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Family Engagement the Focus at Fernwood

  • By
  • September 7, 2018
Fernwood Resort Lodging
If the kids are happy, mom and dad are typically more relaxed. Fernwood’s lodging offers guests spacious accommodations that exceed a small or large family’s needs.

Fernwood Resort: Creating Year-Round Family Experiences

Family Engagement the Focus at Fernwood

Family fun…Have you taken the time to create lasting memories with your family? You likely won’t hear any complaints of boredom from your kids or partner while you’re vacationing at Fernwood. The resort is surrounded by woods in a peaceful setting that’s ideal for hiking, foraging among the trees, or participation in a variety of activities.

Creating an experience that’s all-encompassing for families and guests of all ages is one of the challenges Gina Bertucci, Fernwood Resort co-owner, embraces.

Gina Bertucci
Gina Bertucci, co-owner, Fernwood Resort

With more than 18,000 member families, Fernwood Resort and the Villas at Tree Tops & Fairway®, 2157 River Rd, East Stroudsburg, PA, is part of RCI and is one of the largest vacation ownership properties in the Mid-Atlantic region with 650 beautifully-appointed villas.

“We have both timeshares and rentals so we’re a mixed-use property,” Bertucci explained. Lodging options range from one-to-four bedrooms with accommodations for every taste, with a home-like feeling and amenities from simple and economical to deluxe and spacious.

When you’re ready to venture out onto the property, you’ll also see why Fernwood has received “green” awards.

According to Bertucci, “As a business, when we were looking at how to develop these pieces of property, what did we do?”

The Pocono TreeVentures and zip line courses are examples of the extraordinary measures Bertucci and her partners have taken to preserve the beauty and nature on the property.

 

family
The Matsui family receives instruction before beginning the Pocono TreeVentures course. Photo submitted by Fernwood Resort.

“We looked at ways to preserve this property. There’s a stream that goes through it, but really when you’re up in the trees, you really do appreciate the nature and the beauty of this region.”

Everywhere you turn at Fernwood, there’s an activity that encourages family engagement. A few of the free on-site activities are swimming and weekly pool parties, summer family movie nights, picnics and BBQ nights. At an additional cost, try horseback riding at Bushkill Stables, Pocono TreeVentures Ropes and Zipline courses, Blue and White Lightning Tubing and Paintball. Visit Fernwood Resort’s website for prices and hours of operation.

 

family
Kento Matsui enjoys an afternoon of swimming at Fernwood Resort’s outdoor pool.

 


 

Family Resorts
Discover the countryside surrounding Fernwood Resort. You can explore on foot or by horseback at Bushkill Riding Stables. Reserve your horse and saddle by clicking here

Approximately 17 years ago, Bertucci and other businesses affiliated with the Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau got together to answer the question, how can we continue to showcase the Poconos as a region to explore and enjoy, and at the same time, preserve its natural beauty?

The Fernwood partners, for example, utilized approximately 10 acres of gorgeous farmland for the TreeVentures and Zip Line courses.

“It’s beautiful and challenging and when you’re finished, you think I just did something and it’s great exercise. It’s about authenticity,” commented Bertucci. “And not everyone has had a chance to try horseback riding? For other people, it’s shopping at the Crossings (Premium Outlets), canoeing on the Delaware River, bike riding, seeing nearby Bushkill Falls or following a lovely natural walking path at the 77,000-acre at the Delaware Water Gap National Historic site.”

 

What’s our recommendation for off-site family engagement?

Don’t leave the Poconos without a stop at Bushkill Falls, known as “The Niagara of Pennsylvania.” With each season the landscape changes, providing a unique experience each time you visit. We suggest you reserve a half-day for your adventure.

 

family
Preservation of our natural scenic wonders is top-priority for Gina Bertucci, Fernwood Resort, representatives from other businesses and resorts and members of the Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau. Visit Bushkill Falls but please follow the rules as shown above. Observe and appreciate but hands-off plants and wildlife.

family
Bushkill Falls is host to many family adventures, schools, and group tours, weddings and is a fantastic photo op. I guarantee you will get your workout while on your trek up and down the steps leading to and from the basin. Grab a bite to eat at the snack bar and then stock-up on keepsakes and souvenirs at the gift shop.

 

 

family
When you need to cool off on a warm summer day, you will appreciate the cool mist of water from the cascading falls and the shady areas provided along the trail leading to the basin.

 Bushkill Falls is the “Niagara of Pennsylvania”


Why should you plan a trip to the Pocono Mountains’ region?

As the nights turn chillier and the leaves that adorn the trees of the Pocono Mountains fall to the ground and create a gentle blanket of vibrant shades of red, yellow and orange, celebrate fall by tuning into the sounds of freshly fallen leaves underfoot. Celebrate the four seasons in the Pocono Mountains.

“There’s something for everyone in the Pocono Mountains. It’s all here and that’s fortunate for us. Family time is part of the fabric of our lives. You remember those moments together.” Gina Bertucci, Fernwood Resort.


Disclosure:

My stay at Fernwood Resort was comped but my opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BikeCarbondale

  • By
  • July 30, 2018
  • Sticky
BikeCarbondale Riverwalk Lackawanna Heritage Trail

BikeCarbondale: Along the History Trail

HOTEL ANTHRACITE GUESTS PEDAL BACK IN TIME

Up-Valley Trail System Connected

A NEW stretch of trail in Northeastern Pennsylvania offers residents and visitors one-and-a-half miles of compacted terrain that’s ideal for jogging, walking, and cycling. The Carbondale Riverwalk opened in May (2018) and on a late spring afternoon, adults and children of all ages spent their afternoon taking in the prolific greenery along the Lackawanna River, a 40-mile long river that’s known for extraordinary fly fishing.

