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A Weekend in Saugerties

Saugerties is a small town in Ulster County. It has been on my “to visit” list for ages and our family finally got the chance to see this Hudson Valley town. Saugerties is a weekend touristy town. Visitors beware: many of the town’s restaurants and shops are closed during the week, so plan accordingly! There’s enough to see and do for a weekend stay. However, it’s also close enough to Westchester County that you can visit for just the day.

Where to Stay:

Diamond Mills Hotel
Thank you to the Diamond Mills Hotel for hosting NY Foodie Family. As always, all opinions are our own.

The Diamond Mills Hotel (25 S. Partition St.) – We stayed at the Diamond Mills Hotel for one night. This is a 30 room luxury boutique hotel located conveniently within walking distance to many shops and restaurants.

Diamond Mills Hotel - Hotel Room

We stayed in a room with two Queen beds. We all commented on how soft the beds were. The room was light and bright and the hotel provided bathrobes for you to wear, if you wish. I didn’t realize that I absolutely need a bathroom with heated floors until I got to experience it firsthand in our hotel bathroom!

Diamond Mills Hotel Waterfall

The highlight of this hotel is being able to walk out on your balcony to this view! The in-room Keurig was appreciated, since I got to enjoy an early morning cup of coffee out on the balcony, while everyone else was still sleeping.

What to Do:

Falling Waters Preserve waterfall

Falling Water Preserve (996 Dominican Lane, Glasco, NY) – This is a Scenic Hudson Valley park that has two small waterfalls. There are three different trails, all of which are super easy and very scenic. There are plenty of benches along the trails for hikers to sit and enjoy the views.

Kayaing on the Esopus Creek

Kayaking – We booked a last minute kayak rental with Gail from I Paddle NY. She rents out kayaks, tandem kayaks, and Stand Up Paddleboards as well as offers a variety of kayak tours. Rentals and tours are available spring through fall.

Opus 40 (50 Fite Road) – I’d be remiss not to mention Opus 40, as this is THE attraction that I think Saugerties is most well-known for. I had waited until the last minute to purchase tickets, since the weather during our visit was looking iffy. By the time I went to purchase tickets, they were no longer available for Sunday. I hope to visit Opus 40, possibly in the spring, with just my husband, as my children have already expressed their lack of interest.

Saugerties Lighthouse (168 Lighthouse Drive) – During our visit, the Saugerties Lighthouse and the adjacent areas were unfortunately closed to visitors. We drove by hoping to at least take some pictures, but had no luck. During non-Covid times, there are two guest bedrooms in the lighthouse that can be rented out! Visitors can hike to the lighthouse, accessible by a half-mile nature trail. Tours are scheduled on Sundays, by appointment only (during non-Covid times).

Seamon Park

Seamon Park (5 Malden Avenue) – Owned by the Village of Saugerties, this park is free and open to the public. Fall is a great time to visit Seamon Park, when the mums are in bloom. In non-COVID times, there is a mum festival on the first Sunday in October. (Open daily 9 AM – dusk)

Shop – Partition Street is filled with lots of shops. From bookstores, to home decor, antiques, and clothing, there are plenty of stores for you to shop ’til you drop.

Where to Eat:

Alleyway Ice Cream

Alleyway Ice Cream (135 Partition Street) – Alleyway Ice Cream is literally located down an alleyway off Partition Street. I had been drooling over Alleyway Ice Cream’s Instagram pics for ages and was so happy to finally get to try their ice cream. I was disappointed that they were out of “Thai Tea Cookies & Cream” flavor during our visit. I was really looking forward to it. But I enjoyed both the “Honeycomb Chocolate Swirl” and “Ube Heath Bar”. (Open Wednesday – Sunday)

Diamond Mills Tavern Sticky Tofu

Thank you to the Diamond Mills Tavern for hosting NY Foodie Family. As always, all opinions are our own.

Diamond Mills Tavern (25 South Partition Street) – The Diamond Mills Tavern sits adjacent to the Diamond Mills Hotel. The restaurant just debuted its new fall menu and has both indoor and outdoor seating. They have a varied menu that offers some vegetarian options. The Sticky Tofu appetizer, pictured above, was a favorite and the appetizer portion was huge!

Diamond Mills Tavern Butternut Squash Carpaccio

I enjoyed the tofu with the Butternut Squash Carpaccio Salad.

Diamond Mills Tavern Carnivore Pizza

My meat-eating son enjoyed the Carnivore pizza that has prosciutto, bacon, salami, pepperoni AND sausage! My husband had the Beet (yes, beet) Wellington and my daughter enjoyed the Impossible Burger. I’m just disappointed that we were too full to try some of their new fall desserts! (Open Wednesday – Sunday for lunch and dinner and brunch on weekends)

Josie's Coffee Shoppe

Josie’s Coffee Shoppe (174 Partition Street) – Stop by Josie’s for your morning caffeine fix. There are also a variety of pastries to get your sugar fix as well!

Love Bites Cafe Sweet Chili Cauliflower Wings

Love Bites Cafe (69 Partition Street) – This cafe’s menu features locally sourced ingredients and offers vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. My son devoured the Chicken and Waffles. The Bohemian Club was tasty, but a bit messy, as is often the case with foods featuring portobello mushrooms. But our favorite were these Sweet Chili Cauliflower Wings! (Open Friday – Sunday)

Slices of Saugeries Grandma Slice

Slices of Saugerties (71 Partition Street) – No joke, their Grandma style Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella slice was so good, we had to go back for another slice on our second day! There’s a reason this is a “Best of Hudson Valley” winner! (Open 7 days a week)

Brine Barrel Pickles

Brine Barrel (237 Partition Street) – We stopped at Brine Barrel before we headed back home to get some pickles to go. We got a combo of half-sour, dill, and sour dill pickles to bring home. They did not last long in our house before we devoured them!

As you can see, there is lots for visitors to enjoy during a weekend in Saugerties! It is close enough to home that we can’t wait to go back and visit the restaurants and attractions that we didn’t have time to enjoy on this trip!

You may also enjoy reading:

A Weekend in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

A Weekend in Corning, New York.

7 Fall Weekend Getaways

Now that school has started, it’s not as easy to go away with the kids. Plus, COVID is making travel even more difficult. Fortunately, there are many fall weekend getaways close to Westchester County that are perfect for both families or couples looking to rest, recharge and have some fun! I am sharing 7 weekend getaways that we think families will enjoy.

Corning – This is the furthest destination that we are sharing, but it’s definitely doable for a weekend visit. There are some unique experiences to enjoy in the area including the Corning Museum of Glass, Watkins Glen State Park and more.

Crystal Spring ResortThis is the only New Jersey weekend destination that we have traveled to so far, but it’s a good one! Your family may never want to leave the biosphere pool. They offer both complimentary activities and those that have an additional cost. There are several onsite restaurants to choose from.

Emerson Resort – The Emerson Resort is located in the Catskills and is perfectly situated for some fall foliage viewing. This resort is also dog friendly if you want to bring your pet with you. Here you can find the world’s largest kaleidoscope. They offer several onsite activities and also have a spa. The Catskill Rail Explorers and plenty of fall hikes will keep you busy when you’re not enjoying the resort.

Kalahari Resort – If you don’t want to have to worry about the weather, take a visit to Kalahari. You can enjoy the indoor water park, arcade, mini golf and more. With several onsite restaurants, you won’t have to leave the resort. And if the weather is nice, they also have an outdoor treetop adventure course.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania – Only three hours from most of Westchester County, Lancaster, Pennsylvania is a great weekend getaway. Experience “Pennsylvania Dutch Country” for an educational and fun experience.

Pine Ridge Dude Ranch – Pine Ridge Dude Ranch is great if your family enjoys horseback riding. This is an all-inclusive dude ranch experience with both outdoor and indoor activities to keep the family occupied.

