A Pocono Perspective ~ Woodloch's Blog

Family... ASSEMBLE! Planning Your next Family Reunion Made EASY

Posted on Thu, May 12, 2016



~shared by Joseph J. Ranner


You might not have it all together… but together, you have it ALL.


No matter who you are or what you have been through, it’s safe to say that once life begins, paths veer off in all sorts of different directions. Our experiences bring us to all different places for all sorts of different reasons, yet one thing will ALWAYS remain the same: your family (for better or worse).


Wherever we all branch out to, there’s no denying that everything eventually leads back to our roots.


Yet sometimes, as way leads on to way, we find ourselves going months, years and sometimes even decades without spending quality time with those most closely related to us. And in the process, you deny yourself a portion of your own identity. Your family is- and always WILL be- your best link to your own past, and also the most likely to stick with you through stormy seas in the future.


Thus, the appeal and need for multi-generational family reunions.


Of course, like everything worth doing in life, it’s going to take some good old fashioned WORK to make your reunion everything that it can and should be. Whether you are hosting a small gathering or swinging for the fences with 100+ relatives, know this from the get-go: you don’t have to do it all alone!


You’re not the only one in the family (clearly) so you shouldn’t have the sole burden of arranging everything yourself. So before any decisions are made, form a Reunion Committee of sorts to split up the planning. We get the distinct feeling that you will thank yourself down the road.


And you know what? Since we feel like guests are a part of our “family” as well… we’re going to hook you up with a few helpful hints to make your reunion one for the ages.




First things first: establish date, guest list, and location– a seamless reunion is planned an awful lot like a wedding (hopefully at a substantially lower and divided cost), but approach it with that mentality. Broach the subject during a larger gathering (birthdays, anniversaries etc.) and get the ball in motion.



For a large reunion (for argument sake, let’s say over 30 guests) we’d suggest planning a year or so in advance. That might seem like a large amount of time but in reality it really isn’t. Kids play sports. Uncle Marshall and Aunt Lilly are going to Italy in the spring. Cousin Eddie bought an RV and is going cross country for the holidays. You get the picture. Life happens and pinpointing an exact date is going to be a challenge. HOWEVER, it is imperative that once you find a date, you need to stick to your guns.  In a perfect world, everyone would be able to attend, but we all know how that goes.

Again, not that any of has the power to control this, but weather should also factor into the equation. If you're planning a reunion in the middle of winter in the Poconos, there's a chance there could be some snow, for better or worse. This needs to be considered when mapping out your event, especially for relatives traveling a great distance. 



choose-wisely.jpgBefore any invitations are sent out at all, have a clear and defined list of guests. Are we making this a “Smiths Only” affair? Are we sticking with just Grandma Walton’s kids and grandkids? Or is the entire town of Hawley going to be invited? Take the time (with your helpful committee) and create an established guest list.

Again, budgets need to be considered for this. While reunions are nice, they certainly don't materialize out of thin air. And we all know THAT relative that simply lacks the social graces to chip in and contribute to the pot when it's necessary. You might be faced with some tough decisions... choose wisely!




A very large part of the success of your reunion rides on venue selection. Accommodations? Dining arrangements? Activities? Travel decisions? They ALL rely on where you decide to hold your event. (All of these decisions are streamlined when you book your reunion with us... just sayin'.)

Again, we live in a world that is far from perfect, so with venue comes the consideration of costs. Is it feasible to have a relative host the event at their home? Might you seek out a vacation home or possibly a resort to host your affair? Are you going to board a plane and go all out in Tahiti? All families are different, and there are pros and cons to each scenario. You need to talk about this, come up with a concrete plan and book.


Once all of these decisions have been made, draft up some save the date invites and send them in the mail. Coordinate group emails and group chats on Facebook to keep everyone in the loop on things.


Tips from the Pros

We’ve hosted our share of family reunions (big & small with all sorts of “families”) and we’ve learned a few things along the way.


Plan… but don’t overplan.

While it certainly is important to make sure you’re getting the most out of your time together, you just might make people hate you by becoming a micro-manger. Be flexible and acknowledge the fact that you’re working with a diverse group with diverse interests. It’s OK to split up for portions of your event. We suggest publishing an activity sheet (maybe even a bit like ours!) that lays out the imperative must-attend events and letting family members choose how to use their time. As a matter of fact, you can even put together your own events in the style of Woodloch. Create your own Scavenger Hunts, set up relay events similiar to our famous Olympics, or even a Bakery War of some sort... easy enough to scale down for "home editions!'

