Another Awesome Woodloch Vacation

Beautiful View

Last November, one of our favorite vacation spots had a Black Friday deal that we couldn’t pass up. We always have an amazing time at Woodloch and since we didn’t get to go back last year, I’ve been excited waiting since I booked our vacation last fall. Well, as usual the wonderful staff did not disappoint and spent last Tues.-Fri. having tons of great family time together!

We started going to Woodloch back when Jake was in pre-school! Back then we thought it would be fun to visit again someday. Well, six times later I think it’s safe to say that we always have an excellent time. There are so many things for the kids (and grown-ups) to do, even in the winter months. The food is fantastic. And every single person who work there is super nice and goes out of their way to make your stay memorable.

One of the highlights is always “Theme Night.” Each year the folks at Woodloch put on an original show and that evening’s dinner decor reflects the theme. Can you guess what it is this year?

Pre-dinner beverage

Delicious chocolate mousse dessert

They also have a character parade (always a hit with the kids!) walk through the dining room. After you’ve been a few times you realize that they somehow always manage to work this huge wooden horse in — this year a prominant 1980s political figure was riding it 😉 Laura was thrilled to meet Ariel and Strawberry Shortcake (her favorite!) and the boys got a kick out of Chewbacca.

Laura & Ariel

Laura & Strawberry Shortcake

Chewbacca & the boys

I thought that the “Back to the 80s” painted backdrop was too cool — so many favorites!

Back to the 80s!

The show afterwards was great, too. Everyone had a blast singing along to favorite songs. Laura’s eyes lit up when they started singing “I Love Rock & Roll” — it’s one of her favorites! I was totally loving the first set. Check out the Mac, the cell phone, the Simon game… they did such a great job.

80's theme show

Oh, something totally new and different this year was “Gingerbread Wars.” It was the perfect day for it too — last Thursday when the region got a ton of snow dumped on it! There were 21 (I think) teams and we were all presented with a sheet of uncut gingerbread, 6 chocolate donut holes, an apple, and some frosting. There were also tickets that we could use to “purchase” decorations like colored frosting, candy, cookies, etc. We had no idea what to expect! After the rules (you had to somehow use the donuts and apple — the secret ingredients — in your creation) were read we learned that we had 30 minutes to “bake up” a gingerbread structure that went along with the theme “America.”

Wow! Talk about a challenge! We wanted to do something a little different and what is more American than a cheeseburger with fries? So that’s exactly what we made!

woodloch 2014

woodloch 2014

We came in fourth place, which left me thrilled! (I’m not a great cake decorator, and certainly can’t cut a straight line out of gingerbread!) But I also won a t-shirt for this Tweet:

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So fun! Let’s see… what else? There was snow tubing, plenty of time running around the Woodloch Forest (a huge indoor play structure), bumper cars, and enjoying the gorgeous scenery. Lake Teedyuskung is gorgeous all frozen over.

Snow tubing

Snow tubing

Snow tubing

woodloch 2014

woodloch 2014

While I was in the Low Carb cooking class (which was awesome! I loved all the recipes and can’t wait to make them at home), Drew and the kids joined in on the scavenger hunt. Their team ended up winning first place! (Guess it pays to have a bunch of random things like pressed pennies in your purse!). We saw a magician, we played Jackpot Bingo, and just had a lot of good family fun, which really is what it’s about!

woodloch 2014

woodloch 2014

Sadly, we had to leave on Friday so we took a photo with the black bear in the lobby (like we always do!):
We always take a photo with the bear when we leave.

 

Just for the sake of nostalgia, check out this photo from 2009 — the boys were so little and Laura wasn’t even born yet!

saying "goodbye" to woodloch

Going home took a while because of the storm. We had to be careful on the mountain roads, but once we got to the highway driving was no problem. Of couse, then we came home to a driveway we couldn’t even pull into! Drew jumped out to get to work and the kids and I ran to the store for a few things. When we got back home, at least the car could get in the driveway (even if the front stairs were still piled high!)

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We always have so much fun at Woodloch, and the kids are already starting with the “When we go back”s… LOL! And honestly, I can’t wait myself. 

Back from Vacationing at Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg
Hello! Well, the last week and a half have just gone by lightning fast! I have so much to catch up on… Where should I even start?

Well, before I get to the details of our trip, I have to mention that Noah turned 8! After a breakfast of his chosen “sugar cereal” (something I don’t usually buy except on the kids’ birthdays), he opened presents.

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Then we headed over to Walkway Over the Hudson State Park. Even though I am terribly afraid of heights, I love it there (as long as I don’t get too close to the edge of the railing, LOL). 

Mid-Hudson Bridge

Walkway Over the Hudson

We decided to have an early lunch at IHOP, and then headed home. I made Hawaiian pizza for dinner (Noah’s request). All in all I think he had a great day.

Last Monday we got in the car for the very long drive (ugh, 8 hours) to Colonial Williamsburg for vacation. It was a lot of fun! I’ll be honest — I wish you could poke around some of the buildings at your leisure, but you’re limited to what you can see during a tour. I understand — there’s a lot of value in some of those buildings — but it would have been nice.

