Winter Vacation Ideas Near the Pocono Mountains



Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, surrounded by tree-covered peaks, waterfalls, hiking trails and lakes, are teeming with exciting activities. Although some travelers consider the Poconos a summer destination, the area is packed with winter activities, like tubing and ice fishing. Whether you’re cozying up indoors enjoying a spa getaway or skiing and enjoying the fresh air, this is an ideal destination for the long, cold winters our region is known for.

109 River Birch Lane, Hawley; https://www.thelodgeatwoodloch.com

The Lodge at Woodloch has two locations: The Woodloch is very family friendly with the included activities and food reflecting this. The other, the Lodge at Woodloch and where we stayed, is adults only and known to be a spa destination. The rooms include an extremely comfortable memory foam bed and a patio overlooking the deer and forest trails outside, but the real draw is in the amenities. Guests have access to spa rooms whether or not a treatment is booked. The spa’s Aqua Room features a two-story whirlpool with waterfalls, a huge indoor pool, and an outdoor Jacuzzi overlooking the grounds. There are rooms for quiet relaxation, a Snow Room – a place to sit and cool off, believed to help fight inflammation – and a pink Himalayan sea salt sauna. In addition to the spa, the lodge offers a variety of classes ranging from water aerobics to cocktail making, some at a slightly additional cost usually around $30, but many are included with a stay. The whole experience is relaxing and calming. Customers just walk around in their gym clothes or their bathrobes and slippers, and that’s perfectly acceptable.

To eat

A meal at the Tree, the restaurant associated with the Lodge at Woodloch in Pennsylvania.

Photos by Jessica Kelly

The Shaft, 109 River Birch Lane, Hawley

The Tree, the restaurant adjoining the Lodge, offers lunch and dinner specials daily, and the menus are constantly changing. Breakfast includes everything from omelets and French toast to quick options like a toasted bagel or fresh fruit. Lunch features soup of the day, like cauliflower and garlic, with access to the salad bar, and entrees like mahi-mahi fish tacos or Korean beef rice bowls. Dinner is always exquisite, and includes a salad dish, an appetizer of your choice like lobster sliders or bao rolls, and an entrée — from Chilean sea bass rack of lamb — finished with dessert.

Wallenpaupack Brewing Company, 73 Welwood Ave., Hawley; https://www.wallenpaupackbrewingco.com

Hawley has some amazing breweries where you can grab a pint and some casual food. At Wallenpaupack, they often have fun flavors mixed in with traditional options like Hawley’s Comet IPA packed with citrus notes or jalapeño cream beer made with jalapeño-infused honey from Lukan’s Farm, also in Hawley. The menu includes pub-friendly options like the beer cheddar soup made with Hawley hefeweizen or the crispy chicken sandwich.

Cora’s 1850 Bistro, 525 Welwood Ave., Hawley; https://www.facebook.com/Hawleyburra/

1850 Bistro de Cora has a menu full of casual options to warm you up like sandwiches, wraps and burgers. Ribs and duck are on deck, if you’re looking for more substantial options. Discover their stuffed mushrooms with chunks of crabmeat or the coconut shrimp with a horseradish piña colada sauce. Warm up with a big bowl of French Onion Soup or snack on Messed Up Fries with nacho cheese, tomatoes, banana peppers, onions, bacon and spicy ranch.

Activities

Paralympian alpine skier Tyler Carter descends the slope at Camelback Ski Resort in Tannersville with Ava McEntirer, 12, of West Chester, left, and Madison Hahs, 10, of West Grove, Chester County.

Paralympian alpine skier Tyler Carter descends the slope at Camelback Ski Resort in Tannersville with Ava McEntirer, 12, of West Chester, left, and Madison Hahs, 10, of West Grove, Chester County.

MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle vi/MediaNews Group via Getty Images

Tubing and Skiing

Camelback Resort; 193 Resort Drive, Tannersville; camelbackresort.com


Ski Big Bear at Masthope Mountain; 192 Karl Hope Blvd, Lackaxen; https://www.ski-bigbear.com

There are quite a few places to go tubing and skiing in the Poconos, Woodloch being one of them (in addition to other unique year-round activities like archery or throwing of ax). However, if visitors are willing to drive about an hour to Camelback Resort, you’ll be entitled to the home of America’s largest snow tubing park with over 40 lanes as well as ski runs. A closer option, just 15 minutes from The Lodge at Woodloch, is Ski Big Bear at Masthope Mountain.

Ice Fishing at Lake Wallenpaupack

Fishing isn’t just for summer. Wallenpaupack Lake is known for having some of the best ice fishing in Pennsylvania. You’ll need to get a Pennsylvania fishing license for anyone 16 and older, but once you do, you’ll have access to a variety of fish under inches of ice (check the ice level to make sure that it is thick enough). On this lake, expect to come across perch, largemouth bass, trout and more.

Pocono Outdoor Adventure Tours; 1234 Long Pond Road, Long Pond; https://www.poconooutdooradventuretours.com

Even during the winter months, you can enjoy hiking through the snowy trails in all-terrain vehicles. Check out Pocono Outdoor Adventure for guided tours available all week, all winter long. Drivers will speed through the forest for approximately one hour, following the guide as the group rides over dirt, mud and snow.

Purchases

There are several stores in the Hawley Silk Mill.

There are several stores in the Hawley Silk Mill.

Photos by Jessica Kelly

The Hawley Silk Mill (8 Silk Mill Drive, Hawley) was once a silk and textile mill, and antiques center before its current iteration, now filled with a few local shops and The Looking Glass Art Gallery. Visitors can stroll through some of the local shops before crossing the street to Cocoon Coffee House for lunch or a snack. Scattered throughout the Hawley area are antique shops to browse for vintage goodies. Check out the Hawley Antique Exchange (209 Bellemonte Ave.), Miss Elly’s Antiques & Such (518 Church St.), and Time Machine Antiques (229 Main Ave.) to get started.

Thanks to the Lodge at Woodloch for hosting me.


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