A Pocono Perspective ~ Woodloch's Blog

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

Posted on Mon, Jan 25, 2016

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~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.

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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." 

Ingredients:

  • 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.

Ingredients:

  • 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.

Ingredients:

  • 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!

Ingredients:

  • 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.”

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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

 

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~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!

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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

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~ 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.

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  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.

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  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.


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Tags: Christmas

YULEtide Tradition Carries on at Woodloch

Posted on Thu, Dec 03, 2015

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~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

"Brighten" up your holidays at Woodloch!

Posted on Thu, Dec 03, 2015

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~Shared by Joseph J. Ranner

Our waterski boats no longer sit in Lake Teedyuskung. We spend a few extra minutes each day to defrost thin layers of ice off of our cars. And we all pine for that extra cup of coffee or hot chocolate. To quote House Stark... "Winter is coming."

Yet we find a way to get through these long nights. In the spirit of the holiday season, strands of lights are strung from eave to eave of our houses, providing a much needed glow when we crave it the most.

Holiday decorating has been a proud tradition for Woodloch Pines since opening in 1958. Our main lobby, dozens of trees, bannisters, shrubs and everything in between are instantly illuminated on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. That is also the debut weekend of our famous "Festival of Lights" rides along our mile-long nature trail.

From a staff standpoint, the most impressive part of all of the decorating is how much of it actually goes on behind the scenes. Weeks beforehand, my fellow co-workers are crafting wreaths, testing bulbs, building structures, and ascending skyward on lift trucks so that the tree lightings go off without a hitch. The prep work for the holidays begins just as soon as we begin our first Haunted Hayrides of the season in early October. It's a lot of work, but there's something to be said about smiles on everyone's faces in the warm glow of the lights.

Our Festival of Lights has steadily become bigger and better. In addition to thousands of lights, we now use pyrotechnics and computers to enhance guest experience. All in all, the experience amounts to about half-an-hour of illuminated joy through a dozen scenes on our nature trail. And if you're good boys and girls, Santa Claus just might show up... speaking of which, St. Nick and his crew are taking their talents to Broadway as we present our first-ever "Holiday Revue!" Come experience this exciting and uplifting performance, only available from December 2nd through 19th!

This is really just the beginning of all the fun times that await you this holiday and winter season at Woodloch. Scavenger Hunts, kid's parties, Yule Log Hunts and our fiercely jolly Gingerbread Wars all await! So bundle up, relax, and hang a shining star upon the highest bow. The holidays at Woodloch will soon be here...

 

 

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

 

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Tags: Holidays

Woodloch Employees Share Their Favorite Halloween Costumes!

Posted on Tue, Oct 13, 2015

~shared by J. Ranner

I don't know about you, but I find it very hard to keep myself out of mischief during the month of October.

The temperatures are just right for fun outdoors. Wine & beer festivals, plenty of college football tailgating, apple picking, corn mazes and pumpkin patch shenanigans are all just begging you to come out and play. This all culminates in what is certainly (in my modest opinion) the most magical day of the year: HALLOWEEN! 

Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street and Barney the Dinosaur all taught us this lesson well- you are the one and only you, and that's just great. But for one day a year, let's break some rules. Let's be WHOMEVER we want to for one night only. Dress up as your favorite celebrity. Suit up as your childhood hero. Throw on a tiara and let the world know that you are, in fact, a princess.

But with so many choices... where does one even start? If you're as pumped for Halloween as we are but need a little help collecting your thoughts and finding that perfect Halloween costume... maybe we can give you a few ideas and inspirations!


 

Whether you've ordered a few "Shirley Temples" or just needed a friend to chat with, Wes has been a staple in our bars for years. What you may not know is that he is ALSO a costume genius. His proudest moment? "That would have to be when I dressed up as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince," says Wes. 

Social and Activities manager Patrick once dressed as a "chick magnet." "I was literally a magnet with Barbie dolls glued to me... it was pretty funny," says Pat (a man can dream, right?). Of course, you can always catch him in character during our Theme Night greeting line and during our games (the flying monkey from The Wizard of Oz was a classic.) 

Sometimes, even at a young age, our costumes can reflect our destiny- take for instance, Front Desk Supervisor Amy. "I've been a lifelong Penn Stater, as you can see," says Amy. "This was my all-time favorite- WE ARE!" 

Front Desk manager Abbey and Dining Room manager Corey kicked it old school Disney with a "supercalifragilisticexpialidlocious" duo costume of Marry Poppins and Burt. "I'm still so obsessed with it," says Abbey. "Best costumes we ever had!" 