BikeCarbondale Lackawanna River Heritage Trail
The BikeCarbondale program is managed by the Lackawanna Heritage Valley (LHV) in conjunction with two prominent Carbondale partners: Hotel Anthracite, 25 S. Main St. and the Greater Carbondale YMCA, 82 N. Main St.

On that day, couples strolled hand-in-hand, children pedaled diligently to keep up with their parents, and cyclists took advantage of the safe pedestrian-only pathway.

Partners

I imagine I was among the first-timers to participate in the bike loan program. While usage statistics are not available yet, it’s safe to say exercise and nature enthusiasts continue to discover and utilize the new pathway, partly because of “BikeCarbondale,” a free bike-share program that makes it possible for individuals to borrow a bicycle so they can take in the Carbondale’s Coal Mining History. The program is managed by the Lackawanna Heritage Valley (LHV) in conjunction with two prominent Carbondale partners: Hotel Anthracite, 25 S. Main St. and the Greater Carbondale YMCA, 82 N. Main St. The program is made possible with funds made available through the Northeast Pennsylvania Healthcare Foundation. Individuals age 18 years and older are eligible to loan one of the authority’s 10 bikes available at the hotel and YMCA. 

Cycling was my first activity after checking in at the Hotel Anthracite, Carbondale’s newly-renovated lodging (formerly known as Carbondale Grand Hotel). (You can read more about the hotel in an upcoming article on my website.) Chris Simpler, Hotel Anthracite general manager, was eager for me to test drive a bike and the new trail. I returned to the hotel revitalized after approximately two hours.

LHV projects stimulate the region’s economic development, enhance tourism, and strengthen community organizations with a goal to improve and increase the quality of life for area residents. The Lackawanna Heritage Valley trail system spans 70 miles from the confluence of the Lackawanna and Susquehanna Rivers in Pittston and continues north where it connects with the Delaware & Hudson Rail Trail and the Carbondale Riverwalk.

 

BikeCarbondale Riverwalk
You never know who you’ll meet along the trail. As I was rounding the bend on the LHV Riverwalk, riding the bike I loaned from Hotel Anthracite, bike loan partner, I stopped to chat with fellow artist Joe Kluck. Photo by Joe Kluck.

You will celebrate the sunshine and appreciate the shaded areas, too. When you stop for a break, take note of the established trees that provide a canopy and the shrubs and native plants alongside the banks that serve as a natural border. Venture into downtown Carbondale and admire the architecture.

BikeCarbondale Bike Loan Program
BikeCarbondale is a loaner bike program for adults 18 years and older. One of the highlights is a one-and-a-half-mile stretch of newly-opened trail in Pennsylvania that runs from the historic town of Carbondale to Simpson.
Since 2013, LHV has opened eight miles of well-maintained heritage trails that enhance and showcase the region’s striking beauty and diverse scenery. You can watch the videos of the grand openings of the Scranton to Taylor, D&H Extension Trail, and Archbald to Jermyn stretches, and learn more about the most recent, Carbondale to Simpson.

Trail project partners were the City of Carbondale, PennDOT, DCED (Department of Commerce and Economic Development) and DCNR (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources). FABCOR (Jessup) and Rutledge Excavating Inc (Tyler Hill) completed the trail with and QPI (Carbondale) constructed the wall near the junkyard. The Riverwalk section will connect to the D&H Rail Trail later this summer to form a 20-mile stretch of fully developed trail. 

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The Tailwater Lodge is a fly angler’s haven

  • By
  • July 24, 2018

As many of us on the East Coast are experiencing heavy rain and flooding, we can turn our thoughts to upcoming fly fishing opportunities, once the water levels have dropped. The Tailwater Lodge is an ideal base camp while you spend days fishing along the famed Salmon River. Plan your summer or fall trip now. 

Woodbine Group breeds new life into orphaned buildings

The Tailwater Lodge, Altmar, NY 

Only steps away from The Tailwater Lodge is a lush, green shoreline along the Salmon River.

Tom Fernandez was traveling to fish in the lower fly zone of the Salmon River when he saw a “for sale” sign on the former Altmar Elementary School.

Fernandez said, “The rest is history.”

He’s an avid fly angler and a representative of The Woodbine Group, a privately-held, family-run commercial real estate holding, and development company based in Syracuse, NY. The school was built in 1935 as the Altmar Elementary School and was vacant for approximately six years when The Woodbine Group purchased the two-story, 32,000 square foot structure from the school district in March 2013. Following an eight-month construction process, the Tailwater Lodge opened with a project cost close to seven million dollars.

The design team included Edwin I Harrington Architects; Charity Buchika, interior design; Lan Co., site work; and interior hardwood and case goods by Artistry in Wood and Cab Fab.

Fernandez’s step-father, Norman Swanson founded the business in 1978. The Woodbine Group breathes new life into abandoned buildings like elementary schools, abandoned Jewish temples and former medical arts’ buildings through adaptive reuse projects.

“As my step-father says he finds ‘orphans’ and then breathes new life into them,” Fernandez explained. “That’s our business model. We are very sustainable. We have a very environmentally centric way of developing…”

Rather than tear down old buildings and start from the ground up, Fernandez said his family feels it’s necessary to revitalize this area of the country to bring new growth.