Villa Roma Resort – Villa Roma Resort offers a variety of activities for families with kids of all ages including go karts, a bowling alley, a zip line and more. Dinner and breakfast are included in the price of your stay.

Villa Roma Resort in the Catskills

Thank you Villa Roma Resort for hosting NY Foodie Family. As always, all opinions are our own.

School is starting again and calendars are getting busy.  Fall is the perfect time to go for a weekend getaway to the Catskills. Villa Roma Resort is an all-inclusive family resort in Sullivan County.   A little over an hour and a half drive from northern Westchester County, Villa Roma Resort has everything you need for a relaxing vacation. 

This year, the Callicoon, NY resort is celebrating its 50th anniversary.  What started as a small boarding boarding house with a pool and 2 bocce courts has since expanded into an 430 acre property.  Besides the resort area, Villa Roma also has an 18 hole PGA Golf Course and a downhill ski area and Chalet. 

I first heard about Villa Roma from a colleague who would visit every summer with her family.  With COVID, we have been wanting to travel while staying in New York State.  I thought a visit here would be a perfect way to end our summer. 

The Room


As you can tell from both the name and the décor, Villa Roma is an Italian-themed resort.   Villa Roma includes timeshare condo units, with 140 guest rooms in the main building.  There is a variety of guest rooms from traditional rooms to two bedroom suites. 

We stayed in a 2 bedroom efficiency room that had a sitting area, kitchen, two bedrooms (one with a king size bed and one with a queen) and a bathroom with a separate tub and shower.

I have to admit that the bathroom was one of the best features of the room!  With a teen daughter who loves to spend a lot of time in the bathroom, it was nice that there was enough space and privacy that multiple could use the bathroom at the same time

Activities & Entertainment:

Villa Roma dubs their entertainment as a “Cruise on Land” with Doc Holiday.  Each day they have a schedule of activities that includes arts and crafts, Bingo, Horse or Turtle Racing and various types of competitions (Corn Hole, Bocce Ball, Ping Pong and more).  

While we didn’t participate in any of the scheduled activities, we did watch a couple of rounds of horse racing.  Guests can bet $1 on a horse.  Special dice are rolled and the horses move up positions based on the dice roll. Winning bets earn money, with payouts based on the number of bets per horse. 

If scheduled group fun isn’t your thing, there are many other activities to keep you busy. It’s important to check the weekly information sheet, as the times of the below activities vary by day.  They also close certain attractions for cleaning during select hours.  

Guests can purchase an unlimited fun package when they book their reservations.  The band is not available for purchase once you arrive at the resort.  The activities marked with an asterisk below are included in the unlimited fun package.  Otherwise, these activities do have additional fees fee.  Tickets are $2 each and most activities require at least 3 tickets per person to participate.

Go Karts* – This was the first time that the kids and I ever drove a go kart.  While I’m happy to be able to cross that off my bucket list, once was enough for me.  However, the kids loved driving the go karts.  There are six single go karts and two doubles.  I recommend getting to the go karts early.  When we arrived at 12 PM we waited almost an hour to ride.  The next day we arrived a little after the 10 AM opening and waited less than 10 minutes.  Closed-toe shoes are required to ride the Go Karts and guests must be 56 inches to drive in a single car.  Children have to be at least 44 inches to ride in a double car with an adult. 

Bowling* – The resort has an 8 lane bowling alley in the Sports Complex.  To maintain a safe environment during COVID, they are only running 4 lanes at a time.  They do not take reservations and are running on a first come, first serve basis.  They give you bowling shoes and have paper and pencil scoring.  

Indoor Fun Park* – There are a variety of bounce houses for younger kids.  

Bumper Boats* – During our visit, only three of the four bumper boats were in operation.  Each bumper boat can hold three people, so my daughter and I rode together. 

Zip Line* – This is one activity that we did not try. Some activities, like the zip line are only available during select times. When we arrived, the line was long and we wanted to head out.

Game Room & Arcade – The game room has ping pong tables, pickleball courts, pool tables and more.  Plus, there’s an arcade with a variety of games.  

Sports Courts – Inside the Sports Complex, one racquet ball court had a volleyball net set up and one had a basketball hoop.  My son requested that we all play volleyball. 

Pools – There are three outdoor pools. One is a zero entry with play features and a water bucket. 

One pool has a water slide and the other is a swimming pool. 

There is also an adults only jacuzzi hot tub with a waterfall which is where I hung out!  When we arrived at the pool area at 11 AM, almost every lounge chair was “taken” with a towel.  However, there was hardly anyone in the pool area at that time.  We were fortunate to find a table and chairs where I could sit to keep an eye on my son, who went swimming.  There are lifeguards supervising all pool areas, including the hot tub. 

Due to COVID, the gym and indoor pool were closed during our visit.  For an additional cost, visitors can enjoy horseback riding and paintball.   

Nightly Entertainment:

Every night there is some type of evening entertainment.  There may be bonfires, dance parties, and, on the night of our visit, a lip sync battle.  The event was hosted by Mama Villa Roma, a Villa Roma favorite.  Due to the inclement weather, the entertainment was held in the Forum Night Club.

Food:

When you stay at Villa Roma, depending on the meal package you select, dinner and breakfast are included in the price of your stay.  You are assigned a table in the main dining room and eat dinner and breakfast at the same table, with the same wait staff, the duration of your visit.  

Dinner is served 6:30 PM – 8 PM and reservations are required. Menus may change based on the season and day of the week, but offer an appetizer, choice of soup or pasta, salad, entree and dessert. Thursday evenings feature a special Caesar’s Night seven course menu.  Since we have two vegans, a vegetarian and a meat eater in our family, I made sure to notify them when I made our 6:30 PM dinner reservations.  

My son enjoyed the seven course feast that included a variety of appetizers (fried calamari, sausage and peppers and spare ribs), plus ravioli, a Caesar salad and his entree, the Dill Butter Salmon Fillet. 

 Meanwhile, the kitchen was able to make a tofu and vegetable stir fry with rice for the three of us, which was delicious!  

And look at this platter of Italian pastries that they served.  My son is now a fan of Italian rainbow cookies!  

Breakfast is served 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM daily. They offer a variety of different dishes including eggs, french toast, pancakes, cereal, bagels, fruit and more.  

There are several other food options for lunch, snacks and breakfast and dinner, if you choose not to participate in the dining plan. I enjoyed a strawberry milkshake at the Cappo Dolce Coffee & Ice Cream Parlor. 

COVID and Safety Measures:

Villa Roma is doing a great job with their safety measures.  They have signs up throughout the resort noting that masks must be worn. During all activities that we visited, mask wearing was enforced, even when go karting. Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the resort and throughout our stay we saw staff in the public common areas cleaning.

We walked by the pool area the first afternoon of our visit and were surprised at the number of people in the pool area and that few, if any were wearing masks.  Obviously masks cannot be worn while swimming.  But the number of people not wearing them while sitting in the chairs around the pool area made us uncomfortable.  So, we visited the pool earlier the next day when it was less crowded and we were more comfortable. 

Villa Roma caters to all types of visitors. We saw many families during our visit as well as couples of all ages. Many of these couples and families have been visiting Villa Roma for years! A couple of days at Villa Roma Resort was just what our family needed.  It was nice to disconnect and enjoy some quality family time.  There was enough to do to keep our 14 and 12 year-old entertained over our two day stay. 

If you are looking for a family getaway, close to home, check out Villa Roma Resort in the Catskills! 

The Details:

Villa Roma Resort
356 Villa Roma Road
Callicoon, NY 12723
1-800-533-6767

*Be sure to check the website for promotions and special offers

*If you are staying in a room with a refrigerator/kitchen, stock up on snacks and drinks.   