Besides, we all know that Mother Nature will do whatever she pleases, so things might have to vary. Don’t stress- take it as it comes and enjoy the moments. Adults may wish to consider babysitting services at some point- adults need to unwind and be with just “grown ups” for a night or two. Along those lines, consider hiring a photographer to capture candid moments and group portraits. Money well spent.


Consider limitations.

They come in various forms, but mainly consider physical and dietary issues your family members may have. Ski mountain retreats are beautiful, but it would be somewhat sad to have a good portion of your family not be able to traverse the hills because of walking disabilities. Furthermore, there’s nothing more annoying like booking a great restaurant and finding out your sweet mother can’t enjoy a meal due to lack of gluten-free options. Issues like this are easier to deal with early in the process than they are at that moment!


Remember WHY you are there.

In the mix of all the planning, banter, back and forth and traveling, sometimes the reasons are unfortunately lost.  You are there to spend good quality time with those you hold to be important in life- make the most of it. Ditch the cell phones, laptops and tablets- trust me, they will be there when you return back to life as usual. Vacations are best spent wireless.


Catch up with your relatives. Now is the PERFECT time for some of the younger family members to hear stories from Grandma and Grandpa (possibly embarrassing ones about their parents… those are always good). Maybe Uncle Jesse and his college bound niece get to have a good heart to heart, chock full of advice that will help her in the coming year. These little moments, as trivial as they might seem at the time, are going to be talked about and remembered for years to come...


Embrace them.


Tags: Reunions, family reunions, Family Vacation

Introducing the Woodloch Golf Academy Indoor Performance Studio

Posted on Wed, Apr 27, 2016

The newest addition to the Woodloch Golf Academy.

The Performance Studio offers members and guests of The Country Club at Woodloch Springs the opportunity to improve their game no matter the season. This cutting edge indoor software allows you to enjoy the sport of golf while benefitting from guidance not unlike that of a PGA Professional!

12970955_797385913727110_6328988163786059917_o.jpgRunning onForesightSports GC2 Launch Monitor and FSX Performance Software, we are proud to offer this exceptional golfing experience that will allow guests of Woodloch, club members, and local golfers the opportunity to improve their game during the off season and even during inclement weather.

» Stereoscopic lens emulates “human eye" recognition
» Cutting Edge image processing assures reliable ball find
» Internal accelerometer corrects for non-level surfaces

Play 9 or 18 holes, grab a bite at the Grille Room, and share some beverages from our bar. And since our simulator is offered by the hour you can bring your entire foursome along for the ride!

Introductory pricing is $45 per hour and just $35 for members of the Woodloch Springs Country Club.   

Check out the manufacturer’s demo below!

Have you tried The Woodloch Golf Academy's Performance Studio yet? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below or by visiting The Country Club at Woodloch Springs Facebook page.

Tags: enjoying golf, golf, Indoor Activities, golf course

COMING SOON TO A LAKE NEAR YOU: Woodloch Summer 2016 Preview PART 1

Posted on Tue, Apr 19, 2016


~shared by J. Ranner

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.”
- Charles Bowden

Even as I sit right now trying to wrap up my work week, my mind is continually straying outside to a brilliant cornflower blue sky, warming beams of light casting shadows through the budding trees, and the squeals of giddy children (and possibly some adults) as they embark out on another day of fun and festivities here at Woodloch.

Gone are the days of cold and grey. Summer is coming. 

As we shed our sweaters for tee shirts and ditch the snow shovels for gardening equipment, so must we change here at Woodloch! Each and every season brings something new and fun to the table, and the summer of 2016 is shaping up to be one of our best yet. We have a whole list full of wonderful things heading to you this summer!

Without spoiling too much, here's what you can look forward to seeing at our resort this season!