“There are some amaTailwater 3zing buildings that have been abandoned and we choose to embrace that history and show what the northeast has to offer.”

The renovation of the building was more of a facelift with changes and updates made to the façade and the reappointment of space. Contractors were also able to utilize the majority of the windows and interior doors. Reclaimed timber conjures a “lodgey” feel, but don’t let the word “lodge” fool you. The Tailwater offers 42 guest rooms with unparalleled comfort and style and is one of two Orvis endorsed lodges in New York State.

“The large doors into the foyer, bar, birch walls, front desk pods were all reclaimed timber,” Fernandez says. “I think the restaurant and bar really stand out. Walking in and seeing the painting by Bob Ripley across the wall really brings the ‘lodginess” of the Tailwater out.”

Pulaski 2015 Rosangela Freitas
Rosangela Freitas, Trout Unlimited member, casts into the frigid water of the Salmon River in Altmar, NY.

Following an afternoon of fly fishing in the Salmon River, or any year-round outdoor activity, the Tailwater’s rustic décor, superb gut-pleasing meals served in the former gymnasium, over-the-top comfortable mattresses, custom-made in upstate New York, and bathrooms with large shower units and plentiful hot water will beckon you to come inside.

A refrigerator, free high-speed wireless internet, flat-screen cable TV, and a hearty, complimentary hot breakfast will prepare you for a day of searching for fish in the surrounding waterways or snowmobiling on the C5A Trail groomed trail system. Guests can don their gear and find onsite direct access to the Salmon River only footsteps away and upon their return to the lodge, can rinse their gear in the wader wash area and then store them in the facility’s locker area.

Fernandez noted, “The Tailwater Lodge caters to individuals and groups looking to tailor their experience.”

For more information, visit tailwaterlodge.com.

Read about my fishing guide blog here.

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A River Trilogy book review Adventures Authors book Book Review book reviews Fishing Fishing Destinations Fly Fishing Books Fly Fishing Stories and Tales Lifestyle Travel Product Links W.D. Wetherell Author

Outright Fishing Tales: A River Trilogy

  • By
  • May 3, 2018
New England Fishing
New England Fishing
A naturalist’s account of the Vermont River, One River More, and Upland Stream

 

“Vermont River,” “Upland Stream,” and “One River More” are all books by acclaimed author W.D. Wetherell. He combined those three classics into entertaining and descriptive reflections of his most endearing fly fishing moments. A “Word at the Start,” hooks you and then reels you in as you read one tale after another.

“I had fallen in love with fly fishing as a teenager, thanks to my parents buying a summer house on a bassy Connecticut lake,” Wetherell wrote. “This led me to fly-fishing, and then a passionate reader as a kid-to the literature fly-fishing boasts of, the ‘fishing in print.”

Wetherell is an award-winning novelist with more than 20 books to his credit. A few of his other titles are “The Writing on the Wall,” “North of Now,” “Soccer Dad,” and “Summer of the Bass.” Vermont River is the first book in his fishing collection and a requiem to his love for fly fishing in Vermont. Trout Magazine deemed this selection as one of the 30 finest works about fly fishing. You won’t be disappointed, even if you’re not an angler – each of these works are indicative of Wetherell’s love of nature and family.

A River Trilogy is a fluid, gentle, and entertaining literary work that will leave you yearning for more stories. It’s truly a work of literary art. I encourage you to travel along on his journeys through New England, Montana, and Scotland’s most treasured waterways.

You can purchase the book here by clicking on this link. .

Learn more about W.D. Wetherell at wdwetherell.com.

DISCLOSURE:

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.

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50 Places to Fly Fish Before You Die

  • By
  • April 29, 2018
Fly Fishing Destinations
Fly Fishing Destinations
If you’re yearning to fly fish, author Chris Santella has suggestions for you.

Fly Fishing Destinations You Won’t Want to Miss

Are you dreaming of landing that trout, bass, or other fish species?  

“Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die” is full of breathtaking photography and detailed information about 50 of the world’s most spectacular fly fishing destinations. Author Chris Santella is a skilled freelance writer and storyteller who offers his readers a collection of 50 essays created by master fly anglers. The in-depth interviews feature extensive background information for each of the destinations with advice and fishing anecdotes that you’ll find enticing even on the coldest winter day.  Santella’s work is one you’ll commit to memory and refer to as a resource guide when you’re planning your next fly fishing getaway.

I received a copy as a Christmas present in 2018 and although I receive hundreds of book review requests (on a variety of topics) each month, I’d never run across this gem. Santella’s guide covers all of the details and history fly anglers looking for premium places to fish need to know. The “IF YOU GO” that follows each essay: “Prime Time,” “Getting There,” “Accommodations,” and “Equipment,”is invaluable.

Santella is a regular contributor to The New York Times, Forbes.com, and other fly fishing publications.

Buy Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die. 

DISCLOSURE:
Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.
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Eagles Mere Inn – a Romantic Dose of History

  • By
  • January 10, 2018
romantic Eagles Mere Inn

A World of its Own

The Eagles Mere Inn

Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania

Eagles Mere Inn romantic evenings
Dusk falls on the fairy-tale-like Eagles Mere Inn. All photos by Joan Mead-Matsui, travel writer, photographer, and videographer. 
What draws someone to a particular location varies from person to person but The Eagles Mere Inn, a Sullivan County landmark, is a favorite among folks who yearn for a peaceful country setting.