*Get to attractions with limited hours like the Go Karts, bowling and the zipline before or close to opening, to avoid long waits. 

*Semi-casual attire is recommended for dinner and men are requested to wear collared shirts.  However, a dress code is not enforced and we saw people wearing everything from tank tops and jeans to men in collared button down shirts and slacks and women in sun dresses.  


Catskills Getaway to the Emerson Resort & Spa

The kids are back in school and busy schedules are the new norm. So when the kids had a couple of days off from school, we decided to enjoy some fall family fun at the Emerson Resort & Spa in Mount Tremper, NY. The Emerson is an easy drive from northern Westchester County, less than two hours away.

The Emerson is conveniently situated for visiting the nearby towns of Phoenicia and Woodstock to the East or Belleayre and Hunter Mountain to the West. However, if you’re looking to simply enjoy some rest and relaxation, it’s perfect for that as well!

The History of the Emerson Resort and Spa

The Emerson Resort is located in Ulster County, in the Eastern part of the Catskills, and borders the Esopus Creek. Once you arrive at the resort, you will quickly discover who it was named after. Every room has books of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poems, and quotes from these poems decorate the walls of the Resort.

The Resort sits on what was originally an 1840 dairy farm owned by the Riseley family. Part of the original building was transported onto the current property. Over a century later, it was developed into tourist destination Clinton Corners, which included a variety of shops, a restaurant and the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope. After a move and various renovations, it is now the Emerson Resort & Spa as we know it.

The Rooms

There are two different lodging options when visiting the Emerson Resort. You can stay in the Lodge buildings, which are more rustic, Adirondack-style rooms.

The second lodging option is the Inn, which features more contemporary, Catskill chic type accommodations. We stayed in room 502 of the Inn which was perfect for our family of four. This Royal Suite room has two queen beds.

I enjoyed a soak in the large whirlpool tub and we all enjoyed the waterfall shower with adjustable side sprays. Although we did question the window looking into the bedroom! Luckily, the blinds close for privacy.

During the afternoon, our balcony was a perfect place to enjoy some reading time, while listening to the tranquil sounds of the Esopus Creek. And in the morning, my husband and I enjoyed our coffee with a beautiful view!

Fall evenings in the Catskills can get chilly. We enjoyed sitting nearby our room’s gas fireplace in the evening. On the second night, we enjoyed a family game night in front of the fireplace as well. The kids really enjoyed the complimentary snacks (peanut trail mix and granola bars) and water available in the room. The water came in handy on our outings. It’s important to know that there is no cell phone service in the area. Thank goodness the Emerson has complementary wi-fi!

Amenities

The Emerson Resort is very family-friendly . Although it is a resort and spa, we noticed many families with children visiting. For dog owners, the Resort is also pet-friendly! It was fun seeing guests walking the property with their dogs.

The spa at The Emerson Resort is spread over 6,000 square feet and is only for adults. Reservations are recommended prior to arrival if you wish to enjoy a massage, facial or one of the other treatments they offer. All overnight adult guests can enjoy the fitness room, sauna, steam room and outdoor salt water hot tub. The entrance to the spa is one of the few decorative pieces that remains after a major renovation in 2016. The hand-carved imported doorway was too fantastic to change .

The day of our arrival we enjoyed participating in a kaleidoscope making class. While you can purchase the same kits in the gift shop, it was nice to be guided through the process. After making our kaleidoscopes, our instructor, Jonas had us walk around the property to look for objects in nature that we could add to the kaleidoscope. It was fun to see how the different items looked while viewed through our kaleidoscopes. If you aren’t interested in making a kaleidoscope, the Resort also offers watercolor postcard painting or design your own t-shirt classes ($20 per shirt). Check the schedule to see which days the classes are offered.

The Catskills are truly beautiful. The Emerson really wants guests to explore and take in all the beauty of their surroundings. The grounds of the Emerson include 1.2 miles of trails and a small pond. There are several cruiser bicycles available (adults sized only, they do not have children’s bikes) and you can get helmets from the front desk. If you are interested in doing some bird watching around the property, you can also borrow binoculars at the front desk.

Twice a day, guided nature walks depart from the lobby. We enjoyed participating in one of these walks that takes you down to the Esopus Creek and along the property. The creek’s water comes from the mountain and leads to the Ashokan Reservoir. Weather permitting, swimming is allowed in the creek. The Emerson has partnered with the Ashokan Watershed and offers fresh water snorkeling on select dates during the summer! The resort even had its moment of fame as the recent movie The Dead Don’t Die, starring Bill Murray and Adam Driver, was partly filmed on the property!

In the warmer months guests can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. There are outdoor games including volleyball, horseshoes and corn hole. There’s a playground for younger kids and even a dog park for all of the four-legged visitors. And, of course, there’s a pool open during the summer.

All guests are invited to enjoy the Family Room in the Black Bear building at the lodge. We walked over one evening and enjoyed several games of intense and competitive family ping pong. There are also several fire pits throughout the property and s’mores kits are available for purchase at the front desk for guests to enjoy.

The World’s Largest Kaleidoscope

The Emerson Resort is probably most well known for housing the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope. The Kaleidoscope sits in the former silo of the Riseley Farm. It has a 50-foot virtual sphere that can reflect 254 images, which creates an illusion of over 3,000 images! Overnight guests are able to view a complimentary showing of Star Dust, a 10 minute experience that will dazzle your senses. Seating is available, but we all enjoyed laying down on the floor to view the show.

There are a variety of shops in the Emerson, including a toy shop, housewares and souvenir and clothing shops. However, you must take a visit through the Kaleidostore. There are a couple of fun, interactive exhibits to see. But the showstopper is the large collection of kaleidoscopes for sale at the Kaleidobar. Children are asked not to touch these and even I was afraid to touch some (most?) of them. There’s a kaleidoscope that costs $1,850! They are truly works of art!

The Food

The Emerson Resort has two restaurants onsite. Ralph’s Cafe is open from 9 AM to 5 PM (except Sundays when it’s open until 6 PM). Here you can pick up pastries, soup, sandwiches, salads and more. There is seating both inside and out where you can enjoy your food, or you can take it to go.

Woodnotes Grille is the sit down restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner. Locally sourced ingredients are used to create delicious meals in what they like to call “Catskill Creative Cooking.”

We enjoyed dinner there one evening and some of the highlight dishes included this Black Angus Beef Brisket with Parmesan Twice Baked Potatoes and Wilted Swiss Chard…

…as well as the Pan Seared Beaverkill Trout with Lyonnaise potatoes and French beans. Most entrees are priced between $22-$26.

We enjoyed breakfast one morning at Woodnotes as well. The restaurant serves everything from Eggs Benedict and House Made Corned Beef Hash to Quinoa Granola and Avocado Toast.

Our second morning, we stopped at Ralph’s Cafe. Overnight guests can enjoy a free cup of coffee or tea each day of their stay. We purchased a variety of breakfast goodies to share before we headed out that morning. Everything is reasonably priced, including breakfast sandwiches.

We had a great stay at the Emerson Resort & Spa. Our weekend had a mix of relaxation, fun and exploration. With an eleven and thirteen year-old, there was enough to see and do during our stay to make it an enjoyable visit for the entire family. If you are looking for a quick weekend getaway to the Catskills, we highly recommend a visit to the Emerson Resort & Spa in Mount Tremper!

The Details:
Emerson Resort & Spa
5340 Route 28
Mount Tremper, NY 12457
(845) 688-2828

Room Prices: Rates start at $224/night, depending on date and room type

*Be sure to check out the Emerson website for specials and packages.

*This is a dog friendly resort! You can bring your pet with you!

