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“Hail Caesar” at Villa Roma

  • By
  • September 19, 2017
Villa Roma by Joan Matsui Travel Writer

 Old-World European Charm 

 

Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center

 

Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Villa Roma Resort, 356 Villa Roma Road, Callicoon, NY is a hot spot for Catskill entertainment and lodging. Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui, travel writer, photographer, and videographer

Getaway from city life and EXPLORE 

 

Have you arrived at a destination knowing from the get-go you’ll have an extraordinary stay?

My first impression of Villa Roma Resort & Conference Center was “lively.” That’s a characteristic I look for when I first step foot on a resort property.

Upon my arrival, vehicles were lined up, as guests loaded and unloaded their luggage. Even in late winter, a time of the year many resorts refer to as the “slow season,” the lobby was bustling with activity.

Caesar Night – a sight to behold and cherish

 

Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
A group of senior citizens found plenty of time to catch up at “Caesar Night,” an evening dedicated to fine Italian cuisine and culture.

After spending an afternoon reminiscing in the lobby, the seniors reconvened for Caesar Night that evening. As I entered the main dining room, the maitre d’ was leading the crowd in a celebration of Italian cuisine and ancient culture. They chanted, “Hail Caesar,” as I discovered a most of the crowd was decked out in garb straight out of the Roman Empire.

Caesar Night is a Thursday night ritual at Villa Roma, marked by a seven-course feast prepared by Chef Peter Selthafner. An appetizer, choices of soup or pasta, salad, selections of entrée and a variety of scrumptious desserts are extremely popular among guests who want to take the time to relax and truly savor each course. When is the last time you devoted 90 minutes to casual dining and conversation?

The Regal Dining Room (located on the third floor of the resort’s new main building) is a perfect setting for Caesar Night and unhurried meals. You’ll find the decor – shades of rich blue and gold, decorative hand painted wall murals and large ceiling fixtures are the ideal backdrop for an Italian-themed meal.

Breakfast IS a BIG DEAL 

 

Begin your day with breakfast prepared YOUR way. A bowl of fresh fruit arrived at my table, along with a cup of decaf coffee, shortly after I was seated at a table by the window. Service was consistently top-notch during my 24-hour visit to Villa Roma.

Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Fresh fruit was a sweet beginning to my breakfast.

Villa Roma is ideally situated in New York State’s Catskills’ region. The mountains and countless acres of greenery that surround the resort are a draw for the thousands of guests who visit the Catskills each year in pursuit of hiking, fishing, and skiing opportunities. Abundant activities and a friendly atmosphere keep guests coming back year after year for nearly six decades.

Dining options:

The Main Dining Room, The Beechwoods Restaurant, Beechwoods Grill, Roman Garden Cafe, Dolce’s Ice Cream Parlor, Coffee Bar (new) and Pool Grill

Villa Roma by Joan Matsui Travel Writer
The decor is vibrant, with plenty of space in the common areas for guests to meet.

History 

 

In the fall of 1969, Martin Passante became the sole owner and by 1973, construction of the lobby and “Future” wing was underway. Prior to 1977, the resort was largely still a seasonal escape for guests but by the 1970s, the focus had shifted to year-round activities. Guests could still count on personalized service and made-to-order food but golf and planned activities were an added draw.

You can get your hands on a copy of the entertainment schedule, brochures highlighting upcoming events and special deals when you check in at the registration desk. Additional information is available when you download the “Good Times Newsletter.”

Always plenty to do

 

The Villa Roma guests see today has grown from an old-fashioned guest hotel with 46 rooms, 10 cottages, a pool, and two bocce courts to 24 timeshare buildings and 139 hotel rooms. Yet, the attention to details and outstanding customer service have not been sacrificed to accommodate more than 200,000 guests each year.

Recreational opportunities are plentiful. Golf enthusiasts can play a round at the resort’s 18-Hole PGA Championship golf course or get their tennis fix on the indoor and outdoor tennis courts. You’ll also find racquetball, volleyball, bocce, shuffleboard, basketball, indoor and outdoor heated pools, a fun park, fishing pond, Go-Carts, bumper boats, an arcade room, bowling alley, and fitness center. Villa Roma also offers nightly entertainment and three year-round dining outlets.

Regardless of the season or temperature, fishing and fly fishing are year-round sports enjoyed throughout the Catskills, but if fishing isn’t for you, follow this link to find a complete list of activities to pursue near Villa Roma.

Fishing news and the best locations to fish can be found here at dec.ny.gov/docs/fish_marine_pdf/pfrnbcalicon.pdf

Accommodations

 

The two-bedroom efficiency can accommodate up to six guests, with plenty of room to move around.

