Spruce Lane Visits: Skytop Lodge

Skytop Lodge
Neighborhood: Pocono Mountains
Vibe: Ski Lodge, Historical, Victorian, Old Fashioned Charm, Family-Friendly, Luxurious
Good for: Indoor & Outdoor Activities, Ski Trips, Hiking, Spa Retreats, Nature + Wildlife Sights

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This past weekend I took a girls trip up to Skytop Lodge for my sister's 30th birthday. She is actually half way through her first pregnancy, so we weren't exactly going to hit the slopes and bars, but more so for a weekend of spa treatments and relaxation. With that being said, we were pleasantly surprised with the incredible amount of fun activities Skytop had to offer outside of the standard ski/snowboard packages seen at many Pocono Mountain resorts. 

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Our family had visited Skytop once before many (over 10+) years ago, so this trip had a nice element of nostalgia to it. Parts felt familiar and other parts were completely new to us, like experiencing the "Grand March" tradition Saturday night! There's a lot to cover about this place since there is so much to do and see, so I'll try to be succinct in my recap by covering the main categories of accommodations, activities, and dining.  

Accommodations: We stayed in the Lodge where many of the activities took place and the main restaurants/buffets are housed. The rooms we had weren't the most spacious, but they felt very homey thanks to the old-fashioned decor and charm. The beds were king-sized and incredibly comfortable, and the bathroom also did not disappoint. It had two sinks which made sharing with my sister nice and easy (we all know how that can get, growing up with siblings). The room had a coffee maker, ample closet space, a smart TV, and we were lucky enough to have a great view overlooking the lake. Skytop actually has two other areas to stay in aside from the lodge that are better for larger groups or families. These include the Inn which is a short trolley ride away nestled against a golf course, as well as individualized Cottages for the ultimate luxurious and private experience. When we came as a family many years ago, we stayed at the Inn. 

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Activities: Where do I begin? I guess I should lead with the premise that if you have kids, this is a great place to visit. We were almost overwhelmed (not in a bad way) by the number of families, both big and small, we encountered during our trip. It was nice to observe and day dream about how we could come back next year with my future niece. Friday night, we had dinner in the Lodge and then played trivia in the Library Lounge which was a lot of fun. The questions were pretty tough, but luckily it was a friendly competition and we all got free milkshake vouchers to be used at the Tea Room out of it! Saturday, my mom and I took a 9:30am Yoga class and it was awesome. Everything was free and the class was pretty challenging! We got a great workout and it was a nice, therapeutic way to start our day. We then took a beautiful walk around the lake adjacent to the Lodge. It was frozen over, but starting to melt with the warm temperatures which was a cool sight. We also loved looking at the gorgeous lake homes (or should I say mansions) that dotted the perimeter of our trail. Following the walk, we prepared for our spa treatments by getting changed into comfy robes and slippers, and sipped on some complimentary hot teas. Talk about leisure! I got a Swedish massage, my sister got a pre-natal massage, and my mom treated herself to a facial. One hour later, and we all felt amazing.

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After that we continued to rest until dinner and dancing in the evening. Dancing was such a spectacle, mainly because the little kids owned the floor and busted their silly moves without an ounce of fear. It was one of the most entertaining and heartwarming things to watch. Also, Skytop featured a really great 5-piece live band and a glittering disco ball to set the mood. We were impressed with the band's level of talent! The evening capped off with a dance-elimination game (again, led by many of the children) followed by their traditional "Grand March" activity, where guests linked arm-in-arm marched throughout the resort grounds, both indoor and outdoor. Overall, it was a weekend of luxury, relaxation, and fun, all really without a drop of alcohol. Which says a lot in today's day and age! We barely scratched the surface of things to do though, as there were tons of other arts and crafts, fitness activities, and games to partake in throughout the weekend. Oh and the downstairs level of the Lodge has a full tricked out game room for kids, a wildlife section with snakes/turtles, a gift shop, and a taproom incase the rest of what I described wasn't enough! 

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Dining: Another really amazing feature Skytop has to offer is the many culinary options you have to choose from during your stay. We had a bed and breakfast package, so each morning we were treated to a full FREE (yep, I said free) breakfast buffet. And this buffet was no joke, it was loaded with delicious treats; pancakes, an omelette station, bacon, sausage, fruits, parfaits, waffles, pastries, smoothies, it ALL was there! I don't think I ever could get tired of that buffet, and the fact that it was free made it that much sweeter. Additionally, the resort offered even more complimentary benefits aside from breakfast. In the morning, you could treat yourself to free tea, coffee, fruit, and donuts before you made your way to the dining hall. In the afternoon around 4pm, there is a complimentary tea and cookie hour, and let me say that the cookies were very legit. For lunch on Saturday, we tried the taproom downstairs which also was pretty good. We shared a salad, flatbread pizza, and tacos and everything was tasty and well portioned. For dinner, our first night we ate at the Lodge and the second night at the Inn. Both evenings we were really impressed with the quality of the food. I had short rib first and prosciutto-wrapped cod next and was pleased with both meals. We pondered, if you were to host a wedding here the food would be good and that's pretty key when looking for a venue. Between all of the complimentary touches and solid dining options across the board, the overall experience was excellent. 

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Sunday meant time to go home, and we were all very sad about it because we absolutely loved our stay at Skytop! To be honest, we aren't a huge skiing family so the fact that we found a place in the Poconos that we could go to and enjoy the outdoors, while still having so much to do aside from hitting the slopes is truly perfect for us. The two hour drive from Philly is very smooth and well worth it when visiting such a fun-filled, luxurious resort. Hopefully my experience will inspire you to book a trip to this very nice place in the Poconos. We will definitely be making Skytop an annual winter destination for our family. 

On that note, stay warm, Philly!

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Spruce Lane Visits: The Miracle on South 13th Street

The Miracle on South 13th Street
Neighborhood: South Philadelphia - East Passyunk
Vibe: Holiday cheer, bright lights, winter wonderland, neighborhood fun
Good for: Family activity, sight-seeing, picture taking, walking tour

Looking for a free, family-friendly holiday activity in Philadelphia? Take a leisurely stroll down The Miracle on South 13th Street's light display for some of the best neighborhood decorations the city has to offer! 

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My boyfriend and I made a quick pitstop here on our way out to dinner this past Friday and had a blast admiring the vibrant displays that ranged from beautiful twinkling lights, to high-tech projections of Santa waving to you through the windows! The 1600 block on South 13th Street will remain lit up from roof to roof until 1/1/18, so it's not too late to go check it out! 

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Following your stroll, feel free to also peruse the many unique shops of Passyunk Square. We popped into Urban Jungle and loved the fun "love" ornament display hanging from the ceiling. Urban Jungle is an awesome plant shop complete with gardening tools, gifts, and all things outdoors. If you or someone in your family has a green thumb, take a look inside this place or even register for one of their many gardening events/workshops! Follow them on instagram too, at @urbanjunglephilly

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Keep on shopping!

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