A Rustic & Relaxing Getaway

By Jeff & Stephanie Sylva

nterested in a lovely country escape to one of “the finest examples of rustic Adirondack architecture”? Just hop on the Palisades Interstate Parkway at the George Washington Bridge, and in 40 minutes, you will arrive at Bear Mountain Inn in Tomkins Cove, NY. The Inn is the centerpiece of the unique park system stretching from the edge of New York City into Hudson Valley. This year-round playground in the mountains offers a variety of outdoor activities, comfortable accommodations, and an excellent restaurant

Construction of Bear Mountain Inn began in 1914. Nine months later, the Palisades Interstate Park Commission unveiled one of the earliest examples of the rustic outdoor architecture that would soon define the buildings created throughout most of America’s national and state parks. The stone used in the Inn’s foundations, wall facades, and the two massive fireplaces was obtained from old walls on properties acquired for Bear Mountain State Park. Chestnut timber harvested from local parklands and milled on-site was used for framing, specific trim, siding, and floor coverings.

By the height of the Roaring Twenties, the Bear Mountain Inn had become the most exclusive holiday destination in Hudson Valley. The business never relinquished that distinction, hosting countless luminaries from across the nation over the next few decades. The Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, and New York Knickerbockers made the Inn and adjacent athletic facilities their training headquarters in the 1930s. For an interesting side note, ask about the “Jackie Robinson table” when visiting the restaurant.

Throughout the 1930s and 40s, Bear Mountain Inn hosted notable dignitaries such as Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Inn is listed on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places and is a member of the Historic Hotels of America.

Situated on the shores of scenic Hessian Lake, the Inn has 15 deluxe guestrooms and suites that combine rustic mountainside elegance with all the creature comforts. Plush bedding and linens, an in-room micro-fridge and microwave, and a Keurig coffee maker in every room are some of the amenities offered.

Located on the opposite side of the lake from the Inn, the Overlook Lodge offers 24 guestrooms with a more traditional hotel style. A comfortable living room-styled lobby has a warming fireplace (seasonal) and incredible panoramic views of the Hudson River and Hessian Lake. These rooms offer the same amenities as the Inn’s guestrooms.  

Bear Mountain Inn also provides an authentic, rustic mountain cabin experience. The four Stone Cottages have a front porch and an everyday living area with a wood-burning fireplace. The communal area connects six private guest rooms (each rentable under separate reservations) – with one queen-size bed, private bath, small refrigerator, and 32" television. You can reserve one bedroom or the entire cottage. 

The Inn offers a variety of packages, including the Winter Getaway, a Bed and Breakfast Package, a Spa & Stay Package, and An Evening of Romance package. 

Located on the second floor of the historic Inn, Restaurant 1915 offers the unique cuisine of the Hudson Valley and New York area using the freshest locally sourced, native ingredients. The hospitality and service are gracious and effortless. The room’s historic Adirondack aesthetic is enhanced by the soaring ceiling, the extraordinary woodwork, the multitude of large windows offering beautiful views, and, at the center of it all, the massive stone fireplace.

The menu is an eclectic mix of global cuisine with items such as Grilled Merguez Sausage, Whole Branzino with mixed Olive Vinaigrette, Citrus and Fregola, and prime cuts from the Cast Iron Skillet. Although we didn’t try one, the Angus Burger garnered high praise from many other diners in the restaurant. The restaurant’s Blue Roof Tapas Bar offers a bar menu of light bites, hand-crafted cocktails, and a selection of wines by the glass and draft beers.

Located just inside the east entrance of the Inn, the Hiker’s Café offers a variety of grab-and-go sandwiches, salads, breakfast items, baked goods, and coffee drinks. 

Hiking is a favorite of many guests, and there are many trail options if you include the adjacent Harriman State Park. The Appalachian Trail runs through Bear Mountain Park. For an easy-rated walk, take the scenic path around Hessian Lake. We also enjoyed the hike across the Bear Mountain Bridge, taking in some magnificent views. Another spot for incredible sights is the top of Bear Mountain and the Perkins Tower. You can take the rather strenuous hike or drive Perkins Memorial Drive to the top.

Other activities include the Trailside Museum & Zoo, a classic indoor Merry-Go-Round, paddleboat rentals, an outdoor ice-skating rink, cross-country ski trails, river fishing, and a swimming pool (open to ALL visitors to the State Park). 

Within a short drive of the Inn, there is much to do and see. Attractions include Storm King Sculpture Park, the contemporary art museum Dia Beacon, and the Walkway over the Hudson in Highland.  

After all is done, why not treat yourself to a relaxing or full—day treatment at The Spa at Bear Mountain? An independently owned and operated facility on the Inn’s third floor, the Spa offers a full array of massages, facials, body treatments, and salon services.  

For more information on the Bear Mountain Inn,;
for The Spa at Bear Mountain,

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