In addition to two large bedrooms, one with a king bed and the second with one queen bed, the living area also offers a pull-out double sofa bed, which is a definite plus for night owls who want to channel surf the flat screen television.

Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Villa Roma Two-Bedroom guest suites offer a kitchen for guests who choose to dine in their rooms. This suite is ideal for family travel.

A kitchen with a full-size refrigerator, stovetop and oven, microwave, and a dishwasher is located adjacent to the living room. The bathroom in this unit is equipped with a separate bathtub and a shower stall, so guests can enjoy a long soak or shower.

Villa Roma also offers a one-bedroom efficiency, one-bedroom suite, deluxe rooms with a private balcony that’s perfect for stargazing or daydreaming; traditional rooms, and lodge rooms located only a short distance from the main building.

Nightlife – Dinner and a show

 

When you’ve finished dinner, where will you find nightlife in the Catskills?

Marty’s Lounge is one of the Villa Roma venues where you can enjoy a late night cocktail, sporting event or a movie on a large screen TV.

Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Hand-clapping or toe-tapping entertainment at Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center
Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Dance the night away with your sweetheart at Villa Roma.
Villa Roma by Joan Mead-matsui
Musician and entertainer Tommy Walker’s evening show at Villa Roma is the icing on the cake. His repertoire includes famous Sinatra and Elvis tunes. Be prepared to sing along with Tommy. 
Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Musician and entertainer Tommy Walker is a favorite for guests of all ages.

Upcoming Events You Won’t Want to Miss

 

You can count on being busy when you book your getaway at Villa Roma. Take a look at the following themed weekends planned for September, October, and November.

 

Murder Mystery Weekend

Fri., Sept. 29 to Sun., Oct. 1, 2017

October 27,28, 29, 2017

November 3-5, 2017

Bethel Woods Special

Book your accommodations at Villa Roma and slip away to the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts for a concert.

 

For more information, visit Villa Roma’s website or call 1-800-533-6767. 


My stay was comped but my opinions are my own.

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Fishing Fishing Destinations Fly Fishing Guide Services Fly Fishing Lodge Lifestyle New York State Fishing New York State outdoor recreation Orvis endorsed destinations Orvis endorsed fly fishing equipment Upstate New York

Family fly fishing fun

  • By
  • December 15, 2016

Family fishing fun in upstate NY. Are you fishing for fun family outdoor vacations?

The Salmon River and Tailwater Lodge

Nurturing a love for the outdoors

 

Family Fly Fishing Fun
Children don’t need fancy gear or expensive equipment to experience fly fishing. A rod, reel, bathing suit and a few flies are all Kento Matsui needed to fish in the Salmon River. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

Plan one summer outdoor family getaway.  

What are your plans for summer vacation?

As the distance between New Year’s Day and the last day of school narrows, time passes in the blink of an eye, or so it seems. Early spring is the ideal time to begin planning family and pet-friendly excursions.

“We’re going where?”

What’s the best way to choose an outdoor-oriented vacation that’s suitable for every family member?

 

That’s simple. The “where shall we go on vacation?” conversation can begin with a brief mealtime discussion. Ask your kids and partner for suggestions. My first choice is typically fly fishing, but I know that’s not tops on my kids’ list of priorities, so incorporate hiking, a kayak or canoe trip, and swimming with fishing.

Nurture your love for the outdoors

Planning vacations that suit everyone’s needs is a challenge. When I arrange family trips, I look for destinations that offer opportunities to connect with nature. Teaching children to respect and ultimately preserve our natural resources requires time, diligence and patience. If we don’t encourage them to venture outdoors, how will they ever find that peace and oneness they can derive from a long hike, summer picnic, or time in the water?

Two years ago, while I was on an overnight fly fishing girlfriend getaway with my friend, Rosangela, I discovered the lush forests of the Upstate New York region, specifically Altmar and Pulaski. It was one of those adventures that can be difficult to describe to someone who doesn’t have a calling to fish or a fondness for the outdoors. One option is to set aside two or more days. The Tailwater Lodge, an upscale Orvis endorsed fishing resort in Altmar, NY, caters to year-round family activities. Their rooms are spacious and family-friendly and the on-site restaurant is particularly convenient and a hit with my kids.

If you’re not a fan of crowds, the best time for families to visit the Tailwater Lodge is from spring until summer’s end. Anglers flock in droves to the Salmon River from the fall through early spring in pursuit of the famed salmon and steelhead, respectively.

