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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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!)

IMG_2125[1]

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. 

Vacation Wrap-Up

Well, we had yet another amazing time at Woodloch Pines! We went there last year at this time (you can read about last year’s trip here). It’s an all-inclusive resort in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. For us, it’s a perfect trip because even though it’s only about two hours away, you really feel like you’re “getting away from it all.” A lot of it was very similar to what we did last year (in fact we laughed because even the menus were the same, LOL!), but that wasn’t a bad thing. We got there on Superbowl Sunday and originally thought we’d eat at the nightclub (where the Superbowl party was — they were having a dinner buffet), but opted for the dining room like we did last year. After that we headed on over to watch the game until the boys got tired and then we headed back to our suite.

Our suite was awesome, yet again. We stayed in the same building we were in last year, and even though we were in a different room it was set up exactly the same — deja vu! We opted for one of the bigger suites with a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and living room with a pull-out couch. Also, it was great to have free Wi-Fi! I admit that I did check my e-mail and peek in at Facebook once or twice while we were on vacation. (Drew brought his laptop just to keep tabs on what was going on at work, LOL…) 

There were tons of fun things to do: organized kids’ crafts (in addition to the craft room that is open all day), a toddler room with toys, a huge indoor playground, indoor pool, etc. etc. I attended the cooking class again and that was fun. They made apple-parsnip soup (which I didn’t like as much as I thought I would), penne with chicken in a pumpkin cream sauce (this was so delicious!), portabella and red pepper salad with ricotta salata (Drew loved it, I wasn’t crazy about it, but I am not a huge mushroom fan), and carrot cake cookies (oh goodness! I will be making these very soon). One night after dinner we went to one of the nightly shows to see a juggler (the boys were super excited about this), and Noah was SO fascinated. I swear, his eyes just lit up and he clapped as hard as his little hands could. He really enjoyed the performance until… the juggled called Drew up on stage to help with a stunt. (Drew had to hold a straw in his mouth and the juggler knocked it out with one of the pins). Now, it wasn’t so much that daddy was up on stage that upset Noah. Oh no… it was that Noah could not “come too.” LOL. From that point on, it was screaming and tears and we had to leave shortly after Drew got off stage.

This year’s theme night was a tribute to some of the shows they have put on over the last 50 years. They had several people dressed up as characters to correspond with various themes (for example, they had Shrek for “Oscar Night” and Elmo for last year’s “American Icons.”) We didn’t go to the show itself (the shows all started around 7:30 or 8:00, and the kids were just way too tired), but they do a wonderful dinner and the characters parade through the dining room, so you at least get a sneek peak.

The weather wasn’t very cooperative — it was warm and rainy, but we did get to go snow tubing on Monday. Better than nothing! I can’t say enough good things about Woodloch. I would certainly reccomend it! I am sure we will go back again at some point, but probably when the boys are a little older and we can see the shows and participate in more activities. Good family fun, though!

Why Must Vacation End?

Although we’ve been home since Thursday, I haven’t had the chance to write about our amazing vacation until now. This is going to be a long one, so you might want to get a cup of tea or something ๐Ÿ™‚ As you might remember, at Christmas, Drew surprised me with a family vacation to Woodloch Pines Resort in the Poconos (that’s in northeastern Pennsylvania for the unfamilar ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Originally it was planned for Monday through Thursday, however it was only a little extra per adult to add on Sunday night, so we opted for that, and it worked out *so well*. The drive was only a little over two hours for us, which wasn’t bad at all. We got there around 3 on Superbowl Sunday and our room was ready, so right away we checked in and then settled into our suite in the Mountain Laurel building. Wow! It was gorgeous: kitchen, dining area/living room, bathroom, bedroom. We had a view of the lake and were in the same building as the pool, which proved to be a good thing since it was so cold outside (I wouldn’t have wanted any of us walking around with wet hair).