  1. Wood-Loch-Tober Fest - We're not waiting until the fall to enjoy the fantastic experience of Oktoberfest! Join us Monday nights throughout the summer for live music, great German food, special draft beers (brewed right here in town!), crafts, games, dancing and more!
  2. Our Brand New TV Carnival - In perfect harmony with this year's Broadway-style Theme Show, Woodloch Celebrates the Wonderful World of Television with midway-style carnival games all centered around our favorite television shows! All ages can enjoy mini-games of skill and chance in order to win the Woodloch prizes they've wanted all their lives (maybe this year, you'll get that whoopie cushion we've seen you eyeing).mystery_machine.jpg
  3. Saturday Morning Cartoon Games - Speaking of television, perhaps you remember waking up early on weekends with a bowl of Lucky Charms and tuning in to see your favorite animated characters? Well, our Social Staff certainly does (being "cartoons" themselves) and this summer we thought it would be cool to magically reunite all of our guests with those shows in our brand new Lake Games. Word is that The Mystery Machine might even show up... ZOINKS!
  4. Donut Showdown. It's "the circle of life" that all started with a little cupcake. We then upped our game with gingerbread, rice krispie treats, and even pumpkins for our Halloween Wars. This summer, we're bringing you our "Donut Showdown"- the most ambitous "Bakery War" to hit Woodloch! Decorate your display and do your best to delight our judges...waterslide_splash_zone.jpg
  5. Start with a Splash - while warm weather means plenty of swimming in our beautiful lake and outdoor pool, we are happy to announce that we have a brand-new fully operational INDOOR waterslide and "splash zone" for your enjoyment! This means non-stop wet and wild fun night and day, 365 days a year!
  6. "The Cabin in the Woods"- By light, there's nothing more beautiful than a summer's day in the Pocono Mountains. By night... well, an evening in the dark forest can be an entirely different story. Our team of ghouls and goblins has a jump start on the Halloween season with our "Cabin in the Woods"- a walk through spooktacular maze for those of you brave enough to face it! Make it through, and you might just want to come back for our Haunted Hayrides in the fall!cabin_in_the_woods.jpg

...and you know what else? That's not all! We've still got a bunch of surprises in store coming your way as they are announced in the coming weeks, so be ready for good news coming down the pike!

We've got our sunscreen, tank tops and Strawberry Daiquiris ready- we can't wait for it all to begin!



Tags: Summer

Something She'll Love Almost as Much as You... Woodloch on Mother's Day.

Posted on Thu, Mar 17, 2016

~ shared by J. Ranner

"My mother had a great deal of trouble with me... but I think she enjoyed it." 

- Mark Twain

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that my mom is and always will be a huge influence on my life. Through all the ups and downs, she always found a way to be there for me (and in my case, 5 other brothers and sisters).

  • 11th hour assistance with school projects? Mom's got you covered.
  • Working over a hot stove in a June heatwave just so I can have my favorite birthday dinner? Mom strikes again.
  • Consoling you through breakups and telling you that you're way too bright and handsome for that girl anyways? Yup, she's there. 

In all honesty, I've completely lost track of how many times my mom has shown her love and support unconditionally. And I have a feeling that many of us are in the same boat.

So the question must be asked- how could one ever possibly repay the woman that has given so much - the gift of life included? Simply stated, we don't. Because we can't. The gifts that a mother gives us are done so seeking absolutely nothing in return. Moms do things for us out of their instinctively loving nature. 

But... we can still try.


So, for those of us who still seem to have trouble remembering dates like birthday and anniversaries (you know who you are), we'll provide you with a little bit of help. Mother's Day this year falls on May 8th, 2016. Despite the heads up, I know that this will most likely still sneak up on some of you. And I really don't want to see any of you show up emptyhanded at mom's porch.

So, we might just have a solution for you: why not treat mom to a little bit of Woodloch this Mother's Day? You know you've made lists to her before, like "Reasons Why I Need More Allowance"- so maybe our little list will speak to you the same way!



  1. Discount Double Check! All moms out there- including grandmothers, great grandmothers and beyond all receive a $200 discount on their stay. That's our way of saying "thank you for keeping your kids in line all these years. You the real MVP." 
  2. lake_blossom.jpgIt's SPRING time! And that means lots of great things happening outside among all the blossoming trees and flowers! Whether she's feeling adventurous and wants to fly down our zipline or prefers a nice lounge chair by the lake, mom will be thrilled to be outside. 
  3. Breakfast, lunch and dinner... all taken care of. We aren't all gourmet chefs (the fire department knows many of us as "regulars"), but even if you are, take a breather and have all of your meals right here at Woodloch.  
  4. Your kids will be happy- and visa vi, so will she. If the little guys are content, mom can breathe kubart.jpgeasy. We are very honored to have a Grammy-winning children's musician joining us! Tim Kubart from Sprout TV will be on hand to give special performances throughout the weekend. His band, Tim and the Space Cadets, have sold out Music Hall in Williamsburg and headlined the Lollapalooza family stage. HIs textured pop tunes lyrically bridge the gap between innocence and wisdom.
  5. Mom can pamper herself. We've got a world class spa right down the road from us... she'd probably love to check it out. Discounted treatments are available at The Lodge at Woodloch- I would bet she'll love it there. Not her cup of tea? Woodloch will also be hosting our first "Trunk Show"- complete with jewelry making, homemade gifts and trinkets. And if your mom just can't get enough time on the links... she gets to golf for FREE this weekend! 
  6. Because you need a gift. Mom has all of the plants, afghan blankets and macaroni cards that she'll ever need. What she really treasures is time with her kids. And that's exactly what you sign up for with a Woodloch vacation... fun times with the people who matter most! Whether you're running around in a frenzy during our Bakery Wars or simply enjoying a peaceful paddleboat ride, the opportunities to unwind and bond with mom are around every corner here! cake_wars_2.jpg

