New York City is not only a magnet for people with a knack for success and penchant for audacious dreams, but also attracts tens of millions of tourists each year. For hundreds of years, entrepreneurs, capitalists and tourists have all played a part in making it arguably the most important city in the world.
Yet, the money-making reputation of NYC is simultaneously its greatest strength and its worst weakness. The Big Apple has no shortage of con artists who will zero in on visitors with shady, but seemingly irresistible offers.
Some tourists opt for hop on hop off bus tour specials as a way of keeping a safe distance between them and potential scammers. Whereas that is prudent, knowing the most common scams can go a long way in making sure you don’t lose your cash and possessions to persons with ill intent. The following are five of the most notorious scams in New York.
Tickets for the Staten Island Ferry
One of the best ways to see New York’s harbor and strike another borough off your bucket list is to board the Staten Island ferry. An iconic feature of daily New York life for years, many lifelong relationships have been established aboard the ferry. Sadly, there’s an elaborate and persistent scam operation that seeks to take advantage of tourists’ eagerness to ride the ferry.
Staten Island ferry has been free since 1997, but the majority of first-time visitors will not know that. Expect to meet street hawkers keen on selling you ferry tickets. They’ll claim that they had bought the tickets, but for some reason, no longer need to board. They’ll purport to sell you the tickets at an attractive discount. Do not pay any attention to them else you’ll end up with a worthless piece of paper.
‘Buy my Music’
This scam started elsewhere, but is now a source of anguish in many parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. A ‘musician’ donning headphones approaches and persuades you to listen to his music. Since you want to be polite, you give in to his request. Shortly thereafter, the ‘musician’ will shove a CD in your hand and pressure you to buy it.
If you insists on not buying, the musician’s demeanor will quickly change and in certain cases, he’ll summon his colleagues to demand that you buy the CD. The end result is you walking away with a music CD you didn’t want and parting with your hard-earned cash in the process. Worse still, the CD might not have any music on it.
Costume Characters in Time Square
Costume characters are at Times Square for much of the day. They range from superheroes and cartoon characters to body-painted denudes. Costume characters can add to the fun of a New York visit and they’ll often ask tourists to pose for photos with them. They expect a tip afterwards, which is only fair.
The scam here is that some costume characters get loud and confrontational if they are dissatisfied with the tip. They know first-time visitors will cough up more cash just to avoid the embarrassment. Always remember that you are under no obligation to tip more unless you had agreed on the value of the tip beforehand.
Of course, not all costume characters are obnoxious extortionists. However, as a tourist, you do not know which ones are honest, so it’s best to stay away.
Whereas anyone riding the subway must always be on the lookout for pickpockets, this is especially important for visitors. Your dressing and disposition can give you away as a tourist and this will make you a prime target for thieves. It’s hard enough keeping an eye on subway pickpockets when you are sober. It’s much worse when you are inebriated.
If you are tipsy, not only will you be vulnerable to conventional pickpockets, but you’ll also be in the crosshairs of ‘lush workers’. Lush workers target sleepy or intoxicated passengers and use a razor blade to cut open pockets and bags. Avoid carrying valuables or significant amounts of cash when using the subway to minimize your losses just in case you fall victim.
Central Park Pedicabs
You’ve probably already seen New York pedicabs online or on television before you arrive. It’s a pretty enticing proposition to sit in a rear cab as a friendly driver pedals around Midtown Manhattan or Central Park explaining the different landmarks in the process. In theory, it’s an awesome way to soak in the sights and sounds of the city.
Unfortunately, this is a ride that can deplete your finances far faster than you had anticipated. It all comes down to the duration of the trip, unclear rates and the presence of extra fees. Pedicabs make exorbitant profits off of tourists.
The city has created certain rules to put a stop to this. This includes the requirement to have a clear sign on the pedicab showing the per minute charge (that’s right, per minute!). The pedicabs move very slowly, so your bill can accumulate rapidly. Stay away from pedicabs, but if you must use them, make sure it is licensed and the pricing is clearly indicated.
New York is not much different from many large cities around the world. Criminals and scam artists will always look for an opportunity to make a quick buck off an unsuspecting tourist. Those visitors who do not take necessary precautions may end up leaving the city without their money and/or personal items. Knowing the most common tricks scammers use will help make your NYC vacation one whose memories you’ll treasure for years to come.
This is a sponsored guest post. The views and ideals expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Mommy Ramblings.Traveling to a different country can be a wonderful, life-changing experience if you stay safe and healthy while you’re away. Dealing with medical issues while you’re traveling can be disorienting, plus being away from home, could leave you wondering what to do. Some advanced preparation will help you keep a level head. Check out the list below for four different ways to handle medical emergencies in other countries.
Look for Low-Level Care
Preparation is one of the best ways to combat any medical issues you might encounter while traveling. Before you leave, do some research to find some local pharmacies to purchase supplies for non-emergency medical issues like scrapes, minor burns, allergies, or to fill prescriptions. Also, be aware that medications may have different names abroad, so know what your prescriptions are called at your destination. Knowing where to go and what to expect when you get there, can help you find the care you need while saving you the cost of going to a hospital.
Consider Costs as a Traveler
If you do end up needing to take a trip to a hospital, it’s important to understand how you’ll be billed as a tourist. Depending on where you’re traveling, a hospital bill could be free, or the most expensive part of your trip, so look into medical costs in the countries you visit. While doing research, make sure to look into whether your insurance plan protects you while traveling. More often than not, you’ll have to pay for medical expenses upfront with the option to file for reimbursement when you get home.
Add Extra Protection
If you feel like your current insurance plan is lacking when it comes to traveling, you may want to consider additional protection in case of a medical emergency. Often, additional protection from providers such as MedjetAssist will offer you extra benefits, like severe weather warnings or emergency translation. When looking for a plan that suits you, consider the risk that comes with the activities you’ll be doing, for a better idea of how much extra security you’ll need. Depending on what you’ve decided, you might want the peace of mind that comes with a travel plan.
Have a Backup Card
It’s always good to have a few different kinds of identification on you when traveling, and it’s no different when it comes to your health. In addition to any IDs you have with you, consider making a card with your medical information on it. This should include things like your doctor’s name and number, any travel insurance you have, emergency contacts, and even things like medication or prescriptions you might be taking. Carrying this card with you could prove helpful in circumstances where you’re incapacitated or can’t get to your documents.
One of the best ways to handle a medical emergency abroad is by being prepared for it. This applies not only to yourself, but also to the people you’re traveling with. Conduct your own research, consider additional protection, and print out your medical information to help you handle medical emergencies while traveling.
This is a sponsored guest post, it does not necessarily represent the views or ideals of Mommy Ramblings.
Even though, we were knee-deep in our entire home renovation project, we managed to go on a quick getaway at the end of August. Fitting in a special trip before school started was just what we all needed. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that Woodloch, the #1 Family Resort in America according to Tripadvisor was just 40 minutes from our house!
From the first moment of our arrival, the staff was so friendly and made our stay so much fun. Woodloch is a true family resort reminiscent of the resort portrayed in Dirty Dancing. In fact, most of the families we met on our trip, return year after year to this pristine Pocono Mountain resort. It is no wonder why, there is so much to do and activities are plentiful for kids and adults of all ages.
The meal plan is spectacular and gets the family around the table 2 or 3 times a day. There is no shortage of food and everything we ate was expertly prepared and delicious. If you have specific dietary needs, all you have to do is let them know.
When you check in, you are assigned a table in the main dining room. That table is yours for the duration of your stay, and you will enjoy all your meals there, unless you chose to eat at one of the other restaurants on site. We had a table in front of the windows overlooking the lake.
As you enter the dining room for each meal there is a character meet and greet. That was a really nice touch and just one of the many things Woodloch does to make their guests feel welcome and entertained. Every morning at breakfast, a new activity sheet is placed on each family’s dining table.
The lake has a thrilling water slide, and our kids had to try immediately after our arrival.
They did allow us to stop off at our beautifully appointed suite that had all the amenities we needed. There are laundry facilities on site, perfect for ensuring you don’t return home with bags of dirty laundry.
Everything is very structured and you can literally be doing something from them moment you wake up until you go to bed. If you prefer, you can lay out by the lake or the indoor or outdoor pool. There is a very nice outdoor splash/wading pool for younger kids and the indoor waterpark type splash zone and slide was another favorite.
