Family Time at Woodloch

I am still coming down off of my vacation high. We spent a long weekend at Woodloch Pines Resort in the Poconos, and as always it was fantastic! In fact, with the kids being a little older now it was an absolute blast.

We have been going to Woodloch since 2007. Here is my review from our very first time there! I sound like a broken record, but time goes by so fast, and Jake and Noah were so little on that first visit. This time we let Jake have a room key just in case he needed to run back by himself! 

Last weekend was “Peter Cottontail Weekend” at Woodloch — the discount was great and there were a number of fun Easter-themed events. Laura went on an egg hunt and even got to meet the Easter Bunny.

Woodloch 2018

A new addition since the last time we were there is the Splash Zone. Oh my word — what fun! A spiral waterslide, spraying water, and every so often a huge, gushing surprise! And even better, the water is warm so no one (especially me) was freezing. The kids spent a lot of time playing in here!

Woodloch 2018

Another new feature is their 4-season ice rink. Yes! You could go ice skating in summer! The “ice” is actually synthetic, and it feel surprisingly close to the real thing. Ice skating was one of my favorite things to do when I was young, so I was thrilled to strap on a pair of skates! I was a little wobbly, but considering it has been over 25 years I was pretty happy with my abilities!

Woodloch 2018

We packed so much into every day — running around the indoor playground, snow tubing, bowling, racing go-karts… Never a dull moment!

Woodloch 2018

Woodloch 2018

Woodloch 2018

Another favorite part of going to Woodloch, at least for me, is Theme Night. Everyone dresses up for dinner, there are signature drinks, a character parade and meet-and-greet, and then later that evening a theme show in the nightclub. I love the singing and dancing and it was a great evening.

Woodloch 2018

Woodloch 2018

Woodloch 2018

Woodloch 2018

Woodloch 2018

Another highlight was participating in “Cupcake Wars!” We were given a tray of cupcakes, a large Rice Krispie treat, frosting “glue,” a few “secret” ingredients and fake money that is used to purchase extras like candy, fondant, and colored frosting. We were told the theme and had 30 minutes to complete our creation from concept to full-on display. We worked with another couple and had a lot of laughs putting together our masterpiece.

Woodloch 2018

Woodloch 2018

And let’s not forget about the food! Oh, the food at Woodloch! You never leave a meal hungry, that’s for sure. Soup, salad, entree, dessert… the worst part is deciding what you want to eat! As for the kids, it’s a great opportunity for them to try new things. One night we had a barley salad and everyone devoured it. That’s probably not something I would have made at home (until now), because I thought I was the only one who liked barley! We had a variety of soups like shrimp and corn chowder, potato pesto, and creamy chicken. Every dinner was amazing: salmon with zucchini noodles, bbq pork with smoked gouda mac & cheese, beef tenderloin and potatoes… I can’t even remember everything. And breakfast? Three words: Best. Bacon. Ever. And Scandanavian rolled pancakes with lingonberries. I’m hungry just thinking about them.

Woodloch 2018Woodloch 2018

 
Woodloch 2018Woodloch 2018

Woodloch 2018Woodloch 2018

Woodloch 2018

Of course, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. It was an all-too-short long weekend and nobody wanted to leave.

Woodloch 2018

Until next time, Woodloch!

Woodloch 2018
2018

 

Woodloch 2014
2014

saying "goodbye" to woodloch
2009

A Day In Boston (And Tanya Donelly Live!)

For my birthday back in October, Drew got us ticket to see Tanya Donelly and Kristin Hersh perform live in Boston. Unfortunately, the venue (City Winery), was not finished in time so the concert was moved to March. In a way I think it worked out for the best because I remember that October weekend as being really yucky, and when we went on Sunday it was a perfect day to walk around!

After graduating from UMass I moved to Boston. I love this town! I lived in Somerville, but worked as an editor in the heart of the city — at 101 Huntington, right near the Prudential Building. Drew and I met back in those days and the last time I visited was right after Jake’s first birthday, so… 15 years ago!

