Just a short two hour drive from New York, we found a wooded Winter Wonderland, and I could not have hoped for a better place to spend the Christmas holiday!
When the day before Christmas rolled in, I had spent a record 71 days in the tiny island of Manhattan. I love New York, especially during Christmas time, but I was in desperate need for a change of scenery.
This change of scenery came in the form of a stay at the Skytop lodge in the Pocono Mountains in the state of Pennsylvania. The Lodge boasts of its own lake, and the moment our car approached the bridge over the lake, adorned with perfectly tied red velvet bows, I knew that this was going to be a very merry Christmas.
Let it snow, let is snow, let it snow..
When we arrived at the lodge, the grounds were very quite and peaceful, but a dull shade of green-brown, which is typical of the winter in the north-east of the US. But in the late afternoon of Christmas eve, it started snowing, and my elusive dream of a white Christmas came true. The landscape very rapidly and almost magically transformed into a winter wonderland. What added to the beauty of the lodge and its surroundings was the majestic and elegant exterior of the lodge itself, red velvet bows tied to all lamp-posts, the snow-covered fir trees, the white and pure expanse of the frozen lake, a part frozen-part flowing stream, and the large Christmas tree and a wagon full of colorfully wrapped gifts in the foyer. And when we came inside from the snow and the -11C outside, there was hot apple cider and cookies in the ready! You had to be there…. but I really melted (in a good way). We did venture out into the cold again in the night to roast marsh-mellows over a campfire and then devour the hot & sticky treats.
Deck the halls…
.. and the halls were indeed decked. The lodge was beautifully decorated, complete with a large ginger-bread house, floor-to-ceiling Christmas trees and wreaths. Also quite christmasy were the quirky and adorable Christmas do-daa’s in the Lodge’s souvenir shop.
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…
The Lodge’s quaint and very American ice-cream shop advertised that it has the world’s best milkshakes. We tried the strawberry milkshake and its great taste is something that I still remember. The other meals in the in-house pub-cum-restaurant did not disappoint either.
Knockin’ around the Christmas Tree…
We did a fair bit of knockin’ around when we took snowboarding lessons in the lodge’s winter-sports center. If you have not tried snowboarding yet, consider yourself warned! Until you learn how to stop (which ain’t easy and is really the key to the whole thing), the only way to stop yourself from hitting the fence is falling on your backside or on your knees (if you should be so lucky) or on your hands or facedown or backdown. Yes, there are a quite a few ways of falling, and I experienced them all. But it was also a lot of fun, and we cannot wait to go snowboarding again.
See below for some more pictures taken with frozen fingers.