To be or not to be PAMPERED? To be!

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Looking for an awesome gift for that special someone this holiday season? How about a gift certificate to the spa at The Lodge at Woodloch?

It’s the middle of a cold northeast Pennsylvania winter. Close your eyes and imagine the transcendent sensation of swimming in a pool surrounded by an infinity of waterfalls, a warm revitalizing massage infused with summer citrus, and a room that beckons just with its name—the Whisper Lounge. The Lodge at Woodloch offers all of the above and more year round.   Billed as a “sanctuary for the senses,” it boasts 27 rooms for body treatments, facials, pedicures, and salon services in luxurious yet unfussy surroundings, including “soaring walls of windows (that) invite the outdoors in to bring you in harmony with nature.”

Voted one of the ten best destination spas in the United States by readers of Conde Nast Traveler, The Lodge is an experience designed to quiet the mind and invigorate the body while tingling the senses from beginning to end. And, it’s in our own backyard, just minutes from Hawley and Honesdale and a mere 40 miles from Scranton.

Throughout the year, the Lodge caters to the local community with open houses and invitations to sample and explore its offerings, yet many myths persist about its operations–it’s too expensive, it’s not for locals, you have to be an overnight guest or use other services to dine at Tree, the gourmet restaurant on the ground floor opposite the spa.

None of these are true, says Brooke Jennings Roe, the Lodge’s director of Marketing, adding, “Our staff knows the best way to dispel any myths is by personal touch. But don’t take our word for it. Check it out for yourself.”

And so we did. Two friends and I discovered The Lodge’s personal touch begins with a “concierge” who tailors your desired experience to your specific needs, giving you choices ranging from fitness classes (such as Body Pump or Kickboxing) to culinary (wine pairings! Chef-hosted dinners!) to basic spa services—a moisture drench facial, eye rescue treatment, Blues-be-gone massage, etc. As part of the Kiesendahl-family-owned Woodloch Resort, The Lodge also offers shared amenities such as kayaking on a 15-acre private lake and golfing at nearby Woodloch Springs. And the Woodloch/ Kiesendahl brand of doing business pervades The Lodge—it is indulgence dispensed with down-home friendliness, or more simply put, no pretensions.

“For the last 5+ years, John Kiesendahl of the Woodloch family of resorts has taken over management of The Lodge to filter in the warm and genuine hospitality they are known for,” says Roe.

My friends and I enjoyed a host of services— full body massages (one pre-natal), pedicures, and a haircut and styling in the Lotus Salon. Many of the personnel hail from nearby towns, and they all admitted freely how much they enjoyed working at The Lodge. In addition to their expertise, they were respectful of privacy and conversation—they talked easily but only if prompted by the client. Between services, our concierge invited us to sip from glass pitchers of cool cucumber water or visit a sauna or steam room. Time disappeared. There was no hurry…and it was appreciated!

Pricing at The Lodge is “in line with most local upscale salons,” Roe told us, “and we offer an added benefit at no charge: usage of spa facilities (water/relaxation—saunas, steam rooms, pool) for one hour before and after your service.”

The Lodge’s signature 50 minute massage is $135, similar to the Sapphire Spa at Mohegan Sun which offers a 60 minute massage with hair shampoo ritual and style for the same money.   Canyon Ranch’s signature massage in Tucson, Arizona, is $150 for 50 minutes. Closer to home—Alexander’s in Scranton or Apple Day in Honesdale for example, both fine establishments—prices are lower, but they are not “destination spas.”

So what is a destination spa? Generally speaking, it’s a residential facility, such as a hotel, where like-minded individuals engage with highly trained personnel in a combination of exercise, healthy eating, wellness education, spa and well-being treatments. In contrast with a “spa resort,” where many activities are engineered solely for pleasure, a destination spa is focused on lifestyle improvements.

In addition to “beauty” services, The Lodge has a cardio weight studio, a dedicated Pilates training area, yoga, meditation, aerobics, aqua classes, water volleyball, and paths for bicycling, walking and running.

And, despite the ‘residential” part of “destination” spa, staying overnight is not required for guests to use The Lodge’s services.   Anyone can enjoy a single service, even just a meal at Tree. On our visit, we enjoyed, respectively, grilled southwest shrimp with black bean salad and honey chipotle vinaigrette, a roasted turkey sandwich and butternut squash tartlets. Gluten-free cranberry cookies and chocolate chip ricotta cookies were available on a buffet that also had fresh kale salad.

Roe describes Tree as delightful for anyone. “The amazing atmosphere, live-music nightly- acoustic guitar, healthy meal options, and impeccable service—and oh, did we mention the award-winning wine list?—makes for a very memorable night out,” she enthuses.

The Lodge lists many different spa packages for the day—a Demi Day, a Day Away, or an Evening Escape— or for overnight—Midweek Magic or ONEderous Weekend, for example, in a 57-guest room hotel where each room is adorned with down comforters, a refrigerator, marble bathroom, and an oversized shower.