Not only will you find meticulously clean, first-class accommodations. The staff caters to its guests’ needs by offering a variety of services to make your visit more enjoyable. Forget about spending those precious hours worrying about what the kids will eat for breakfast or lunch. A complimentary full breakfast is included with each reservation and available each morning bright and early. With advanced notice and an additional charge, the staff will also prepare a picnic lunch for you to bring along on your adventure so you can get out on the water early.

I’m not suggesting this type of vacation is suitable for young children. My sons, for example, are older and are comfortable in the water. They’ve also had swimming lessons. Still, we kept a watchful eye on them and reminded them of the dangers of strong currents and slippery rocks. Water levels can rise quickly, depending on weather conditions and the amount of water released from upstream dams. Consult with the Tailwater Lodge concierge for updates and the best spots to fish.

Family Fly Fishing Fun
Not yet bored with fishing, Yoshi Matsui casts into the Salmon River with his Orvis rod and reel. I bought the combo not knowing if he would ever agree to fish. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

When the kids need a break, the water’s edge and the paths leading from the parking lots to the river can also serve as your outdoor science classroom. During our last trip, we observed a snake (from a safe distance) as it slithered along the shoreline and made its way into the water. Also, be sure to take note of the breathtaking scenery and a variety of indigenous waterfowl and other birds gliding across the sky. Stop for a moment to look for soaring Eagles and nests.

Family Fly Fishing Fun
Always practice safe wading and supervise your children. Water can rise quickly and without warning and some ledges can be steep. Ask about water levels and releases from upstream dams before leaving the lodge.

Be sure to wear a sturdy pair of closed-toe shoes and knee-high socks (or waders) to protect your feet and legs from the insidious poison ivy that grows freely throughout the forests. You might catch a fish (catch and release) but you definitely do not want to bring home blistering and oozing sores from the poison ivy that lines the trails.

Family Fly Fishing Fun
Yoshi Matsui is shown after casting his fly line into the Salmon River. 
Fishing licenses are required for persons 16 and older. Learn more about fees and regulations here at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website.

Salmon River

Family Fly Fishing Fun
Photo courtesy of New York State Department of Conservation

Above all, this post is intended to pique your interest in fishing and provide alternative family vacation ideas. While my second trip to the Tailwater Lodge was sponsored, I returned there with my family because I was so impressed with the accommodations and wanted my family to experience the lodge and the Salmon River.

The Salmon River community thanks you in advance for protecting and helping to preserve the region’s natural resources. Follow all rules and practice catch and release.

 

The Tailwater Lodge is located 52 Pulaski Street, Altmar NY 13302. For more information, follow this link.

Please note my trip to the Tailwater Lodge was comped, but my opinions are my own.


If you’d like to purchase Orvis products prior to your trip, follow this link: Orvis

I will receive a commission from Orvis at no cost to you if you choose to purchase an item using this link.

 

 

 

 

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Lifestyle

Discover your craft beer at ShawneeCraft Brewery

  • By
  • December 3, 2016
craft beer

ShawneeCraft Brewery

Discover new favorites

Seated across from me at The Gem and Keystone Brewpub at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort are two couples. They made a “pit stop” on a quiet, low-key Saturday afternoon to sample craft beer and have lunch – in that order. Food and a cold craft brew go hand-in-hand.

Eavesdropping is ok

Yes, I eavesdropped on their conversation, because I was curious to know which beer they ordered. The man on the far side of the table piqued my curiosity when he asked his friends, “Should we order the sampler?” He was referring to a selection of beer on the ShawneeCraft menu. As I devoured my lunch (an incredible Asian-inspired salad), they indulged in the selections from the ShawneeCraft Brewery.

The Gem is one of Shawnee’s dining locations where you can get your hands on a craft beer that’s hand-made at ShawneeCraft Brewery, an on-site brewpub, located only footsteps away from the inn.  “True to Nature, True to the Craft” is the motto at ShawneeCraft.

What’s on the craft beer menu?

When it’s time to slow down, beer aficionados head to the pub to sample Artisan ales and lagers made with old-fashioned craftsmanship. Biere Blanche, a Belgian-style wheat beer; Session Porter, rich and dark with chocolate and black currant overtones; Session IPA, light in body Helles Lager; Harvest Saison, cloying pumpkin-pie concoction farmhouse-style beer; Imperial Coffee Porter, derived from locally-roasted and freshly-ground coffee from Fieldstone Coffee Roasters (Easton, PA); Raspberry Blanche, with raspberries added to the mix shortly after primary fermentation; and Birra Della Sol, brewed especially for Birra Pizza in Philadelphia, are among the selections.

craft beer
Rhythm & Brews offers guests and visitors a chance to relax while listening to music from a variety of genres.

