What does it mean to take a drive? We drive ourselves or other people drive us most days of our lives. Cabs, errands, school runs, commutes. Driving pervades so many crucial facets of our day to day existence. But when did you last stop to appreciate and consider the nature of the drive you are taking? When was it more than an A to B (or getting to every other letter in the alphabet for that matter). We rush. We don’t pause. We rarely appreciate and consider the drive. But sometimes you must, or rather have no choice to but to consider it. This is one such occasion.
It’s a crisp, beautiful New York Sunday morning as I step onto the sidewalk from my apartment and take in my first view of the car. I say car but to do so does it a disservice. To call it a car is to immediately bracket it with thousands of inferior products. It is to standardize it. And this is a vehicle that is far from standard. The Mercedes-Maybach S600 is a carriage of excellence. A carriage of dreams, engineering brilliance and modern luxury. Greeting me that morning was a piece of automotive wonder that delivers an outstanding experience.
The aim was to take a drive. To head on out of the city and north into the Hudson Valley towards the beautiful hotel Glenmere Mansion that sits resplendently atop a hill with breathtaking views towards Glenmere Lake. As we left Manhattan and headed towards the Palisdes, the changing landscape racing past the window was quickly forgotten as my mind turned towards the environment within which I sat. The silence strikes you first. Despite there being a mighty six litre, V12 engine under the bonnet propelling you effortlessly forward, the interior is a haven of calm. As you adjust to the quiet movement of the vehicle your eyes settle onto the features that surround you. Polished wooden panels, with dashes of aluminum gleaming throughout. Your body settles into the Nappa leather seats, the hand-stitched fabric forming perfectly to the contours of your body, and you exhale and feel the sense of calm wash over you. As we glided towards Glenmere Mansion my mind returned towards that question again. What is it to take a drive? And I knew. It was there in that moment I was experiencing, letting an incredible vehicle spirit me away, delight me with its performance and envelop me in its comforts.
As we turned from the freeway into the backwoods of the Hudson Valley we purred through the twisting roads that led us to Glenmere Mansion. Approaching the property from the drive we passed a herd of deer and stopped. As they stared, so close they would see their reflection in the polished black exterior of the car, I took a moment to revel in the contrast I was enjoying. Just an hour before I had been amidst the mayhem of Manhattan and now, a glorious drive later I had been removed both physically and mentally to a place of beauty and tranquillity.
Beauty and tranquillity are the perfect words to describe Glenmere Mansion. The passion project of Alan Stenberg and Daniel DeSimone, they restored the mansion (first built in 1911 for the industrialist Robert Goelet) to reflect its Tuscan heritage and incorporate their own sense of elegant style to deliver an 18 room hotel with stunning spa that takes your breath away. Lunch in the opulent restaurant where you marvel at the views of rolling grounds and Glenmere lake was the perfect break during my quest to answer what it is to take a drive. It also provided another answer: To seek out wonderful experiences as places such as Glenmere Mansion. They are the staging posts of a drive that only serve to enhance it.
As the Maybach swept out of the grounds and headed back through the valley, towards the pace and power of the city another though struck me. Whilst the car connected so well with the quiet escapism of Glenmere and the Hudson valley it also resonated with the metropolis we were heading back to. Why? Pace and power. Qualities that both the vehicle and the city share. In seeing this so it struck me that the Mercedes-Maybach S600 really does provide the perfect drive. For a vehicle to meet all of your sensory needs, from calming moments to powerfully driven performance, you are aware that you are in the presence of something different. Something unique. Something truly special. The Mercedes-Maybach S600 - What it means to take a drive.