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A LOT has changed over the years, except for one thing: it’s still impossible to get anywhere! At this point in my life I am so used to the grid design of New York City, so Boston with it’s haphazard — albeit charming — layout can be frustrating. How on earth did I get anywhere in the days before smartphones and GPS?

Nevertheless, we had a great time. We walked around Quincy Market and watched some street performers.

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We then hopped on the T and headed over to Harvard Square and wandered around Cambridge for a while.

Overall, the city was really quiet. I’m guessing it was either the beginning or end of spring break. We headed back over to Faneuil Hall to grab a bit to eat for dinner. We went to a Tex-Mex restaurant called Zuma. We both got the chicken fajita salad which was HUGE and delicious and reasonably-priced.

With full bellies we then walked over to City Winery for the show. Drew is a HUGE Tanya Donelly and Belly fan. In a way, the concert was a present for him, and walking around Boston was a present for me. I love her too, don’t get me wrong, but he really loves her. The venue is really nice. Everyone has a seat at small tables (great set-up for us aging Gen-Xers). There is a full menu, but we just ordered a small carafe of wine.

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Tanya Donelly took the stage right on time and she is seriously so sweet and funny. I wish we could be best friends! I loved that it was basically just a bunch of people with their instruments — so organic and imperfect (she had us laughing at her very few mistakes because she has such a great sense of humor). It was a really great set!

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Kristin Hersh did a solo set and then the two came on stage for a song together.

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The show ended pretty much at 10 on the dot. We were back home in New York by 1:45 AM, which really was good time. I did not get to take anywhere near as many photos as I wanted to because I left my Nikon at home (I wasn’t sure if it would be a problem at the concert) and the battery on my phone was draining like crazy. But at least I got these few. I’m hoping we can go back in the summer, maybe for a weekend. I would love to wander around my old stomping grounds in Davis Sq. and see what that area is looking like these days!

Vacation in Plymouth, Mass.

Plymouth, MA July 2015So, it just occured to me that I never blogged about our vacation this month in Plymouth, MA! Although I grew up in Massachusetts, I have never been to Plymouth. (We probably did the Freedom Trail at least three times, though!) You’d think that it would be a standard school field trip, but for some reason I never made it there until this month. With a few free days before my husband started his new job, we decided to go on a last-minute trip.  We arrived in Plymouth on Wednesday, and it was quite overcast and still wet from all the rain earlier in the morning. However, that worked to our advantage because it wasn’t crowded at all! It has been ages since I saw the Atlantic, and it is just as gorgeous as ever.  The kids and I walked along the dock while D. got our tickets for Mayflower II and Plimoth Plantation. Plymouth, MA July 2015

The Mayflower II is a replica of the boat the pilgrims sailed on from England. The ship was constructed in England and sailed to Massachusetts in the 1950s.

Plymouth, MA July 2015As we walked around and thought about how many people the original Mayflower held, we all were amazed. The ship is not large, and quarters are tight. It definitely gave me a whole new perspective on their journey. I can’t even imagine what those early settlers experienced! Plymouth, MA July 2015

Plymouth, MA July 2015

Plymouth, MA July 2015

There are plenty of historians on hand who are happy to answer questions. Some are dressed and act as if it were the 1600s and others are just their modern-day selves.

Plymouth, MA July 2015  Plimoth Plantation, as you can imagine, was also fascinating! Again, historians walk (and WORK!) around the site, both in period dress and persona as well as modern. There are two parts to Plimoth Plantation — the English village and Wampanoag Homesite.  Plymouth, MA July 2015

On our first day wandering around, men at the Wampanoag Homesite were making a canoe from a pine tree. They were in the process of burning it out. There were other canoes made on-site that were floating in the water. Quite a difference from our fiberglass Old Town canoe!

