When we were invited to spend some time at Woodloch Resort in the Poconos with my family in tow, I was suitably excited. I had heard so much about it from various friends, many who go back year after year, and I was eager to see what all the fuss was about. Also, after living in an apartment for the past few months while undergoing massive renovations on our home, we were all eager to get up and out and sleep elsewhere.
Woodloch is a mere two hours from NYC, so the drive was relatively short and easy until the last 15 minutes or so when we hit local, windy roads. The resort sits on 1,000 acres and is family-run. Its current owner, John Kiesendahl, is very cordial and accessible and very open about the fact that the day-to-day operations are run by the entire family, generation to generation. How do I know this? He actually stopped by my table during dinner one night to find out how we were doing, as he was approaching each guest around the room. This simple display of hospitality made visiting Woodloch something different, I will admit.
Upon checking in at the main lodge, we were given a daily schedule, map and key to our room, which was fortunately located in the same building. The property is massive, as mentioned previously, and it’s cold at this time of the year in the Poconos, so I was glad to stay in one place. Staying in this part of the resort also kept us close to the resort’s nightclub, sports bar, movie room, and dining room. Nearby at the second main hall sits the Inn, hosting additional dining rooms.
Where We Stayed
There are over 150 guest rooms scattered throughout the other residence buildings. We were able to walk to pretty much all the activities we wanted to get to, but there is a shuttle for non-walkers. We were given a Lakeview room, which was comfortable and spacious for the four of us. Guest rooms feature flat screen TVs, mini-fridges, a walk-in closet, coffeemakers, cable TVs and easy access to the main dining room. Larger families can rent one of the 56 private cottages or houses scattered around the grounds, which have up to five bedrooms and full kitchen facilities.
What We Did
The resort specializes in family activities with all day offerings and special daily events. From arts & crafts to trivia contests to go-carting to bumper cars to swimming to archery to cooking contests to tubing, there is non-stop activity or you can easily just relax and enjoy the lake side views. We opted for a bit of both – as a family, we played trivia games, rode go-carts and I even let the kids have a go in the shooting gallery (which as an anti-gun activist was really hard!) There are nearby ski resorts but the weather in New York hadn’t quite reached that level of enough snow, so we stayed in. The resort also offers a gym, a spa, yoga classes and modes of relaxation. You can book a babysitter who will gladly escort your kids to any activity with the exception of the pool. At night, we all enjoyed Broadway-style show and comedian afterwards.
Where We Ate
Set up with an all-inclusive American Plan, we were able to have three meals a day in the dining room. Served by a professional waiting staff, we were given options for a three-course meal, with a choice of entrée, soup, salad, side dishes and dessert.
Woodloch is a throwback to a time long gone, with endless activities for families. Our visit was an opportunity to remove our kids from their digital addictions for a few days, and for that, I am grateful. Woodloch is like a cruise ship on land and an easy getaway for families, many of who come back year after year.