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This was the time of the great mountain hotels. The Catskills boasted the Catskill Mountain House, the Kaaterskill Hotel and the Laurel House, among others. The Catskill Mountain House, was situated more than 2,000 feet above the River in Haines Falls and was one of the first resort hotels in America. Its clientele came from around the world to take in the majestic views, enjoy nature and escape from the unhealthy cities. A partial guest list included Henry James, Jenny Lind, Winslow Homer, Oscar Wilde, Ulysses S. Grant, Alexander Graham Bell, Mark Twain, Washington Irving and various American presidents (The Traveler's Guide to the Hudson River Valley, Mulligan, 1995, p. 74).
The Hudson Highlands had their share of guesthouses and hotels too. People flocked to summer in West Point, Cornwall and Cold Spring. They made day trips to Iona Island, which had a resort hotel, a ferris wheel, carousel and picnic grounds (today Iona is a bird sanctuary with no trace of the ferris wheel). The area had an enthusiastic advocate in Nathaniel Parker Willis, a well-known writer who spent a summer in Cornwall for his health and later purchased property there. From his estate, Idlewild, he wrote glowing magazine articles on the benefits of the mountain climate. In order to maintain the tone of the place, however, Willis began to invent and publicize more pleasing or romantic names for some of the local sites: Moodna Creek for Murderer's Creek, Storm King for Butter Hill, Mount Taurus for Bull Hill. Those invented names have stuck to this day.