*There is a full service spa onsite as well as fitness classes (for a fee).

(Thank you to the Emerson Resort & Spa for hosting NY Foodie Family. As always, all opinions are our own.)

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Celebrating “40” at Cranberry Manor Bed & Breakfast {Poconos}

Dana and I are fairly new to the bed and breakfast scene. Besides our recent visit to Cranberry Manor, the only other bed and breakfast that we visited was a couple of years ago when he turned 40. When my 40th arrived last month, I decided that I also wanted to go to a B&B to celebrate my birthday. After a little research, we decided to stay at the Cranberry Manor Bed and Breakfast in the Poconos. It’s roughly a two hour drive from northern Westchester County, a perfect distance for a one night stay. Plus, all of the reviews I read were very positive.

Why a bed and breakfast?

Bed and breakfasts are small and intimate. They are usually old houses that have been renovated and restored to accommodate guests. A big plus is the “breakfast” part of a bed and breakfast. Not only is the home cooked meal included in the price of your stay, but it’s usually delicious and filling. But most importantly, bed and breakfasts cater to adults. All of the B&Bs that I’ve looked into do not allow children to stay.

Cranberry Manor Bed and Breakfast

The Cranberry Manor Bed and Breakfast is a house that dates back to the 1880’s when it was a boarding house. Its most recent owners Sharon and Ric Anderson have been running the bed and breakfast since 2007. Sharon formerly had a career in IT support. She and her husband moved up to Pennsylvania from the South for what she thought would be a tech job. But when that fell through, they ended up purchasing the bed and breakfast.

Cranberry Manor has a cozy, homey feel. I love the holiday tree that Sharon made out of grape vines and decorates for the different seasons.

There’s a community sitting room that has books, games and lots of brochures for local attractions and restaurants. The walls are decorated with antique Collier’s magazine pages that were discovered in the walls during a renovation! There’s a large dining room where guests dine for breakfast.

The dining room also has a billiards table that visitors are welcome to enjoy. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to play during our short stay.

There’s a Butler’s Pantry in the dining room as well. It includes a refrigerator stocked with sodas and bottles of water, and tea and hot cocoa can also be made at anytime. It was nice that, after returning from dinner, Dana was able to walk downstairs and make me a hot mug of tea. Sharon asked him what time we were planning to be downstairs the following morning; a fresh pot of coffee waiting for us when we came down.

Cranberry Manor has five different rooms, each uniquely decorated with a Victorian feel. My husband and I just happened to stay in the “Victorian Room”. It has a queen bed with a half-canopy.

There is a small seating area and a gas fire place. Although space is a bit tight for modern amenities, I would have enjoyed a larger television in the room. It was hiding with the cable box in the little nook above the fireplace.

Each room has its own private bathroom with both a shower and large soaking tub.

One of my favorite parts of Cranberry Manor is the large wraparound porch. There are a variety of seating arrangements, including a bench swing, several rocking chairs and cushioned seating areas. It was nice to be able to sit out there before breakfast and read, while we enjoyed a cup of coffee.

Breakfast

On Sunday mornings Sharon serves breakfast at 9 AM. Look at how pretty the place settings are!

Our breakfast started with sliced bananas drizzled with homemade caramel sauce.

We then enjoyed blueberry peach french toast, scrambled eggs and sausage. I was stuffed by the time breakfast was over. We were the only guests that night during our stay in September. So Sharon asked if she could join us for breakfast and we had a lovely time chatting with her.

Guests are given two keys when they arrive. One opens the front door and one that opens their bedroom. While Sharon and Ric live on property, they live in the space beyond the kitchen, separate from where guests stay. If you are in need of ideas of things to do or places to eat, Sharon is full of recommendations and information.

If you have never been to a bed and breakfast, I highly recommend giving Cranberry Manor Bed and Breakfast a try. It’s not too far away from Westchester County and is conveniently located to various Pocono attractions and restaurants.

The Details:
Cranberry Manor Bed and Breakfast
406 Cherry Lane Road
East Stroudsburg, PA 18301
(570) 620-2246

Price: $145 – $175 a night, depending on which room you choose and when you visit.

*Although some weekends require a two night stay, give Sharon a call. Depending on the date(s) of your visit, you may be able to stay for one night like we did.

*There is plenty to see and do in the area. But if you just want to relax and hang out at the bed and breakfast, you are more than welcome to do that as well.







Mom Escape to the Lodge at Woodloch

Crossing the state line into Pennsylvania, it’s as if the sign knew what my trip’s purpose was: “Welcome to Pennsylvania- Pursue Your Happiness” This solo mom escape was my very abbreviated, but much needed, respite from everyday life – my job, my kids and my husband. This was my time to focus on myself. For months, I’d been expressing to my husband that I needed to get away. “Go,” he said, supportive of my needs.

And so, after some research, I decided to visit the Lodge at Woodloch. The Lodge fit all of my requirements – a short driving distance from home, adults only, and a focus on health and wellness.

The Property:
The Lodge at Woodloch is located in Hawley, PA, less than a two hour drive from northern Westchester County. It is one of the three family-owned and operated Woodloch properties (the family-friendly, Woodloch Resort and the golf course community at Woodloch Springs are the other two) located on over 500 private acres.

The property consists of the main Lodge as well as Little Lake Teedyuskung, a Cranberry Bog and lots of wooded forest. Blackmore Farm is walking distance from the Lodge and supplies some of the produce used in the restaurant.

There are also functioning hives, with bees that help pollinate the garden and will eventually provide honey for spa treatments and the restaurant.

As I pulled up to the front gate, Robert was there with a huge smile and a warm and welcoming greeting. He checked my name off a list of incoming guests and directed me to the Lodge entrance. Once I arrived, the valet was there ready to take my bags and park my car. When I approached the front desk to check in, they greeted me by name and welcomed me with a
complimentary refillable water bottle, labeled with my name to avoid confusion with the other guests, and a tote bag. Every employee who I encountered during my visit was always friendly, helpful and had a warm smile.

Activities:
The Lodge at Woodloch is an all-inclusive resort with meals and activities included. However, some of the art classes do have fees. What drew me to the Lodge was the variety of activities they offered. With a focus on mind, body and soul, there is something for everyone. The daily activity schedule is conspicuously posted all throughout the Lodge. However, I’m the personality type who printed out the activity schedules for each day of my stay and highlighted all of the activities that I wanted to do!


The third floor of the Lodge contains the three exercise studios (Oak, Linden and Willow) as well as a cardio gym, rowing room and sitting area with a snack and hydration station. One thing I noticed is that there is no shortage of quiet sitting areas. They are everywhere throughout the Lodge and Spa.

I wanted to take advantage of all of the different fitness classes they offered. The first day, I enjoyed Drums Alive with Ashley ,where we drummed to upbeat music using exercise balls placed in step risers. This was such a fun and energetic class. I took a Splash Dance class with Christy using weighted poles in the water and basically pole danced in the pool. I’ve never taken a pole dancing class, so I don’t have anything to compare it to. It was, needless to say, another fun class. Later in the day, I took a Journaling for Self-Discovery Class with Susan, where I was given inspiration and resources to help me journal. I ended my evening with an after-dinner evening kayak ride with Ryan.

I started the second day with an 8 AM Chakra Meditation class with Alicia. One of my goals this year was to start meditating. I’m hoping this class helps inspire me to start my journey. Next, I took a Barre class with Retta. I’ve taken barre classes before so knew what I was getting myself into! Right after that, I took a Tower Power Class with Alicia. This is a Pilates class using a Tower (an apparatus attached to the wall). While I’ve taken Pilates classes before, I had never taken a Tower class. I really liked it and felt movements were more controlled using the resistance springs. Immediately after, I took my final fitness class of the day: the Great Wall of Yoga, again with Alicia. I really enjoy yoga and have taken classes at my local gym and have practiced at home. Using adjustable straps in this class took it to the next level, as I was practicing yoga while literally hanging off the wall! In the afternoon, I took The Ritual of Tea class, as I’ve started drinking more tea, especially in the evening.

