Written by Brian C. Greenberg on 05 May, 2003
When I told my family we would be vacationing at a family resort in the Poconos, I received an assorted number of groans. My wife and I visited other resorts there and frankly, the region didn't grab her nor me for that matter. As for…Read More
When I told my family we would be vacationing at a family resort in the Poconos, I received an assorted number of groans. My wife and I visited other resorts there and frankly, the region didn't grab her nor me for that matter. As for my 13-year-old, all she could think about was how bored she was going to be. As for me, I was somewhat open-minded, but nevertheless cautious.
However, as we approached the resort area, I sensed all of our apprehension was severely misplaced. The countryside was luscious green and then we viewed mammoth Lake Wallenpaupack in its entire splendor. Arriving at Woodloch Pines would ultimately turn out to be the most enjoyment and fun we had ever experienced at a family resort. Our time spent there would be filled with many relaxing activities delivered in a family style that was totally unique to Woodloch.
I knew Woodloch would be different when I went to be seated in the dining room. In order to obtain a window seat in the dining room that faces the lake, I found that there was waiting list. Fine, but this waiting list borders on not years but decades to obtain these prestigious seats. While pleasant, the view alone shouldn't warrant the lengthy wait. One gentleman, who has been coming for 25 years, remarked that he didn't care if he sat next to the window as long as he receives good service.
What generates this fierce devotion to Woodloch that made one visitor I met drive 30 hours from Colorado to spend a vacation here? People who visited as children now bring their own children. Over and over, the theme was the same -- guests who come year after year, decade after decade. What is it about Woodloch, that my seven- and nine-year-olds both proclaimed it better than Disney World? Our 13-year-old, who thought she would be bored at this "child's camp" had a splendid time.
To better understand the Woodloch phenomena, one needs look to its founders, Harry and Mary Kiesendahl, who bought the resort in 1958. Over the years, they have established a tradition that guests are not only to be catered to, but are also to be treated as family. At every meal, one or more members of the Kiesenthal family (now three generations large) greet you. At nearly every meal, a family member visits the dining table to inquire about your activities of that day and to make sure that your stay has been pleasant. You feel as though you're staying with family who are genuinely interested in your welfare. It is the Kiesendahl family work ethic and enthusiasm that makes a stay totally delightful. This is also demonstrated by the loyalty of the staff. It isn't only the guests who keep coming back, the staff never leaves either. Fred Gelderman, the dining room manager, marks his 37th year at Woodloch. And he isn't unique. Many other employees have been here for decades.
One incident really crystallized my appreciation for the staff. Our 13-year-old was having a teenage moment. One may recognize this mood pattern as argumentative, brooding, anxious, and otherwise totally unhappy. We left her to stew and, after moving on to our next activity, we told one of the staff about our "distraught" child and mentioned that if he should find an "unhappy teen" to let her know where we were. He drove off in his golf cart, located her, spoke with her, and calmed her down. After speaking with her, the staff person discovered she wanted to see some of the indigenous animals, so they went on an impromptu nature hunt to explore. Though their search was unsuccessful, she returned happy and temporarily contented. We almost didn't recognize our child. The staff person obviously did far beyond what was asked. It was this type of attitude of going way beyond expectations that marked our stay.
So what does Woodloch Pines offer besides its doting owners and staff? To start, just about everything! We came for a four-night stay. Every day from sunrise 'til late at night there were a multitude of activities, not just solo, but with your family as well. Our typical day began with a morning sail, my wife claiming our seven- and nine-year-olds and my 13-year-old joining me. We briefly attempted to sail over 15 years ago and had forgotten how much fun it is. This became our morning ritual. Then I took our little ones canoeing out on the lake. One morning, there were Olympics.This is where Woodloch Pines really excelled. The family events were well-organized and efficient. Within an hour and a half, they assembled over 120 children and adults and held six group activities. Our kids got a big kick out of seeing who could accumulate the most medals. Isn't life grand when siblings fight over who has the most medals? Each day there are family events and tournaments.