The indoor pool and water slide was perfect when one of the days we were there was unseasonably cold. My kids had so much fun in the large indoor pool, splash zone and water slide. Soft, fluffy towels are provided near every pool and by the lake.
Woodloch had terrific entertainment at night. We participated in a “Block Party” on the grounds complete with carnival type games that we could play with the coupons we were given and win prizes.
There were games even little kids could play and win. We saw an amazing Billy Joel cover band that was just phenomenal! The magician and dog trainer put on great shows that entertained kids and adults alike.
We loved walking the grounds from our room to the main dining hall and activities. Woodloch also has shuttles that run all day to transport guests around the property.
They have go karts for bigger kids and adults, as well as Jr. Go Karts my little ones could drive themselves. The Jr. Go Karts were a huge hit. The indoor bumper cars were fun entertainment for everyone in the evening. A pontoon boat tour of Lake Teedyuskung with a boat captain who was a riot, was another highlight.
There is just so much to do! They have the signature Woodloch game of skill throughout the grounds and my husband had to make sure he mastered it before we left. There are kayaks, sailboats, paddleboats and stand up paddle boards that guests can take out on the lake. Bingo games, lawn games, trivia games, mock game shows, arts and crafts and so much more are available to guests.
Bumper boats, petting zoos, a gymnasium where they have fun family activities, an indoor play structure, arcade and more make for very exhausted kiddies at the end of the night. There were so many activities, we did not even get to experience everything. I guess we will have to make another trip there. Now I see why families come back every year.
The resort makes you feel so at home, you do feel like family and returning is like going home again. They do not treat you like a number, their enthusiastic and friendly staff is so genuine and they really take time to get to know you. I cannot believe how lucky we were to have discovered this jewel so close to where we live. My kids are still talking about our time there, and asking when we can go back.
They have lovely gift shops and stores on site, there are other restaurants including a deli. We stopped off at the gift shop and picked up sweatshirts, Woodloch logo toy trucks, coffee mugs, t-shirts and more to remember and celebrate our time there.
Thank you so much to Woodloch for arranging this wonderful and much-needed mini vacation for our family. Erica coordinated our trip and no detail was overlooked. If you are looking for a fun, family resort to spend some quality time with your family, Woodloch should be at the top of your list.
We have more videos on our YouTube Channel and will be adding even more. Check them out, they will give you an up close and personal look at this spectacular family resort. If you have any questions please ask in the comments, I will do my best to answer them, and if I cannot, I will reach out to the staff for you.
If you would like to book your own family getaway at Woodloch, you will not be disappointed. They have fun activities no matter what season you plan to visit. You can learn more and book your stay on their website as well as, connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.
So, what do you think of Woodloch Family Resort? Let me know if you have great Woodloch memories of your own. We certainly created a multitude of memories at Woodloch this past summer!We recently went to Medieval Times in Lyndhurst, NJ for Dinner and a Tournament. My husband had been to Medieval Times in another state years ago but, it was the first time for myself and our kids. We were greeted at the door and given red and yellow crowns which were the color of our knight. After that, we were escorted to our seats and then given a “goodie bag” of special merchandise.
We had great seats at the front of the arena. We sat at a long desk type table allowing us to eat, while not missing any of the action. The waitstaff was great and brought our drinks, soup, main course, dessert and coffee to us. The food is selected so you do not need utensils to eat it. Being able to eat with their hands was a real treat for our kids.
There were also flashing swords and other things you could buy to cheer on your knight. We bought the kids 2 of the flashing LED swords.
When the tournament started all of our eyes were glued to the action. We thought our knight was going to win. Our knight did not win, but he made it to the very last battle. Regardless of the outcome, the evening was still entertaining and fun. Upon exiting the arena, we were able to take photos with the knights as well as buy souvenirs.
After buying some towels and other items, we headed home with great memories. Have you ever been to Dinner and a Tournament at Medieval Times?
As a blogger with the USFG, we received free tickets to Medieval Times. As always my words and views are 100% my own.How is your summer going? We are in the middle of an entire home renovation. Thankfully, we live on a lake so afternoon swims happen daily when the weather is good. We have some small trips lined up for August when things should be mostly completed. Other than that, we are taking day trips and doing what we can, without totally coming unhinged.
Darien Lake is one of the places we are going as a family this summer. Their wide range of entertainment has made it “destination fun” since 1964. That is longer than I have been alive! Darien Lake is located just 45 minutes from Niagara Falls between Buffalo and Rochester, N.Y.
Today the park boasts more than 50 rides, including six world-class roller coasters, dozens of family friendly rides, the regions largest water park complete with a wave pool and 20,000-seat performing arts center. Everything is operated by Live Nation; and world-class in-park entertainment.
The Viper is celebrating its 35th year at Darien Lake. Okay, I am older than the Viper, but not anywhere near as old as Darien Lake.
Click HERE to schedule your visit today! Have you ever been to Darien Lake? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments.
This is a sponsored post, as always my words and views are 100% my own.We have been having a lot of rain lately, so we really lucked out when we picked Saturday, June 3rd for our day trip to Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom. We planned this family trip to celebrate my birthday on the 4th. Originally, I had wanted to go on the fourth and my daughter suggested the third. It was a very good idea, because it was raining buckets on the fourth.
Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom is located in Allentown, Pennsylvania. During the month of June, Dorney Park is joining Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation in their Lemonade Days to help make an impact in the fight against childhood cancer. During their Lemonade Days a portion of the proceeds from online ticket sales will go to the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. To learn more about this great cause click HERE.
Check out the additional Summer Events & Attractions below:
• Coca-Cola Share a Coke – June 9-10
• Father’s Day Beef & Beer – June 18
• Independence Day Fireworks – July 4
• Christmas in July Breakfast with Santa – July 25
• Food Truck Rally – August 26-27
My kids love Dorney Park, my older kids love the roller coasters and thrill rides. My younger ones love Planet Snoopy and so do I! There are rides we all love to go on together as a family like that Road Rally where you get to drive gasoline powered “race cars” on a track. That is a must-do attraction for all of us every time we visit. My son Ethan was so excited to drive all by himself this year!
We have such a blast at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom and make lifetime memories. Check out our video compilation of our day there below.
If you live within driving distance or will be visiting the area, you should seriously consider a visit to Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom. We can’t wait to go again. If you have been to Dorney Park, let me know what you love most in the comments.
This post is sponsored by Blog Meets Brand and Cedar Fair. As always my words and views are 100% my own.We had a very fun and exciting summer and visited many great places. Toward the end of August we went to Lake Placid. Even though we live in New York State, we had never been to Lake Placid. Living in the Catskill Mountains, I was under the impression that the Adirondack Mountains were more or less the same. Living on a lake myself, I just never felt an urgency to travel up that way. I am so glad we did though because it is so very different.
I was truly amazed at how traveling a few hours in my home state brought us to a place that we were in awe of. As my husband and I started getting closer to Lake Placid we were so moved by the beauty of the majestic mountains. I think as we get older, we appreciate the beautiful landscape of our great country more and more. My husband had me snapping photos on the highway. Don’t worry I was not the one driving.
We made our way through the shop lined streets of town to The Mirror Lake Inn. Family owned since the 1930’s this resort has been owned and operated by Ed and Lisa Weibrecht since 1976. Their son Andrew’s Olympic medals hang behind the front desk. The Inn overlooks Mirror Lake and every room has a lake view. There are always freshly baked chocolate chip cookies in the lobby along with coffee and tea.
The staff at the Mirror Lake Inn were so nice. Sandy Caligiore the PR Representative for the resort made sure everything was set up and ready for our arrival and helped us plan our getaway. The staff was there to assist us with anything we needed and were always around to greet us with a smile. We were so grateful for the warm welcome, luxurious accommodations and world-class dining they provided for us during our stay.
Our room was comfortable with a nice sitting area overlooking the lake. Waiting in our room for us was a nice fruit, cheese and cookie plate and 4 Saratoga sparkling waters.
We had dinner at the Taste Bistro our first night and it was fabulous. The menu is full of comfort foods infused with French, German and Italian elements. We started with their signature Fried Brussels Sprouts served with fresh lemon and sea salt. Our boys had the Kilcoyne Farms Burger which is of a half-pound of local beef served on a house-made kaiser roll with house smoked bacon, caramelized sweet onion, lettuce, tomato and NY sharp cheddar cheese.