I didn’t take any of the “Creative Discovery” classes during my stay. It’s not because I didn’t want to. I just didn’t have enough time. Many of the classes they offered were two hours. During my visit, classes included Zendoodle, terrarium building, Dot Mandala Stones, Pebble Art, Patchwork Painting, Basic Calligraphy and Decorative Lettering, Decorative Birdhouses and more. Most art classes had a nominal $10 fee.

For those drawn to nature, there are many outdoor activities including guided hikes, Bog Talk, Basics of Birding, Forest Bathing, Basics of Mountain Biking, Forest Yoga, Garden Tour, Tenkara (a Japanese style of fly fishing) and more. As you can see, there is plenty of wildlife in the woods. On a short walk around the property I saw three deer and was able to get pretty close to them! There is also an archery range and an outdoor exploration center called The Lily Pad that has kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and more.

There is also a Lotus Labyrinth on the property. This is a peaceful place for meditation and quiet reflection.

Every instructor was friendly, encouraging and patient, whether there were two people in the class or 15. They were also all very punctual: starting class on time and ending promptly so you had enough time to get to your next activity.

The Spa:

The spa has separate women’s and men’s retreats that include showers and changing rooms, saunas, steam rooms and whirlpools. There are also a couple of different sitting areas in the spa as well.

The Aqua Garden has an indoor pool where the aqua fitness classes are held. However, the most remarkable features of the Aqua Garden are the two heated soaking pools with HydroMassage Waterwalls. I might have spent the majority of my spa time here! There is also an outdoor whirlpool which is open year-round. The changing room has walls of digital lockers. Inside each locker is a fluffy spa robe. At the spa desk you can request a pair of sandals. It was nice to be able to store my things while I was at my spa treatment and the Aqua Gardens and not have to worry about carrying a key.


The treatment rooms are in the downstairs area of the spa, as well as the co-ed Whisper Lounge which includes an outdoor porch and rocking chairs. Relaxation and comfortable seating are the big focus here!

Prior to my visit, I booked the Rosemary Awakening, the spa’s signature treatment. The treatment starts with a rosemary and mint body polish (exfoliating scrub). A quick shower is followed by a full body massage with shea butter and essential oils. The treatment ends with a scalp massage and a foot massage. Amy, my massage therapist was great. She explained each step of the treatment and checked in to make sure I was enjoying myself. Even though I was completely unclothed for the treatment, she was so adept in draping the towels and sheets that I was never exposed or uncomfortable. Needless to say, this treatment was AMAZING and left me feeling so relaxed.

If full body treatments aren’t your thing, the spa offers facials, massages, sleep treatments, FLOAT therapy and more. You can also visit the Lotus Salon for hair cuts and styling, or to get a manicure or pedicure.

The Accommodations:

I stayed in room 322 during my visit. The room is a Veranda Classic Standard with a King bed. There is a large flat-panel TV and a mini refrigerator. There is also a comfy chair and a rocking chair in the room (again, plenty of cozy seating!). The room also has a desk with a salt lamp on it, which I thought was a nice touch. The bathroom has double sinks, a marble walk-in shower and a private toilet.

The best thing about this room was the private veranda with this view! During the day I kept the veranda doors open and enjoyed listening to the rock garden waterfalls. I woke early and enjoyed drinking my morning coffee on the veranda while I read my book. This was extra special quiet mom time!

The Food:


Executive Chef Josh Tomson, graduate of the French Culinary Institute in NYC, leads the dining team. He incorporates farm-to-table dining into the menus and tries to use local products, including produce from the onsite Blackmore Farm, whenever possible. All meals are served in Tree, the onsite restaurant.


Three meals are included in the price for each night of your stay, (dinner on the day of your arrival and breakfast and lunch the next day). There are menus for each meal where you can choose from several different options. Each selection is labeled as to whether it is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-friendly or contains nuts. Many of the items can also be made gluten-friendly or vegan upon request. They have daily specials at each meal as well. Dinner starts with an amuse bouche and then includes an appetizer, salad, main course and dessert. My dinner started with a chilled strawberry soup amuse bouche, then I chose the Colossal Crab and Shrimp Cocktail, the Signature Salad and the Seared Scallops with a Green Pea Puree. For dessert, I had that night’s special: a Skillet Cookie topped with Vanilla Gelato and Chocolate Sauce.

For breakfast the next day, I enjoyed an Open Faced Mushroom Omelet and some fresh fruit from the buffet. The buffet also had a yogurt and oatmeal bar, as well as a variety of baked goods and even a frittata. For lunch, I ordered the Lobster & Crab Roll, which, according to my waitress, is one of their most popular dishes. I had a small bowl of Potato Leek Soup and made a salad from the salad bar.


As a self-proclaimed foodie, I thought the food was quite good. The presentation was beautiful. Portions aren’t huge, but they are satisfying. All of my seafood dishes were excellent. At lunch and dinner there were several options that looked good and I wished my husband was there so we could share dishes! I found dessert and the sweets offered at the snack bar to be so-so.

I have to admit, eating was the only time during my stay that I felt awkward visiting by myself. I don’t think that I’ve ever previously dined alone in a restaurant setting. I brought my notebook to take notes of my visit and a book and I was okay, but it did feel a little uncomfortable. If you prefer, room-service is available for a small fee.

During my stay, the majority of the guests were women; either groups of friends or mothers and daughters. My daughter is still a couple of years short of being old enough to visit, but I can see us visiting the Lodge together. In the meantime, my husband will hopefully accompany me on my next trip here!

If you are looking for a mom escape, I highly recommend visiting the Lodge at Woodloch. Whether you choose to visit solo, like I did, or with a group of friends, your stay here will be super relaxing and fun…everything you need to rest and rejuvenate yourself before returning to reality.

(To see lots more pictures of my visit, please check out my Lodge @ Woodloch Instastories! I received a media rate for my stay as well as a complimentary spa service to facilitate my review. As always, all opinions are my own.)

The Details:
The Lodge at Woodloch
109 River Birch Lane
Hawley, PA 18428
(570) 685-8500

Check-In Time: 4:00 PM
Check-Out Time: 12 Noon
However, you can participate in the classes and activities and/or make spa appointments earlier/later than the check-in and check-out times. Luggage can be stored in the bell hop closet until your room is ready or you are ready to leave.

*This resort is for individuals ages 16 and older.

*It is recommended that spa treatments be booked in advance. They do book up quickly.

*Activities on the schedule marked with an asterisk (*) have limited space and require guests to sign up in advance with the spa concierge. Please be courteous and call the spa concierge to cancel an activity or class that you signed up for but are unable to attend.

* Dinner is served from 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM but reservations are required. Casual dress is recommended. While resort bathrobes and/or workout attire can be worn in the dining room for breakfast and lunch, it is not permitted at dinner.

*Alcohol is available during meals at an additional cost.

*The Lodge encourages guests to unplug. Cell phone use is not allowed in public areas.

*Gratuities are included in your package rate. However, I did leave a cash tip for housekeeping and the valet.

*Check out their website for specials and deals.

A Visit to Kalahari Resort {Poconos}

I’m not a huge fan of water parks. I have flashbacks of growing up visiting Water Country USA with my family. Not wearing contacts at the time, I just remember not being able to see anything and water constantly splashing in my face. Fast forward to today, where I am a parent of two kids, ages 10 and 13, who really like water parks. Our winter trip to Pine Ridge Dude Resort wasn’t as much of a hit as I had anticipated. So, during the kids February break we decided to take them to Kalahari Resort.

