom in to just above the state line, just north of where the green arrow is, you can see where the trail starts, off to the left of the road.  In fact, you can pretty much follow the trail all the way up to the rocky top, with the satellite view.

HELPFUL TIPS

I just want to warn you that it does cost $25 (at least when I went) to hike around the Mohonk Mountain House, and if you think that’s bad then check out the room rates.  But I honestly think it’s worth it, because there is so much to explore, on land and in water.  And they will provide you with a map, so that you know where everything is, and you can ride their shuttle for free.  Some trails are difficult, but the main trails are really easy to hike and you’ll love seeing all the views, bodies of water and gardens.  And an interesting rumor is also floating around that this hotel was the inspiration for the hotel in The Shining, since Stephen King is said to frequently stay at the hotel.

And, to help dilute some of the confusion about Connecticut’s high point, you first want to start just north of the state line, right after you see the concrete marker.  It’s hard to miss and your trail starts off to the left, which is marked with red blazes.  There is more than one way to hike to the top, but this is how I made it there.  Now, not far down the trail, you will want to make another left and continue to follow the red blazes.  The trail will slowly start climbing and then you will have to scale some rocks, so make sure you have some sturdy boots that have traction.

You will eventually make it up to the top of a rocky mountain, see some great views and possibly think you’ve made it to the high point… you haven’t!  What you are on at this point is called Round Mountain, and you will need to continue on the trail to the right.  Yes, the trail does actually go downhill, but you have a longer climb ahead of you soon.  Once you tackle the second rocky climb, you will come to a fork in the trail.  If you go to the right, you can sign the log book and think you’ve made it to the high point… you haven’t, yet!  Go ahead and sign the log book, then head back the trail the other way (as if you turned left at the fork), and before long you’ll come upon a pile of rocks and a metal pole, stuck in a rock.

This is another Connecticut/Massachusetts border marker, but it also marks Connecticut’s high point.  It’s odd that they don’t mention anywhere on the marker that it’s the high point, but it definitely is.  And sadly for me, as you can see in the video, it started raining hard by the time I got to the top.  So, I feel bad but the log book got soaked before I could get it back in the box, but it happens, and I made it through all of the confusion so that you don’t have to be so confused.

WANT MORE?

If that wasn’t enough for you then check out the official site for the Mohonk Mountain House, here: http://www.mohonk.com/

And if you’d like to check out the instrumental video, while avoiding my face popping into the picture, then check out that video below…

And here are some more pictures…

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Kent Falls, Circle Museum and the Taconic Sculpture Park

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Gaea's concrete head at the Taconic Sculpture Park

Gaea’s concrete head at the Taconic Sculpture Park

If you’re into tall waterfalls and outdoor art parks then have a seat and check this out!  There is an awesome waterfall in Connecticut called Kent Falls that, all together, is over 250 feet high.  It has a lot of different sections to it and there are good views at every section, as you progress up the trail.  When I went it was raining and found it pretty odd, but there were quite a few people fishing at the base of the waterfall!

But then, as I headed toward the Taconic Sculpture Park, I passed a sculpture park I didn’t even know about; the Circle Museum.  I decided to stop and check out the recycled art, created by a guy named Bijan, and it was a cool find!  There are a lot of metal sculptures, paintings inside and the artist is a pretty chill dude.

And when I finally made it to the Taconic Sculpture Park, I was amazed at the detail of Roy Kanwit’s work.  A lot of the sculptures are made from cement, some are carved from marble, and you can tell that a lot of it is inspired by Greek and Roman mythology.  I thought it was pretty cool that the head, pictured above, was taller than I am and you can go inside it and climb and ladder to a hole in the top of Gaea’s head.

But enough out of me, watch the video below to see how awesome these places are:

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

The three spots are in three completely different locations, but if you’d like to check out Kent Falls State Park in Kent, Connecticut then CLICK HERE for a map that will direct you right to the entrance to the park.  There’s a big parking lot and restrooms available.

If you want to check out the Circle Museum in Austerlitz, New York then CLICK HERE for a map that will direct you right to where you can park to check out the art.  There are not many parking spots but you should be able to squeeze in.

If you want to check out the Taconic Sculpture Park in Spencertown, New York then CLICK HERE for a map that will direct you right to the driveway of the park.  You’ll be directed to park right on the grass.

HELPFUL TIPS

If you come to Kent Falls between Memorial Day weekend and the end of October then there will be a parking fee, otherwise it’s free.  Be ready for a little climb on the trail.  Most of the area is pretty well fenced off, but you’ll want to keep an eye on your kids at the base and at the top of the waterfall.  Signs instruct you to stay on the trail as much as possible, but things are a little more open at the top and bottom.  The park’s open from 8 AM to sunset.

And, when you go to the Circle Museum, don’t forget to check out the paintings inside the building.  Bijan might be in there ready to strike up a conversation about his artwork with you.  I’m not sure of the hours, but I’m sure you could swing by at any time, during daylights hours.

And amazingly enough, all of the artwork at the Taconic Sculpture Park is for sale!  So, if something really catches your eye, you can talk with Roy about purchasing it.  You can swing by the park from 9 AM to 5 PM on the weekends, during the warmer months.

WANT MORE?

If that wasn’t enough for you then check out the official site for Kent Falls State Park here: http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?A=2716&Q=325228

And here is the official site for the Circle Museum: http://cargocollective.com/circlemuseum

And the official site for the Taconic Sculpture Park: http://www.taconic.net/~kanwit/

And for those of you who want to enjoy Kent Falls without me interrupting the natural beauty, here’s an instrumental version of my stroll through the park:

And as always, here are some more pictures:

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