 

After several visits to Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania over the course of 20 years, I can’t understand how anyone could forget the timeless beauty of “the town that time forgot.” In 2017, I had an opportunity to experience Eagles Mere as a guest at The Eagles Mere Inn.

“..Let’s Not Forget…The Town That Time Forgot..”

The inn is far enough from the busy Route 42, the main road through the borough, yet only a short walk to the center of town and Eagles Mere Lake – two prominent hubs for year-round activities.

Eagles Mere is a family-centered hamlet that was founded in the early 1800s as a glass factory. By the late 19th century, the town had evolved as a mountain resort community renowned for its grand turn-of-the-century Victorian summer homes or “cottages.” The population grows from 120 full-time residents during the off-season but as summer arrives that number can grow to more than 3,000.

Eagles Mere Inn

 

Romantic Eagles Mere Inn

The Eagles Mere Inn was built in 1887 and each guest room highlights historic places, events, and people prominent in the borough’s history. 

historic Eagles Mere InnThe Lewis Glass Suite is named after the George Lewis Glassworks Era from 1804 to 1830. Located on the second floor of the inn, this two-room suite features a painted iron and brass queen bed, five delightfully large windows, sitting room with a sliding door partition, love-seat sleeper couch, 24″ smart television, comfortable chairs, and a private bath with a shower.  All but two rooms have a television but you can certainly bring a book to read, a journal, and/or a drawing pad and pencils as a much-needed break from electronics. Eagles Mere is a haven for environmental preservationists and birdwatchers so be sure to tuck a pair of binoculars in your suitcase. All four seasons afford opportunities to catch a close-up glimpse of the wildlife that roams on hundreds of acres of nearby land. 

Lewis Glass suite Eagles Mere Inn

Eyelet, handmade quilts, and soft cotton linens are all part of the appeal. Each guest room has a signature style that’s in keeping with the era and name given to each accommodation.

By day, the light floods in and in the evening, the sitting area is a comfortable retreat after an activity driven day. 

historic Eagles Mere Inn comfort
Open your windows and allow the sheer curtains to sway with a delightful country breeze. Guest rooms are air-conditioned in case you decide fresh air is not your bag. 
romantic Eagles Mere Inn
Each guestroom has its own color palette and furnishings that reflect a simpler time.

The Whirlpool Room, standard king and queen rooms, junior suites, deluxe suites, select king rooms and standard full rooms are your lodging options. Accommodations range from $129 to $199 and a hearty country breakfast is included in the room rate.

Romantics can explore Eagles Mere for the entire month of February thanks to a special Valentine’s Day offer. Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a “romantic weekend package” when you book a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday stay. That package includes the room, breakfast, 3-course dinner, wine, roses, and chocolate.

Call the Inn (570)-525-3273 to book your stay.

Dining

The Eagles Mere Inn home-cooked meals
Ordering from the small plate menu allows guests to sample a bit of this and a taste of that.

Taste testing is a fantastic opportunity to sample and share a variety of menu items. Sometimes, choosing one entree is daunting if you can’t decide what suits your taste buds.

romantic Eagles Mere Inn
A.C. Little Drinkery at Eagles Mere Inn pub appeals to a wide range of tastes.

Romantic Eagles Mere Inn

A.C.Little’s Drinkery, located on the inn’s lower level is pub-style and casual and an ideal setting to relax or catch your favorite sporting event on television. Dinner is available from the inn’s small plate menu and you can find your perfect brew from among the selections from local wineries and micro-breweries. A current menu is available at this link. The same menu is also available for diners who choose to have dinner in the dining room located next to the lobby.

romantic quaint Eagles Mere Inn
Be a part of The Eagles Mere Inn history. Sign the guest book located in the lobby.

Book Your Event

Couples planning to marry or individuals looking for an intimate, picturesque venue can also reserve the beautifully manicured grounds for parties and events of all kinds. Eagles Mere offers many scenic vistas and locations for photo ops.

romantic Eagles Mere Inn
Vintage quilts and antiques at Eagles Mere Inn

Nearby Activities

What do snow and ice bring to Eagles Mere?

The famous toboggan slide has entertained residents and visitors since 1904. Created by the volunteer fire company, the slide is especially fun for thrill seekers. Sledders have been known to race down the hill at speeds up to 45 mph, according to townspeople, also known as “cottagers” who own second homes. Eagles Mere provides the setting for anyone with an affinity for winter. Details can be found here.

Eagles Mere Lake covers 114 acres and is surrounded by hundreds of acres of forest. Inn guests receive complimentary lake passes that can be used to swim at the beach or paddle their way around the lake in the innkeeper’s two kayaks.

Golfers can get in a round of golf during their stay at The Eagles Mere Inn. Reservations and an overnight stay are all you’ll need to enjoy the inn’s membership benefits at the Eagles Mere Country Club. Learn more about the club’s rich history that dates back to 1911.

Eagles Mere is a treat to visit. We all need a healthy dose of yesteryear and history to fully appreciate life today. Specialty shops, a noteworthy bookstore, the old-fashioned sweet shop, museums, an enchanting selection of country inns, cottages, and rentals; and a private golf club are a few of the reasons why Eagles Mere continues to draw thousands during peak tourist season.

quaint historical Eagles Mere

When you want to venture out of town, on the outskirts, you’ll find spectacular waterfalls and plenty of nature on hiking trails.