Kalahari Resort is located in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. In the area is also Great Wolf Lodge and Camelback Resort, both of which we have never visited. My sister has visited both Great Wolf Lodge and Kalahari with her two children and recommended Kalahari over Great Wolf Lodge, given the age of my kids.

As the name implies, the Kalahari is an African themed resort. This theme is carried out throughout the whole resort, from the names of the attractions to the decor.

We booked a one night stay at Kalahari, arriving on a Monday and leaving Tuesday. We surprised the kids and didn’t tell them where we were going until we arrived. While room check-in isn’t until 4 PM, you can arrive at Kalahari as early as 9:30 AM, when the water park opens, and enjoy a full day at the waterpark. The resort is approximately a two hour drive from our home in northern Westchester County. I didn’t think it was necessary for us to get up at the crack of dawn, but we aimed to leave our house by 10 AM. We stopped on the road for lunch before we arrived at Kalahari. But when we pulled up to the resort around 1 PM and saw the line of cars……we wished we had left super early.

I thought arriving on the Monday of February break wouldn’t be too bad. However, I stood in line for thirty minutes, waiting to check in. At check in we all received wristbands that were both our admission into the water park as well as our room keys. You can opt to have the ability to link a credit card to the wristband so you don’t have to carry around cash or a credit card, but we chose not do this. Our room wasn’t ready but I was told that I would receive a text when it was. In the meantime, we were free to enjoy the water park.

We had packed a bag with our swimsuits knowing that we could enjoy the water park before getting to our room. But first we had to drop our luggage off in the storage room. That also had a line and a bit of a wait. When we finally got the luggage dropped off and changed into our suits there were no large lockers available to store our bag and my pocketbook. I volunteered to stay and sit with the bags while my husband and kids went off to enjoy the water park. Unfortunately, we had to walk around the park for several minutes before finding an available chair!

The water park itself is humongous! It occupies over 220,000 square feet with more than twenty attractions. There’s a large play area for little kids, a basketball pool, and lots of water slides!

My husband and kids had a great time enjoying all the thrill slides. I think they rode ALL the slides, even the Tanzanian Twister, (the second to last photo on the right), that they dubbed “The Toilet Bowl.” Some of the extreme tube rides, like the Barrelling Baboon, required two or four riders, so I had to go. And just to note, these slides are a bit scarier at night in the dark!

The lazy river wasn’t quite so “lazy” when you’re packed in and pushed by kids trying to race by. When I finally was able to enjoy the water park my own kids enjoyed pushing me under the waterfalls!

There’s a large wave pool, an indoor-outdoor heated spa, a Flowrider wave simulator and more. If you’re hungry while at the waterpark, you don’t have to leave, as there are six different dining venues where you can purchase food or drinks. This includes two swim-up bars for adults 21 and over.

During the afternoon I kept checking my phone waiting for the text that our room was ready. After spending several hours at the water park we decided to ask if the rooms were ready. The check in line was just as long as it was when we arrived, if not longer. Luckily, there was a staff member standing in the lobby who told us that if we didn’t get the text, our room wasn’t ready. She gave the kids complimentary arcade cards to help keep them entertained.

The arcade at Kalahari Resorts is also huge. And it’s conveniently situated, so that you can’t get to the water park without walking through it. The kids enjoyed playing in the arcade on several different occasions, as there is almost any game there that you can think of!

By 6 PM we were getting hungry. Kalahari has several restaurant choices onsite. We opted to go to B-Lux, their most recent addition, which specializes in burgers, shakes and fries. I ordered the Mushroom Swiss Burger, my husband had The Cheese Head Burger (beer battered cheese curds, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and Wisconsin cheddar), my daughter the BBQ Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese and my son had the pepperoni pizza from the children’s menu. We all agreed that the mac & cheese was the best dish of the night. Service was good and the food was actually decent. We just wish that our room had been ready so we could have showered and changed before dinner.

After we ate dinner we got our bags from the luggage storage room. We made our way to our room to discover that our bands hadn’t been keyed properly and we couldn’t get into our room! My husband made the trek back down to the lobby and got his band fixed so we could get into our room. We stayed in a Desert room. The room was large with two queen beds and a sleeper sofa. It has a microwave and mini refrigerator in the room. We didn’t spend very much time in the room.

Besides the water park and arcade, there is a lot to do at Kalahari. There is an Escape Room, mini-bowling, Virtual Reality and 7-D Motion Theater and more. Before we left the next day we played a round of Black Light Mini Golf. There’s also a spa and salon and fitness center, which we didn’t try during this visit.

We visited the Great Karoo Marketplace Buffet for breakfast. There was a bit of a wait to get a table. Our server though, again, was super friendly and attentive, even with the crowds. The food at the breakfast buffet wasn’t impressive but they have something for everyone.

For lunch we shared a pepperoni pizza from Cafe Mirage. Again, not super impressed, but we reminded ourselves that we were at a waterpark. Double Cut, a steak house, and Sortino’s Italian Kitchen looked promising though. Hopefully, we will get to try those on a possible future visit.

We visited Kalahari in the winter. When the weather is nicer, there is a smaller outdoor waterpark and Gorilla Grove Treetop Adventures which includes a ropes course, zipline, 36-hole miniature golf course and a Gorilla Express mini train ride.

As I mentioned, my kids really enjoyed our visit. There is a lot to do for their tween/teen age group. We are thinking of giving Kalahari another try, possibly in the spring or fall…..and NOT during a holiday weekend! We’d like to visit Gorilla Grove Treetop Adventures and enjoy the waterpark when it’s still not outdoor pool weather.

I hope my review of Kalahari Resorts in the Poconos wasn’t too negative. My kids had a great time and loved our visit. As parents, after investing our time and money, we expected to have a good experience. Almost all of the online reviews that I had read about Kalahari prior to our visit were reviews by bloggers who had hosted stays. Our stay was not hosted and I hope I gave you a realistic review of the resort, especially during a holiday break.

The Details:
Kalahari Resorts & Conventions
250 Kalahari Blvd.
Pocono Manor, PA 18349

Rates:
Room rates vary by date. They include waterpark admission as well as complimentary access to the fitness center.

Tips:
*Try to avoid going during school and holiday vacations.

*Check the website for deals and specials.

*Bring your own beverages (water bottles, juice boxes, etc.) and snacks to save money.

*Free towels can be picked up at a kiosk. However, they are small. We saw many people in the park who brought their own beach towels.

*Remember a waterproof phone case if you want to keep your phone with you.

*There are a limited number of cabanas and bungalows for rent, if you’d like a reserved area for your family to be able to relax in.

*When budgeting for your trip, keep in mind that all food and drinks and activities (minus the waterpark) have additional costs. The price of your trip can add up quickly!

*There are several shops where you can purchase souvenirs as well as water shoes and waterproof phone cases. Of course, these are priced much higher than if you purchased your own outside the resort.


The Roxbury Motel {A Hidden Catskills Gem}

The Catskills are a region in the Hudson Valley, approximately 100 miles northwest of New York City. It is made up of four counties and is home to the Catskill Mountains and the 600,000 acre Catskill Park. The town of Roxbury is located at the eastern end of Delaware County and has a population of less than 3,000. As you travel on state Route 30 and drive into the town, it looks and feels like you are stepping back in time. The entire Hamlet of Roxbury is on the National and State Register of Historic Places. And right off state Route 30 on Bridge Street is the Roxbury Motel.

I first discovered the Roxbury Motel while searching for lodging in the Catskills. When my husband and I decided to go away for a couple of days to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary, I thought the Roxbury Motel would be a great place to stay. It’s an easy trip and not too far from home, a little over two hours away.