Plymouth, MA July 2015I also learned a lot about what foods they grew and how they grew them. The Wampanoag diet was mostly vegetables — squash, corn, Jeruselem artichoke, etc. Their buildings were amazing to look at — all natural materials, not a nail in sight. Plymouth, MA July 2015

The English settlement was also quite fun. Listening to the historians who talk as if it were the 17th Century, you get a really interesting perspective on what they thought of England, of the Native Americans, and of Plymouth in general. We laughed when someone was complaining to us about all the damn trees!

Plymouth, MA July 2015

Plimouth Plantation

Plymouth, MA July 2015

Plymouth, MA July 2015If you have the opportunity to visit, I highly recommend it! Another stunning part of Plymouth is the waterfront. I don’t consider myself a beach person, really. I definitely gravitate towards lakes and mountains, but I think it’s impossible to look out on the Atlantic and not feel an overwhelming sense of calm and peace.  Plymouth waterfront

Naturally, we saw Plymouth Rock, as well. Most of the things I’d heard about Plymouth Rock, prior to seeing it myself, included comments like “underwhelming.” Well, I didn’t feel that way at all. Is it an enormous boulder? No, of course not! But let’s remember that this was the 1600s, and the settlers were on a small (yes, really) ship made from wood. Also, you need to consider hundreds of years of erosion! Personally, I thought it was moving to look at this stone and think about the journey these English men, women, and children endured. But maybe that’s just because I have an insane amount of home-state pride.

Plymouth, MA July 2015As for the rest of our trip, we got a great deal on a room at the John Carver Inn. What attracted us to the hotel initially is the location and the great pool! Come on – anyone with kids knows that a good hotel pool is key.

Pool at John Carver InnMy wonderful husband surprised me on our first night and had some Cava (a bubbly Spanish wine, similar to champagne) and truffles delivered to the room. So sweet! Cava & Truffles

The other interesting thing about the John Carver Inn, is that it is reportedly haunted. From what I read, most of the activity is on the third floor. However, even though we were on the second floor, I am absolutely convinced that I had my own paranormal experience there. D. thinks I am absolutely crazy, but I know what I felt.  It was the middle of the night and L. was sleeping on a cot positioned in between the two beds. I was sleeping facing her, and she suddenly sat bolt upright, which startled me. She seemed to settle herself and quickly fell back to sleep. I also settled back into bed. It was warm in the room, so I only had a sheet at my feet. Just as I was starting to drift off, I felt someone hike up the leg my pyjama shorts! It was super freaky, and a little aggressive. I whispered to D., but he was completely asleep. He’s convinced that I just got tangled up in the blankets, but… I’m not so sure, LOL! Needless to say, the next night I cranked up the AC and wrapped up every inch of my body while snuggling very close to my husband!

We ate at a lot of great restaurants, including the All-American Diner (which had a great breakfast and reasonable prices) and Sam Diego’s (a Mexican restaurant with amazing specials and huge portions).

Dinner at Sam Diego's

But I think my favorite was the Pillory Pub, right by the water. The served up creative hot dogs and absolutely  delicious clam chowder. We all loved it.

Pillory Pub, Plymouth, MA

Chowdahhhhh! At the Pillory Pub

Lunch at the Pillory Pub

Plus!!! Papa Gino’s has a location in Plymouth! If you’ve never lived in Massachusetts, then you just can’t fathom the deliciousness of a Papa Gino’s pepperoni slice. I’m sure fond childhood memories slant my opinion, but seriously — it’s just cheesy, tomatoey goodness. Just when I thought the trip couldn’t get any better, there we were ordering a large pie, taking our parmesan cheese and oregano to the table, and waiting for our number to be called. Good stuff!

My favorite pizza - Papa Gino's!There are lots and lots of cute little shops and boutiques, too. We didn’t browse too many with the kids, but we enjoyed peering in through the windows.

Sign in Plymouth

Cool stuff in Plymouth

The whole vacation was so relaxing! We had perfect weather and seemed to beat the crowds. When we were leaving, the town was ramping up for the 4th of July and everything was getting busier. It was a great way to spend some family time together before D. started his new job!

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