Woodloch Pines Resort

 

A Tradition of
Family-Friendly Fun

Even though my family and Northern Virginia friends had never heard of Woodloch Pines Resort, it’s always fun to try out new vacation spots, so my husband and I loaded up the car and headed to Hawley, PA (near the Poconos) with my 14 year-old daughter, 11 year-old son, and my mother (I’ll respectfully refrain from giving her age!) in tow.

Gettysburg Side Trip

We headed out on Saturday morning and anticipated a day of travel as the GPS told us it would be a 5-6 hour trip. We decided to do a quick drive through Gettysburg on the way.  My son and husband have toured the area extensively on Boy Scout camping trips, but it was a first for the rest of us.

I highly recommend you take your family and soak in the history the area has to offer.  There are self-guided car and walking tours available, as well as group bus and other guided tours.  The history is sobering and compelling and it’s on my list to go back for further exploration.

 

Accommodations

Overall the drive was scenic and traffic was a non-issue, so we ended up arriving around 5:30 pm.  We checked in at the Main Lodge and headed to our room to unpack. Our room was a suite in one of the larger hotel-like buildings separate from the Main Lodge. 

There are multiple room accommodations and locations available throughout the property.  You can stay in rooms within the Main Lodge, cabin-like motel dwellings outside the Main Lodge, the hotel-like structure we stayed in, and large multi-family houses a couple miles from the main area.  You can easily walk between amenities on the main resort, but shuttle buses run continually for those staying in the larger houses and older patrons.

Our first reaction to the accommodations was that they were sufficient and clean, but could use a bit of an update. This was our overall impression of some of the resort’s general facilties. For example, the kitchen and some of the furniture in our room could use an upgrade, however, the bathrooms were updated and the beds were new and comfy, and we had plenty of space to spread out.

Meals are all served at set times within an hour window, so we freshened up for dinner and headed to the Inn, which was a close walk from our building.  The Main Lodge houses the larger dining area which seats 400, but we were assigned to the Inn for convenience.

Food and Service

Saturdays and Wednesdays are theme nights and diners are requested to dress nicely. (For men collared shirts are recommended and jacket is optional.  Woodloch is anything but a stuffy resort, and other than this request guests can be comfortable and casual throughout all of the activities.) 

It was Italian night this Saturday, so we settled into our assigned table.  We had a stunning view of the lake, and even though we were visiting over Spring Break, Mother Nature had clearly not gotten the memo, so a layer of snow covered the grounds and part of the lake as well.

 

The dinner menu offered 4-5 Italian options for each of us to choose from, and included appetizers and bread and side dishes for the table to share.  I cannot say enough good things about the food and the outstanding service during our stay. We ate like royalty! We had the same waiter throughout our stay, and he along with the other dining staff were wonderful. 

 

 

Woodloch has its own bakery on the premises and makes many of its fantastic desserts as well.  The mud pie is out of this world and we were lamenting that we did not bring a cooler with us to purchase extras to bring home!

We dined in the Inn at our table for all of our meals but one.  Lunch on Sunday was buffet style and served in the Main Lodge; it included king crab legs, shrimp, oysters, salads, sandwiches and an array of fruit and side items.  Meals are inclusive in Woodloch’s “America Plan” package and worth every penny.  (Alcohol and specialty kid drinks are an extra charge.)

Breakfast is offered from 8:30-9:30 am every morning and once again the food choices are extensive.  Every morning the day’s activities are printed up and waiting on the breakfast tables, and a friendly staff member also gives an overview on the microphone and floats from table to table answering questions and soliciting feedback. 

Activities for All Ages

Starting at 10:30 am there are organized events for guests of all ages. As my husband remarked, “If you’re bored at Woodloch, it’s your own fault.”  They cater to families, and especially multi-family groups vacationing together. 

If there’s one way to sum up Woodloch, it’s family friendly.  There’s a reason Trip Advisor just named it #2 on its list of Top 10 Hotels for Families.

The activities range from group trivia contests and scavenger hunts to snow tubing and go-kart racing.  Most are free of charge, but some require an additional fee.  

As I mentioned above, our spring weather was more on the wintery side, so several seasonal activities weren’t open, but the resort still offered a variety of activities.