During the winter months, one might see Eagles Mere as a ghost town but rest assured, that’s merely an assumption and not entirely true. Don’t let that stop you from planning a romantic fall, winter, or early spring getaway.

Follow this link for more information about Eagles Mere.

 

The Eagles Mere Inn is located at 29 Mary Ave., Eagles Mere, PA. You can reach out to the innkeepers at 570-525-3273 or visit eaglesmereinn.com/inn.

Read the companion story: joanmatsuitravelwriter.com/eagles-mere-innkeepers-preserve-the-past

My stay was comped but my opinions are my own.

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The Lodge at Woodloch

  • By
  • December 4, 2017

The Lodge at Woodloch

 

Chakra Bowls in the entrance at The Lodge at Woodloch. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui.

Destination: Bliss

Calm your mind, awaken your soul

 

Spending a day at The Lodge at Woodloch is synonymous with a day in heaven.

 

The Lodge at Woodloch is a family-owned, one-stop spa destination located in the Lakes Region of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Individuals who want to experience a complete overhaul will find a phenomenal setting for total mind and body rejuvenation.

You’ll need to tailor your stay at this award-winning resort and allow time to savor every class, activity, and meal you choose. Depending on the length of your stay, I suggest you select one or two indoor spa services and one or two classes or activities and plan to venture outdoors. Use your time to tap into the adventure in your soul.

I arrived there eager for my massage session but immediately picked up a schedule of events and classes at the registration desk before heading to my room to change. A complete list of classes is available at the front desk and in each of the guest rooms, but if narrowing the selection is a bit daunting, a personal concierge can assist you with scheduling. You can view a current schedule of activities here.

Venture Outdoors

 

Even if the thought of being out-of-doors in the cold Pocono Mountain air sends chills up your spine, bundle up and take a walk. The property is so picturesque throughout the year, with scenic hiking and bike trails that are a favorite among nature-lovers.

The dock at The Lodge at Woodloch is a vantage point for observing waterfowl and other wildlife.  Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui.

Refresh

 

Your comfort is a number one priority to the management and staff at The Lodge at Woodloch. Feel free to drop in at the coffee and tea kiosk for a glass of fruit infused water, high-end herbal tea with locally-produced honey or artisan coffee. Lucious treats are available throughout the day. Hydration is important after a day of activity and guests receive a complimentary refillable water bottle and shopping bag branded with The Lodge at Woodloch name and logo. Filtered water is available in each guest room, so guests can refill their water bottles as needed.

Refresh with orange infused water or herbal tea with organic honey.

Find Time to Socialize

 

If you’re traveling alone, ask to dine with other solo guests. The main dining room and bar area are warm and friendly and a popular spot for great conversation.

Unleash Your Spirit

 

If exercise isn’t your bag, try a gentle chakra yoga session to free the creative flow you’ll need for a cooking demonstration or a watercolor painting class. Daytime and evening events are available.

You don’t need to be flexible to practice yoga. To the contrary, yoga has far-reaching health benefits from improved posture and overall health to a more flexible you.

Learn New Skills

 

Flyfishing? Betterment is often the result of branching out and learning a new hobby. Join the knowledgeable team at the lodge and allow them to introduce you to the joys of fly fishing.

Adam Nidoh, fly fishing instructor, teaches fly fishing 101 to Kathy Marsh, a guest from California.

Stick with the familiar or try something new when you join in on an organized fly-fishing class designed for aspiring fly anglers who yearn to be on the water. Full and half-day guided fishing trips on the Lackawaxen and Delaware Rivers can be arranged with advanced notice.

 

Art Abounds

 

On your way through the lobby, take note of the art that hangs on the walls in the corridors. The Lodge at Woodloch has created a venue for regional artists to display their wares, which is indicative of the management’s commitment to the arts. The paintings displayed during my visit provided a visual appeal and warmth that original art evokes.

Art at The Lodge at Woodloch. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui.

 

Signature Dining

 

Dining at TREE, The Lodge at Woodloch restaurant, is an experience you’ll relish. The naturally-raised meats, fish, seafood; organic, locally grown vegetables and wholesome grains are combined and presented with an artistic flair.

A few of the entrees from a sample menu are Oven Dried Tomato & Charred Broccoli Flatbread – Basil Pesto, Homemade Ricotta, Calkin’s Creamery Vampire Slayer, Balsamic Reduction (veg) Shrimp Pad Thai – Shaved Root Vegetables, Local Cabbage, Scrambled Farm Egg, Pistachio, Hoisin Sauce (gf) Eggplant Cutlet Parmesan – Smoked Mozzarella, Oven Dried Tomato & Olive Tapenade, Arugula and Roasted Pepper Aioli (veg). Samples menus are available here.

Romantic soft lighting The Lodge
Many of the selections are plant and vegetable-based and bursting with flavor and texture that’s sure to please. Feel free to begin your lunch at the Buffet Station Salad Bar & Seasonal Condiments that’s brimming with a Chef Inspired Daily Soup and energy and protein-packed selections for vegan and vegetarians. There’s no guesswork as you’re helping yourself at the stations or ordering from the menu. Vegan and vegetarians are clearly marked.

REdiscover Lunch

 

If you need a getaway, visit The Lodge at Woodloch’s website where you’ll find a package to suit your needs. All packages include accommodations in one of 57 extravagant guest rooms, three gourmet meals per night of stay, speakers and workshops, creative arts, scheduled group fitness classes throughout the day, lectures, chef’s cooking and baking demonstrations, guided group adventure outings, a personal spa concierge, pools with hydro massage waterfalls, indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis®, steam rooms, saunas, and a 3,000 square foot state-of-the-art cardio weight studio.