I had the marinated and Seared Tenderloin Beef Tips served with mashed potatoes, farm vegetables and balsamic onions. My husband had the Kilcoyne Farms Pot Roast made from pasture-raised local beef, caramelized root vegetables, and local potatoes. The atmosphere, food and service was astounding. The boys had Shirley Temples and my husband and I had fresh lemonade. We even shared some chocolate cheesecake with fresh berries for dessert.
The boys wanted to swim in the indoor pool so we made our way down to the pool inside them main Inn on the lower level. It was nice and warm and had a very large whirlpool tub and large pool with a waterfall and bridge feature. There were nice chairs and lounges around to relax on as well as loads of soft fluffy towels for drying off.
They were pretty exhausted after swimming and we made our way up to our room where they promptly fell asleep. In the morning we had the Adirondack Breakfast Buffet at The View restaurant and it was so good. A very nice assortment of eggs or omelets cooked to order, french toast, bacon, sausage, cereals, fruit, yogurt and so much more.
After breakfast we had to go to Plattsburgh to get a battery charger for my camera. I have never left a charger home and this was a first. I could have kicked myself but we had to make the drive since there was nothing available any closer. When we returned we went down to the lake and the boys swam and then collected rocks that we are going to put in a jar as a memento.
After that we had a dinner reservation at The View restaurant, a 17 time winner of the Wine Spectator’s Dining Guide Award.
My husband and I had the Prime Beef Filet grilled and finished with Maldon sea salt, potato pavé, baby vegetables, glazed cipollini onions, tarragon butter and pinot noir reduction. The filet was exceptional, my husband said it was the best he has every had and I have to agree.
We both had Cappuccino and Cheesecake for dessert and the kids had Ice Cream.
After dinner we all went swimming in the indoor pool.
After the lake, the boys decided it was time to go to the outdoor pool, so we ventured up and spent some fun time in there. There are plenty of lounges, tables and chairs around the pool and the view of the lake from the pool is beautiful. It is very peaceful and serene all around.
There is a spa downstairs for full pampering as well as a gift shop where I picked up a Mirror Lake mug to reflect on our time spent there whenever I enjoy my coffee or tea. Our days at The Mirror Lake Inn were truly a grand experience that we cannot wait to repeat very soon. Next time we want to go with all of our kids to make some great memories!
Let me know if you have ever visited The Mirror Lake Inn or Lake Placid? If not, is it a destination you are considering? Feel free to answer in the comments, I love to read your thoughts. You can book a reservation on their website or connect with them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
My family and I recently returned from Skytop Lodge and I cannot say enough about the awesome days we spent there. Skytop Lodge is a stunning piece of history that sits upon 5,500 majestic acres atop the picturesque Pocono mountains.
Although this resort is only a 1.5-hour drive from our home in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York, I never heard of it before this summer. Even though I have traveled to the Poconos more times than I can count, this was an entirely different experience. From the moment we arrived, until the moment we left, we could not look at the old world charm of the stone lodge without being in awe.
Vacationing at Skytop means taking a step back in time. While they have all the modern conveniences we have come to rely on, it is the 4 pm afternoon tea time you look forward too.
Tea time is served in the main lobby or Pine Room and features an assortment of large, fresh-baked cookies, ice-cold lemonade and an assortment of teas. Once you have made your selections you can choose to enjoy your treats in the main lobby or as we did sitting in rocking chairs on the porch overlooking the grounds.
My boys loved the little chipmunk that decided to join us for tea and cookies. He was very polite and ate a small piece of whatever cookie you gave him.
Downstairs the arcade really takes you back to a time when families were unplugged and played games of ping-pong or went to the malt shop AKA the Tea Room where you will find an old-fashioned luncheonette counter reminiscent of an old-time soda fountain. Order up an egg cream or one of the “World’s Greatest Milk Shakes.”
The halls are peppered with photos and artwork of the Lodge and the many events that have taken place there since 1928. The dog shows, sled races, golf tournaments, tennis matches and so much more. All around you will find pieces from the rich history of this historic resort.
Climb the stairs of the Lodge all the way to the Skytop Observation Post which was used for spotting and reporting enemy aircraft during WWII. It was manned around the clock by volunteer staff, guests, cottagers and townspeople. for the duration of the war. The observation tower has views of Skytop’s 5,500 acres as well as the Delaware Water Gap and beyond. It is a great place to take photos and just imagine what it must have been like to be a lookout during the war.
Spending time out in nature is something I think a person should do every day, whether it is a morning walk, having coffee admiring the birds in the feeders or a challenging hike, it is good for your mind, body and soul! Skytop has trails throughout the estate property that let you embark and gaze upon the peace and beauty of nature at its finest.
All kinds of trails are available, guided tours, self-guided tours, trails suitable for strollers and trails that are much more challenging. They take you to crystal clear waterfalls, pristine lakes, mountain vistas, ancient forests and more.
The forests are alive with all kinds of wildlife, downstairs there is chart where people list what they saw that day. While we were there, someone spotted a black bear on hole 11 on the golf course, a family of otter swimming under one of the falls and so much more. Beyond that there are blueberries and huckleberries galore.
Downstairs in the lodge there are wildlife exhibits of live snakes and turtles, booklets about wildlife and guides you can take if you are brave enough to venture off on one of the trails yourself.
One of the highlights of our time at Skytop was the time we spent with their naturalist Rick Koval. Rick took us on a tour of the butterfly house and a guided tour of falls. The butterfly house is new and you can take a tour where you will learn all kinds of interesting facts about butterflies and get to feed them. It is utterly informative and absolutely amazing. There are many great photo opportunities too! Check out the caterpillar that looks like he is smiling in the collage below.
The hike with Rick was a real treat. After your first hike with him, you will be scanning the activities’ sheet to see when the next walk or hike with him is. Rick kept parents and kids engaged with his wealth of knowledge about the trees, flowers and wildlife found in the northeast Pennsylvania region and hands-on learning and tasting along the way. Who knew sassafras smelled and tasted like Fruit Loops?
He showed us some of the most poisonous mushrooms, we did not taste test those but took his word for it. We all got hands on with nature and wildlife like the adorable newts we met along the way. The highlight was the beautiful waterfall we all stopped to admire and as we reach the end of our hike we immediately wanted to know when and where the next one was.
After a nice hike it was time to hit the pool. Choose the outdoor or indoor pool or do both since they are connected. Relax and unwind on a chaise while your kids and maybe your husband if he is like mine, cannonball to their hearts desire. Then swim laps in the lap lane of the indoor pool. There is a kiddie pool and large hot tub for adults to soothe sore muscles in.
There are plenty of choices for dining. In the morning there is complimentary coffee and tea in the lobby along with fresh fruit and some fresh-baked goodies. If you are looking for a full breakfast, you can eat at the Windsor Dining Room.
The Windsor Dining Room serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their cuisine is innovative and supports local farmers and ranchers. Everything is served in a classic setting. Be aware that no jeans, t-shirts, hats or shorts are permitted. On Saturday evenings, jackets are required for men. Ladies and children are also required to wear proper attire.
We really enjoyed the Tap Room, it is more casual and nice for families. They serve a full menu of traditional pub fare including lunch, sandwiches and dinner. I had a BBQ brisket sandwich that was so good my husband could not wait until I said I was too full to finish it! There serve large portions and the food is amazing.
The Inn-Between Deli is conveniently located in the Inn at Skytop between golf holes 9 and 10. The deli serves a light sandwich and salad menu. We found the Inn-Between Deli to be very convenient when we were at the lake and beach with our kids.
Also located at the Inn is the Lakeview Dining Room. Enjoy your meal in a relaxed setting overlooking one of Skytop’s lakes and award-winning golf course. The menu is extensive and offers something for everyone. Jackets are not required but jeans, t-shirts, hats or pool attire is not permitted. The front desk staff can assist with any questions about dining options and make reservations for you.
At night enjoy a marshmallow roast around the campfire or have fun playing Bingo with the other guests, movies are also shown in the afternoon and evenings. There is even a Camp in the Clouds for kids and so many other activities.
