Sunday, July 31, 2005

Quaker History/Quaker Schools/Business/Smiley

Sit back, relax and enjoy the nostalgia

Los Angeles Times/Los Angeles/CA/USA/30-Jul-05

… "I have treated this property … as a landscape artist does his canvas, only my canvas covers seven square miles," Albert Smiley said in 1907. Smiley founded Mohonk Mountain House with his twin brother, Alfred, in 1869, then devoted his life to getting the picture just right, planting gardens, removing dead wood, cutting roads and trails around the lake.

The Smileys were Quaker school masters from Maine who discovered Mohonk Lake, 90 miles north of Manhattan, on a picnic outing, then bought it, thereby launching themselves into second careers as hoteliers. The bushy-bearded brothers agreed about almost everything, whether it was the importance of teaching Latin in schools or the perfection of the Mohonk site.

Later, they concurred about the virtues of Southern California and, around 1890, helped found the town of Redlands, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles. There they built a public library, winter homes on a hill known as Smiley Heights and a botanic garden.

Canon Crest Park, their Redlands garden, is long gone. But back east, Mohonk Mountain House survives in fine style, a national historic site that looks partly like a Victorian castle, partly like an apparition, presiding over its half-mile-long lake and 26,000 acres of state parks and private preserves that surround it.

Still owned and operated by Smileys, the 251-room hotel (increasing to 261 in early August) has an old-fashioned golf course, a celebrated garden, tennis courts, stables, ice-skating rink, new spa scheduled to open Wednesday and 85 miles of hiking trails, designed to give guests scenic views at every turn.

Mohonk continues to adhere to the Full American Plan, the all-inclusive arrangement that has gone the way of lawn bowling at other U.S. resorts. As on a cruise ship, the price includes accommodations, most activities, three meals a day and afternoon tea. ...


Post a Comment

<< Home