    So take a moment right now and think back to all of the times that mom was there for you- you'll most likely lose count. Why not take this opportunity to give her a truly memorable Mother's Day Weekend? She'll treasure it forever... because it came from YOU!



Tags: Mother's Day

From the Woodloch History Book: The Tale of "The Funny Pants"

Posted on Mon, Feb 08, 2016


~ shared by Joseph J. Ranner

A wise soul once said... "life is just too short to wear boring clothes." 

If anyone has ever visited our resort (and for those of you who will in the future), you know that you are bound to meet all sorts of characters- it's part of what makes Woodloch such a special place to visit and work. Everyone's quirks and quips have been instrumental in shaping our identity since we opened our doors way back in 1958.

Along the way, you'll stumble into Mr. John Kiesendahl- our boss. And aside from his charming demeanor and stately good looks, you're bound to notice something else: his pants. They're always a little bit... funny

But that's exactly what JK (as we call him) is going for.

It all started in the magical year of 1981. Ronald Reagan had just taken office, Indiana Jones was raiding lost arks, and JK had just bought Woodloch from his parents- a big undertaking for a thirtysomething. Right before our famous "horse races," JK unfurled a size 32 pair of corduroys adorned with holly leaves, just in time for Christmas. And so the tradition began.

Doing something lighthearted not only reminded employees that Woodloch is a fun place to work, but also helped JK smile during the early days of ownership.

"It was great to see guests start to respond to pants as I would wear them," says John. As years went by, guests recognized him by his trademark slacks. Today, 35 years later, it's odd to see John NOT donning the funny pants. As a matter of fact, we've had guests visit and pay loving homage to JK and his pants over years... see? 


As the years went by, JK collected pants of all shades with all sorts of characters- superheros, children's book characters, Santa Claus, and everything in between. He even makes a concentrated effort to match a tie with said pants. "All in all, I have probably 60 pairs of pants," says John- 24 in rotation, and the rest in the archives. "I'm attached to them all... but my current favorites are my brand new Star Wars pants!"

John is going to be celebrating a big "milestone" birthday this year- he will be 70 years young. As we celebrate his birthday as well as 58 years of Woodloch, JK has decided to donate a few of his precious duds to a great cause.

Yes folks, it's true:  you will have a chance to own a pair of JK's pants this April as we present the first ever charity "Funny Pants" Auction, with all proceeds benefitting BK Hope Cures, his son Bobby's fundraising effort for cancer research. These one-of-a-kind garments are custom made and not available ANYWHERE. So may the odds be ever in your favor. 

The auction will take place during our "Milestone Celebration Weekend," along with toasts, tributes, stories, hors d'oeuvres and more surprises along the way. It is going to be a truly memorable event and we'd love to have you join us! 



A "Blizzard" of "Super" Recipes from the Woodloch Cookbook: GAMEDAY EDITION

Posted on Mon, Jan 25, 2016


~shared by Joseph J. Ranner

Well… that was quite a weekend, wasn’t it? After an eerily quiet start to the season, winter seemed to arrive all at once, with almost 3 feet of snow falling in places along the eastern seaboard (from way down south all the way up through the Northern Pocono Mountains surrounding Woodloch) from winter storm “Jonas”- or The Blizzard of 2016, as history will remember it. All well documented, through a week of newscasts and millions of Snapchats. 

In fact, there was so much snow that the fallout could actually be seen from outer space. Mother Nature seemed to drop the mic on us this time.