Accommodations at The Lodge at Woodloch. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui.

 

KUDOS!

 

The Lodge at Woodloch WILL exceed your expectations. The resort has consistently received a wide array of awards over the years from the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Award to the Travelers’ Choice Award by TripAdvisor.

For more information, visit thelodgeatwoodloch.com. You can view special seasonal offers here.

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What’s your favorite beach?

  • By
  • November 29, 2017

The World’s 50 Best Beaches©

 

What makes for a perfect beach?

Let me know your thoughts about the best beaches you’ve ever visited. Comment here or feel free to email me your choices. 

 

I was thrilled when I was asked to weigh in with my choices for “The World’s 50 Best Beaches.” Follow this link to the website where “The World’s 50 Best Beaches” article is published and learn more about each of these heavenly destinations.

This is by far, the most definitive list of beaches ever assembled and a truly diverse collection of beach paradise around the globe, according to FlightNetwork, a Canadian-based company that provides global travelers with the competitive airfares, hotels, vacation packages, and car rentals.

FlightNetwork consulted with 600+ of world’s best travel journalists, editors, bloggers, and agencies to get their opinions. The company is sure this list will inspire you to book a getaway to one of these incredible beaches.

Whether you yearn for powder white beaches, swaying palm trees, turquoise waters, volcanic coastlines, or snow-capped mountain peaks, FlightNetwork’s list, along with vibrant photos, are probably all you’ll need to visualize what could be your reprieve from snow and cold weather.

Is your curiosity piqued? Visit https://www.flightnetwork.com/blog/worlds-50-best-beaches/ique to see what makes these beaches so breathtaking.

Name of Beach Rank Region/City/Island Country
Grace Bay 1 Providenciales Turks & Caicos
Whitehaven Beach 2 Whitsunday Islands Australia
Anse Lazio 3 Praslin Seychelles
Pink Sands Beach 4 Harbour Island Bahamas
Navagio Beach 5 Zakynthos Greece
Baia Dos Porcos 6 Fernando de Noronha Brazil
Playa Paraiso 7 Tulum Mexico
Hyams Beach 8 Jervis Bay Australia
Hidden Beach 9 Marietas Islands Mexico
Trunk Bay 10 St. John US Virgin Islands
Maya Bay 11 Koh Phi Phi Ley Thailand
Pig Beach 12 Big Major Cay Bahamas
Blue Lagoon 13 Yasawa Islands Fiji
El Nido 14 Palawan Phillipines
Muri Beach 15 Rarotonga Cook Islands
Saltwhistle Bay 16 Mayreau St. Vincent & Grenadines
Half Moon Bay 17 Antigua Antigua
Lucky Bay 18 Western Australia Australia
Flamenco Beach 19 Culebra Puerto Rico
Reynisfjara Beach 20 Iceland Iceland
Ile Aux Cerfs 21 Mauritius Phillipines
Fulhadhoo Beach 22 Fulhadhoo Island Maldives
Vaeroy 23 Lofoten Norway
Cayo Coco 24 Cayo Coco Cuba
Seven Mile Beach 25 Grand Cayman Cayman Islands
Anse Source d’Argent 26 La Digue Seychelles
Horseshoe Bay 27 Bermuda Bermuda
Honokalani Beach 28 Hawaii USA
Turquoise Bay 29 Western Australia Australia
Elafonissi Beach 30 Crete Greece
Champagne Beach 31 Espiritu Santo Vanuata
Tunnels Beach 32 Kauai USA
Kaputas Beach 33 Turkey Turkey
Dhigurah Island 34 Dhigurah Island Maldives
Ile aux Nattes 35 Dhigurah Island Madagascar
Cala Goloroitze 36 Sardinia Italy
Los Roques 37 Los Roques Venezuela
Long Beach 38 Vancouver Island Canada
Grand Anse Beach 39 Grenada Grenada
Boulders Beach 40 Cape Peninsula South Africa
Lanikai Beach 41 Hawaii USA
Cala Mitjana 42 Menorca Spain
Shoal Bay Beach 43 Anguilla Anguilla
One Foot Island 44 Aitutaki Cook Islands
Ao Nang Beach 45 Krabi Thailand
Radhanagar Beach 46 Havelock Island India
Eagle Beach 47 Aruba Aruba
Agiba Beach 48 Egypt Egypt
Diani Beach 49 Kenya Kenya
Cannon Beach 50 Oregon USA

 

 

 

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Dunes Manor Hotel & Suites

  • By
  • October 31, 2017
Travel Review Dunes Manor
The prize for spectacular views goes to The Dunes Manor Hotel & Suites, Ocean City, MD.  All rooms offer a beachfront balcony, a vibrant sunrise, and a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean. All photos by Joan Matsui Travel Writer and Photographer

DUNES MANOR HOTEL & SUITES 

A Perfect Balance

Fun and Sun

 

You’ll find your idea of fun at Dunes Manor Hotel & Suites, Ocean City, MD. Building on a dream vacation is exactly what the management at the Dunes Manor Hotel & Suites has done since April Fool’s Day, 1987.

Milton and Thelma Conner dreamt of owning a full-service hotel on an inherited vacant oceanfront block of land. Tenacity is what kept Mrs. Conner from selling the Dunes Manor Hotel & Suites after her husband’s death.

