Fun Times at Hunter Mountain

This past weekend I was fortunate to be invited to a company’s annual ski weekend to Hunter Mountain in the Catskills region of New York State.  As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I am an avid skier.  I will give up most anything to be out on the slopes and the odds definitely shift with conditions.  I was excited at the opportunity to get in a bit more skiing as the season comes to an end and the forecast promised excellent spring surface.

Kaatskill Mountain Club
A last minute postponement of my Friday night plans allowed me to join the group for the full weekend instead of Saturday morning.  With an early afternoon start on Friday, we arrived at the Kaatskill Mountain Club by 4:30 giving enough time to read & relax until others arrived.  We started our evening with drinks at Van Winkles bar right in the hotel and moved on to their dining room for dinner when most of the party of 10 had made their way in.  For me it was an interesting experience as I only knew one person in the group and I must admit I was a bit nervous about spending the weekend with a bunch of people that didn’t know me and I didn’t know.  Well the nervousness lasted all of five minutes as everyone was very friendly and immediately welcomed me into the mix. 

Dinner at Van Winkles was quite good.  I had every intention of staying healthy but ordered their Signature Crab Cake and the Black & Tan Onion Rings.  I also tried the shrimp & lobster from my friend’s Seafood Cocktail.  The crab cake was delicious with big chunks of crab and not too much else.  The onion rings, crispy on the outside and perfect on the inside, were the best I’ve ever had, and that says a lot because I am very particular about my onion rings.  The shrimp was cooked perfectly and the lobster (something I don’t usually care for – yes I’m strange) was very good.  In fact, I’d go as far as to say, I’d order lobster there next time.  My one negative comment would be that the service was less than friendly but hey, our table of skiers made up for it and we had a great time.  An evening of beer and pool at The Spinning Room rounded out the night that lasted well into the wee hours. 

Last Trail of the day – The Cliff
We had a late and windy start on Saturday but managed to get to the slopes by 10:30am.  After a quick gathering at the lift, we were off for the day.  It’s always great when everyone in the group skies/rides at more or less the same pace and ability.  We mostly stayed together throughout the day except for those who opted not to ski or were taking lessons.  Short lift lines allowed us to cover a lot of terrain in some awesome snow conditions.  The day saw us in wind, snow and rain before the sky opened up to a beautiful sunny day and the temperatures warmed enough to allow for outdoor beverages during breaks.  After skiing, we said goodbye to half the group as they headed home for various reasons.  After a much needed nap and shower, I met the remaining five at Van Winkles for drinks before heading to our dinner destination.

The Deer Mountain Inn

The Burlesque Show
The restaurant that our host had chosen for dinner was the Deer Mountain Inn and this evening was one of the highlights of the weekend for me.  We drove off the main road in Tannersville up the mountain past old stone walls, beautiful houses and a fascinating old stone church.  The Inn itself is quite an interesting building with a bright red door to welcome its visitors.  We were greeted promptly and shown to our table but opted to sit at the bar for a drink before beginning our meal.  The bartender, an interesting woman named Cidra, had a large personality and certainly knew how to draw in a crowd.  She didn’t just mix and pour the standard drinks but instead began to concoct all kinds of strange cocktails for each of us.  Mine was called the The Burlesque Show made with strawberries, bitters, egg whites and gin.  It was quite delicious.    

As the sun set, we made our way to our table and perused the menu.  Everything looked delicious and choices were difficult, but we managed to order a good variety including Prosciutto wrapped Quail, Slow cooked Pork Belly, Oysters Raclette, Roasted Beet Salad, Veal Tenderloin, Short Ribs, Seared Scallops and Salmon.  Everything was absolutely amazing and we tried a little bit of everything so that we could taste it all.  More than the delicious food at the Deer Mountain Inn, what makes the experience special is the warm ambiance of the restaurant with burning fireplaces under large mantles with deer heads and the fantastic service. From the starting cocktail, to the final Espresso Martini with dessert, we received their undivided attention.  Quite happy with our meal, we called our taxi and said farewell to a lovely evening we will not soon forget.  We made our way to MacGregor’s at the base of the mountain for more pool and a little karaoke before ending our evening far too late yet again.  I was definitely not skiing on Sunday!!

Prosciutto wrapped Quail
Oysters Raclette
Slow-cooked Pork Belly

On the drive home Sunday morning, we stopped at Maggie’s Crooked Café for breakfast in Tannersville.  It’s a small place in an old house with about 10 tables.  Considering its size, they have quite an extensive menu that looks quite good, especially when you are as hungry as I was at that point.  I skipped my usual breakfast of two eggs over easy with a side of wheat toast and ordered the Eggs Benedict Fume which substituted the usual Canadian bacon with smoked salmon.  Served alongside were roasted potatoes and a green salad.  Despite the fact that it was far too much food, I ate most of it and enjoyed every bite.  I would skip lunch and dinner to compensate. I was thankful for the early start home so I could take a nap before my son’s tennis match.  Just can’t recover from those late nights as quickly any more.  After the match, I made some tea and was asleep before nine o’ clock!!

A great big thank you to my host, J, for a fun and delicious weekend!!  Thank you to all the others who welcomed me with open arms.  I will need to start practicing my pool skills so I can kick some butt at the next opportunity.  I will leave the singing skills to the others who have more guts than I do.  Thank you to Smiley’s for providing taxi service all weekend and to all the staff at the Kaatskill Mountain Club and bars and restaurants we visited in the three days.

Happy Trails!!


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