The Lodge has won many awards—Travel & Leisure World’s Best, Conde Nast Traveler, Organic Spa Magazine, SpaFinder and TripAdvisor to name a few. But it is often the word of friends that carries the most weight… do you know someone who has experienced The Lodge at Woodloch?

When we arrived at The Lodge, my friends and I were harried and full of chatter. We left relatively serene. The experience seemed to have dispelled the “Maggie May” effect—no morning sun will show our age because now we felt ageless. Refreshed. Isn’t that what a spa is supposed to offer?

Legend tells us that the powerfully-scented herb, rosemary, was draped around the Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite, when she rose fully-formed from the sea. It’s no wonder then that rosemary is the signature scent of the Lodge at Woodloch. Can you smell it even in the dark middle of an NEPA winter? You should—it’s not that far away!

Hawley Winterfest 2015, December 11-13, 2015

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The 17th Annual Hawley Winterfest arrives on Friday, December 11th with wintry fun activities planned through Sunday, December 13th. This three-day winter event is one of the most celebrated holiday festivals in Northeast Pennsylvania with many activities and fun things to do for the entire family.

Winterfest is a one-stop winter wonderland experience reminiscent of an old-fashioned Victorian Christmas. The quaint town of Hawley twinkles with cheer as people of all ages enjoy exploring this lovely town while participating in the many activities. This year’s celebration features many returning time-honored favorites. Festive fun and adventure are had by all, and residents and visitors are filled with good cheer as they celebrate this pre-holiday event.

Returning Favorites

When the words “Hawley Winterfest” come to mind, certain signature events are remembered and anticipated.  With a full itinerary set each day, people can plan on attending popular favorites such as the Virgin Consort, the holiday house tours, horse and carriage rides, author book signings, a holiday show at the Ritz Company Playhouse, the Annual Cookie Walk and Victorian Luncheon, the Winterfest Brunch at the Settlers Inn, and much more.

On Friday, the Virgin Consort presents an elegant blend of traditional and Victorian carols and Medieval and Renaissance sacred works sung by an ensemble of eight angelic voices. This year, the concert will take place at the Hawley United Methodist Church. The concert begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

On Saturday, the Cookie Walk and Victorian Luncheon will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church on Church Street.  There will be over 5,000 handmade gourmet cookies and candies for sale, and a Victorian Luncheon will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Holiday House Tours run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The self-guided tour begins at Teeter’s Furniture, where an official tour map awaits you.  Get an inside look at some of the area’s gorgeous architectural gems during this one day only tour. This year, four beautiful homes will be adorned with festive decorations.  Some may feature delicious refreshments with holiday music playing in the background. Ticket prices are $20.

Also on Saturday, local authors of all genres will be at the Hawley Library for book signings from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some authors making an appearance that afternoon include Clara Gillow Clark, Lindsay Barrett George, Christine San Jose, and others. Experience a memorable holiday tradition with horse and carriage rides from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday. People board the carriages at Miss Elly’s Antiques on Church Street. These nostalgic rides bring to mind an old-fashioned Dickens style Christmas. The rides are $8 per person and weather permitting. In addition, wagon rides will also be available for $5 per person.

The holiday show at the Ritz Company Playhouse is always a popular event, and local actors present a fun show everyone loves.  Come in from the cold and into the historic theater Saturday and Sunday from 2:30 to 4 p.m. for this original children’s free holiday musical full of laughs and holiday spirit.  Children can anticipate a special visit from Santa after the show.

On Sunday, treat yourself to a special brunch at the Settlers Inn where delicious food and delicate live music provide an atmosphere of warmth and cheer. From 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., people can enjoy a holiday brunch featuring a classic menu of gourmet farm to table favorites while listening to soft, seasonal music. The brunch is $35 per person and reservations are required. Free Winterfest Shuttles will make continuous stops from one end of Hawley to the other on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. So park your car once and take the shuttle to all of the exciting activities throughout town. The shuttles loop through town roughly every fifteen minutes. The stops are listed in the Winterfest brochure.

Better Than Ever: New Events

Some new additions this year include the Winterfest Flyer on the Stourbridge Line, which is held Saturday and Sunday, and the Visit Lacawac Hike and Tour, taking place on Sunday.

During the Winterfest Flyer on the Stourbridge Line, people can enjoy a 40 minute, round-trip excursion down the Lackawaxen River in all its winter glory. The train will depart Hawley every hour on the hour until its return trip to Honesdale at 5 p.m.  The trips are $10 per adult and $5 per child. Call (570) 470-2697 for times and more details.

On Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., a naturalist-led hike allows festival goers the opportunity to tour Lacawac Sanctuary’s field station and event facilities. Discover our rich natural and cultural history. Arrive for coffee and tea before a one-mile hike to the historic lodge and then return for a home-style lunch. Reservations are required and this event is for people 12 years and up. Tickets are $20 per person and $35 per couple. For more information, call (570) 689-9494.

