By: Nell Boucher, Archivist, Mohonk Mountain House
Boats on Lake Mohonk have always been part of the Mountain House experience. In the early years, a popular event was the annual regatta, a rowboat race that began in 1890. The last regatta was held around 1940.
Our regatta races featured fierce competition between guests staying at Mohonk Mountain House.
Mabel Smiley recalled her regatta strategy as a youth in the late 1800s: “The boats were heavy flat-bottom affairs… We observed a strict diet—roast beef every day—and went to bed early for two weeks in advance of regatta day.”
Guests still enjoy rowboats today. Our signature Mohonk boats are handbuilt at Lowell’s Boat Shop in Amesbury, MA, a National Historic Landmark and working museum. The design is similar to the original skiffs from the late 19th century, which can be seen in the Mohonk Barn Museum. Our boats are unique—they’re built using patterns and handwritten notes from the builders who created the designs at Lowell’s in the 1970s. During the winter, our Rustic Crew maintains the rowboats, providing any needed painting, brightwork, hardware, and woodwork.
Today’s Mohonkers have their choice of boats—canoes, rowboats, kayaks, paddleboats, and stand-up paddleboards. There are so many ways to glide across Lake Mohonk. But while the boats are new, the cliffs, the lake, and the sky above are the same as they have ever been—beautiful and timeless.
Visit during Memorial Day Weekend this May 25-28th, and enjoy lake activities, open campfires, live music, and delicious food at our historic mountain resort.