Then came lunch. Twice, they had cookouts with provided grilled food, as well as ribs, chicken, and steamed clams that were outrageously delicious. Sunday brunch is their specialty, which includes shrimp and crab legs. Although, I have a severe seafood allergy, I was nearly tempted.
Our children entered contests in miniature golf, bocce ball, kick ball, and basketball shooting, passing up volleyball and the waterslide. Additional activities included go-carting, riflery, skeet shooting, batting cages, bumper cars, wiffleball games, nature trail hikes, and bike riding, not to mention numerous quiz contests and children's story times. I almost forgot to mention their first class golf course, a sport that I chose not to participate in. (I already have a part-time job). The challenge was to fit all of these activities in, but, despite being a Type A family, we were unsuccessful. What contributed to our enjoyment was while we were running around doing these activities, we were having a fabulous time enjoying each moment.
The big surprise came at night. Past experiences at other family resorts have found nighttime entertainment mediocre at best. But, who would have expected that one could find outstanding comics in the middle of the Poconos? Not one but two found their path to Woodloch Pines. One comic had appeared on the Disney cruise line and another came from New York roots. Additionally, the local staff not only work during the day, but perform in shows at night. I couldn't figure out if these were very talented actors who helped during the day or local staff who happened to be extremely talented. Every night was a blast.
Woodloch Pines is a four-season resort that is located near some of the best skiing in the Poconos. They are busy throughout the year offering numerous getaways. Perhaps, that is why the resort has become a mecca for family reunions. Why people would want to be in the same town, let alone live with their relatives for a week is another story. But I found many families who came together from across the country to meet, share housing, and play together at Woodloch. Not just once, but year after year. What many families do is stay in the deluxe houses, which are located nearby the resort on Woodloch Springs. Our gorgeous three-story house overlooking the golf course could have comfortably slept ten people.
If my enthusiasm seems overbearing, you'll forgive me. I have never had a better time at a family resort, ever. Not to take away from some other nationally well-known resorts that I have visited, but none combine the warmth, friendliness and charm of Woodloch Pines along with the unlimited activities that are capped off by first-rate nighttime entertainment. My goal for next year when I return is to seek out a nice family seated window side in the dining room with an eligible young man. Do you think I want to wait 25 years to get a window seat?
Written by ckohser on 28 Nov, 2006
We were given a unit with a paper informing us that they were refurbishing units and the one we are staying in may not have been done. I think that they should have given us one of them or not let the room be used. The…Read More
We were given a unit with a paper informing us that they were refurbishing units and the one we are staying in may not have been done. I think that they should have given us one of them or not let the room be used. The outside of the place is dirty looking. We had mice that fed at the stove every night. They sent someone to put mouse food out and he informed us if we found a dead one to call and they would remove it. They came from where the elements plug into the range. Left feces and urine everynight. I can imagine what is under the burner covers. Can't be to healthy. They never even called to check on the situation the whole time we were there. Had water damage about two feet from the livingroom door in a semi-circle and the glass door was discolored.There was water damage in the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom cupboard down the wall and onto the floor. Cob webs on the reading lights, musty smelling blankets and mold on the shower curtains. Can't say too much about the maintenance either. They moved one side of a towel rack up, never plugged the holes or leveled it off. This place was not what I expected. Pillows had yellow coloring to them under the case. Close
Written by hottice2nicky on 01 Nov, 2005
If you are looking for the wedding of your dreams on a nearby lake, that also has cabins you could rent, then this is the place for you. You do not have to have the reception and after party or honeymoon in three different places…Read More
If you are looking for the wedding of your dreams on a nearby lake, that also has cabins you could rent, then this is the place for you. You do not have to have the reception and after party or honeymoon in three different places anymore. You can enjoy your stay, reception, and wedding here. I know I did. Close
Written by Pamela Nayor on 27 Jun, 2006
Paddle boats, canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and sail boats are available at the lake during daylight hours. They also do a lake tour once a day on a boat. There are age restrictions on many of the boats. Our family of four had fun on…Read More
Paddle boats, canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and sail boats are available at the lake during daylight hours. They also do a lake tour once a day on a boat. There are age restrictions on many of the boats. Our family of four had fun on the paddle boats exploring the lake near the resort. Close