There were a few activities going on, but we decided to just hang out in the room for a while. There was a Superbowl party going on in the Nightclub at 5:30 with a dinner buffet (wings, nachos, typical party food), or else you could still have dinner in the dining room. Now, when you stay at Woodloch, it’s all-inclusive, so you don’t pay for anything. You have a table in the dining room where you eat all your meals, and there are typically three options, plus a kids’ menu. Since the boys were tired (dinner was at 6, much later than they are used to), we thought the party would be too much for them so we opted for the dining room. There were only six or seven tables of people (most people obviously opted for the Superbowl party), so it was nice and quiet and a perfect way for us to kind of soak everything in. Dinner was delicious! There was soup and a salad, and Drew and I both chose the scallops casino that were on the menu that night. There were also mashed potatoes and vegetables served family-style. Everything was fantastic, and you can eat as much as you want. I won’t rattle off every meal (though it’s tempting!), but the food was excellent. It’s hearty home cooking, and I loved that every lunch and dinner started with soup and a salad. There was a featured dessert every night along with an assortment of ice creams, jellos, and puddings. The breakfasts were fantastic, too. Woodloch ruined us for bacon. The bacon there is the best bacon we have ever had anywhere! We also had Scandanavian pancakes one morning which were just out of this world. I could go on about the food, but I’ll restrain myself. I *will* come back to our last dinner in a bit, though.

Now every morning at breakfast, the day’s schedule would be waiting on our table. There were certain events that happened pretty much every day, such as snowmobiling, ice skating, snow tubing, and so on. And then there were special events that would happen on that day only (though I am pretty sure they repeat weekly), such as the cooking class I attended, a Winter Carnival, the Festival of Lights hay ride, contests, and more. So we were able to plan out our day very easily. Well, it wasn’t always easy because there was so much we wanted to do! Of course, some of the events (such as some of the board game tournaments — oh Lisanne, you’d love it!) weren’t really toddler-friendly, so we had to pass on those.

There was plenty to keep us busy with a four year old and a one year old, though. Not only is there an open arts & crafts room for the kids, but daily there is a craft activity at a certain time. Jake loved it! One day he made a bee door hanger with his name on it, another day he made a shaker decorated with crepe paper and markers, and the third day he made a fish puppet. The staff is so good with kids! There was also Woodloch Forest, which just opened a month or two ago. It’s an enormous (and I mean ENORMOUS) indoor play structure with slides, a rope bridge, lots of climbing stuff. It was very popular as you can imagine! There was also bumper cars, kiddie Jeeps, and at every meal characters were there to greet us and they walked around the dining room saying hi to all the kids.

Wednesday night was “Theme Night.” They request that you dress up for dinner and there’s entertainment. The show going on right now was written by one of the staff and is called “A Tribute To American Icons.” There is actually a full-on show in the nightclub after dinner (we didn’t attend because the boys had to go to bed), but during dinner you get a taste, and there’s live music and it was really nice. They had a table set up with three featured drinks (drinks from the bar are the only thing you have to pay for), and since it was our last night we splurged. I don’t remember what the names of the alcoholic drinks were, but Drew’s was peach schnappes, champagne, and cranberry juice. Mine was Stoli blueberry, white creme de cacao, cream, and whipped cream, and Jake’s was called “Captain America” (I remember because he was totally excited about the name being that he loooves his superheroes) and it was layered — a Shirley Temple on the bottom, maybe lemonade in the middle (not sure on that), and then raspberry slush on top. All three came with these little light-up blinking sherrif badges with the theme night logo. I guess some people might think it was a little cheesy, but I love that stuff so I was totally into it! Jake got his photo taken with both Batman AND Spider-Man that night so he was in 7th Heaven.

I really can’t say enough good things about the place. I’m sure I’m forgetting things I had wanted to write about. The staff is so professional and so nice. You can just tell that they love their jobs and they actually care if the guests are enjoying themselves. We all were so sad to go. Jake was crying in the car ๐Ÿ™ We’re going to see if there is any way possible to swing another few days before the rates skyrocket in the summer when it’s crazy expensive. But now, during the off-season, we found it to be very reasonable. Even more so now that we’ve been there and know all there is to offer. My photos are right here if you want to see them. I can’t wait to go back!!!