When you hear “motel” please do not envision rundown or cheap. The Roxbury Motel is anything but! Owners Greg Henderson and Joseph Massa first opened the motel in 2004. After several expansions, it now consists of two main buildings, North and South. Altogether, there are two studios, five themed studios, five big king rooms, seven kitchenette rooms and eight suites, plus the Digs. As you will quickly discover during your visit, lime green is their signature color!

What really drew us to the Roxbury was the themed rooms. Inspired mostly by television shows and movies from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, each room has a different theme and a unique name like Fred’s Lair (Flinstones), Samantha’s Cloud (Bewitched) and The Wizard’s Emeralds (Wizard of Oz).

I told my husband to pick the themed room that he wanted to stay in and he chose Maryann’s Coconut Cream Pie (room #27). For fans of Gilligan’s Island, this room is a reference to an episode (episodes?) in which she bakes a coconut cream pie. Greg and Joe really put attention into ALL the details of the room. From the round bed with the whipped cream pillows, the three framed and signed Maryann photos, to the SOS spelled out in shells. Every room detail is on theme. However, the real piece de resistance is the pie crust and meringue ceiling, which makes you feel like you’re in a pie.

Even the bathrooms carry out the room theme. The toilet is in its own room. There are double sinks and a deep tub with double showerheads. The Roxbury provides a selection of bath toiletries from the LATHER aromatherapy collection. This line of products are 100% vegan and contain no animal by-products or parabens. If you really enjoy them, full-size products are available for purchase in the main office. Staying in the Maryanne’s Coconut Cream Pie room, we also received a tub of coconut body cream to take home with us

The kitchenette rooms come with a mini fridge and a microwave. This is great if you want to store leftovers, pop some popcorn to have while you watch a movie, or chill your hard cider (or wine) that can be purchased from Roxbury Wine and Spirits down the street, which is what we did! The refrigerator is also stocked with wine and champagne for purchase.

The Roxbury serves a Continental breakfast, which during our stay included cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, cold cuts and cheese, croissants with a variety of spreads, fruit and several different pastries. There’s several different seating areas to enjoy breakfast. There are chairs and tables inside the office and in the enclosed porch area. When the weather’s nice, you can dine outside on the deck. There’s also a small dining room in the Roxbury North.

Coffee, tea and hot cocoa are available throughout the day in both the main office and the dining room in the Roxbury North. They also put out cookies and other snacks in both places that you can nibble on throughout the day.

The Roxbury’s Shimmer Spa consists of a spa in the North building and a spa in the South building. We pre-booked a couple’s massage before our we arrived, so we enjoyed complimentary access to both spas. Otherwise, it’s a $10 fee per person, per stay (not per day!) to enjoy both facilities.

When we entered our motel room on arrival, two fluffy bathrobes and slippers were waiting for us along with the spa key. Since we don’t frequent spas very often, we have very little to compare it to. The website notes that the Shimmer Spa isn’t a huge full-service spa. The South spa has a jacuzzi and sauna. While the North spa has a steam room, a reading library and is where the massages take place. The Shimmer Spa is appropriately named, with lots of shimmer and sparkle! The painstaking attention to detail that went into the room designs, was not forgotten at the spa.

The spas are both pretty small. We had the jacuzzi and sauna to ourselves. We spent part of the day in the North spa reading books and enjoying the sunshine (and snacks) before our massage. There was another couple using the space as well. We visited during the week in March, but I can see the spas getting crowded during peak times.

Although there isn’t a restaurant on-site, Cassie’s (during the day) and Chappie’s (at night), is a short walk right up the street. We visited for lunch one day and dinner another and can say that the food is good. Otherwise, the Roxbury provides a list of restaurants in the area in the info binder in your room. They include driving distance and type of food served.

A stay at the Roxbury is just plain fun! There tend to be a lot of repeat guests, which I know we will soon be. A couple of miles down the street from the Roxbury Motel, Greg and Joe are currently building the Roxbury at Stratton Falls. This property will consist mostly of themed cottages and a larger spa with a pool. You can bet that we are planning to visit this property when it opens!

The Details:
The Roxbury Motel
2258 County Highway 41
Roxbury, NY 12474
(607) 326-7200
Check the website for more information!

Rates: $90-$698 depending on room choice and date.

Tips:
*For suburbanites like us, the Roxbury Motel felt like it was in the middle of nowhere. Be prepared to drive to any area attractions.
*Cell service is basically non-existent. My husband had to take a work call on the room phone. The wi-fi worked well though.
*Every room has a DVD player. The office contains a DVD collection of over 400+ movies that you can borrow. Or, like us, knowing there was a DVD player in the room, we brought our own movies that we wanted to watch (BlacKkKlansman and Outlander Season 1!).
*The office also has a game closet if you are looking for something to do.
*For more photos of of the Roxbury and of our trip, check out our “The Roxbury” instastories!




A Weekend at Pine Ridge Dude Ranch

One of my greatest joys in life is traveling and experiencing new things. As a parent, one of my biggest goal’s is to help my children learn to value experiences over things as well. This past Christmas, instead of giving the kids “stuff” Santa left a note telling the kids that they were going to spend a night at the Pine Ridge Dude Ranch.

Pine Ridge Dude Ranch is located in Kerhonkson, New York. The ranch was formerly known as Pinegrove Ranch. In April 2018, it changed ownership and became the Pine Ridge Dude Ranch. It’s only about an hour and a half drive from northern Westchester County. Since my kids recently discovered a love of horseback riding, my husband and I thought that they’d love a stay at a dude ranch!

Pine Ridge Dude Ranch is an all-inclusive resort. Meals, activities and one horseback ride (with most packages) are included in the price. We stayed in a Wyoming room, which included a king size bed, a full bed and a bunk bed. There was more than enough sleeping space for our family of four.


Check-in time is 2 PM the first night of your stay. We arrived around 3 PM and stayed for just one night. The resort has a small arcade, an indoor and outdoor pool, a bounce pillow, climbing wall, mini golf course, tractor rides and more. In the winter, they offer ice skating and snow tubing, weather permitting. During our stay, it was super cold, but there was no substantial snow, so neither of these activities were offered. It was really too cold out to enjoy the bounce pillow and I’m not sure the climbing wall was even open during our stay. My husband and son enjoyed a swim in the indoor pool though!

When you check-in you are assigned dining times. Dinner is the first meal that you are served the day of your arrival and the menu is posted outside the Round Up Corral each day. We were given the 6 PM dinner, 8 AM breakfast and 12:30 PM lunch times. I liked that we were assigned to our own table and had the same server and table for every meal. I’m not sure that I’d be happy with an 8 AM breakfast time every morning, if we were staying for more than one night. So much for getting to sleep in!

For dinner, my husband and I both had the ribs, my daughter chose the Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner and my son chose the Parmesan Crusted Tilapia for our dinner entrees. There is a salad bar available at both dinner and lunch as well. We were surprised at the quality of the food served. For the amount of people they were serving in such a short period of time, the food was decent. Soda and iced tea are included with the meals, but they have a wine and beer list, available at an additional charge, for those who wish to have an alcoholic beverage with their meal.

Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style. Breakfast included scrambled eggs, french toast, sausage and potatoes, as well as a variety of pastries and muffins. Cereal, yogurt and oatmeal were also available. There was also a chef making made-to-order omelettes in the dining room. Lunch included cold cuts and bread to make sandwiches, chicken nuggets, as well as soup and the salad bar. The lines got a bit long since everyone enters the dining room at the same time, but moved fairly quickly. If you are hungry between meals, food and beverages are available for purchase at the Trails End Cafe and Chuckwagon Grill. The Trails End Cafe even sells Starbucks.