To carry on the tradition, the Dunes Manor creates year-round opportunities for guests to interact and mingle or find plenty of activities both on-site and in and around Ocean City.

The Dunes Manor is a landmark property along that popular stretch of Maryland beach. Before I give you a rundown of the new fall activities in the works, you should understand you won’t EVER be bored during your visit. In fact, the variety of weekly activities for guests of all ages is what has kept couples and families coming back year after year. There’s so much to see and do from the moment you arrive. The mood is family-oriented but there were also couples traveling alone and in small groups. I refer to those as a “mini-reunion” and the Dunes is an ideal location to meet and spend time with friends.

Wave Goodbye to Boredom

 

What’s Happening at Dunes Manor Hotel & Suites?

Guests who want to integrate fitness, frolic and fantasy into a beach getaway can participate in these fall activities free of charge. Schedules vary from season-to-season but organized events and classes are planned if you want to join the fun.

Adults
  • Monday Night Football – featuring door prizes, football bingo, big screen viewing of the games, and food/drink specials.  (Mondays, beginning at 8 p.m.)
  • Girls Night Out – featuring rotating activities through the month that will be led by local artisans, including paint n’ sip, makeovers/stylings, cupcake decorating, jewelry making, and crafting.  (Thursdays, 6 – 8 p.m.)
  • Mind & Body Class – featuring weekly rotating themes of Hatha and Vinyasa yoga, barre workouts, and Bootcamp workouts.  (Saturdays, 8  – 9 a.m.)
  • The Craft Cafe – featuring locally inspired crafts (pumpkin stenciling, chalkboard painting, embroidery), freshly baked desserts, and coffee/tea.  (Saturdays, 1 – 3 p.m.)
Families
  • Swim-In Movie Night – featuring screenings of popular movies at the hotel’s indoor pool, complimentary candy and popcorn, and food/drink specials.  (Fridays, 7 – 9 p.m.)
  • Beach Treasure & Scavenger Hunt – featuring puzzles, trivia, and searches for trinkets at local arcades and retailers.  All participants will receive souvenirs and hotel swag.  The grand prize winner will receive a free hotel stay.  (Sundays, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
  • Beach Photo Op – featuring free 5” x 7” or telescope photos taken on the beach.  (Sundays, 4 – 5 p.m.)

Whether you prefer to spend your day sprawled on a beach blanket or you’re an itinerant explorer yearning to visit each and every attraction, it’s time to book your fall ocean getaway or plan your 2018 summer family vacation.

A Lasting Impression

 

If you envision crowded Ocean City beaches where you’re elbow-to-elbow with fellow beach-goers, you should know the boardwalk’s shops, arcades and amusement areas absorb a significant amount of traffic. We visited during one of the busiest times of the year and found the crowd evenly dispersed along the three-mile boardwalk. My kids had ample space to create sandcastles and forts in the sand.

Keep in mind we arrived in Ocean City during a tropical storm warning. Driving rain, powerful wind gusts that were strong enough to knock me off my feet and some rather extreme waves greeted us. As with any vacation, travelers should keep in mind inclement weather is always a possibility and have a “Plan B” set in case sun-bathing and riding the waves are not options.

Stormy skies upon our arrival in Ocean City

Fortunately, the weather continued to improve and the next morning we awakened to a clearing sky and partial sunshine.

As a tropical storm moved away from Ocean City, MD and the sky continued to clear, Kento Matsui watched passers-by arrive at the beach.

I enjoyed my time at the hotel very much. It was wonderful to be able to see the beach from my room and wake up to the smell of sea air. I left the door open at night to let the air in. The beds were very comfortable and I slept well that night. We had our own kitchen where we were able to cook or we were near the boardwalk restaurants if we didn’t want to. We were also oceanfront, so I could walk out onto the beach whenever I wanted. ~ Kento Matsui

As I prepared breakfast in our newly-renovated one-bedroom suite, we planned our day to include a few hours on the beach followed by activities the hotel offers.

There’s no need to toss left-over meals in the trash. Reheat or prepare a quick meal in your guest room.

Don’t forget to take time to relax

 

Any time is “naptime,” whether you’ve been immersed in activities all day or you need a quick recharge. The decor is soothing and relaxed, even for a teenager with boundless energy. 

Newly-decorated rooms are dressed in colors and patterns that are best described as inviting and calming. The pink headboards in our suite remind me of pinkish sand and seashells you’ll find on the Ocean City, MD beaches.


Signature Afternoon Tea, a Photo Op (on the beach), Morning Yoga, and the much celebrated “Pirate” Scavenger Hunt are four of the most popular planned activities at Dunes Manor.

A Tradition of Afternoon Tea

 

Afternoon Tea Dunes Manor Hotel & Suites
Mrs. Conner’s welcomed guests each afternoon for tea. The tradition continues decades later. The staff keeps the tea and silver cookie trays well-stocked. 

One of Mrs. Conner’s signature events that have endured for years is Afternoon Signature Tea. Her goal was to mingle with and also encourage interaction among her guests. Wherever you roam during your stay, be sure to set your alarm for 3 p.m. and make your way back to Dunes Manor for tea time.

Afternoon Tea at Dunes Manor
Even after the crowd has thinned, the staff at Dunes Manor keep the tea and coffee piping hot as they diligently restock the silver trays with chewy, delicious cookies.

