Hi friends! I’m coming to you after a weekend in The Poconos. It was a cold and quiet few days with the family, but a fabulous one nonetheless.
I’ll explain more about why we were there and more information on what Vacation Ownership is in another post, because it’s very intriguing and it requires several paragraphs. As a full disclaimer, Scott and I are owners and the trip was not sponsored in any way. We’re new, however, and we are just starting to learn how everything works to book trips and use rewards with the program. So just know that more on the subject is coming down the road!
For today, let’s keep things simple and enjoy some highlights from our two-night stay in The Poconos Mountains with Club Exploria.
The funniest part about visiting The Poconos Mountains is that I first heard about it on an episode of Friends. You know, The One With The Dozen Lasagnas, when Rachel plans to go to The Poconos with Paolo and he has trouble saying the phrase. It’s been a popular location for New Yorkers to vacation, as it’s the outdoorsy escape from the city in under a two hour’s drive.
We have yet to visit the area outside of the winter time, so we’re looking forward to going back and exploring much more than we were able to in freezing temperatures. A lot of what the area is known for includes activities like hiking, biking, horseback riding, golfing, fishing, zip lining, tubing, and more that is always a little better in desirable weather.
That said, any time out of New York City can be great from time to time. It’s nice to take break from the crowded streets, loud noises, and traffic everywhere. Our trip can be best summed up by plenty of lounging by the fireplace, a few meal outings, and a hike that we were not prepared for whatsoever. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
First, here’s a few snapshots of our first night in.
We checked in to our Owner’s Orientation stay (a free two-night trip included in our membership) right before the sunset on Friday evening. The two-bedroom villa could use some updating, but it was a cozy little space with a fireplace and great views.
I can only imagine how beautiful it is in the fall with foliage all around.
We hung in for a bit and researched some nearby restaurants. There wasn’t a ton to do this time of year, but again, that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing for us city folk. We lounged and then got dressed for a casual dinner at Alaska Pete’s.
The menu had quite the variety, as the restaurant specializes in BBQ, Steak, and Seafood. We shared a few dishes, had a round of drinks, and thoroughly enjoyed our dinner next to live piano tunes!
Skyler had a great time, but the highlight of his night was definitely the bubble bath in our ridiculously large jet jacuzzi bathtub. It was so cute and hilarious.
We all turned in for the night shortly after that and took our time waking up early on Saturday morning. We grabbed breakfast (for an excellent price, by the way) at a local diner and drove around for a while to explore before our meeting at the resort mid-afternoon.
Scott likes to call it “getting lost”, and he will legitimately drive around for hours at a time without a destination in order to see new places. I like it to an extent, but I ask for stops along the way to break it up. After a half hour of aimlessly driving, we pulled over and found a hiking trail nearby that peaked our interest. We originally wanted to see Bushkill Falls, but pulled up disappointed to learn that it was closed for the winter.
A hike it was, and we made a quick pit stop on the way. We saw a cute general store in the town of Shawnee, and there was an adorable wine tasting corner that I took advantage of while Scott stayed in the car with a napping Skyler.
Realizing that we better stay on schedule, we drove to the Appalachian Trail and ended up on the Blue Dot Trail that took us to the Water Gap Point. It’s located right near the Pennsylvania/New Jersey state line and is a part of the Worthington Forest.
I’m still not exactly sure what trail we took, or how we managed to hike for more than four miles. The Blue Dot Trail says it’s 1.8 miles point to point, but when you get to the overlook at the Water Gap, you have to take the Red Dot Trail back which is not easy.
In fact, it’s recommended that you take the Red Dot up to the top, then take the Blue Dot back down, as the rocks get really steep and are easier to navigate going up. Welp. We found that out after the fact, and I wouldn’t recommend anyone to follow our footsteps of doing it completely backwards.
The scenes were absolutely stunning!
But there were definitely scary moments of the hike that made me want to opt for more of a strolling course the next time around. (Yikes.)
I consider myself to be a decent hiker, but it’s another ball game when the temperature is below freezing, it starts snowing, and you’re wearing a toddler. Thank goodness for Scott because there’s no way that I could have gotten us down that mountain without him.
But then again, it was his suggestion to take the trail in the first place. My instincts told me to turn around about a half hour into the Blue Dot adventure, but I finally agreed to embrace the adventure and let that go.
I will say that the views were incredible!
But I think we’ll stick to the easier trails next time with a toddler in tow. He definitely deserved all of the juice and treats after that outing.
We hurried over to the resort and then drove around looking for dinner. We stumbled upon a hibachi restaurant called Ichiban in Stroudsberg, and it was a good spot. I think it’s fun to meet and talk with people at hibachi tables. You end up chatting about the activity (and live fire) in front of you during the dinner, and the conversations never disappoint.
Skyler had a blast, but he was tired after a full day of activities. We made a stop at a local Walmart on the way home to stock up on everyday necessities (at a bargain, I might add), which is something that we don’t get to do without owning a car in Brooklyn! It’s oddly satisfying.
It was a low-key kind of weekend, but that was exactly what we hoped for. Until next time, Poconos!
All right. I better get going, as we are currently packing up and getting ready to leave for the airport. We will be in Houston for the week, and I’m am excited about the warmer weather calling us. Scott has some work down there, and we are really looking forward to seeing his sister and her family as well. As usual, you can follow along on my social pages, and I’ll be sure to recap the highlights here, too.
Thank you for stopping by today and I’ll catch you back here later this week!
Questions of the Day
- Have you ever visited The Poconos?
- Any interesting or funny hiking stories?