This was the view from our room during our weekend at Skytop Lodge last weekend – gorgeous! We packed up the kids and headed off for a much needed weekend away and found ourselves not wanting to come home!
Skytop Lodge has to be one of the best kept secrets in our area … nestled on 5,500 acres in the Poconos Mountains – visiting this historic property was like going back in time to when life was just simpler ( ha ha, I almost felt like I was on the movie set of Dirty Dancing). It was a wonderful experience to share with our children .... I slower paced and family oriented time for sure. The lodge itself is a stately stone building that opened in 1928 and still boasts many original features, like the lighting fixtures in the grand Pine Room, the original working elevator and the gorgeous woodwork throughout. A historical all-inclusive style lodge packed with lots to do!
Lodging – We stayed in the King mini-suite on the third floor and found our room to be much more spacious than I was anticipating. It offered a comfortable pillow top king bed, pull out sofa and we had room to fit a rollaway bed too. The rooms do offer many of the amenities you’d expect, like a Keurig coffee maker, blow dryer and ironing board (sorry, no mini-fridge). Keeping in mind that this is a historic structure, the bathrooms are on the smaller side, but are clean and offer everything you need. There are several other lodging options that include the cottages and the lakeside …… providing a bit more room and privacy for a group or family. However, my kids really enjoyed staying in the Main Lodge and having everything so close. We probably would take advantage of the 2nd room at 1/2 off for the kiddo's next time! They loved exploring the lodge, including the secret passage in the library, the lookout tower and especially loved the original Otis elevator, complete with the pull gate and original floor buttons which offered quite a bit of entertainment for them!
Entertainment – Speaking of entertainment, I was concerned that we may not have enough to do at Skytop, being that we went between seasons – but quickly realized that we would want MORE time in order to take part in everything that was offered! For the outdoor enthusiasts, this is heaven. There are miles of hiking and biking trails surrounding the property and many of them include gorgeous waterfalls and scenic mountain vistas! My family is not what you would consider much for outdoor activities, but once I finally got them out on the trails, they did not want to come back, true story. Each turn on the trail provided more beauty!! We made time for some adventure too, and reserved a time to check out the Tree Tops Adventure course – this course is open to the public and fills up quickly, so I was glad to have made the advance reservations! Tree Tops offers a 3 hour tour that includes suspended obstacle course and 7 zipline adventures …. I can still feel the muscles I didn’t know I had! Keep in mind that participants must be at least 10 to participate and have an arm reach of 5’11” or greater! Our guide, Kevin, helped us get through the tough spots and made it so much fun – we can’t wait to go back! While at the Adventure Center, we were intrigued by the Dog Sledding Adventure pictures and were thrilled to find out they had an opening the next morning – mostly because we were in between seasons – I hear it books up fast in the Winter! My girls are complete dog lovers and the idea of being pulled by these Iditarod pups was something we all looked forward to. How do they do it without snow, you may ask? During the off season, you pile into an ATV and get pulled along a breathtaking trail along the water. With the weather being under 55 that morning (actually it was only 27 … in APRIL!), it was perfect conditions for the dogs. Thankfully, Kim and Jean brought along some extra blankets and jackets to share before we embarked on our journey. It was more than a fun ride, it was also very informative and educational for us all! Kim Darst,, is actually the FIRST NJ Iditarod team to run the Alaskan Ididarod in 2009 (http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/03/iditarod_musher_kim_darst_choo.html). She is planning to head back in 2015 … you’ll have to watch for her name! There was lots of educational tidbits for the kids to soak up and plenty of cuddle and photo opps with the dogs! A highlight of our weekend for sure.
My husband took the kids fishing in the well-stocked lake, while I took some time alone to sit in a rocker on the South Porch and enjoy a good book! Since the weather was so cool outside on this particular weekend, my kids were happy to have some down time in the Indoor Pool, and Dan was happy to soak his Tree Tops Adventure Course bones in the hot tub! Before dinner, we found time to play some putt putt golf and explore the reptile display. Had it been less windy, we would have tried our hand at Archery and Lawn Bowling, we’ll have to save the Rock Climbing wall and Mountain Bikes for our next trip! I also had time to check out the arm sculpting class and take part in the History Walk to learn more about Skytop – fascinating! Though we did make time for the gorgeous trails – next time we will check out the on-site naturalist that offers several guided hikes each weekend, including bird sighting, egg hunting and general sightseeing!