Pine Ridge has a social director that runs organized activities during the day including arts & crafts, a photo scavenger hunt, and various competitions. Unfortunately, the weekend of our visit was super cold. I’m not sure how many of the organized activities took place, since several of them were supposed to be held outside. Lazer Tag and Paint Ball games are available for an additional charge and sign-ups are done in the main lobby the evening before. My 10 and 12-year-old weren’t very interested in partaking in most of the activities. But we did all enjoy participating in the Bingo game. At the lobby they have a closet filled with lots of board games that you can borrow. We ended up playing a few rounds of mancala while waiting for our lunch time.

The night of our stay, the evening activities included a DJ dance party, a bonfire and a magic show. We did a quick stop at the bonfire, again because it was FREEZING out! Guests were coming out with cups filled with marshmallows for roasting. I’m not sure if these were free or an additional cost, as we were still full from dinner and not interested in partaking. We arrived at The Bullroom early to get a seat for the magic show. The DJ dance party was still going on and the dance floor was filled with only children, most under the age of 10, dancing. The magician put on a great show that we all enjoyed.

The day of our arrival we had to go to the lobby at 5 PM to sign up for our horseback ride the next day. We got there a little after 5 and stood at the end of a VERY long line, which we waited on for over 30 minutes. By the time we got to the desk, there were only two time slots available that could accommodate the four of us. We chose the 3 PM ride to give us more time to enjoy the resort during the day.

Pine Ridge has a LOT of horses. We enjoyed visiting the horses throughout our visit. However, we discovered that petting the horses is discouraged. Children are required to wear helmets, which they provide, on the trail ride. Being very novice riders ourselves, my husband and I both opted to wear helmets as well. The resort offers different trail rides for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders. The day of our ride, all rides were walks (beginner rides) since the trail was so muddy.

One of the wranglers assigns each rider a horse. From mount to dismount the ride is approximately 45 minutes long. Our family all liked the horses we were assigned. We rode Pixey, Hunter, Dallas and Shorty. I didn’t enjoy like that the wranglers did not keep our family together for the ride. They had us mount our horses at different blocks. After you’re on your horse, you are left on your own until the ride starts. My husband and I were separated from our children by several other riders. The wranglers also seemed to bunch up together near the front and end of the line, not really checking to make sure that we were all doing okay. I also found the size of the group to be too large. I think there were at least 30 riders, which impacted the 45 minutes. They do have a no cell phone policy while on the ride. I was happy to see that this is strictly enforced. One woman was warned that her phone would have to be taken away after she was given several reminders that cell phone usage was not allowed during the ride. The wranglers are happy to take cell phone pics at the end of the ride for you. Pine Ridge also has a professional photographer taking pictures that you can purchase.

Fortunately, my animal loving family got to enjoy petting the goats and baby calf in the petting zoo. Since it had rained the day before and snowed the morning of our ride, the ground was super muddy! We had our hiking boots on so didn’t mind walking in the muck to get to pet the animals. Honestly, I think the petting zoo might have been the highlight of this trip for the kids!

So, is Pine Ridge Dude Ranch the right trip for your family? That’s for you to decide. My family was good with our one night stay and were ready to leave. I discovered it would have been much cheaper to just take the kids horseback riding. I’m not sure how much the cold weather or the lack of activities that they were interested in participating affected their opinion. However, I’m glad to have finally experienced a visit to a dude ranch. There seemed to be many families during our stay who were repeat visitors. I’m not sure if the resort was sold out during our stay, but there was a good crowd of people.

The Details:
Pine Ridge Dude Ranch
30 Cherrytown Rd.
Kerhonkson, NY 12446
(866) 600-0859

Tips:
*You need to call to make reservations. They do not have an online system.
*Get to the horseback riding sign-ups early! The line gets very long.
*Bring your own snacks and beverages to keep in your room if you think you’ll be hungry in between meals.
*Gratuities are not included, so be sure to bring cash to tip your server, housekeeping and the wranglers.

A Weekend in Cooperstown

(Thank you Go Cooperstown for hosting NY Foodie Family!  As always, all opinions are our own.)

Cooperstown is a small village in central New York, most well-known for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  After a recent visit to Cooperstown, we can tell you that there’s a lot more to see and do after visiting the iconic museum.

Stay:

Lake ‘N Pines Motel kindly hosted our two night stay in Cooperstown.  This motel offers a variety of accommodations from rooms with one double bed to rooms with two queen beds and even 2 bedroom mini suites.  We stayed in Cottage 120, a 2 bedroom suite that is adjacent to the game room.  The decor is cozy with a look and feel reminiscent of our college apartments.

With a full kitchen and living room, there was plenty of space for the four of us.  For those staying in Cooperstown for more than a day or two, this suite is great to cook some meals, as dining out when traveling can get expensive.  The Motel has an indoor and an outdoor pool, sauna, hot tub, as well as a game room.  A complimentary Continental breakfast is served here.

On nice days, you can eat outside with beautiful views of Lake Otsego.  The village of Cooperstown is a short, approximately, ten-minute drive.

Visit:

The National Baseball Hall of Fame – People flock to Cooperstown from all over the world to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Even non-baseball fans will enjoy a visit to this museum.  Read about our visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame!

Fenimore Art Museum –  The Fenimore Art Museum is well-known for its collection of folk art and the Thaw Collection of American Indian Art.  Read more about our visit to this museum.

The Farmer’s Museum – Across from the Fenimore Art Museum is The Farmer’s Museum.  Step back in time to 19th century rural life where you can visit historic buildings, see demonstrations and speak with interpreters.  Taking a ride on the Empire State Carousel is a must! Read about our visit to this fun and educational family experience.

Fly Creek Cider Mill – Fly Creek Cider Mill is a short drive from Cooperstown.  Enjoy lots of tasty food and cider samples, eat a delicious meal at the Snack Barn and watch apple cider being made. That’s just some of the fun you can have here.  Read about our tasty visit!

Cooperstown Beverage Exchange – Down the street from the National Baseball Hall of Fame is the Cooperstown Beverage Exchange.  This space, owned and operated by the Cooperstown Distillery, is both a tasting room and retail space.  You can sample and purchase their spirits, including vodka, bourbon, whiskey and gin.  You can purchase full drinks or cocktails to enjoy in the sitting area that they have.  In the evening, the space turns into a bar/cocktail lounge, with live music on many nights.

Eat: 

Doubleday Cafe – We asked an employee at the National Baseball Hall of Fame where he recommended we get lunch.  For a sit-down lunch, he recommended the Doubleday Cafe.  This cafe is a short walk from the Hall of Fame.  It was packed during our visit and rightly so.  The cafe offers a variety of soups, burgers, sandwiches and more.  They also have daily lunch specials – two of which we ordered including the Grilled Pastrami, Bacon & Provolone on Rye (pictured above) and the “Cafe” Burger with caramelized onions, blue cheese and bacon.

My husband was even able to enjoy “A Taste of Cooperstown Beer Flight” with his lunch here!

Fly Creek Cider Mill – If you plan to visit Fly Creek Cider Mill, which I recommend, make sure you eat lunch or an early dinner at the Snack Barn Restaurant.  They have a variety of value combo meals that include chips, beverage and a slice of pie.  Everything we ate here was delicious!

New York Pizzeria – We have plenty of amazing pizza places near us in Westchester County and all of the ones in NYC.  So, we had high expectations going into a place called New York Pizzeria.  We weren’t wowed by the pizza but it was decent.  The restaurant has plenty of seating, including an upstairs dining area.  They serve a variety of Italian dishes including different kinds of pasta, chicken and eggplant parmigiana, appetizers, salads and more.

As you can see, there’s lots to see, do, and eat in Cooperstown!  The village is about a 3 hour drive from Northern Westchester County, making it a perfect weekend getaway!