Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Lodge at Woodloch: a destination spa

Woodloch is set on 75 pristine wooded acres with a 15-acre private lake. Kayaking lessons are available after May 1st of each year.
by Gail Karr

Living as I do on this small island in the Northeast Corridor called Manhattan, I often forget what it is like to venture out in to what I like to call the Four Seasons – not the restaurant or the hotel, but the great wide world.

I’m not a cold weather person despite New York being my home, and it was often a struggle for me to venture out to meetings this past winter. Which brings me to The Lodge at Woodloch. It was called to my attention by Marcy Walsh, one of their account managers.

Marcy called me on a brutal and bitterly cold day last January, just when I was thinking of the tropics to take my mind off the freezing reality around me. When I mentioned this, she said, “when you visit the Lodge at Woodloch, you never have to go outside if you don’t want to."

Hmmm. 90 minutes from NYC. Two and half hours from New York, three from Philadelphia, four and half hours from Boston. Certainly convenient.

My winter was too busy to make the trip, but I was persuaded to find a few days during an unseasonably chilly weekend last May. I must say I was surprised to find that The Lodge as a luxury destination spa would be an awakening during any season -- Spring, Summer, Autumn, or Winter.

From Snowshoe trails, to bonfires and barbecues, speaker seminars, cooking classes; a world class assortment of seasonal spa treatments, art classes; a full gym and ... constant exercise: yoga, as well as meditation classes through the day.

I have stayed at many spas in the United States but the Lodge at Woodloch is one of the finest full service spas I've come across. It offers complete spa programs, treatments, outdoor adventure, and even golf lessons. And it’s located in the pristine mountain environment of Northern Pennsylvania.

Marcy was right – you never have to leave the Lodge if you don’t want to – but I found I did want to. Because, fortified with the relaxation and energy and rest provided by their programs, I wanted to get out there and enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature. And only 90 minutes from the concrete, glass and steel canyons of Manhattan. Here's a photo diary of my short and sweet stay.
The property features 58 simple but elegant guest rooms and suites. All rooms have a veranda.
A simple walk around the property is a wonderful way to experience the fauna and flora.
The room was comfortable with a little porch looking onto the forest. I slept like a baby.
The Lodge at Woodloch, a $42 million plus luxury destination spa, opened in June 2006. There is an indoor pool, whirlpool, steam room, and sauna. The spa is tastefully appointed with creamy stonework and lovely landscaping. The women's locker room is fully equipped (and even includes a personal hair brush), and it is immaculate.
The whirlpool outside the spa.
The indoor pool and whirlpool.
The sauna and steam rooms..
The immaculate women's locker room.
The entire staff was genuine and friendly. We participated in a yoga and ballroom class and found the instructors to be energetic, enthusiastic and helpful. The gym was fully stocked with excellent equipment.
Got-a-hoop with Kelly Curtis. Zumba with Cindy Wasilewski.
Gym instructor Aaron.
Dining is a treat at Tree, The Lodge's restaurant. Executive chef Peter Schott offers choices to meet every dietary preference, and changes the menu continually to ensure a variety of selections. Seasonal menus often feature herbs and vegetables grown in the chef's garden located near the entrance of the property.
Before dinner I enjoyed a scotch on the outside patio. The lodge had the fire pit burning and supplied guests with blankets as we watched the beautiful sun set.
The Chef's Garden.
Breakfast on day 1 consisted of a spinach and mushroom omelet with healthy grain toast and seasonal greens. I couldn't resist a little butter. And a side of yogurt and fresh fruit.
Breakfast on day 2: an egg white omelet with tomatoes and onion, whole wheat toast, and a wonderful cup of fresh brewed coffee.
Soup and a salad for lunch.
Fresh Spinach salad with shaved Parmesan.
Bison burger with gruyere and caramelized onions. A side order of fresh chips, fruit ice tea. Delicious.
Each Day a different class was offered in art and cooking. I took part in the cooking demonstration, a chef-hosted event that took place in the state-of-the-art kitchen.
Hanging out in the Reading Room and listening to the local talent before dinner on another evening.
The fully stocked bar.
The dining room. Most guests dressed casually for dinner and wore spa robes to breakfast and lunch.
A set of three oversized CHAKRA bowls at the main entrance, "which when rung create sounds and vibrations that resonate within the individual, setting the tone for the rest of your stay."
The great outdoors: hiking at 6AM, kayaking on the property's private lake, fishing for (and catching and releasing!) a Sunfish. During the warmer months many guests take advantage of Kayaking excursion on The Delaware River.
The Lodge at Woodloch
109 River Birch Lane
Hawley, PA

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