Grounds Superviser Andrew loves Halloween. "He decided to dress as a woman for a party once year," says his loving wife Jackie. "He went all out from head to toe- mini skirt, leopard print blouse, blonde wig and even platform shoes. He must have looked good- an older gentleman decided to try his luck and get his number." 

Rory, our marketing director, had a college obsession with the Quentin Tarantino classic "Kill Bill." "For the Halloween extravaganza that happens at Syracuse University I had to do something very cool. I went to the thrift store and saw an extra-large, one-piece, zip up, yellow jumpsuit... I had to do it.  So, I bought some black ribbon to sew up the sides of the suit and a blonde wig and I was, Beatrix Kiddo in all her ninja glory… The Bride.  Nothing funnier than a 6’1” 230lb man trying to look like Uma Thurman."

Eric from Social thought outside the box by staying in the family. "Guys like to dress up as their heroes for Halloween- mine happens to be my dad, Social Director Joey," says Eric. "I already kind of look like him, so I just through some powder in my hair for the 'salt & pepper look.' My friends loved it!"

Cara, our wedding coordinator, ventured into the world of corporate mascots for her best costume. "When I was in 5th grade I took pink feety pajamas and turned it into the Energizer Bunny. I wore bunny ears, sewed a white pom pom on my bum for a tail, then wore my dads drum on my front and we used two pringle cans to make a battery pack on my back. When we were trick or treating, a guy dressed as a zombie jumped out of a coffin in front of a house and I threw my drum sticks and candy and went running, and he looked at the crowd and said “she keeps going and going...”

Mandi (who works with our kids program) once went as a "human pinata." "I glued thousands of strips of tissue paper all over a jumpsuit then stuffed my pant legs with candy that would scatter about when I walked. No beating necessary."

Halloween just isn't enough for us, though. We're all about suiting up in costumes year round for our Theme Night and Parades. Check out some of these favorites from the past few years: 

Perhaps the uncontested King of the Woodloch world of costumes is non other than our Commander In Cheif, John (or as we call him, JK). Year in and year out, he always seems to pick costumes that demonstrates his leadership. In the past, he's been General Patton, George Washington, King Arthur and even Jean Luc Piccard. 

He's even built up enough of a fan base to have others dress up as him for Halloween. 

   

 

 

 

 

    Of course, we've seen many great costumes from our guests over the years at our Halloween costumer parties and parades. Perhaps the coolest ones were well coordinated "group costumes." We've seen Card Sharks, Avengers, even a team of Woodloch chefs, each with a signature dish! 

And of course, that's just scratching the surface of all of the crazy (with all due respect) that we've seen pass through our doors during Halloween over the years. We're hoping you feel inspired.... and we'd LOVE to have you share your costume memories with us! Feel free to COMMENT in the section below! 

Tags: halloween

Woodloch Helps Operation Christmas Child for the 3rd Year in a Row

Posted on Thu, Oct 08, 2015

The gift of a simple shoebox can be life-changing ...

Livia grew up in an orphanage in Romania. Life there, she said, was hard. And the saddest part? She felt unloved.

She spoke of how everything she'd ever been given seemed to get taken away. Tears welled in her eyes as she recalled her childhood and how as a little girl she'd yearned for something as simple as hairclips.

One day, Samaritans Purse, a Christian relief organization run by Franklin Graham, showed up at the orphanage to deliver gift filled boxes through Operation Christmas Child (OCC). Livia remembered Connie, an OCC rep. who cuddled her and shared the love of Jesus.

"It meant a lot to me, because I’d been kissing pictures of Jesus and making Cross signs, and to hear the gospel for the very first time - and the meaning - meant a lot to me," Livia said.

When she lifted the lid from her box, what do you think was at the top? You guessed it, a bag of hairclips. An elated Livia put every single one in her hair.

"I could not believe my eyes," she said. You could put something that simple in someone's box and make their dream come true.

Last year, Woodloch Pines Resort collected 50 gift-filled shoeboxes - many of them through the personal efforts of the Kiesendahl Family and caring staff members. What if that number could double this year? What if 100 children could feel the touch of another's heart half a world away? Would you consider helping out?

Shoe boxes may be filled with flashlights and spare batteries; hygiene items such as soap ( Ivory Soap is fun because it floats and helps kids bathing in rivers) , washcloth, comb/brush, toothpaste, toothbrush; sewing kits; toys; stuffed animals; T-shirts; shoes; flip flops; and school supplies such as crayons, colored pencils, pencil sharpener, regular pencils, pens; hard candy/ lollipops; and anything else you think a child would like. Age groups are 0-4, 4-10, and 10-14. Please do not include war-related items or liquids such as shampoo, bubble-stuff, etc,, and no chocolates.