Whole Food

ShawneeCraft Beers are “whole foods,” that contain the entire nutrient from which they were produced – unfiltered and unpasteurized, and sourced as locally and as organically as possible. According to the Shawnee brew master, they’re produced with no shelf stabilizing agents or chemicals and are brewed in a facility designed to minimize environmental impact and to conserve resources.

Other kinds of food

A jumbo pretzel served with Shawnee Inn Double Pale Ale Triple Play Mustard and four different types of pizza are also on the menu in case you want to grab a quick bite to share with friends. Tap Room hours are Friday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Food is available on Friday and Saturday evening.

Pairing craft beer and live entertainment

craft beer
Singer/Songwriter, Bob Keel, entertains guests on a Fri., Dec. 2, 2016.

 

On Friday night and Saturday night, live entertainment fills the room.  Aspiring vocalists can showcase their talents and mental acuity at Open Mic & Trivia night and then cap off the evening listening to musicians play your favorite tunes during Rhythm & Brews. Saturday night the entertainment continues.

The location is ideal for guests who want to experience Shawnee Inn nightlife without leaving the property, but the Tap Room is also a hub for local residents and Pocono Mountain visitors.

The atmosphere is rustic, as you might expect, and the attire ranges from jeans to business casual.

Brewery and Tap Room Tours are offered on Wednesday through Sunday.

Here’s a clip from a Dec. 2 Rhythm & Brews.

 

 

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Fernwood Resort: Four seasons of family fun

  • By
  • July 15, 2016

Fernwood Resort: creating year-round family experiences

Gina Bertucci: Focus is on family at Fernwood

Activities=Quality Family Time 

 

 

Family fun…Have you taken the time to create lasting memories with your family?

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 awards for being green.

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 zipline 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 something for everyone. 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
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 15 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.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yoga Journey at The Lodge at Woodloch

  • By
  • March 12, 2016
Spa

Tune into your body

Spa
Kimberly Matthew teaches Chakra Yoga at The Lodge at Woodloch.

An award-winning Spa destination offers self-discovery activities

Find your reprieve at The Lodge at Woodloch

Imagine a world-class Spa destination where you can leave your troubles behind.

“Some people need more room in their bodies, some people need more room in their mind. Some students simply need to relax and move at a different pace from everyday life.”

                                   Kimberly Matthew, yoga instructor

Kimberly Matthew’s goal is to turn people on to the world of yoga.

Open level yoga

Matthew teaches beginner to intermediate Chakra Yoga, one of many self-discovery activities offered to guests at The Lodge at Woodloch, an award-winning luxury adult-only Spa destination in the lake region of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

A perfect start to your day

Her morning Chakra Yoga class provides a perfect start to your day and is perhaps the first step on your personal journey to total mind-body revitalization. A large glass window overlooking a portion of the woodland retreat is in and of itself, sedative. Matthew’s class began with moments of meditation to prepare the mind and body for 50-minutes of beginner to intermediate yoga asanas designed to stimulate and balance your energy centers for physical, spiritual and mental wellness.

Focus is on the seven energy center of the body 

Joan Mead-Matsui Tree Pose
Yoga class bright and early

“Chakra yoga focuses on the seven energy centers of the body,” Matthew said, but she also noted, “I think all styles of yoga help people connect with their bodies, their breath, and their energy body.”

Alleviate or eliminate lower back pain

Her personal journey with yoga began when she was experiencing acute sciatica. When different modalities failed to ease the pain, Matthew turned to yoga, which can alleviate or eliminate pain in the lower back and leg associated with sciatica.

Matthew chose teacher training to help other people out of their pain cycles. She completed her training and certification at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, MA, and has been teaching yoga for 18 years to students with dramatic brain injury and Parkinson’s to well, able-bodied people.

“I love to people watch and it helps everyone,” she said. “I even have a dear student who is 94- years-old, who flows through sun salutation and forward bends to grab her big toes. I tell her, ‘Lorraine, I want to be like you when I grow up.”

What are some of the benefits of yoga practice?

Matthew said, “Yoga brings on a sense of well-being by creating awareness, by opening soft tissue so joints move more freely…” and her goal for each class is “to connect with each student individually and give them exactly what they need.”

Students are encouraged to participate at a level that is right for them.

“If they have any pain or discomfort they need to back off and if they have to work at breathing, they need to ease out of the stretch a bit. Some people need more room in their bodies, some people need more room in their mind. Some students simply need to relax and move at a different pace from everyday life,” she said.

In addition to Chakra Yoga, Matthew also teaches several styles of meditation from labyrinth walking to mala meditation and meditation 101.

Visit thelodgeatwoodloch.com for more information.

IMG_9796
A morning yoga class at The Lodge at Woodloch
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