Tradition – So my kids thought that I was bringing their “good” clothes because I just wanted them to look nice …. Ha ha. As it turns out, Dinner in the Winchester Room REQUIRES you to dress! (Breakfast and lunch are much more relaxed) For dinner, Men must wear jackets and women and children are to dress along the same lines, with no jeans, sneakers or sweats for the kids. Sounded like a pain to pack, but this was likely one of the BEST things about our stay. It turned Dinner time into an EVENT and time for us all to enjoy each other (There was also a rule to have no cellphones or electronics in the dining room, brilliant!). Skytop prides itself on keeping its traditions alive, and offering the Full American Dining Plan is one of them …. Allowing families to enjoy 3 meals a day together was something we had never experienced before in our travels. The fun continued after dinner on Friday night with a live Jazz band, dancing and a chocolate fountain in the main Pine Room. Saturday evening brought everyone out for the Skytop Orchestra and ballroom dancing for the Adult crowd (they actually offered “lesson’s” earlier in the day so nobody would feel left out!) – I hear that most Saturdays they top of the night with a historic Grand March – I heard lots of stories about this fascinating and fun event …. I’m certain we will have to participate on our next trip!
Dining - As I'd mentioned, our 3 daily meals were included in our stay and what a joy this was. I actually was depressed when I had to come home and not see our favorite servers each day. Breaksfast started off with a buffet of your usual favorites, including fresh fruit and pastries. There were all the breakfast options you can imagine, including made to order omelettes. Lunch allowed you to order from a menu of things like soup/salad and cheesesteak hoagies, fish and chips and of course a kids menu -- don't forget the dessert! On the days we had plans to hike or check out the other adventures - we simply informed our servers the prior day and they prepared a customized box lunch for us to take along! Dinner was the best, with a changing menu each night. The first night we ordered New York strip steak, potatoes and asparagas (the names on the menu were much more enticing than I can remember, but you get the idea). I also enjoyed Salmon and Sea Base on my other nights. Each meal included a personal appetizer, choice of soup or salad, the main course and dessert. Their was also a bar server (extra) that came around to suggest the perfect wine pairings with each meal! The kids eyes were sooo big when they realized that, YES, of course you can get dessert AGAIN each night. There was never a time we got hungry on this trip. Boy, do I miss our friends in the Dining Room -- a special shout out to Mason, Brandon and Denise for their outstanding service -- they truly helped make our weekend the BEST it could be! Of course, if you DID happen to get hungry -- there are a couple spots, not included in the meal plan that offered eateries. The Pub offered excellent wings and the Tea Room has the best milkshakes, EVER!
Theme Weekends – As I already had mentioned, Skytop is a destination you’ll want to enjoy over and over – they give you even more reason to visit with their special Themed Weekends. For example, the Mother’s Day / Anniversary Weekend coming up that celebrates Mom AND the 85th Anniversary of Skytop – sure to be enjoyable with the special Mom’s Day Sunday Jazz Brunch, costume parties and dancing with this Gatsby-themed weekend. For the Photographer and Outdoor enthusiasts – there is Skytop’s Photography and Bird-Watching weekends. For the golfer, you’ll enjoy the special savings offered in the month of May on their Mulligan package! (http://pennsylvaniakidsguide.com/coupon.php?bid=11099&lid=13972&dealid=1169®ionid=208) and don’t forget Dad with a chance for him to experience and enjoy a multitude of activities – including a jump from 14,000 high airplane! Aside from the Theme Weekends, Skytop offers countless activities all summer long, including their lakeside butlered picnics, lake swimming and inflatables and so much more! Winter brings a whole new experience with their included skiing and ice skating activities! My girls are Titanic Lovers …. I’m thinking a Titanic Themed weekend would be a dream come true – we’ll have to put that one in the suggestion box!
Whatever it is you are looking for in your time away, I’m certain you will find it at the Skytop Lodge, no matter the season! We wish we lived closer so that we could enjoy this unique property more often, but guarantee we will return soon!
For more information – contact Skytop Lodge at 877-289-9552 or visit www.skytop.com