Have you ever visited a place so special that you wanted to come back with everyone in your family? That’s how I felt about The Woodloch Resort in the Pocono Mountains. We’ve always visited with our immediate family, but noticed how people often bring extended family members and they seem to have such a great time. Every family has their own traditions year after year, but this past December we decided to change it up.
My family only makes it to New York every other year to celebrate the holidays, so I wanted to plan something a little special we would all remember. Before I knew it airplane tickets were purchased and arrangements were made for my parents to visit Woodloch in the Pocono Mountains with my husband and our three kids. We looked forward to this moment for a long time in anticipation of our trip!
The family-owned Woodloch resort was rated the #1 family resort by Trip Adviser and is actually a four season resort with activities all year around. For almost 60 years Woodloch has been hosting families and creating lasting memories. Visiting from Texas, my parents were interested in the cold weather season so it seemed like a perfect plan to spend one of the two “Old Fashioned Holiday weekends” at Woodloch. If you’re looking to capture the magic of the season, then look no further. Between the holiday activities, Hallmark movie scenery, and Christmas lights everywhere, I knew we would be in for a treat!
I recently partnered with Lexus for a special test drive. We left NYC in our Lexus RX 350L with 4 adults, 3 kids, lots of luggage and a few jingle bells! This SUV was perfect because of the third row option. The GPS system was really state of the art and we didn’t have to rely on a cell phone for directions the entire time. Our trip took around 3 hours total which was not bad at all!
We arrived to Hawley, PA in time for dinner. If you have never experienced Woodloch before, I would describe it as “coming home to family”. You will find familiar characters to greet the kids before every meal and upon entering the grand dining room employees stand on either side saying hello and welcome (including the owner himself). It’s truly the warmest environment and I was so happy to have my parents join along.
Dining at Woodloch is one of the highlights for sure! There is a 2 or 3 meal plan to choose from as well as an a la carte option. Either way you will experience the amazing food! During our first night there was a Santa Claus appearance during dinner, which of course my girls did not want to miss!
It was a close race, but I think my 10 year old son loved the food the most. The first night he claimed to “feel like a king” and it only got better from there! Freshly baked breads, healthy salads, flaky fish and don’t even get me started on the homemade desserts! I could literally go on and on about the food so I’ll just leave you with a visual!
With over 30 scheduled activities, there’s always something to do throughout the day or night! The activities are fun for the whole family and my son discovered his love of horse racing. Don’t worry, no live animals were used but I will warn you, the crowd goes WILD! It was such a fun evening activity and my youngest daughter even decided to place her bets.
Another reason I love Woodloch is the selection of activities for all ages. When my youngest daughter decided she had enough of the horse races, we simply walked across the way over to the Woodloch Forest, which is a massive indoor play area. She played and played until it was time to close .
The shuttle bus service at Woodloch is so convenient. As a person who lives in New York City, I’m constantly walking everywhere all day every day. However, I must admit how nice it was to be driven around in a shuttle bus with the family. We never waited long before a bus would circle around and drop us off at any of the locations around the property.
Breakfast was one of the best meals of the day at Woodloch. I can honestly say, I’ve never had so much to eat early in the morning, but it was well worth it! Hot coffee, warm toast and just about anything else you can think of was on our table.
The views in the dining room are breathtaking. Looking out at the snow covered hills and lake is priceless. It’s moments like these that keep families coming back year after year. Almost every table is celebrating a special occasion. Whether it’s a milestone birthday, reunion, graduation, or simply just celebrating life…everyone is clearly happy to be together.
My son was determined to improve his gingerbread making skills this year at the infamous “Gingerbread Wars”. Tables are set up and each family gets 30 minutes to create their own edible masterpiece. Tickets are given out to trade in for candy decorations, icing, and other festive items that could help claim the winning title.
My daughters were more interested in sampling the goods but everyone else at the table was making a game plan.
When is the last time you had a family challenge? This is bonding at it’s best! We weren’t the winning team, but my son still stood proudly by his creation which made me really happy! We were, however, the lucky winners for a twitter contest going on at the same time – hooray!
The Winner of the 2018 Gingerbread Wars was well deserved! I was super impressed with the talented teams and their creations. This was such a fun activity and a highlight of the weekend!
The current owners of Woodloch are passionate about keeping traditions alive past and present, including an annual Yule Log hunt. Watching all the kids search the property is such a sight to see! Some of the older kids take this hunt very seriously and it doesn’t take too long before the log is found. For good luck, everyone must touch the yule log before it’s returned.
The holiday festivities didn’t stop there. As a reward for finding the Yule Log, guests were invited into the dining hall to enjoy some holiday cookies, punch, and eggnog. Everyone enjoyed this moment of relaxing before meeting back outside for some Christmas carols and a special visitor from the North Pole!
Having my children re-connect with my parents meant the world to me. Of course they talk about them all the time and we visit on the phone but it’s not the same as an activity packed weekend where we spent the entire weekend together. I spoke to another guest one evening in the play gym area and it was his family’s 22nd returning year. This is a tradition for so many people and believe it or not I even ran into one of my photography clients one night in the dining room.
Woodloch has some new amenities such as an amazing indoor pool, complete with a toddler area and water slide. There’s also the kid favorite – BUMPER CARS! I love how they also have a toddler version so the little guests don’t feel left out.
On our last morning we made sure to stop by the dining room to purchase some homemade baked goods. You can actually order in advance during your stay and pick up on the last day. We did get super lucky with the best blueberry bread! It was perfect for Christmas morning.
We made it back to NYC safe and sound in our Lexus RX 350L. The extended-length model really was a bonus for our 7 passengers. The design is genius with the 2nd row being slightly higher than the third row, creating more foot room for my kids in the back. The ambient lighting was so nice and we were all agreed how smoothly the car ride was. The Lexus RX series is all about comfort and style!
Until next time Woodloch…