Even though in our first few days we had quite a bit of rain it was not constant and in the times of clearing we still were able to do so much. The last couple of days the weather was beautiful and while we did not believe the place could be more beautiful it was. Every time we went about we discovered something new and yet there was still so much we have not experienced.
Besides The Lodge there are other choices for accommodations on the property like the Inn at Skytop, The Cottages and the Stream Side Cottages. We chose the Lodge because we wanted the full, rich experience that only staying in the Lodge can provide.
The Lodge guest rooms were newly renovated in 2015 and the inspiration for their design was Skytop’s history, traditions and the natural beauty of the Pocono Mountains. Incorporating that rich history with today’s modern conveniences led to the three signature designs of the Lodge guest rooms: Water, Garden and Mountain. There are also individually designed suites inspired by Skytop historical figures.
Our Garden theme room was gorgeous with a view overlooking the gardens, outdoor pool and the butterfly house.
Three dormer windows let in the natural light and let us peer down on everything below. In the closet were 2 large umbrellas, 2 handcrafted walking sticks and 2 luxurious robes. Waiting for us when we arrived was a plate of fruit and cheese along with flatbread crackers and a note from the staff. The housekeeping service was excellent and made sure we did not want for anything.
The valets were so accommodating and friendly it really was like coming home every time we came back from an activity, hike or trip into town. Shay at the front desk is a real treasure and always had a smile on his face, upon check in he remembered speaking to me the night before and went above and beyond to make sure everything was perfect for our stay. Christy, director of group sales worked her magic to make sure we had everything we needed. The smiles were genuine as was the desire to really help guests have the best possible experience.
Down by the Inn, a short walk from the Lodge is a lake with a beach area. There is a large inflatable island of fun out in the lake that my kids just loved. There is a sandy beach area that is filled with lounge chairs, tables, beach umbrellas and more.
Nothing is overlooked at Skytop, the pool area has stacks and stacks of soft, fluffy, cabana striped beach towels. Down by the lake there are sand toys galore kids can use as well as more stacks of soft, fluffy towels. There are ample lounges, chairs and tables at both pools and on the beach. In the pool area they have fun noodles, diving rings, balls and other pool toys.
The grounds are impeccable and off the porch you will find a nice large playground for kids, a lawn chess set, a kid size golf course and so much more. All kinds of lawn games are available like crochet, volleyball, badminton, lawn bowling and more. If you are the competitive type, there are tournaments you can take part in.
If you are a golfer, you will love the award-winning golf course with spectacular views and the ability to see a variety of wildlife as you are teeing off.
Among the beautiful perennial flowers the gorgeous butterflies and birds. A white gazebo adorned with flower boxes filled with vibrant, red and white geraniums awaits. Take a seat in one of the comfortable rocking chairs and spend some time listening to the calls of area birds like the Northern Cardinal.
The SkyLites Activity Newsletter informs you about all the different activities happening each week. There are daily activities, 7 days a week and an activities desk to register for the things you want to do.
For the adventurous, the Adventure Center has a 3-hour treetop adventure course with challenging obstacles including elevated bridgeways connecting tree platforms, logs hanging from ropes to walk across, ladders, a cargo net and 7 different zip lines. This is not for the little ones, you must be a height of at least 5’11” with your hands above your head and must have a waist size of less than 41″ to participate. Other activities include paintball, rock wall climbing, archery and more.
Skytop Stables in on the property and you can take a western style wilderness ride to the top of the west rim tail for a picture perfect view of the property. The horses are well-natured and there are professional guides to make sure everyone has a great experience. Pony rides are available and you can also go on a hay ride.
If you are in need of pampering, look no further than the Skyview Spa. The Spa offers a wide selection of stimulating, healing, and innovative spa services that will leave you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to take on the world.
Bring your dancing shoes because every Saturday night following a tradition from the early 1940’s, children and adults of all ages celebrate the tradition of the Grand March accompanied by the Doug Smith Orchestra. An elimination dance is held right before the Grand March.
Shuttles are available to take guests to different activities and hiking trails from the North Porch. A beautiful gift shop will let you take home memories in the form of a beautiful pottery mug, silver-plated Christmas Ornament of the Lodge, Skytop logo clothing and more.
Skytop truly is a hidden jewel atop the Pocono Mountains just beckoning to be discovered. Spending time at Skytop is not a vacation it is more than that, it is an extraordinary experience that I feel blessed to have discovered. I know why people return every year to Skytop, it is the perfect blend of past and present where you will create memories to last a lifetime. I know we will be back, next time with the whole family!
If you would like to make reservations at Skytop you can right on their website You can also stay in the loop with them on Facebook and Instagram. If you have any questions please ask in the comments and let me know if you have experienced Skytop, I would love to hear all about it.Here in New York, the last day of school is tomorrow. If you are thinking about fun family trips to take with your kids, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, PA is a great choice! Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom has been bringing thrills and fun to visitors for 132 years. If you like roller coasters the historic ThunderHawk that originally opened as “The Coaster” back in 1924 has been refurbished for the 2016 season. The ThunderHawk has all new trains and is totally repainted to resemble the original design. The outline of the classic wooden roller coaster is outlined in bright, white lights to remind riders of timeless American wooden roller coasters of days past.
Don’t despair if you are not a thrill rider because Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom truly has something for everyone. Whether you come for water slides to seek relief from the summer heat, love the thrill rides, want to try your hand at games of chance or skill, live events, Dinosaurs Alive or kid’s rides and fun in Planet Snoopy, you will find it!
Our family just spent Father’s Day there and we had a blast! If you have little ones, KidsFest is taking place in Planet Snoopy on Saturdays and Sundays from June 17- 26 from 11 am- 5 pm. There are lots of fun activities like craft stations, science demonstrations, a petting zoo and special character opportunities. Our kids loved the trivia contest where they each got a Dorney Park mini fan after answering some fun questions about the Peanuts Gang and Dorney Park. Schroeder also had a sing-a-long and Lucy, Charlie Brown and Linus were there donned in their camp attire! There are plenty of character photo opts too!
Planet Snoopy is full of fun rides like the Kite Eating Tree, Snoopy’s Moon Bounce, Peanuts Road Rally, Woodstock’s Express and much more! Woodstock’s Express is a runaway train kid’s coaster that our kids just loved!
This June Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom wants everyone to feel like a kid so everyone pays the kids price for tickets and a portion of online ticket sales goes to the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and the fight against childhood cancer. Now you can spend the day riding heart-racing coasters and waterslides, knowing there’s a heartwarming cause behind all the fun.
If you do take a trip to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom by June 30th, share your photos online with the hashtag #OneDorneySmileAtATime and Dorney Park will donate $1 to help make an impact on those children battling who are battling cancer. Now that is a great reason to capture and share those smiles!
You can learn all about the events going on at Dorney Park HERE! Keep up with Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you have any questions, please ask me in the comments. If you do go to Dorney Park, let me know how you liked it in the comments too!
This post is sponsored by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company in conjunction with Blog Meets Brand, and I have been compensated for my participation. As always my words and opinions are my own.”
If you are looking for a fun filled family getaway, get ready to have a howling good time at Great Wolf Lodge. Located in the scenic Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania this resort features a never ending array of activities that will delight parents and kids alike.
From the moment we checked in, we were greeted with smiling, helpful staff who went above and beyond in every way possible to make our stay perfect in every way. The kids were given Wolf Passes upon check in that were able to be redeemed for all kinds of things inside the resort as well as activities like the Ropes Challenge.
The water park was very clean and had ample seating around the attractions. There were cabanas that could be rented as well. There is pool side wait staff if you want to order drinks. Unlike other water parks you can bring food and drinks into this water park. That is very nice, especially if you have a family member with special dietary needs.
The Big Foot Pass was a favorite of my son Ethan as well as my husband. They navigated their way across a pool holding onto cargo nets above or braving it and not holding anything as they jump onto giant floating lily pads. A great way to build dexterity and strength while having fun! Videos for this will be on our YouTube Channel soon.
We spent great family time in Crooked Creek swimming in single or double tubes as well as free swimming. There is a gentle current but don’t be fooled in thinking this is a calm lazy river! You are bound to get soaked by the overflowing buckets that seem to know just when to empty their water onto your head! It is all great fun, even when you get soaked!
Speaking of soaked, Fort Mackenzie is a water tree house with multiple levels of splash-crazy fun! Interactive water toys and kid activated splash features line the way to the Totem Tower Body Slides! Listen for the bell and then take cover if you can because that means the gigantic bucket on top is ready to tip and when it does…you are going to get drenched!