While we were all snowed in, we at least had some important football games to watch- it seems we’ll be watching Cam Newton, the King of Dabbing, take on Peyton Manning and what very well could be his last ride. The stage is set for an incredible Super Bowl in less than two weeks.

Which got me thinking. Both the game and additional snow storms are sure to be on the horizon, and what better way to stay warm and content than with delicious game day grub? I chased down a few of your favorite chefs and we decided to share some of Woodloch’s more unique recipes for the big game.

Even Tom Brady wouldn’t be able to resist- you know, as he’s watching the game contently from his couch.


chili.jpgTHE JOE MONTANA CHILI POT – An eternal Game Day STAPLE. Simply "the best." 


  • 2 Tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 summer squash, chopped
  • 2 chiles, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1-12 oz. bottle beer
  • 1-28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme chopped
  • Zested peel and juice of 1 lime
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded smoked gouda

In a large pot heat EVOO over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the beef and cook, stirring to break up, until browned, about 8 min. Stir in onion, garlic, zucchini, squash, bell pepper and chiles; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the corn kernels, chili powder and paprika. Cook until the veggies are softened, 6 to 7 min.

Stir in the beer and cook until reduced slightly, about 2 min. Stir in the tomatoes, thyme and lime peel and cook until slightly reduced, 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, then stir in the lime juice. To serve, top with scallions and cheese. 


potato_salad.jpgPEYTON'S POTATO SALAD – Taste bigger than the Rocky Mountains... or a certain someone's forehead.


  • 3 cups red potatoes
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp. parsley

Place the potatoes in a pot, with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes.

Place the bacon in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until lightly browned and crisp. Remove and set aside.

Add onion to the bacon grease, and cook over medium heat until browned. Add the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pepper to the pan. Bring to a boil, then add potatoes and parsley. Crumble half the bacon into the mix. Heat through, transfer to a serving dish. Crumble the remaining bacon over the top and serve warm.


mac_2.jpg"KILLER CAM" BACON MAC & CHEESE – Because “healthy eating” is not required during football. Ever.


  • EVOO
  • 6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2in pieces
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/4 in dice
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart whole milk, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • Tabasco or other hot sauce
  • 1 pound medium shells or other short pasta
  • 2 c. grated cheddar cheese (8oz)
  • 2 c. grated fontina cheese (8oz)
  • 1 c. grated parmesan cheese (4oz)

Drizzle a bit of EVOO in a large saucepan. Add the bacon and set the pan over     medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.      Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Do not discard the bacon fat.

Add the butter and onion to the pan with the bacon fat; season with salt and cook until the onion is soft and aromatic, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture looks like wet sand, about 3 minutes.

Slowly whisk in the milk, mustard and a few shakes of Tabasco. Season with salt and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the mixture is slightly thicker than heavy cream, 6 to 8 more minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook 1 minute less than the instructions on package suggest, al dente. Drain pasta.

Add the cheddar, fontina, and parmesan to the milk mixture and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, adding a little more milk if the mixture seems too thick. Stir in the cooked bacon and pasta. The mixture should be very creamy and flavorful. Serve immediately.


maple_bacon_cookies.jpgTHE EXTRA POINT MAPLE BACON COOKIES – Dessert chocked full of flavor... make sure you convert!


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. maple extract
  • 3/4 c. chopped cooked bacon
  • 1 tbsp. PA maple syrup

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Beat together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar with an electric mixer   until smooth. Add one egg; beat until blended into the butter mixture. Add the remaining egg, vanilla extract, and maple extract; beat until well blended and slightly fluffy. Stir in the flour mixture a little at a time, mixing just until combined. Stir in the bacon. Scoop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets.

Bake in the preheated oven until edges turn golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and cool on a wire rack.


There you have it- just a few key kitchen “plays” for the big game and beyond this winter. Enjoy them both- I’m actually off to go make myself a few snacks. For some reason, I'm starving. 


Tags: Cooking

Woodloch Scouts are "all-in" for OPERATION COOKIE DROP!

Posted on Fri, Jan 08, 2016

scout travel, spa resort

~shared by J. Ranner

It’s a typical off-season Friday afternoon at Woodloch.  The air is cold, but the sun is shining and the winds are still.  Though things appear calm, we all know that something is coming. We don’t let our guard down for one second in anticipation of what is on the horizon. No, nothing scary- actually quite the opposite: we have another weekend jam-packed with Girl Scout groups.

