Good morning from the snowy Pocono Mountains! We’re being hosted this weekend by The Inn at Pocono Manor, and it’s so festive and Christmassy here. They’re all decked out for the holidays, and every view out every window is snow-covered mountains and trees and stone buildings.
When we were invited to experience the resort and their holiday festivities, our only free weekend was this one, the last full weekend before Christmas. I debated the wisdom of leaving town at such a busy time of year, but I’m so glad we did. It was really nice to get away from the hustle and bustle and focus on my family for a few days. Responsibilities can wait; making memories can’t, amIright??
Yesterday morning, we woke up to freshly falling snow, and the kids were ecstatic. The teenagers opted to sleep in while Becca and I bundled up and went out to play. Okay, she played while Paul and I had a snow day outfit photo shoot. Stay tuned for pictures later this week!
The Pocono Manor Resort was established in 1902, and it definitely has the old world charm of days gone by. It’s fondly known by locals as “The Grand Lady of the Mountains” and was accepted to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997 and is a Registered Historic Landmark.
There are 240 guest rooms and suites decorated in period style. They put us up in a spacious Main Manor Deluxe with 2 double beds and a pullout sofa, which was perfect for our family of five. The bathroom is on the smallish side, and it has a large pedestal sink rather than a vanity, but it was fine for our short stay. Also of note, there is no coffee maker in the room, but they do have complimentary coffee in the lobby, starting at 6AM.
The Inn offers several restaurant options from upscale dining to pub fare to a pizzeria, plus they have a lovely brunch every morning in their Mountain View Dining Room. We enjoyed all of these dining options at one time or another during our stay. Our favorite was the brunch. The buffet offerings were extensive, and everything was delicious. Windows line the room on three sides with gorgeous views of the mountains.
There are various sitting rooms scattered throughout the Inn, so there’s plenty of space to spread out. I enjoyed my morning coffee by the fieldstone fireplace in the lobby both mornings while my family slept in. On the lower level is an arcade and game room and a family play room. Last night, we wandered down, and there were several families enjoying this extra space to hang out and allow their kids to burn off energy before bedtime.
The Inn is just one of several buildings on the sprawling property. The Ranch at Pocono Manor offers horseback riding, a petting zoo, hayrides, and winter sleigh rides. The Laurel Spa is also on the property, and my husband actually took advantage of that amenity yesterday afternoon. At the Manor Sports Club, they have ice skating, snow shoeing, snowmobiling, guided ATV tours, and ice/pond/fly fishing. They also have indoor and outdoor pools as well as a Fitness Center.
In milder weather, you can take advantage of their biking and hiking trails and championship golf course. Local attractions include Big Pocono State Park, Mr. Airy Casino, Kalahari Waterpark, and skiing/tubing at Big Boulder and Jack Frost. The Pocono Mountains are definitely an outdoor lover’s paradise. We’ve spent time up here during all four seasons, and there’s always something to do.
We spent some time yesterday at the Kalahari Waterpark, located right next door. (By the way, the Inn provides complimentary shuttle service and from the waterpark.) Our kids had a blast, but I didn’t get any pictures of them in the water. It was pretty crowded, and it is so large and spread out, I had a hard time even finding them, so I ended up hanging out upstairs by the fireplace for most of the time. (My husband was with them, so they were perfectly safe.) I did manage to coerce them into getting a picture together by the big Christmas tree in the lobby on our way out.
It was nice to return to the quiet elegance of Pocono Manor. While this is a great place for families, and there are kids everywhere, it’s not noisy and over-stimulating like the waterpark resorts. We enjoyed the activities over there, but we were happy to come back over here to relax and enjoy our evening in relative peace and quiet.
On our first night here, we all dined at The Exchange, the Inn’s fine dining restaurant. It was quiet and easy to carry on a conversation, the ambiance is upscale but comfortable, and the service was excellent. They space your courses out quite a bit, so keep that in mind if you’re dining with little ones. Our teenage kids are used to slower-paced meals, and we enjoyed the extra time to relax and visit, but if they were younger and antsy, it could have been stressful.
Last night, our kids opted for an early dinner at the pizzeria, and then they watched a movie in our room while Paul and I hung out in the Lamplighter Lounge. It was hopping last night, and they had live music too, which was fun. It was a different experience than The Exchange, and I’m glad we did both during our stay.
Earlier in the evening, we wandered over to Fireside Hall, a building across from the Inn, for their Magical Fireside Christmas.
This event is geared to younger kids than mine, but there’s lots to do, and the children we saw seemed to be having a blast. There were opportunities to make Christmas ornaments and other holiday-themed crafts, decorate cookies, write letters to Santa, feed Rudolph and the team, and visit Santa and Mrs. Claus at their workshop (great photo opp!) There’s also a fun hot chocolate bar (and a specialty liqueur menu for adults.) Make sure you bring a new unwrapped toy to donate to Marine’s Toys for Tots.
Another fun holiday amenity they offer is Elf Turndown Service, available on the weekends to overnight guests during the month of December. One of Santa’s helpers visits your room, brings milk and cookies, and reads a holiday story to the kids. This year, they also started offering Breakfast With Saint Nick every Sunday from December 1st through the 18th. FYI, both the Elf Turndown Service and Santa’s Breakfast are exclusively for overnight guests.
My kids have aged out of some of these activities, but I think it’s refreshing, in the age of animated everything, to see children enjoying some good old-fashioned family fun.
We’re leaving in a bit and we’ll suddenly be back to life… back to reality… but we’ve definitely enjoyed our little winter weekend escape at Pocono Manor Resort. I’m so glad we made the time to do this, and I’m grateful for the opportunity.
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Our meals and accommodations were provided by the Inn at Pocono Manor in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.