The Slap Tail Pond Wave Pool is fun for all. A beach like shallow entrance leading up to a max depth of 5 feet allows you to walk out and play in the waves. The waves roll in and out giving you some calm water time before then next batch of waves comes rolling in.
Our family enjoyed an awesome breakfast buffet with choices of farm fresh eggs, apple wood smoked bacon, signature wolf waffles, organic yogurts, granolas, made-to-order omelettes, fresh fruits, berries and much more at The Loose Moose Family Kitchen. Seasonal family lunches roll out lighter fare, and dinners overflow with entrées inspired by world cuisine. Of course no vacation is complete without dessert and they have a simply splendiferous variety of desserts.
On the water park level there is the Hungry Like A Wolf which is just what we were after staying until closing at the Water Park. A large pizza and a bottle of ice tea hit the spot! Crowd pleasers like Brooklyn style, hand-stretched pizza, savory Italian and meatball Parmesan sandwiches, garlic cheese bread and freshly made salads fill the menu. You can call ahead and make make meal time a snap with easy pick-up.
There is a Starbucks on the 2nd floor and for convenient poolside dining choose Grizzly Jack’s Bar & Grill or Buckets Incredible Cravables. Have a Sweet Tooth? Whether you want fudge, ice cream, cake, cupcakes or cookies, Bear Paw Sweets & Eats is the place!
The staff in the stores and attractions are very friendly and helpful. Our kids loved redeeming their wolf pass in the Creation Station where they could choose to make their very own Great Wolf Lodge Character. There are lots of outfits and clothing choices for these critters that really makes creating their new friend super fun! They were also able to activate a Clubhouse Crew game to play with their new friend and when they helped Sammy Squirrel find her nuts they were able to return to the for a prize!
We had a full-immersion 4-D thrill ride at the Howlywood XD Theater. After choosing our movie we were taken to our seats to strap in for a multi-sensory adventure that we will never forget as we traveled along a haunted mine! The motion enhanced chair, glasses and special effects transported us to a totally different dimension.
Next we embarked on some dazzling mini golf at the Howl At The Moon Glow Golf indoor course. The kids had a blast putting and swinging along a nature-themed filled challenging course of black light illuminated fun!
For fun with something bigger than a golf ball we headed off to Ten Paw Alley for some exciting bowling fun!
Howlers Peak Ropes Course can elevate your family adventure to a whole new level. When you are ready to come down there is the Raccoon Lagoon Play Park to roast marshmallows or play a giant game of checkers.
The Northern Lights Arcade lets you get your game on in a big way! This gigantic arcade is filled with fun things to do for kids of all ages. All kinds of driving games, air hockey, basketball and much more provide some game fun for everyone! Our kids were able to redeem some of their tickets for adorable crock charms of the Great Wolf Lodge logo and characters.
Our kids were busy with something the entire stay and said it was the best water park resort they have ever been to! They wanted to know if people could live here and before we left wanted to know when we could come back!
Have you been to Great Wolf Lodge? If you have or are planning a trip please let me know in the comments. If you have any questions, just leave them in the comments and I will answer to the best of my ability! Visit YouTube to see our video compilation of our experience HERE! More Videos will be posted soon. Also check out the videos and photos posted on Instagram.
Although we were provided with a media trip and sponsored perks my words and views are 100% my own.As New York State residents we have thought many times about taking a trip up to Lake George but just never got around to it. We finally made the under 4 hour drive there last weekend and we had a blast! We stayed at the Great Escape Lodge and spent our first day at their indoor waterpark and the second day at Six Flags Great Escape Theme Park which is across from the lodge. The outdoor waterpark Splashwater Kingdom had not opened for the season but we still had a fun-filled weekend.
The kids really enjoyed the attractions at the indoor waterpark. It was not extremely busy even thought it was a weekend which was really nice. It is not as large as some we have been to but they had plenty of ways to have fun. The Lazy River was something we spent a lot of time in as a family and it was far from lazy. there are currents that push you around as you free swim or use one of the clear double seater tubes. As you go around there are plenty of cascading water falls, so navigate carefully if you don’t want to get soaked!
If you are looking for a thrill ride you can go on together as a family, The Avalanche is a twisting, turning, exhilarating four-person raft ride. This 382-foot tube simulates all the thrills of a white-water rafting experience complete with a 41-foot drop. Oh and the ride is dark to further enhance the thrill! I screamed my lungs out when we went but was glad I experienced it!
Glacier Run and Snow Shoe Falls are 2 tube water slide, thrill rides. Riders will sit on a tube and go through loops, curls and down a 41-foot drop. Both slides are approximately 300-feet. However, they were not running when we were there. Not sure what the issue was.
The Boogie Bear Surf is a surfing simulator where you can body surf or stand-up surf. There are lessons available. To body surf on a boogie board you must be 42″ and over. To stand and surf you must be 54″ and over and a lesson is required to stand up surf.
Little Tots and Young Kids 54″ and under can have fun at Tip-A-Kanu Beach with slides, swings, shallow water and wildlife-themed spurting fountains.
Tall Timbers Treehouse has over 160 play features and is fun for preschoolers and up! There are smaller red slides for kids under 54″ and 3 more thrilling slides for the 40″ and over crowd. Water fights and fun can be had with the swivel water rifles, hydro blasters, arch jets and steering wheels that increase or decrease the water volume out of the fountains. Watch out though because perched high above the tree house is a ginormous bucket that soaks everyone below when it gets full! There are lots of videos from the waterpark on our Instagram.
A couple of issues that I did notice are unlike some indoor waterparks, it is not exclusive to just the lodge guests so there was a birthday party going on and some older kids that were causing a little mischief but the lifeguard quickly put the kibosh on it. The lifeguards are all over and friendly but with the tube slides they should have a little bit better control of making sure only one rider is in the tube at a time. In other parks there is one lifeguard at the entrance of the large slides and they give the okay for each rider to go down the slide only when they have made sure the previous rider has exited. There were several close calls and some collisions we did notice. Our little guy hurt his foot pretty bad when he had a collision with another rider. The lifeguard was so sweet and tried to take his mind off the pain while they called in First Aid to get him ice. Monitoring the slides should be something they think about implementing.
There is a fun-filled arcade called the Star Light Arcade but our kids are more the type that want to be the action, actually our whole family is, so we spent our time at the waterpark and Six Flags Great Escape. If your family likes arcades, the arcade features over 45 games fun for kids of all ages. They can collect tickets when they win and then redeem them for a variety of prizes.
If you want to shop for Lake George Souvenirs the lodge features North Woods Traders where you will find a wide variety of clothing, Adirondack gifts and craftsmen-inspired treasures. Various travel supplies and sundries are also available in case you forgot anything.
If you are in need of some pampering the Tranquility Spa offers a variety of services to help you relax and rejuvenate. Need some “Mommy & Me” time? No problem, get a Mommy & Me Facial, Mani or Pedi! The Fitness Center features an elliptical, upright bike and universal gym, along with a flat-screen TV.
Everyone at the Lodge was so helpful and friendly. They have several activities with kids and Scrappy Doo. There was a dance party and our sons were so amused along with all the other kids. They also had a story time at 7:30 pm but our boys were not ready to leave the waterpark then. The waterpark was open until 9pm when we were there. Click HERE to see a video clip of the Scrappy Doo Dance Party on our Instagram.
All of their Adirondack-themed suites are non-smoking and furnished with rustic log inspired furniture and accents in warm colors. We stayed in a traditional suite but they have other room options. The traditional suite we had was very nice and spacious, it had 2 queen beds and a sitting area with a couch that converts into another bed if needed. There is a table and 2 chairs as well as a coffee table in front of the couch. The bathroom has a tub/shower combo and toilet. The tub needed to be calked badly and it appeared black where the calk was missing in places. That is the only thing I found off-putting with the room. I would think they would have fixed that and cleaned it up. There were plenty of clean towels and the beds were clean and fresh. The sink is outside the bathroom area. Our room had a mini-refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, iron/ironing board and Wi-Fi access. They had ice cream machines and drink vending machines for any late night snacks. Other suites are available with breakfast bars, bunk beds and more, you can see all the options HERE!
