Alaskan Finds Love in New York

by | Jan 3, 2012 | Travel

The “Quaint” Mohonk Mountain House

If you read our blog with any frequency, you know my husband Troy and I traveled to New York in October. Our trip was inspired by the nuptials of Betty Higdon and Brendan Lovett. Betty, who was originally from Fairbanks and later Juneau, Alaska, moved to New York and became a Paramedic for FDNY. It was there that she met Brendan, an EMT for FDNY. Now residents of Brooklyn, they chose Mohonk Mountain House resort in upstate New York for their nuptials.

When telling her father about the location that she and Brendan chose for the location of their wedding, Betty described the Mohonk Mountain House as “quaint.”  At first glance of the Mohonk Mountain House, you think grandeur, but once inside you see the quaintness.  Inside the hotel off the main passages are little rooms with fireplaces, comfortable chairs and couches . . . and just the right lighting.  The resort, described as a Victorian castle built on the spectacular cliffs above the deep-blue waters of Lake Mohonk, is located in the midst of the Mohonk Preserve and was built in 1869. The abundant porches have rocking chairs that look upon the lake, beautiful boulders and foliage.

One of the many seating areas inside the hotel

Just a sample of the Mohonk Mountain House’s beautiful grounds

A few of the rocking chairs on the abundant porches at the Mohonk

Being the second weekend in October, the fall colors were making a grand appearance. The wedding was held inside due to the weather—it  wasn’t cold, but the fog hugged the mountainside. Betty’s brother, Ben, played guitar as the wedding party walked down the aisle. A short, meaningful service was officiated by Brendan’s grandfather. Betty and Brendan had special vows they whispered into each other’s ear.

While the wedding party was down on the dock having their pictures taken, the guests were up on the deck enjoying cocktails and appetizers. One table was set with a beautiful plate of cheese, crackers, and crudités with a variety of dressings. Another table had the warm appetizers that included sautéed mushrooms, a smoked duck with cranberry on a raisin crostini, and coconut shrimp.

While the wedding party was being photographed on the dock, the guests were served cocktails and appetizers

The appetizers

The newlyweds share a laugh with guests

A sit down dinner was served in the West Dining Room. Betty had paid such attention to detail! Each of the round tables were set with a birch vase filled with lit branches. There were candles, along with our name cards in birch holders, a small tree encased in a tube, and an ornament with their names and wedding date in a small organza bag. Betty and Brendan had their own smaller round table at the front of the room, providing family and friends an opportunity to visit with them. Of course, the newlyweds were up mingling with the guests as well.

Each table setting included a small tree encased in a tube and an ornament

The newlyweds had their own table at the reception

The dinner was absolutely delicious! A loaf of sliced artisan bread was served with two spreads – garlic and sun dried tomato. Next a roasted sweet potato and cranberry bisque, a delectable combo! The guests had their choice of entrees: a grilled New York strip steak with shallot mashed potatoes and Chasseur sauce or seared swordfish with eggplant puree and sweet tomato compote. There was also a vegetarian option, which was mushroom ravioli. I was privy to taste a bit of each and they were all bursting with flavor and cooked to perfection.

New York Strip Steak

Grilled Swordfish

Father of the Bride Greg Higdon, Bev Munsterman, Susie Calhoun, and Troy Bowers

Many toasts followed the dinner. The two best men, the maid of honor, bridesmaid and fathers each shared their emotional and reflective sentiments. Rather than tossing the wedding bouquet, Betty did something unique. There were four women among the guests that will be getting married in the next year, two of them sister-in-laws. Betty had a special bouquet made for each of them, which she handed to them as she said, “We already know who is getting married!”

The three tiered wedding cake was an Osnes family recipe, Betty’s mom being Pauline Osnes. It was a zucchini cake, filled with lemon and iced with Bavarian Cream. Dancing followed the cake, with song titles provided by guests. They even played Troy’s and my wedding song, Tequila!

 The wedding cake

Most of the family and Betty’s personal assistant, Scott, traveled from Alaska. One uncle traveled from British Columbia, another uncle with her cousins from California. Brendan’s family, mostly from the New York area didn’t have quite the trek. People joyfully came from far and wide to celebrate the marriage of Betty Maria Higdon and Brendan Gerald Lovett! Here’s to the newlyweds . . . and a gracious thank you for including us in an inspirational wedding celebration.

PS – you can see a picture of Betty and Pauline on page 150 of our cookbook, with Pauline’s Oak Run Zucchini recipe.

The sight of lovers feedeth those in love.

~William Shakespeare- As You Like It, 3.4.54

~Susie Calhoun~