As they arrive in our lobby, one by one they bop along with a wonderful zest for life and warming smiles on their faces.  They’re here to participate in our marquee events such as Scavenger Hunt, Winter Olympics, Cupcake Wars and more not only for the coveted gold medals but also for customized Woodloch badges that will soon be stitched on their sashes.  Needless to say, their presence is always known- their enthusiasm and laughter buzz like a nest of honeybees wherever they travel off to.

And of course, THE COOKIES. They always seem to have them in close reach.  For years, our scout groups would have some extra boxes here and there and simply leave them with staff as a “thank you” for a fun weekend (or perhaps as an underhand attempt at gaining a few more points for Scavenger Hunt… but who are we to judge?). Thin mints became a staple in our break rooms.   

As Woodloch employees, however, fresh baked goods are never really out of our reach- extra breads from the bakery are often left up for grabs to those who need it. As sweet of a gesture as it may be, the treats could be put to a better use. And those thoughts led to the creation of our annual “OPERATION COOKIE DROP.”

poconos vacation, family travel

Throughout the winter months, each visiting Girl Scout will be given the opportunity to donate a box of Girl Scout cookies into our special “Drop Crate” located in our Main Lobby. Upon doing so, they receive a special gift from Woodloch as a “thank you.” At the end of the season, every last Caramel DeLite, Shortbread, Peanut Butter Pattie and everything in between will be shipped overseas to the brave men and women serving in our armed forces.  Everyone is invited to drop hand-written letters into our mailbox for the soldiers as well.

I’m a firm believer in “little things”- when all is said and done, they end up really being the “BIG THINGS” after all.  In this case, it’s not just a cookie that a soldier is receiving. 

The cookies are a warm and happy reminder of home, bringing comfort to those who are clearly in an uncomfortable place. 

They’re a reminder to our protectors of exactly what they’re protecting.   

“They’re a small token of gratitude… but it’s a great way for all of us to start,” says Joey Ranner, Activities Director. “I have to smile every time we start initiatives like this- our guests (Scouts and non-scouts alike) spring into action and share that Woodloch warmth with others. Our collaboration collected well over 1,000 boxes of cookies for troops last year. Watching a plan unfold firsthand reminds me of how fortunate I am to work with such good company.”

girlscoutdonation resized 600


If you’ve happened to outgrow your berets and would still like to help, fear not: all of our guests are free to write letters in our lobby and purchase cookies for the cause.  

golf resort, girlfriend getaway

Tags: scouts

How We Make Our Own Winter Wonderland in the Poconos

Posted on Thu, Jan 07, 2016



~Shared by J. Ranner

Good ol' Mother Nature has been playing some serious games with us this year. As a matter of fact, the Nothern Pocono Mountains have yet to see even a full inch of snow thus far. After a historically snowy 2015, it's quite odd that this has been the case going into 2016.

But here at Woodloch- TripAdvisor's #1 Hotel for Families in America- we love games. So we'll play. 

What do we do when we don't get the snow we need from the sky? Answer: WE MAKE IT SNOW! That's right, since 1991, Woodloch has been manufacturing piles and piles of artificial snow to keep our guests happy all season long. Once temperatures consistently reach 20 degrees and below, we fire up our snow guns and magically transform a blank canvas of grass into a towering mountain of white. Woodloch sculpts their own snow tube runs!


We get a lot of questions on our snow-making operation so we thought we'd give you the behind-the-scenes scoop on the magic!

  • Woodloch has three "snow guns" similar to those found at ski resorts. At peak operation, they transform 60 to 70 gallons of water into snow per minute!
  • With ideal conditions, i.e. very low temperatures and humidity, the guns can make more than enough snow to fill four triaxle dumptrucks in eight hours!
  • Our "Snow Cat," which resembles a bulldozer and a tank, is used by our staff to craft our tube runs. It is also used throughout the season for one to two hours a day grooming our runs.
  • On average, we need about 10 solid nights of snowmaking to have enough powder to manufacture our tube runs. In total, it takes us about two weeks to manufacture and sculpt our tube runs!
  • Water for the runs is supplied to us by both Lake Teedyuskung and our private water tower.
  • The snow will typically stay with us through the winter season as long as temperatures aren't unseasonably warm. The last of it is pushed in the lake around the start of April. If it wasn't, the massive quantities would linger on the beachfront until about May!
Our snowmaking operation is a neverending effort to keep both of our snow tube runs open for as long as conditions permit!  The "Cats" also groom and sculpt our Olympic areas so we can keep the fun going all winter long!