On Site dining options are Johnny Rockets, Tall Tales Tavern, Birch Bark Grill (by the indoor waterpark) and for coffee lovers there is the Tall Pines Coffee Corner. There are many restaurants off site too as well as a Walmart and many other stores in the immediate area.
Special Deals are available, check them out HERE!
Great Escape Theme Park across from the lodge has over 135 rides, shows and attractions and features the brand new looping coaster-Greezed Lightin’.
Greezed Lightnin’ officially opened to the public on May 28th but was able to be ridden by us and other select guests.
There are plenty of games if you like that, loads of thrill rides, a nice carousel, log flume ride, several kiddie rides and plenty of places to eat. We found it to be an awesome place to spend with our family making memories. I would like to go back when Splashwater Kingdom is open!
The park was very nice and quaint with Story town which So many adorable, theme tiny houses that you could go in, my kids just loved those! The swan boat ride was nice and so was a train ride that took you around the park. The hot rod cars that you could drive were another favorite
A trip to one of the gift shops on our way out of the park to pick up two special friends to remind our kids of their awesome weekend was the perfect end to a super great weekend.
If you are looking for a family fun destination in the Northeast, check out Great Escape Lodge in Lake George. If you have been to Great Escape I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. If you have any questions, ask in the comments and I will be happy to answer as best I can.
Our stay and admission in both the indoor water park and Six Flags Great Escape was sponsored as a blogger working with USFG. As always my words and views are 100% my own.If you live in the northeast or will be visiting soon and are looking for family fun destinations, we have you covered! Camelback Resort Lodge and Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark is located in Tannersville, Pennsylvania in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. This resort features Aquatopia, the largest indoor waterpark in the Northeast that opened in 2015. The waterpark is awesome!
There is a lot to do for kids of nearly every age. The lifeguards are very attentive and collisions in slides are avoided as they pay extremely close attention to make sure the first rider is out completely before allowing another rider down the slide.
Penguin Play Bay is an area that even the youngest kids can enjoy! Multiple swings, small slides, water activities and of course some shallow water to splash and play in provide hours of tyke size enjoyment.
Kartrite’s Quest is a large area that offers fun for kids 40″ and above. Prepare to be soaked as a large bucket on top dumps water on unsuspecting guests below. Kids have so much to do in Kartrite’s Quest! They can splash, slide, play basketball, test their coordination and so much more!
There are many slides throughout this area that vary in size from pint size to ultra grande! Small open and tube slides are great for kids to start out on. When they have their slide groove totally on, they can go up the stairs and ride any or all of the 3 large slides atop the quest! Out ‘N Back Trek & Silkroad Runner Slide are 2 of the larger slides for kids and adults alike. Then there is the Lava Luge Bowl Slide that shoots riders out into a large bowl area. We rode all these slides and had a blast!
There is a pool area where the water is a max depth of 3’6″ and features the Ally-Oop Lagoon. The lagoon has several basketball hoops on the wall and multiple balls so everyone can try their hand at some water hoops. There is a large artificial tree in the center of this pool that separates the sections. Off to the other side is the Croc-O-Nile Crossing. A series of floating platforms along with an overhead climbing type rope ladder that kids can hold onto as they make their way from platform to platform tests their coordination and navigation skills. If they do fall in they have to start over and cannot climb on a platform from the water.
The Great Ka-Na-Gawa Wavepool is a large pool that turns into a wave pool intermittently with the sound of a loud fog horn.
Children regardless of how well they swim need to wear a life vest if they are under 42″. There are life vests available for all ages supplied by the lodge. This policy was not enforced until our last day and our little guy was so upset when he was told he had to wear a vest based on his size alone. He was upset since he had been in the pool the entire stay without one and knows how to swim very well. This same situation played out many times with many other kids during that day. It would be best if all lifeguards followed the same procedures so the kids don’t get upset. I think there should be some type of water test for children who may be short but are good swimmers to allow them to go without the vest.
The waves are very fun and the wavepool was one of our family’s favorite things. We spent many hours in that pool. The lifeguards on duty at the wavepool are very attentive and constantly scanning the water for anyone in trouble. Our kids had a blast in that wave pool and never tired of it. There are clear round tubes guests can use in the wavepool to sit in or hold onto. Guests are also able to just stand or free swim.
The Lost River was another favorite spot. There is a current that guides you around in a single tube, double tube or you can free swim it. Cascading waterfalls at certain points will get you wet if you don’t navigate away from them.
The Venus Slydetrap is a 608ft. raft ride for 3-6 people. This is what we considered a family ride but our little guys were hesitant to ride and so we had to skip this. It looked really fun and I was disappointed not to be able to try it.
My husband and 9-year-old went on some of the free-falling slides-The Paradise Plunge and the Skydive Plummet that looked very intense. They had a blast but they were not for the faint of heart!
The Bombora Flowrider is an action packed surfing simulator. Guests can surf or Boogie Board and show off their amazing skills to the people who gather to watch. My husband gave some Boogie Boarding a try! There are lessons available in the morning and after closing. The waterpark is open until 9 pm.
Mystic Springs is an indoor/outdoor warm spa lagoon with hydrotherapy jets. You can enter indoors and proceed to go into the outdoor section even in winter. The hot tub can be used by everyone and is not just 18 or older. This may or may not pose issues for you. The issues we saw were some youngish teenagers that were making out in there. There is also no lifeguard in the hot tube area and it is to be used at your own risk.
There are cabanas that you can rent if you so choose. Towels are provided but they are small. There are lockers and changing rooms. There are plenty of chairs, tables and lounge chairs around all of the attractions. There is food available, but it is the typical chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, fries, pretzel type stuff. Absolutely no food or drinks are allowed in. GoPro and similar action cameras are not allowed to be used on the rides.
It was not crowded when we went so there were no issues with that. I know from prior reviews they used to have the park open to the public and not just guests of the lodge. When it was open like that, there were reports of it being too crowded which I assume caused them to give the lodge guests exclusive access.
When you exit the waterpark you walk straight into a large arcade and the air condition can be quite a shock. The arcade seemed to have a nice selection of games but our kids are more the kind that want to be the action so they did not play any games. We all kept busy and active in the waterpark during our stay.
There are several types of rooms to choose from. Rooms with bunk beds and suites are available. The rooms are not well-lit and are very dark. There is no sink in the bathroom but that is very common in these types of resorts. It does make one think what is on the door handle of the bathroom since you cannot wash your hands before coming out. The bathroom is very small and just has the toilet and tub/shower combo. We had a room with 2 queen size beds and a sofa that also opened to a bed. There was no maid service our second day which shocked me since we had been through most of the towels and thought they would replenish them. There was no turn down service offered.
The wi-fi is a bit iffy depending on where your room is located. We had to change rooms as the first room we had did not have a wi-fi signal at all. From what I heard many people were unhappy with the wi-fi coverage. Since I have to be able to log on and write, no wi-fi was not acceptable. When we changed rooms they put us near the front desk and we did have a good wi-fi connection.
The staff in the lodge could benefit greatly by some serious customer service training. This is not just my own opinion. Most of the guests we met there admitted the same. At check in, you could hear a bit of arguing among guests and staff as they were told coupon booklets were not valid that clearly showed they were and other issues. The lodge staff was not friendly and cheerful and requests were met with grunts or huffy annoyed breathing complete with eye rolls. That was really annoying and totally uncalled for. However, when you went to the waterpark you forgot that and did not encounter it again until you returned to the main lodge.
Due to the staff in the lodge we went to eat off the premises. If you want to go out, there are several family and fast food restaurants off site as well as a Shop Rite and Walmart. The rooms have a microwave and small refrigerator with a tiny freezer. Even with a few more than 2 lumps in this Camel’s back, the waterpark made up for the down side. There are activities you can pay for outside the waterpark like ziplines and other action activities.
We did run into guests who said they got good deals on a room, coupon book and breakfast vouchers on Groupon. If you are planning a trip check out specials. May has a special of buy one night at regular price and get one night at half off. If you have been to Camelback Lodge please share your experience in the comments. If you have any questions for me, leave them in the comments too and I will answer to the best of my ability. You can follow Camelback Lodge and Aquatopia on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.
Keep following us as we bring you more great family friendly destinations in the Northeast.
