By Eva Whalen
Sprawling across a lake, river and forest-filled swath of the Poconos in Hawley, PA, the gorgeous Woodloch Resort is not only convenient to New Yorkers for weekend getaways, but it’s offerings are so diverse and bountiful that you may require repeated trips to savor them all. In fact, each season warrants a visit. Autumn offers a panoramic colored tree display and hiking and boating, and if you visit this winter, Woodloch will have snow tubing runs, snow sports and activities galore.
My husband and I headed to Woodloch’s all-inclusive resort with four sixteen-year old boys and a ten-year old boy in tow, which didn’t faze the Woodloch staff in the least – they’re used to family groups, reunions and wedding parties. None of the boys wanted to share a bed. Not a problem! Once ensconced in a spacious suite with a refrigerator and much-needed coffee machine, we discovered there was more to do than we imagined: tennis courts, indoor pool, sauna, hot tubs, championship golf, basketball courts, row boating and paddle boating, fishing, a Wii room, game rooms, a gym, a bike shed, hiking trails, race car tracks, bumper cars, bumper boats, a Zip Line, skeet shooting, a Broadway play, a stand-up comedian, hay rides, a climbing tower, ping-pong and a Spa. Those are just the activities for adults, teens and older children – there was also a plethora of other activities for younger children, which included a petting zoo and scavenger hunts.
In spite of all of the activities Woodloch provided, what our group of guys wanted to do was play a game they had devised themselves on the well-lit grounds at night. So for four hours on our first night, they roamed in two different teams, hiding and running through Woodloch’s trees and up and down its hills. No one complained or cared – it was sheer freedom – and then, exhausted, they ordered a pay-per-view movie and fell asleep. The rest of the weekend was equally fantastic, since the Woodloch staff views guests as extended family. Woodloch is family-owned and operated – the Kiesendahl family founded it in 1958 – and the staff’s friendliness is genuine. You can sense that they truly enjoy working there, which makes a difference.
The dining experience at Woodloch is distinctive, and the food is both amazing and plentiful. Salmon, shrimp, crab, oysters, chicken, steak, pasta and salads are part of the varied offerings. Saturday nights are earmarked as a theme night with semi-formal attire, complete with appropriate music, props, costumes, and as much entertainment as you can infuse in a dining room. We were there for the British theme night, which included drinks served with blinking miniature guitars festooned with a British flag pattern, a Bobby riding through the dining room on an enormous wheeled horse, bagpipe and Beatles music, and Friar Tuck and Mary Poppins greeting us as we entered. Later, the nightclub’s Broadway show theme tied into the dining theme, followed by a stand-up comedian. Three meals are included at Woodloch, and the food is surprisingly diverse – there’s something to sate everyone from vegetarians to fish lovers, to steak eaters and those with a gourmet palette. There are also two restaurants at the resort, as well as a deli, if you don’t want to be tethered to particular meal times.
Ladies, the Lodge at Woodloch Spa is a destination in itself, offering numerous packages, eight types of facials, seven types of massages, prenatal massages, pedicures and manicures, various body polishes and hair treatments. You can also hire a personal trainer or indulge in spa treatments for two. Read more about the Spa at http://www.TheLodgeatWoodloch.com.
To view a map of Woodloch’s layout, see pictures of its offerings, and to check pricing for various times of the year, visit http://www.Woodloch.com. With snow on the horizon, note that Parents magazine placed Woodloch in the “Ten Best U.S. Snow Resorts” category – and the resort also garnered a 2011 “Best All-Inclusive Resort” award in a Reader’s Choice poll at About.com. The people have spoken – you’ll love Woodloch! You can also rent a house if you really want to settle in or have a special event in your future.