If you haven't yet had the chance to see these mechanical marvels in action, you have the perfect opportunity right now! Round up your friends and family, and grab a snow tube ... I'll race you to the bottom! We can't wait to see you this winter!!

C  Users joe.ranner Desktop To be uploaded Fixed Web Pulls 12.9.11 DSC 0029


Woodloch Winter Wonder from Woodloch Pines on Vimeo.



Tags: Winter Activities, Snow Making, Winter

Operation: Christmas Child a Success at Woodloch

Posted on Thu, Dec 10, 2015


~ shared by Tammy Compton


"In this troubled word, love shines," said Joe.


How right he is!


A faithful friend of Woodloch, Joe and wife, Mary, of Valley Stream, NY, had read Woodloch's recent blog on Operation Christmas Child (O.C.C.) and felt the need to give. That donation, compiled with others, totaled $270; it was coupled with 42 gift-filled shoeboxes from Woodloch staff and family members for children living under desperate conditions: ravaged by war, poverty and famine.


Since it started, O.C.C. has shipped millions of boxes around the world, making true the thought that love isn't love until you give it away.


Franklin Graham, the eldest son of Ruth and Billy Graham, who heads up Samaritans Purse, O.C.C.'s parent organization, shared: "The best way I know to share my feelings about Operation Christmas Child is to wrap it in this thought: When one hundred million prayers are lifted to heaven for one hundred million boxes that will be given to one hundred million souls, might Jesus lean up on the edge of His throne and say, I have used these gifts given in My name to open the children's hearts, and My offer remains to all who come seeking, for I will answer. This was a celebration for what God had done through Operation Christmas Child. But He's not done yet. The greatest journey has many more miles to travel and many more souls to reach—and we'll continue telling a story of simple gifts."


The following excerpt from the book Operation Christmas Child, shares the story of one life changed.


 "Ross and Carol, volunteers with Operation Christmas Child, had visited a children's cancer ward at a hospital in Zagreb. When they stepped into the last ward, a nurse pointed them to an 11-year-old boy. He had been blinded by shrapnel and had been unresponsive for weeks. 'Is there anything you can do?' they were asked.


Ross and Carol looked at each other and then stepped out into the hallway. 'What can we give a blind child?' they asked? 'He won't be able to see anything,' Carol said. 'Ross, can we pray?' Immediately, they laid their hands on the remaining boxes and prayed, 'Lord, You know this boy's needs. Would You give him spiritual sight so that he knows You care for him? Help us to select just the right box where surely there will be something that will open his heart. Amen.'


Picking up one of the larger boxes, Ross walked to the boy's bed. Through an interpreter, Ross explained why they had come - that people in America and Canada had packed gifts as an expression of God's great love. The boy seemed unresponsive. Ross tried to guide him to open the box. Still no reaction. Ross finally lifted the lid, his heart racing, 'Lord, please let there be something that will break through.'


Always a master wordsmith, Ross couldn't speak when he saw the Walkman cassette player with a headset. He lifted it out of the box, installed the batteries, inserted a Christian tape also from the box, and tenderly positioned the headphones over the boy's ears, then clicked the player on.


There was instantaneous reaction. The boy smiled, then his eyes began to move. He responded with great joy. Those standing around were rejoicing because God had answered so specifically."


That's what true love does - it soars. It's the epitome of the divine definition: "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." True love never dies.


It's that very compassion that has Woodloch reaching out once again with its "12 Days of Giving" of which Operation Christmas Child is included.


What began just three years ago, has gained momentum. The 12 Days of Giving focuses "on the true spirit of the holidays - the spirit of giving back."


"Year after year, Woodloch feels very fortunate to be in a position to give back to those who need it most during our 12 Days of Giving effort. We recognize the giving spirit that prevails during the holidays is contagious, and our hope is always that others catch on and contribute in their own ways. Kindness and generosity are what the world needs now more than ever," explains John Kiesendahl, owner and CEO of Woodloch Pines.


12 Days of Giving has only grown and expanded since its original creation, and the team at Woodloch Pines has developed new ways to give back to the local, national, and even international community. The exciting additions are listed below:


  1. Brightening Birthdays – With the help of the national organization Volunteers of America, Woodloch will be throwing a birthday party for some very deserving children at a New York City homeless shelter. Woodloch staff will organize and play games with the children as well as provide decorations and baked goods from the resort’s very own bakery.


