Since 1998 at the end of the annual De Anza Outdoor Club winter Yosemite camping trip (and regularly after summer Tuolumne trips), many, if not most people, and often all trip members, have gone to Sunday brunch at the Ahwahnee hotel (temporarily renamed the Majestic Yosemite Hotel) in a grand dining room with a 34′ high trestle beam ceiling, floor-to-ceiling windows and twinkling chandeliers.
Photo below courtesy of the park concessionaire Delaware North.
Each year after we pack up the campsite at least half of the group (sometimes everyone) gets showers or otherwise cleans up, changes into decent clothes (Friday Casual or better suggested) and meets at the Ahwahnee hotel at mid day. Some have changed into dress uniform, as in airman (2005: Sergeant) Anello:
Photo below, taken in the waiting area outside the Ahwahnee dining room, by Michael Gregg. The sign elicited comments.
and a sign by one of the fireplaces:
Brunch usually includes prime rib, ham, made-to-order (at least a dozen choices of ingredients) omelettes,
bagels, cream cheese and smoked salmon, green salad, fresh fruit, prawns, scrambled eggs, bacon, trout, poached salmon, eggs Benedict, oysters, chocolate covered strawberries, pancakes/waffles, orange juice, grilled and/or marinated vegies, various sliced fruit, cheese plate, pasta, chicken, potatoes or hash browns, madeleines, creme brulee, tarts, cheesecake, crepes, blintzes … all the desserts are freshly made in-house.
It’s a wonderful place to soak in the sunshine coming in the big windows, finally let your toes thaw, and go back for seconds, thirds, fourths (…?). It will set you back a little over $57 plus tax/tip. (If you seat in a group of six or more people they add a required 18% tip and we always seat in groups that size or bigger). But people decide it’s worth it after eating instant mashed potato cups and the like out in the cold all weekend.
2004 pictures of chocolate covered strawberries and dancing to the music played on the grand piano (taken by who?)
2005 pictures below by Deepak Chandani.
Group February 2006 photo by the campground host, Kathy Spalding, who came to brunch with us.
A few people from an August 2006 trip:
2007 pictures of people’s food choices by Alice Chen:
do not feed the bear and endless backrub pictures from 2009:
2011: some people get quite dressed up:
At the end of the 2015 trip everyone on the trip went to brunch (oops, group photo with 2 brunch attendees missing):
In 2017 about half the campers went to brunch,
and some of them danced.
Here are a few hints about the logistics of getting from the campground to brunch in interesting weather .
After packing up the campsite we go to Half Dome Village (Curry Village) and get showers and change into good clothes, at least ‘Friday casual’.
The shower house has blow dryers mounted on the walls, but you might want your own hair dryer.
Bring a couple of big plastic bags to keep shower spray off your clothes and towels.
Some years the shower house has been closed for cleaning 10 – 11 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. to midnight.
To find the showerhouse (and swimming pool in summer), when you take the bus to Half Dome Village (Curry Village) or if you drive and park in the free shuttle parking / Half Dome Village parking, look for a driveway to the left of the stores.
365 day a year shower house is next to the (blue rectangle) summer swimming pool on the right up the service vehicles only road from the parking lot. The map below shows bus stops 14 and 20, and the road to the shower house / pool:
Up this service-vehicles-only road, on the right, is the shower house /pool entrance:
When you go to the shower house, leave your good shoes in the car and wear your snow boots. (Please do not put on perfume/cologne – people sitting near to you at brunch may have allergies.) After the shower/clothes change put the snow pants back on over your good slacks as you head back to the car.
When you get to the Ahwahnee (temporarily named the Majestic Yosemite Hotel) the road you are on will approach a parking lot and have a deliveries road to the right, don’t take it. Stay on the the perimeter road that runs between the cliff face on your left and the parking lot on your right. This road then bears right across the end of the main parking lot and bears left as you pull up under the porte-cochere (covered entrance) and drop off passengers out of the weather. People can change into good shoes and leave their winter boots, winter pants that were over their nice clothes, in the vehicle. Carry at least the warm/rain jacket with you if you want to do a tour of the hotel after brunch. (We suggest you hold on to the warm/rain jacket instead of checking it at the dining room entrance, and just put it on your chair.) The driver can then park the car or if it is precipitating and especially if you have spare money for a tip, have a doorman do it. The doorman will keep your keys and get your vehicle for you after brunch.
From the porte-cochere walk down a long covered outside walkway to the hotel main building entrance. When you enter the hotel bear right down a long hallway to the sitting area by a fireplace near the entrance to the dining room. We will wait until they tell us our tables are ready, then go in together. If that seating area is full, you could go around the giant fireplace to the other side and look for a comfy seat in the great lounge.
If your showering makes you run late, don’t just walk into the dining room looking for us, as you might be in a second seating. The people at the dining room entrance podium will know what to do.
If you ride the Yosemite Valley free shuttle bus to the Ahwahnee, or park in the parking lot, you will need to walk a bit out in the weather.
Below, the view from the free shuttle bus stop toward the Ahwahnee porte-cochere.
A photo of the Ahwahnee from Glacier Point, the dining room and kitchen take up the left wing you see below. You enter the hotel from the far side of the right wing of the building:
This map has the locations of the dining room and restrooms:
See examples of what you might wear in the photos above, and for fun, this description of clothes to wear to Yosemite written by by Olive Logan in 1870:
“I was informed by one of the few ladies who had been to the Valley, whom I met in San Francisco, that it was next to an impossibility to accomplish the journey without arraying myself in a Bloomer costume. Pardon me that I recoiled at this. I feel that my charms are not so numerous that I can afford to lessen them by the adoption of this most ungraceful and unbecoming of dresses; but when she assured me that it was almost a necessary precaution against being thrown from the horse to ride astride, I saw at once that my time had come, and a Bloomer costume I must wear. The dressmaker to whom I applied had made others, and needed no instructions when I told her I was going to the Yo Semite. She carved me out a costume; but pardon me once more if I shrink from the task of describing it. It was simply hideous. “The larger the hat the better,” said my friend; and I remembered a “flat” which I bought last year for Long Branch, but never used much because of the high winds getting under it and carrying it away. I drew it out of my trunk, and she pronounced it just the thing. It stuck out in front and poked out behind, and was tied down over the ears with a ribbon. Cotton gloves, which fitted as cotton gloves alone can fit, completed the outfit.”
For details about this Outdoor Club trip try these links:
Clearing snow after a winter storm as viewed from a table in the dining room:
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