Our stay was sponsored by Camelback Resort, my views and words are as always 100% my own.There are so many great family destinations in the Northeast. The Great Escape Lodge & Splashwater Kingdom is nestled in the heart of the Adirondacks, a region brimming with history and natural beauty. The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom, one of America’s favorite and most historic theme parks, originally opened its gates on June 27, 1954, as Storytown USA. It has since expanded from a five-acre nursery rhyme-themed park to include more than 135 rides, shows and attractions, including two full children’s areas to fill your day with fun and memories.
A visit to The Great Escape includes two parks for the price of one with Splashwater Kingdom, the best there is in outdoor water park fun featuring 12 white water attractions. The history of Storytown combined with the thrills of Six Flags makes The Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom one unforgettable family experience.
Do you like roller coasters? Official opening of the brand new looping coaster, Greezed Lightnin is May 28th! This coaster will seat riders in “face-off” position and begin to rock forward and backward, pendulum style. Once the train reaches maximum height, guests experience one of the longest suspended hang-times – over 70 feet in the air, upside down. Thrill seekers are then hurled through a series of seven full inversions, both frontward and backward, offering sheer looping mayhem.
The New Revolution Virtual Reality Coaster will land at The Great Escape this summer. The Great Escape will become home to the Northeast’s first inverting Virtual Reality Coaster Wearing Samsung Gear VR headsets, guests are transported into a realistic 360-degree virtual world perfectly synched to the drops, inverted loops, and powerful twists and turns of the Steamin’ Demon
To add to all the excitement that is happening in the front of the park, behind the scenes they are scheduled to open the doors to Charley’s Saloon, the newly renovated Sports Bar concept in Ghost Town with park opening.
If you are in the New York, New Jersey or Connecticut area or plan to be traveling in that area you need to check out Crystal Springs Resort. The Crystal Springs Resort is the perfect destination for your summer staycation that you will never want to leave! I was so surprised that just a little over an hour from our home was an oasis of lush landscape filled with gardens, spectacular pools, trails, activities, golf courses, spas, fine dining and more.
We recently stayed at the Grand Cascades Lodge, the highlight of the three unique upscale lodging properties of Crystal Springs Resort, located in Sussex County, N.J. We were amazed from the moment we arrived. We were immediately greeted by a young attendant who looked just like a young Ricky Schroeder and had a personality to match! His smile and friendly demeanor put us right at ease as he guided us to the lobby to check in.
Walking through the front doors to the front desk was amazing this lodge is rustic elegance at its best. Large leather couches and chairs surround a gas fireplace that was roaring even in July and had people sitting nearby reading the paper or their tablets. The front desk staff were very attentive and quickly assigned our one bedroom suite with fireplace and deck . Our luggage was loaded onto a cart by an attendant who escorted us up ot our home away from home. The free valet parking gave us one less thing to worry about and allowed us to go right up to our room to get settled.
This suite had a full gourmet kitchen with an eat at counter and the dining area featured a large round table with plenty of chairs. A closet in the kitchen had a stack-able washer and dryer which was so convenient. The huge bathroom with jet tub and shower, double sinks and loads of fluffy towels had a door off the main living area as well as one from the bedroom.
The bedroom had a huge king size bed, full length cheval mirror, TV, huge closet and seating to make us feel right at home. The living room featured sleeper couch, love seat, flat screen TV, grandfather clock, gas fireplace that ignites in a second with a switch on the wall and a door leading to a deck area with large table and four large, thickly cushioned patio chairs. There was a built in desk with free high speed internet connection between the dining and living area. Everything was beautifully decorated and family friendly just perfect for any family staycation.
We took advantage of the free turn down service that lets guests choose from a selection of times for staff to come in and turn down your beds, get the sleeper sofa set up and put chocolates on your pillow. The staff was gracious and accommodating to our every need, providing laundry soap and even a shaving kit when my husband realized he forgot his.
During our short stay we ate at the Crystal Tavern an upscale but still family friendly pub for dinner and breakfast. Another great option given the gourmet kitchen, is for families to prepare some of their own meals. The kitchen has everything you need and adequate space to do it. The full size gourmet stove and oven is perfect for whatever you want to cook and the cabinets are appointed with all the dishes, glassware, serving, cooking and baking pieces and accessories you would need. Down the road from the resort, you will find several grocery and department stores for food or whatever else you may need during your stay.
The Grand Cascades Lodge features the 10,000 square foot Biosphere Pool Complex which is a tropical oasis pool with water slide and lagoon feel. It has a smaller pool that connects the inside with the outside and you can swim through a passage and arrive outside in a small pool which you can exit to enter a larger outdoor pool with gorgeous rock waterfall and lush landscaping of beautiful perennials.
A short walk from there, is the Vista 360 pool that has a water slide that younger kids can go on. The slide in the Biosphere has a minimum height of 48″ which our older son just made by the hair on his head but our younger son needed more than some spiked hair to reach 48″. The water slide at the Vista 360 was the perfect option to let the under 48″ crowd play on a super cool water slide that was really appreciated by this mom. The vista is a series of pools that are on different levels with waterfall features and a vortex pool, where a constant circular current of water creates water merry-go-round that kids and adults alike will enjoy.
The outdoor Chef’s Garden is an inspiring outdoor venue that allows guests a truly unique “garden-to-table” al fresco dining experience set amidst beautiful organic vegetables,flowers, herbs and Kittatinny Mountain Range backdrop. Throughout the resort there are dispensers of ice-cold water with lemon always available. You can also get your food and drinks served poolside!
Like to golf? There are 6 award-winning golf courses (Ballyowen, Black Bear, Cascades, Crystal Springs, Minerals,
Wild Turkey) including NJ’s 1 rated Ballyowen! There are 2 luxury spas – Reflections and Elements, voted in top 100 Spas of America offering a variety of services from manicures, pedicures, massages and more! If you want to relax and be pampered you will want to check those out.
The Adventure Center features all kinds of activities like archery, hiking, canoeing, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, water trampoline and horseback riding in a mountaintop setting with pristine lake. There are available babysitting services and fitness facilities available as well. The concierge at each hotel provides an activity calendar that speaks to all of Crystal Spring’s on site events.
We spent the majority of our time there in the pools that are kids just loved. The water slides were fabulous and they literally wore themselves out on them. During our time there we got to witness a set up for a wedding that was later that afternoon and what a beautiful setting for a wedding! We were told that Winter experience at Crystal Springs is something to experience as well with all kinds of winter activities like snow tubing and skiing.
As a germophobe, I will tell you the rooms are so clean and the hotel is as well. I did not even feel the need to do the extensive checking I normally do, even in 5 star resorts to make sure things were clean. Everything was immaculate. It was such a relaxing time and you may have noticed my absence from the blog for a few days as I totally unplugged.
I really cannot say enough good about this resort and my kids are already asking when we can go back. I know it will not be long, it is definitely on our radar now and we feel blessed that it’s only a stone’s throw from our house. I hope this post filled you with staycation ideas. There are Specials & Packages available too, check out the special discounts and promotions below for Mommy Ramblings’ Blog Readers!
Special Discounts & Promotions For Mommy Ramblings’ Readers:
Stay 2 nights and receive the 2nd night at 50% off
Stay 3 nights and receive the 3rd night free!
Stay mid-week and enjoy up to $225 in resort-wide credit
Stay one night at Grand Cascades or Minerals and receive $50 in resort credit
Stay two nights at Grand Cascades or Minerals and receive $150 resort credit
Stay three nights at Grand Cascades or Minerals and receive $225 in resort credit
Call 844.840.7392 to book your stay just say you saw the discount on Mommy Ramblings Blog to redeem the specials above.
Follow Crystal Springs on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for up to date discounts, promotions! Have you ever stayed at any of the three Crystal Springs properties? If so, I would love to hear about it, just leave me a message in the comments. If you have any questions you can ask in the comments too!
This post is sponsored by Crystal Springs but as always my words and opinions are 100% my own.
My household contains many LEGO Fans both big and small, so you can imagine how stoked they are to be going to LEGO Brick Fest Live at the Meadowlands in New Jersey this July! This will be our first Brick Fest Live and so everyone is super excited. I know the little guys will be in absolute awe! Cannot wait to capture their faces. If you have Lego fans in your family and live near the Meadowlands Expo Center or will be traveling there July 10-12, you should check it out! Lego Lovers will be inspired, educated and entertained with LEGO bricks! They can play with huge attractions built to set your imagination free! Witness mind-blowing creations made entirely of this timeless toy at Brick Fest Live!