Afternoon Photo Op?

 

Family Photo Op Dunes Manor
Preserve family memories in a photo you’ll cherish forever.

Chances are you are the photographer in charge of capturing your family vacations. Is someone in your family left out of a prized vacation photo? What if you could preserve those precious memories with the entire family present? Dunes Manor has a professional photographer available for a family photo or couples’ photo op. Inquire about the date and time when you book your stay at the hotel.

Dunes Manor Summer Photo Op
A professional photographer is at your disposal during the summer afternoon photo op.

The hotel offers a one-hour window for families to meet on the beach and the most current package includes a free 5″ x 7″ or telescope photos with the Atlantic Ocean as the backdrop.

Imagine years from now when you find this photo.

“Be” a MORNING person at the beach

 

Sunrise Ocean City beache
Why waste a glorious morning? Set your alarm so you’ll awaken before the sun begins to rise. Roll out of bed and come to the beach for a morning walk and experience why a sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean is a spectacular event. 

Good Morning, Beach

 

Dunes Manor Review Joan Matsui
Shown after sunrise, Yoshi Matsui was ready for a walk on the beach. He discovered his “peace and quiet” before heading back to the hotel for breakfast.

Dunes Manor was exciting. When I was there (in August), I wanted to go to the beach every day. The waves were big, (because of a tropical storm) so it was fun to mess around in the water. I also liked the boardwalk because of the varieties of shops and restaurants. The room was fantastic and we had a great view (of the ocean) from our balcony. I also enjoyed the Saltwater Taffy. ~ Yoshihiko Matsui

Usher in your day with “Morning Yoga”

 

 

Morning Yoga Dunes Manor
Do you find yoga invigorating AND relaxing? Dunes Manor offers an opportunity for guests to wake up their senses with free “Morning Yoga.”

Make Yoga a part of your day. Even if you’re not a yogi, a gentle morning stretch can work wonders for a variety of health ailments and prepare you for a day that might include walking along the boardwalk, shopping, or visiting one of the local attractions. Inquire about the yoga and fitness schedule at the registration desk when you check in.

beach yoga
I didn’t need any coaxing to join the morning Yoga class. My gaze was fixed on the waves as I moved through a gentle morning Vinyasa routine.

PIRATE Scavenger Hunt

You never know where you’ll meet a “PIRATE”

 

Quick! Take cover when you meet a Pirate face-to-face in a Dunes Manor corridor.

 

Pirate Scavenger Hunt Dunes Manor
Both young and older scoundrels comb the halls in search of much-coveted treasures.   

The Pirate Scavenger Hunt gets underway in the foyer of the lobby at Dunes Manor. After a quick introduction, kids embark on a mission to uncover treasure hidden throughout the hotel. Parents tag along for support so it’s a safe, fun-filled event. The aim is to meet the pirate character at the last stop of the hunt and collect prizes.

Dunes Manor Travel Information
This young forager selects his prize from a treasure box. 
The “pirate” awaits the children at the last stop of the scavenger hunt. I didn’t participate in the hunt, but I had a chance to watch the children race to the finish line and redeem a prize. And of course, I couldn’t pass on a photo op with the pirate. 

Accolades and Information

 

Dunes Manor Hotel & Suites is rated by TripAdvisor as #6 out of 104 hotels in Ocean City, MD.

Activities are free for hotel guests and local residents are also invited to participate for a nominal fee. No registration or RSVP is required. For more information, contact Tracy Rice (trice@dunesmanor.com, 410.289.1100).

Explore Ocean City

 


My assignment at Dunes Manor Hotel & Suites was comped but my opinions are my own.

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Celebrate National Public Lands Day

  • By
  • September 27, 2017
National Public Lands Day
National Public Lands Day 2016 volunteers show their support by helping park rangers maintain precious land along the Delaware River. Photos courtesy of the National Park Service.

Celebrate the Public Lands You Love

 

One of the best ways to show your appreciation for the rivers and trails you enjoy year-round is to join more than 200,000 volunteers around the country on Sat., Sept. 30, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., as they celebrate National Public Lands Day.  

What is National Public Lands Day?

 

National Public Lands Day is an event organized by the National Environmental Education Foundation to promote enjoyment and volunteer conservation of public lands in the United States. The signature event is held on a Saturday in late September.

2016 National Public Lands Day volunteers lend a hand.

How can you help?

You can get involved and pitch in locally in Northeastern Pennsylvania at the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River. Volunteers are needed to help park rangers with three projects.

  1. Clean up trash from the river while paddling from Narrowsburg, NY to the Ten Mile River Access, NY.
  2. Maintain the Tusten Mountain Trail near the Ten Mile River Access by helping to widen the trail and vista, install trail markers, and remove hazards from the hiking path.
  3. Clear mile-a-minute and other invasive plant species from around the Zane Grey Museum and Lackawaxen Access.

 

National Public Lands Day by Joan Mead-Matsui
Be one of the 200,000 volunteers who pitch in to help maintain U.S. national parks.

National Public Lands Day will kick off at 9 a.m. at the Ten Mile River Access located on Crawford Road, Narrowsburg, NY. Following the kick-off reception, volunteers will be assigned to groups and move to their designated location to begin the projects.

The maintenance sessions will wrap up on a rolling basis as projects conclude.

To register, call 570-729-7134 ext. 220 or email kelleen_lanagan@partner.nps.gov. Additional information can be also be found online at nps.gov/upde.

 

 

 

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