 

For example, my kids tried their hands at trap and skeet with my husband while my mother and I tried to win some spending money at bingo.  There’s also an indoor pool area with a separate play area for smaller children. 

 

Even though my mother grew up on a farm, incredibly she had never ridden a horse or shot a gun.  Thanks to Woodloch she can cross both of those off of her bucket list.  Woodloch partners with Vanderbeek Stables, which is located a few miles from the resort.  For $35/person my mother, daughter and I were given a riding lesson and taken on a ride with two guides. 

 

 

Unfortunately the snowy/slushy conditions and Hurricane Sandy damage kept us from a trail ride, but the guides were wonderful company and my mother loved it. They were very patient and knowledgeable and chose just the right horses for us. 

The shooting range on the resort offered rifle and paint ball shooting for an extra fee of $7 per 30 rounds of rifle or 50 rounds of paint ball ammunition.  I discovered that both my mother and daughter were far more proficient shooters than I was, and my son could have spent all day at target practice. 

 

I on the other hand smoked all of them on the go-kart track! 

 

 

Evening Entertainment

Evening entertainment included concurrent options of 8pm and 10pm movie offering, trivia contests in the Main Lodge, and events in the “Nightclub.” Located at the far end of the Main Lodge, the Nightclub is a large theatre with a central stage and 3-tiered table seating. 

The first night was an All Things Italian show, with staff singing Italian songs on stage and movie screens showing Italian actors/actresses and motifs.  We found this a bit sub-par on the entertainment scale, but were pleasantly surprised with subsequent offerings.

The next night featured a highly entertaining magician act followed by a comedic ventriloquist. Our last night there we enjoyed the time-honored Woodloch tradition of horse racing.  Wooden horses are put on a large table on stage and dice are rolled to see which horses the jockey-dressed staff will advance. 

 

 

Guests can bet on each of the six horses prior to the race and the odds are announced based on the bets.  It seemed that most families wagered $1 per bet (including ours, paying out $5 on our first horse!), so this isn’t a high-stakes game, but a fun activity for the whole family. 

For the last race, families can bid on the horses and “purchase” one of them.  They typically went for around $250-$300 per horse, so the winning family took home close to $1200 in prize money. 

The other guests also bid on the horses in the last race, so the cheering was intense throughout the room.  It came down to a final dice roll and the team with the horse they named “Sandy” (#6) pulled off the win.  Come to find out the family had lost everything in Hurricane Sandy, so the win was a change of fortune for the group and a feel-good way to end the night.

A Family Tradition

When speaking to other guests at the resort, one thing is clear:  families love it, and they come back year after year. It’s a great place to have a reunion and do some family bonding. 

And you know those dated facilities I mentioned?  Many of the guests admitted that they prefer it stay the way it is…rustic and a tad outdated…since that’s the charm of Woodloch and the way they remember it as kids, their parents remember it as kids and now their kids are remembering it.

Established in 1958, Woodloch is family owned and operated and the owner and his family are onsite and eager to help in any way they can.  The exude warmth and hospitality and mingle constantly with the guests.

This adds to the family appeal and extends throughout the staff.  They could not be more friendly and accommodating affirming the company motto of “a tradition of excellence and hospitality.”

So even though the lake was frozen and we couldn’t take advantage of the many outdoor water activities, or do the ziplining or climbing wall, we ended up having a pretty darn good family vacation. 

And the real litmus test to the place?  My kids were asking to go back before the car had left the parking lot!  I’d say that’s a successful spring break trip—snow and all!

Woodloch Pines Resort

731 Welcome Lake Road

Hawley, PA

1-800-WOODLOCH (966-3562)

www.woodloch.com

  

Cleanliness 4
Customer Service 5
Food 5
Accommodations
 4
Kid-friendly  5
Expensive  4
Convenient Location
 3.5
Activities for All Age Ranges 5
I Would Visit Again
yes
I Would Recommend to a Friend
yes
Overall Rating
4

All ratings on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest.

  

Meet the Reviewer!

Debbie Williams is a mom of 

two and Mom Review Coordinator

at FAMILY Magazine.

About WF Staff

Washington FAMILY Staff

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