Save on Tickets!
Use Coupon Code: FAMGUIDE5 for $5 off each ticket, Event runs July 10-12 at the Meadowlands Expo Center. To save on tickets click HERE!
At a Brick Fest Live event, you and your family will take part in lots of hands-on activities. But LEGO itself is a hands-on activity. What will you get when you attend a Brick Fest Live event that differs from your activity at home? We have accumulated a collection of LEGO pieces ready to build with which span many decades of production. Every year, The LEGO Group produces dozens of new elements which have never been made before. Consequently, they also retire many elements and replace some of them with newer versions. Many parts as well as colors are never produced again. Our collection of parts gives you free range of LEGO’s extensive part catalog for an unhindered building experience.
We have seen other LEGO-related events which use a limited selection of LEGO elements in their free-build area. There have even been events with a massive quantity of only one type of piece. While this presents interesting and different challenges for the builder in your life, we find that building with as large a parts selection as we have will present a new and exciting experience for you.
Check out the trailer for LEGO Brick Fest Live Below:
Have you attended a LEGO Brick Fest Live before? If so I would love it if you shared your experience in the comments.
In a few short weeks, school will be out for summer and if you’re like us, you are probably thinking and planning vacations and day trips for the family. One great attraction for folks in the NYC area or those that will be visiting is Madame Tussauds. Located in the heart of Times Square, you will find over 85, 000 square feet of interactive entertainment for the whole family. Get up close and personal with over 200 incredible wax figures of celebrities, historical icons, sports legends and more. From Lady Gaga to Marilyn Monroe to Carmelo Anthony to the Marvel Super Heroes. The check out the 4D Theater featuring these legendary super heroes.
We are planning our trip to Madame Tussauds and I know my little ones are going to freak out when they see the Marvel Super Heroes. It will be such fun and thankfully not in the bone chilling winter cold like our last excursion to NYC. So have you been to Madame Tussauds or will you be visiting soon? If you are planning a trip to NYC, check it out, I am sure it will be worth the trip. Visit nycwax.com for more information.
We will update with our trip soon and be holding a giveaway for at least 6 tickets to Madame Tussauds then as well. Let me know what you are planning for this summer in the comments, I love to see what everyone is doing.
Did reading this post title make you itchy? Bed bugs are no joke and you can bring them home from vacation because some hotels are infested with them. Without even knowing you are transporting home some unwelcome tourists, they will make their presence known when they set up their new residence, in your mattress! Yuck, I know but I have heard it happen to more and more people.
College dorms have also experienced bed bug infestations. So if prevention is the best defense, play the Orkin #BedBugFeud Game and test your bed bug knowledge to see if you are keeping a clean bed in 2015! Play the game and beat the clock to make it on the leaderboard! Hint: Use the “Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite” PDF as a cheat sheet.
Orkin, uses the latest technology and unparalleled training to develop an effective treatment that’s right for your needs. To learn more about our pest control based in science or to schedule an inspection, visit orkin.com or call 1-800-800-ORKIN. You can visit and follow Orkin on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Don’t worry we are not giving any bed bugs away! Would you like the chance to win a CleanRest Pillow Encasement (retail value $20.00 )? If so please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Good Luck!!!
CleanRest Pillow Encasement Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:
Open to US residents, each household is only eligible to win (1) CleanRest Pillow Encasement via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
Living in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York is like being on a great vacation all summer. We live on a lake, and people who live here relish when they can spend a week or two vacation at the lake. We are so blessed that we live here and get to play here every day!!!
Besides the lake there is so much to do and we recently took a few day trips that were so much fun! We went to the Wayne County Fair in nearby Pennsylvania, we gathered rocks as we spent some time on the Delaware River that we will use for a rock painting and landscaping project, we went blueberry picking and made a scrumptious blueberry pound cake.
When we take day trips we are gone all day and the kids like to sleep on the way there and usually fall asleep for the night on the way home. It is important to me that they are comfortable and safe in the car. That’s why we love Safety 1st car seats. The Advance SE 65 Air+ Convertible Car Seat is safe and super comfy for Luke and he sleeps like a baby in it! It has a nice big cup holder and it’s a super safe seat that is reinforced with steel. The Air Protect® advanced cushion system protects his head, where it’s needed most and the GCell HX™ patented foam with hexagonal shapes inside the seat provides superior body protection. The seat provides full body side impact protection and that gives parents peace of mind! This seat as well as the new one for Ethan that is just a bit delayed surely make #OurSummerJourney day trips much easier!
We took a great day trip to the Wayne County Fair in Pennsylvania and the kids had an awesome time. There was a big Monster Truck show and so between the rides, animals, show, food, exhibits and more it was very late when we were driving home. It is nice that a seat so safe is so comfortable!
Do you have a hard time sleeping if you can see light? How about on planes, trains or long car rides? Do you wish there was a comfortable sleep mask that would block the light and let you sleep whenever you are tired? Do you have a spouse that keeps a light on to read or watches TV in bed when you want to close the lights and sleep? If you answered yes to any of these questions, I have good news.
I was recently sent the Bedtime Bliss® eye mask and it’s like no other sleep mask I have seen! Not some piece of flat material with an uncomfortable elastic band that is too tight. The Bedtime Bliss mask has a unique contoured design that is so comfortable while blocking the light to let you get some rest. The mask fits so that you can still open your eyes and allows for REM sleep. This sleep mask is the answer for getting the much-needed sleep you need to start the day refreshed and energized.
If you do not agree it is the best, the company gives you a 100% money back guarantee! The same mask works for men, women and children and will not smudge makeup, so if you take a power nap you will get up ready to go. The adjustable straps are designed to fit all head sizes and will not put pressure on your eyes.
Ideal for those who work the night shift and have to sleep during the day. Mask is lightweight and washable so it is easy to travel with. The mask also includes earplugs and a carrying case so you can block out noise too! I like this mask to wear in the whirlpool tub because sometimes I just want the lights off, but it can be dangerous to do that when you are getting out etc. With the mask you can soak away in darkness and truly rest your eyes while your body is massaged with jets of water. When you are ready to get out you can get our safely because you did not have to turn out the lights. You can purchase the Bedtime Bliss® Eye Mask on Amazon. Sweet Dreams!
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
Soak up summer with Pixar Summer Movies To Go exclusively on Disney Movies Anywhere, the free app that lets you stream and download Disney, Pixar and Marvel films anywhere. Beginning June 3, log on for new Pixar surprises coming each week throughout 13 weeks of summer.
With Pixar Summer Movies To Go, a different fan favorite film will be available each week and you can unlock exclusive bonus content like special filmmaker introductions, film trivia and more Pixar surprises! Additionally, in the Discover section of the Disney Movies Anywhere app you’ll find “Countdown to Pixar’s Ultimate Movie-Making Secrets.”
Rev up your digital movie collection starting with Cars on June 3. Check in each week to find out what movie is featured, and you’ll soon be whizzing through outer space with Wall•E, floating on the breeze with Up, trying to catch your toys in action while watching Toy Story, and catching the East Australian Current with Dory in Finding Nemo.
Perfect for vacations and summer travel; download the free Disney Movies Anywhere app on your iPhone or iPad and gear up for Pixar Summer Movies To Go to get summer started right. And for a limited time, when you download Disney Movies Anywhere and link your iTunes account, you’ll get The Incredibles for free. Find out more about buying, watching, and collecting your favorite Disney, Pixar and Marvel movies anywhere and download the App at http://di.sn/sX8
ABOUT DISNEY MOVIES ANYWHERE (DMA): Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) is a cloud-based digital movie service that offers a hassle-free way for consumers to buy, watch, and manage Disney digital content across platforms and iOS devices via the easy-to-use DMA app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or at DisneyMoviesAnywhere.com. A DMA-eligible digital title purchased from iTunes or redeemed in DMA will be accessible in a user’s DMA locker. There are currently over 400 films from Disney’s rich history available for streaming and download, including Disney Branded Animation, Disney Live-Action, Pixar, and Marvel titles, along with exclusive, original content. For more information or to redeem Digital Copy codes to build your library and earn Disney Movie Rewards for digital purchases, visit www.