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg
Some of the shops are only open certain days of the week, so there are a few we missed (like the Apothecary — something I had really hoped to check out). But we spent a lot of time at the Blacksmith shop. The boys were fascinated.

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg

One of my favorite buildings was Bassett Hall, the Williamsburg home of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his wife Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. It was styled as the Rockefellers would have had it. Oh, I could so easily have moved right into that kitchen! 

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg

On our last night we had dinner at Shield’s Tavern and it was excellent! I had the ale potted beef, which was like a pot roast with vegetables served over the most delicious mashed potatoes. Drew had “a dish of pork” — a huge, flavorful hunk of pork on the bone. Seriously, it was so good! I loved that the children’s meals all came with applesauce and mixed vegetables (a blend of carrots, broccoli, and green beans) and not just the standard potato and entree.

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg

There was a gentleman playing music, encouraging everyone to participate in a sing along. Such fun! After dinner we had tickets to the Tavern Ghost Walk. The boys were riveted by the spooky stories about some of the haunted buildings in Williamsburg. I kept snapping away with my camera, hoping to capture something — but I didn’t, LOL!

Colonial Williamsburg

The boys learned a lot, and although I’m not sure Laura was as entertained, she liked the horses and playing with some colonial toys. Speaking of which, Noah turned out to be an absolute champ at hoop & stick. So much so that he decided to use his souvenir money to buy one for himself!

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg

We got back on Friday after spending the night in New Jersey to break up the trip home. And now we’re in the back-to-school “home stretch.” It’s our last full week of vacation. Oh summer, I will miss your lazy days!

Dreaming of Warmer Weather

It may be April but it is still so cold outside! I dropped Jake off this morning and the thermometer read 28 degrees… brr! The weather definitely has me thinking of vacations, preferably to warmer places. 

Honestly, I’m kind of jealous of friends who were able to get away to warm beaches stateside over spring break. Oh, it would be wonderful to don flip-flops and enjoy tropical drinks while watching the waves roll in and out. I know it’ll warm up here, eventually though.

I’m not sure if we’ll be going on a summer vacation this year. We’ll have to see how busy things are with my husband’s work schedule. He has some business travel planned for the summer so if we do go away, it will likely be something close by — maybe a long weekend somewhere. Often we go to Lake George, but it would be fun to try somewhere new.

And if we don’t do anything, that’s OK too. Honestly, sometimes travelling with three kids is a lot more work than it is relaxation. And packing… that is probably my least favorite part of any trip! Then, of course, there is the mountain of laundry when you get home. Hmm… Maybe a “staycation” is a better option right now. Take the kids to the lake, hang out on the deck with an iced tea, order take-out for dinner… yup, I think that’ll do just as well.

Lake George in the Off Season

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Yesterday we took the boys to Albany ComicCon — a smaller, much more manageable comic book show than the big one in the city. Laura came too, and was a real trooper, braving the crowd all in the hopes of seeing Spider-Man (which she did!). Afterwards, we surprised the kids with a little sidetrack before going home, though. We figured since there is no school today in honor of Veteran’s Day, we’d spend a little extra time together as a family.

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We usually go to Lake George at the end of the season (on Labor Day), but this time of year it is really the off-season. It was so weird seeing all the stores emptied and locked with “See you in the Spring!” signs hanging in doors and windows. Even the McDonald’s in town was closed! But some stuff was open, and really all I wanted to do was walk around the lake so I didn’t care much about the shops. It was an absolutely gorgeous day to be up in the Adirondacks. Mid 60s in early November? Why yes! I’ll take it! It was such a relaxing way to spend the afternoon.

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A co-worker told me about The Mystery Spot, something that was in her kids’ book Weird New York. We’ve been to Lake George so many times — I can’t believe I’d never heard of this, even though I have walked over this spot on every trip! (Though Drew tells me we discovered it on our first vacation there when we were still dating — but I can’t remember!) If you stand in the middle of this circle and talk or even whisper, there is this weird reverberation.

“Local Indian legend says that it was the spot that an ancient god called Katchalototail had appeared at a long time ago and since then his wisdom still echoes around the lake.”

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It’s not exactly an echo, but definitely some bizarre sonic anomaly. We all got a kick out of it! Definitely try it if you’re up there.

A Visit to the New York Botanical Garden

What a weekend! I have so much to tell you about, but I thought I’d start by sharing some photos I took yesterday. While Drew and Jake were at ComicCon, my mother-in-law suggested the rest of us spend the day at the New York Botanical Gardens. I’d never been there and she certainly didn’t have to convince me — I was so excited to finally visit!

We saw the gorgeous Monet’s Garden exhibit, as well as the Haunted Pumpkin Garden (very non-spooky, very fun, and great for children). Noah had a great time planting buckwheat seeds and dissecting an owl pellet, while Laura enjoyed playing in the outdoor puppet theatre and just looking at all the incredibly creative pumpkin sculptures.

Seeing all these beautiful plants makes me wish I was a better gardener! Just gorgeous stuff. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

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I could have spent the entire day wandering around. If you live in the metro New York area and you’re looking for something fun and Halloween-y to do, this exhibit was a lot of fun, plus the grounds are just so beautiful. We plan to go back for the holiday train show and I can’t wait for that!