Each box costs $7.00 to ship. Even if you are unable to fill a box and cover the shipping cost, you could opt to do one or the other or simply give individual items or monetary donations. Every donation counts. Every donation is a chance to put a smile on a child's face.  Donations are being accepted in Woodloch's Reservation Department now through the first week of November.  Should you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at: Tammy.Compton@Woodloch.com

To see the videos of those who have benefitted from Operation Christmas Child's very important mission, please visit the organization's website here.

Here are even more stories of children who have benefited:

Juri from Honduras was also an orphan. She loved everything about her gift-filled shoebox. But her favorite item? The picture of the little girl who'd made it, along with a note that read: "Jesus loves you and so do I."

God knew how she'd need that note in the future - 7 years later, to be exact. Overwhelmed by a seemingly hopeless life, she'd run away to the mountains. It was there that she cried out to God, hurt and angry, wondering why her life had to be the way it was.

And at her greatest moment of need, something miraculous happened. "That's when I pulled out the picture of the little girl and her note that said: 'Jesus loves you, and I love you, too.' And that was my answer."  Three months later, she dedicated her life to the Lord and now thanks the gift giver for giving her hope and sharing the gospel.

OCC also remembers a trip to South Africa, where they met a very special little girl. She was in a crib and when she rolled over, they realized she had no eyes. When they delivered the gift-filled shoebox, it was if it had been hand selected just for her.   "Everything in there had to deal with feel and touch and noise. There were bells. And the joy that came over this little girl instantly," meant everything, the OCC rep. said.

Franklin Graham remembered meeting a child in Bosnia who had not coat. "It was wintertime and we were in a school and the windows were blown out and it was cold." Guess what was in his box? A warm coat, in just the right size. "We have seen over the years where God directed shoeboxes to the right kid  - at the right time - at the right place - with something that kid needed and I believe it's because of the prayers that are behind the boxes. So, God has a plan ..."

What's your plan?

..

$1,000,000 Closer to a CURE at Woodloch!

Posted on Thu, Oct 01, 2015

~shared by J. Ranner

"Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion."

- Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

You see it almost every single day. Whether someone is sweeping the streets or painting a masterpiece, you can always tell when someone is truly putting their heart and soul into their work, whatever it may be. 

This is clear as can be when it comes to Bob Kiesendahl and his family's efforts with The HOPE CURES Foundation. Woodloch is very proud to announce that after the 16th Annual BK Invitational to be held at Woodloch Springs on October 4th & 5th, the foundation will cross the $1,000,000 threshold. 

"Sixteen years ago while I was recovering from my personal battle with cancer, I focused on how I could create hope for others faced with the harsh realities of cancer," says Bob. "I quickly realized that I was fortunate to have my family’s business as a vehicle to drive our efforts along with an incredibly supportive family and strong circle of friends.  The combination worked!"

What started off as a few dedicated friends and family members teaming up for a cause has grown exponentially over the past 16 years. "Crossing the $1 million milestone clearly displays the commitment & generosity of others who have supported the “BK”.  It also clearly proves, unfortunately, that we are all impacted by cancer in some way," says Bobby. 


 

The Hope Cures foundation was started in 1998 as Bob was diagnosed with CML, a form of leukemia. "After my diagnosis and initial treatments at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center, my cancer moved into an accelerated phase. I was hospitalized and struggled through some tough days with my family and friends by my side. It was a very uncertain time, but we had hope, prayers & support of friends & family," says Bobby.  

After a bone marrow transfusion and months of a slow but sure recovery, Bob began to focus on what he could to help others, and HOPE CURES was born. "I realized I was lucky. These thoughts- the words HOPE CURES- motivated me in my own personal battle. They empowered me and allowed me to focus on my future. I also realized that I had/have unique opportunities and resources through my family’s business, Woodloch Resort, that could greatly enhance my fundraising efforts & results."

The foundation benefits many other organizations, including:

THE BK INVITATIONAL

The temperature is just right, the leaves are crisp and there's no better time for a little bit of golf. The BK Invitational takes place at Woodloch Springs Country Club in Hawley, PA. Family, friends and corporate sponsors join together for the event that includes, golf, Texas Hold em, live entertainment, awards, food & drink. A cocktail party, dinner & awards for all participants & sponsors completes the event Monday evening at the Inn at Woodloch. It is an inspiring weekend that brings us all together to create hope for others affected by cancer.

A NIGHT FOR THE CURE TRICKY TRAY

A Night for the Cure is a grassroots fundraising event that benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  Several employees at Woodloch Resort, with some guidance and support from Bob, Joan & Brad Kiesendahl created this event to make a difference in the battle against breast cancer.

