The Mohonk Testimonial Gateway was built in 1907-8 to commemorate the 50th wedding anniversary of the co-founders of Mohonk Mountain House, Albert Keith Smiley and his wife Eliza Phelps Smiley.
Opened to the public last May, the Gateway Trailhead offers access to carriage roads and trails in the Foothills of the Shwangunks.
Lately it is my favorite place to walk, and well worth the price of the Mohonk Preserve membership.
Starting at the parking lot, we pass through a bit of wooded area and then, skirting the Gatehouse, we emerge onto the allee, a straight carriage road lined with venerable pin oaks. Immediately on the right is a pond where frogs galump and we may see a great blue heron.
To the left is a gazebo with a lovely view across the meadow. From there, we can count monarch butterflies and take in the curve of the mountains.
The Lenape Bridge at the end of the allee is under construction, so people are detoured through a field and across the road where we can rejoin the carriage road. Here is presented a choice: straight ahead across the farm fields where black cows graze, or to the right toward more woods.
On our most recent walk, we showed up in the evening, when the fields were exhaling the day’s breath. The fragrance was full of grass and wildflowers and the life of the land.
After a day inside the apartment, the Preserve offered space and air and a fabulous sunset.