  1. Hero Appreciation – Woodloch staff will spread holiday cheer and offer thanks by bringing homemade baked goods to fire stations in Long Island, NY.



  1. Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania Arts & Crafts Drive – Woodloch’s Social Department will collect donated arts and crafts supplies for children being treated at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.


  1. Ronald McDonald House Dinner Members of the Woodloch team will go to the Ronald McDonald house in Scranton and prepare a homemade meal for 20 residents of the home.


  1. Salvation Army Coffee Drop – The Woodloch Social Staff will be stationed outside the local Salvation Army location, handing out hot coffee and Woodloch Bakery sweets to workers, shoppers and donors.


  1. Operation Christmas Child – Shoeboxes filled with shoes, toys, and school supplies that Woodloch staff has been collecting will be delivered to children around the world.


  1. Winter Clothing Drive – Woodloch Pines staff has set up collection boxes around the resort to gather new and gently used winter clothing items, such as coats, hats, boots, and gloves, which will go to shelters in the local area.


  1. Angel Tree – Staff members can purchase holiday gifts for children in need by choosing anornament from the tree, located in the staff lunchroom.


  1. Show on the Road – The Woodloch Crew will perform a strolling Christmas show through a local senior center.



  1. Thank an Employee – The Woodloch Family will reward randomly selected employees with a few extra dollars for the holidays.


  1. Fill Up Gas Tanks – Woodloch staff will hand out Mobile gas cards to unsuspecting drivers who pull into The Market at Woodloch to fill up.


  1. Cooking Class– The culinary team at Woodloch Pines will be providing a cooking class to local senior centers from the Hawley, Hamlin, and Honesdale areas. Avery Bus will provide transportation to Woodloch Pines for all participants free of charge.


Tags: Christmas

YULEtide Tradition Carries on at Woodloch

Posted on Thu, Dec 03, 2015


~Shared by J. Ranner

The last of the leaves are gone. We all stumble out of our toasty houses a few minutes early to get our cars warmed up before our morning commutes. And my eyes are glued to the ABC Family Channel all month long. Yup, it's safe to say that the holidays are HERE.

History predicts that there will be much planning, shopping, cooking and stressing in store for us . . . in addition to all of the joy and happiness, of course. With of all the craziness, one can find release and escape (even a temporary one) by grabbing a hot toddy and taking a seat alongside a crackling fire. It not only provides heat to a room but also warms our souls and brings us closer together for much needed bonding.

One of the more interesting and ancient traditions that we still celebrate to this day is the Yule Log. Though it would later on have religious elements attached to it, the Norse tradition of finding a Yule Log stems back to ancient times. Every winter solstice, “the darkest time of the year," people would hunt down a giant log and then bring it back home to burn. This ceremony was symbolic to Scandinavians as a “rebirth” of the sun and the promise of longer days. “Yule” is the Norse word for “sun.”

This became a Christmas Eve celebration for many Christians. While the wood burned, families would admit their faults and mistakes and reconcile sour relationships. They would also eat, drink and be merry (another tradition proudly carried on by our Woodloch guests). Burning this log, starting with the ashes from the year prior, was said to bring good luck to a household for the year.

spa resort, class tripsThe tradition eventually spread all across Europe and evolved. The English would collect enormous logs; some of them would burn straight through the 12 Days of Christmas. The French even invented a desert cake that looked like a yule log called a “Buche de Noel.” Some Americans even continue the tradition today. For instance, local New York station WPIX created a television special aired every Christmas featuring the log burning for hours on end so that televisions would become a “fireplace” for the day.

Woodloch Pines holds a Yule Log Hunt throughout the holidays for guests staying at the resort. The log is carefully hidden somewhere on the 135-acre campus. The hunt begins, and guests scramble about hoping to be the lucky finders. When the log is found, everyone returns to the hearth for caroling, good tidings, and the burning of the log. The finders are given a bottle of champagne as the congregation heads indoors for holiday treats. And maybe, just maybe . . . they also get a special visitor from the North Pole.

Several times, I've had the distinguished honor of hiding the log, and it's great fun for me watching guests scramble to find it. Even better is the sense of comradery and togetherness that follows during the good luck burning of the log. There's something very warming about watching a group of 100 or more "strangers" come together to sing carols and spread cheer almost as if they are family

Then again, it seems behavior like that is a year-round occurence here at Woodloch. 


Woodloch is Home for the Holidays! from Woodloch Pines on Vimeo.



Tags: Holidays