Our family loves living in New York City. Our friends are here. Our family is nearby. There’s the convenience of having a pharmacy, pizza shop, deli, and coffee shop on every block. There’s an endless supply of cultural activities to participate in, food options to enjoy, and parent-friendly amenities at your fingertips.
Sometimes, it’s refreshing to break away from life in the big city. With a pregnant wife and baby #2 expected this Spring, the spontaneity in our lives will be restricted for a while until we find our rhythm as a family of four. So, when the dynamic duo from The Moms invited our family along for a weekend getaway to Woodloch Pines Resort, an all-inclusive retreat, we literally jumped at the opportunity.
Last weekend, our family roadtripped to the Poconos for a unique, action-packed winter adventure at Woodloch Pines Resort. Lasting memories were made. Laughs were overflowing. Fears were overcome. Our dry skin was hydrated and moisturized. Quality family time was at the center of everything.
There’s dozens of reasons to escape from the daily routines and monotony of living in the city. Let me share five unforgettable memories that our family enjoyed at Woodloch Pines Resort. By documenting my experience, I’m hopeful it will serve as a gentle reminder for the next time our family is weighing our options and considering getting out of dodge….or provides another family with a window into a perfect weekend destination.
5 Things You’ll Love at Woodlock Pines Resort
1. Leisurely family meal time
A friend recently said, “The family that eats and talks together, thrives together.”
With my wife commuting to work in Connecticut everyday, and weekends filled with sports, birthday parties, and dads group meetups, we don’t get to sit down together as a family unit for a meal as often as we’d like. Fortunately, the camp-like culture at Woodloch Pines Resort places an importance on family meal times which is why most of the contests and activities temporarily shut-down during meals, It was such a pleasurable experience during the weekend to press the ‘stop button’ on our activities and sit at the table with my family. It provided us a welcome forum to relax, unwind, and have engaging conversations about our day’s experiences.
To aid in the overall family dining experience at Woodloch – you never have to wait to be seated at a table (a bonus for cranky and hungry children), the views of the lake out of the bay windows were mesmerizing, the food was excellent and did not feel like it’s prepared for mass consumption, and the service level was top-notch. It felt like the servers had a just “say yes” policy: dessert with lunch? yes. still hungry after your grilled cheese dinner? yes, we can get you mac’n cheese. hot chocolate in a to-go cup? yes.
2. Barreling down a slope in Snow Tubes
My son and I immerse ourselves in thrill seeking experiences. We love rollercoasters, waterslides, and sledding. Even though we’ve never been snow tubing before, we knew this extreme activity was right in our wheelhouse. We couldn’t wait to be thrust down down a hundred-yard sloping hill at a 30-degree angle with the cool mountain air rushing against our faces.
With wind-burned, rosy cheeks, and the whisper of fear overcome, we were both hooked after our first time barreling down the slope. Fortunately, I was armed with copious amounts of Vaseline Intensive Care, advanced repair lotion and lip therapy that kept my skin moisturized and prevented cracking in the frigid outdoor environs. We must’ve completed about a dozen runs before my son hinted at moving on to the next activity. That ‘loving every minute of it’ smirk on my son’s face as his tube came to a screeching halt was what made these moments so special for me.
|Surrounded by characters from Woodloch Theme Night. Joe Montana photobomb|
3. Captivated by the family entertainment
Aside from escaping over to the award-winning spa to get a manicure/pedicure, the highlight of the trip for my wife was the Saturday night magic show with Brent Kessler. Attending the magic show was our way to decompress after a fun-filled day and it hit all the right notes. Captivating kids and parents alike, Kessler performed a series of seven or eight tricks that had the entire audience in absolute wonder. There was one trick where Kessler emptied a can of Coca-Cola and dented the can. Before our very eyes, the dents slowly disappeared and the can was completely full once again. No Way!
After kissing our son goodnight at bedtime, he inquired, “how did the magician do that trick where he kept swallowing the long yellow balloon? where did it go? My wife replied with the cliche response that my son definitely didn’t want to hear. “A good magician never reveals their tricks.” Then, I quipped, “we can search on YouTube to find the secret when we get home.”
Additionally, it was a pleasant surprise to have character appearances greeting you and your little ones at every meal: Super Mario, Abby Cadabby, Elmo, Elvis, Simba, and even Austin Powers. Above is a photo from our theme night dinner – what an amusing and motley crew cast of characters!
4. Ice skating on a frozen lake
Ice skating at an outdoor rink like Bryant Park or at Rock Center is a must-do winter activity in New York City that we’ve enjoyed in the past. Ice skating on a frozen lake was an awesome first for us! Consequently, ice skating on an uneven lake with bumps, cracks, no rails to clutch, and that hasn’t been paved by a Zamboni was much more challenging than we anticipated. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience as well as the surreal feeling of standing on top of a giant lake. Next time, we want to try ice fishing!
5. Roasting Marshmallows
Even thought most rooms at Woodloch Pines Resort were occupied, the property, meals, and activities never felt crowded. There were lots of nooks and spaces to inhabit for some quiet time to reflect, enjoy the moment, or read a book. Our family found an unoccupied outdoor fire pit where we could hang out, roast marshmallows, and make s’mores together. Getting sticky from our afternoon treat, chuckling about how different our surroundings were compared to home, and relishing in the sweet family moment, it was the perfect activity to end our spectacular weekend.
I know this post is titled “5 unforgettable memories,” but could easily up the ante if we included our experience with the Go-Karts, bumper cars, pony rides, indoor pool, and climbing structure in the Woodloch Forest to name a few.
My son said that Woodloch Pines Resort was even better than Six Flags Great Adventure. I know it may not seem like much of a compliment, but to my son, Great Adventure is his favorite place on earth. So, it’s safe to say we can’t wait to go back!
Loads of Vaseline Intensive Care advanced repair for my dry, cracked skin
|Parent Revenge! Bumper Car style|
|Shooting hoops in the pool|
Disclosure Note: NYC Dads Group received complimentary lodging/meals to experience the Woodloch Pines Resort sponsored by The Moms and Vaseline Intensive Care. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post have not been influenced by our sponsor and are 100% my own.