The event is held annually in October (the 2015 event will take place October 18th).  The event is structured as a Tricky Tray with countless gift items that are donated by local individuals and businesses.  All are welcome to join or donate!  Individuals purchase tickets that they place in envelopes by the gifts they desire.  After all the tickets have been placed, the drum roll begins as the host of the night calls out the winners!

Throughout the evening hors d’oeuvres are served; wine tasting is available along with a full cash bar.  It is a night filled with a tremendous spirit & enthusiasm as we join together to fight cancer.

HOPE CURES 5K

One of our most popular events is the Hope Cures 5K RUN/WALK!  The 5K start/finish is located at The Inn at Woodloch.  The course winds through Woodloch Resort’s property and along a private lake.  The local community is invited to join in the event!  All ages and levels can participate with awards for each division and something special for all kids 10 & under!   Many run in memory of, or in support of someone who is/was impacted by cancer.  It is a fun/healthy event that has a deeper meaning for many who join us. The HC5K’s proceeds benefit the LIVESTRONG Organization.

GETTING INVOLVED

While we're one step closer to finding a cure with every dollar that's raised, the fight is ongoing and always looking for help. "1.4 million people will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year. We have a long road ahead of us, but progress is being made! We have been and will continue to create HOPE for others. I sincerely thank you for your continued support and generosity," says Bobby. Get involved and join the fight HERE- we'd be proud to have you aboard!

Even though this is a tremendous achievement, Bobby and HOPE CURES constantly focus sight on the future. "I will definitely pause for a moment to reflect on all that we have accomplished over the years & the reality of actually raising $1 million to fight cancer!  We will then quickly refocus on the challenges that are still in front of us.  There is optimism and progress being made, at the same time many are still suffering.  The ultimate goal is to find the cure!"

 

 

BK Golf 2014 from EDGE, Woodloch, BK Hope Cures on Vimeo.

 

 

Tags: BK Hope Cures, Hope Cures, Cancer Research

"Hallo-Weekends" at Woodloch Bring Some Tricks... and Plenty of Treats!

Posted on Tue, Sep 08, 2015

weekend getaways poconos

~shared by Joseph J. Ranner

It seems like just yesterday, I was an out of control 8 year old, decked out in my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume, attacking my little brother with a pair of plastic nunchucks. Hopped up on Tootsie Rolls and Pixie Stix, Halloween was simply the best day of the year for me.

Over 20 years later... I still feel the same way. 

And it's not just the day itself that excites me. Much like the stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year's known as "THE HOLIDAYS," the whole season leading up to Halloween is simply a great time. Apple picking. Cider. All of that beautiful Pocono fall foliage. And making that all-important costume decision... it's ironic that a season famous for zombies and vampires makes me feel so incredibly alive. 

And I know I'm not the only one sipping a pumpkin spice latte in my Ugg boots thinking about it. As a matter of fact, I am grateful that my employer shares the same sort of enthusiasm that I have for the holiday... and even bumps it up to 11. 


zombie_runWoodloch's "Hallo-Weekends" all start off with a bang. Right after dinner time (because there's nothing scarier than an empty stomach) we start to board our wagons for our world-famous "Haunted Hayrides"- a spooktacular thrill ride all along our Nature Trail. Summertime guests got a special "sampling" of Halloween hijinx this year with Woodloch's "Fright Night" Scare Walks. "We wanted to let our summer guests know what we do for Halloween," says Joey Ranner, Social Director. "The response was great- and everyone can expect the scares to get bigger and badder for our hayrides." 

Ghouls, goblins, werewolfs and all sorts of terrors await you along your 30 minute-plus ride... will you be bold enough to make it?  Makeup, lighting, pyrotechnics and more will make you feel like you're trapped in your favorite horror movies. Hot chocolate and plenty of laughs await those souls brave enough to make the journey!  

Hopefully you'll get a good night's sleep, because the rest of the weekend is jam-packed with seasonal activities!  

  • Chase down the gold medal with our brand new "Scare-lympics" games- a spirited take on our classic Olympics!
  • Pumpkin Arts & Crafts
  • Trick-or-Treating all across our resort followed by a grand Halloween party in our Nightclub

And an epic battle is on its way to our resort... a HALLOWEEN WAR, that is! Our famous Cupcake Wars are getting "in costume" for the season as pumpkins, corn, straw, gourds and apples all find their way into our "secret ingredient" list! 

And of course, suffice it to say "that's not all." The cooler weather is perfect for some go-carting, paintballing, rock climbing, Segwaying, archery tagging or just warming up by the fire pit. If you haven't had the opportunity to explore Woodloch in this season, it truly is a delight- missing out would be... scary. 

Spooktacular Haunted Hayrides at Woodloch from Woodloch Pines on Vimeo.

Tags: Haunted Hayrides, Fall, halloween