As summer winds down and school days quickly approach, I find vacationing with family to be a most cherished memory, and can spend hours looking over photos or recalling those days past. So, if you’ll indulge me a flashback post again, this one highlights a late August week in 2013! Enjoy…
Here on the Northeast coast the humidity level is dropping as fast as the overnight temperature. But before the memory of summer fades away, I will savor those vacation days of August, when nothing stopped our early morning swims or twilight strolls around the lake.
Perhaps even more importantly than those delicious moments was the gathering of extended family, from our Grand Matriarch calling for peace in the world to our sweet teen on the edge of high school, and all the rest of us in-between with Big Birthdays looming, careers starting or retirement celebrated, all of us facing change. But here, with the backdrop of a grand hotel, we stopped for a brief interlude, and took the time to laugh at ourselves and with each other.
The history of Mohonk Mountain House is as rich and wonderful as the place. Founded by Albert Smiley in 1869, “his Quaker beliefs led him to a dedication to the cause of peace.” This cause was not only given lip-service, but has been a guiding force since the beginning. “Throughout the years, members of the Smiley family have found notable ways to contribute to the goals of Mohonk Mountain House. Daniel Smiley (1907-2001) established a natural science research center on the property; Keith Smiley (1910-2001) convened Mohonk Consultations to confer on issues related to the environment; Ruth Smiley (1910-2004) was tireless in her efforts to interpret nature for guests. Albert K. Smiley, president of Mohonk Mountain House since 1990, is the great-grand-nephew of Mohonk’s founder.” The stewardship for our planet and its inhabitants is evident throughout the pristine thousands of acres and in every corner of the vast Victorian hotel.
America today is a country on the move, with people shifting from coast to coast for love or career and my family is no different. Those same little ones that were constantly underfoot in my century old Vermont farmhouse are now navigating the L.A. freeway system and making their mark, so our time together, with aunts and uncles, cousin and grandmother, is precious.
Truly there is no better restorative than laughter, and here, in this spectacular background we experienced exactly that, explosions of happy emotion while paddle-boarding, swimming, hiking, all within the company of each other. Luckily, for all in our familial line, activity is exactly how we rest and restore, so here, with countless trails and an inviting lake, we found no shortage of activities.
Now, as September directs us back to our own lives, filled with our own concerns; we hold these wondrous moments that aptly caught us and taught us to appreciate the natural beauty soaring above and below, and seared its way into our most precious hearts. In the darkening days ahead we can still see that shimmering light reflecting on the lake and feel a bit more hope for the future, a bit more heaven as we remain earth bound.