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

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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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:

tweet

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!

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.