One of the things Winterfest is noted for is the variety of seasonal music and performances offered throughout the weekend.  For live holiday music during Winterfest, head to Harmony Presents in the Boiler Room at the Hawley Silk Mill, Glass Wine Bar and Kitchen, The Settlers Inn, Gresham’s Chophouse, Ehrhardt’s Pub, Hawley United Methodist Church for the popular Virgin Consort, held on Friday at 8 p.m., the Holiday Hand Bell Concert from 1 to 1:45 p.m. on Sunday at the Hawley United Methodist Church, Jinglebell Jazz at the Hawley Library on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Jazz from a Charlie Brown Christmas on Sunday at 4 p.m. in the First Presbyterian Church, and much more. Refer to the Winterfest brochure or website for days and times. In addition, the free Annual Ritz Christmas Show is held Saturday and Sunday from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

Also, don’t miss the popular Beer Tour, an adults-only newer event introduced several years ago.  There are 11 participating establishments including newcomers Just Rumors and Cove Haven Resort. The tour is available all weekend. Refer to the Winterfest brochure or website for a full listing of places, times and themes.

Check out the Cocoon Coffee House’s Ice Bar throughout the weekend where specialty cocktails will be served on handcrafted ice bars produced by Sculpted Ice Works. Complimentary samples will be available. On Friday, the bar is open from 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. and on Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.

Free Winterfest Shuttles will loop through town on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. So park your car once and take the shuttle to all of the exciting activities.  The shuttle will come by each stop approximately every 10 to 15 minutes. The stops are listed in the Winterfest brochure.

This is just a glimpse into the wintry world of Winterfest and all it has to offer.  For more detailed information, call the Lake Wallenpaupack Visitors Center at (570) 226-2141 or pick up a Hawley Winterfest brochure at the Visitors Center or other area businesses. For a complete schedule of events and continuous updates, visit www.HawleyWinterfest.com or “Like” Hawley Winterfest on Facebook.

Hawley Winterfest is presented by the Downtown Hawley Partnership, a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the high standard of living the community and tourists enjoy. For more information, visit www.visithawleypa.com.  The event is made possible through the generous contributions of local sponsors, donations, volunteers, participating residents and merchants, and The 2015 Winterfest Committee.

 

Celebrate the Joy and Spirit of the Season at the Settlers Inn

By Allison Mowatt

The traditional ambience of the Settlers Inn, a beautifully restored Arts and Crafts lodge, is heightened throughout the holiday season, and guests delight in the magical beauty and warmth it emits with the crackling fireplace, soft music, twinkling lights, glowing candles, scents of rich spices and woodsy pine, deep evergreens, wreaths, large Christmas trees adorned with tinsel and delicate ornaments, glimmering outdoor luminaries, and even a gingerbread replica of The Settlers Inn.

What many people remember as the Settlers Inn’s most popular dinner event, “The Victorian Christmas Celebration,” is now called the “Candlelight Christmas Dinner.” The Victorian Christmas Celebration was first introduced on December 10, 1987, and people have anticipated this unique dinner gathering every year.

The cherished event no longer focuses on the Victorian theme, but instead the Inn is getting back to its Arts and Crafts roots and simplifying the details while honoring what is most important: the pure joy of the holiday season, farm fresh food, flickering candlelight, the glow and warmth of the fireplace, and seasonal music.

“The Candlelight Christmas is a special dinner,” said Proprietor Jeanne Genzlinger, who manages the Inn with her husband, Grant, who is also the Executive Chef. “Our Inn is beautifully decorated with our annual holiday décor and the addition of candlelight. The simple and elegant holiday dinner features fresh, farm to table seasonal ingredients people recognize and come to anticipate. We like to think that it’s a new version of an old tradition for us.”

The Candlelight Christmas Dinner takes place on December 4th, 5th and 6th h from 6 to 9:30 p.m. An elegant holiday dinner is offered each evening in the dining room. Entertainment includes The Bradley Bunch on Friday and Saturday and the Wallenpaupack Area High School High School Choir on Sunday. This time-honored event is $75 per person. Reserve your table today. Call (570) 226-2993. The Settlers Inn is located at 4 Main Avenue in Hawley, PA. For more information, visit www.thesettlersinn.com. Be sure to stop by the Potting Shed, the gift shop in the garden behind the Inn, for special one-of-a-kind gifts.

Candlelight Christmas Dinner Menu

Amuse Bouche

Crispy Polenta with Chevre and Quince Pepper Jam

Roasted Concord Grapes with Olives and Mascarpone Crostini

Proscuitto Wrapped Fuyu Persimmon with Rosemary Skewer

Appetizer

Roasted Partridge and Pear Tart with Chestnut Cream

Salad

“Red and Green” Salad, Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Sweet Potato “Icicles,” Poached Cranberries, Clementines

Entrées

Pan Seared Shrimp, Citrus Saffron Vanilla Sauce, Beet Risotto, Brussels Sprouts

Pan Roast Goose with “Figgy Pudding” and Rosemary Demi Glaze, Holiday Gathering Vegetables

Braised Jamison Farm Lamb Shank with Chianti Jus Lie, Marble Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts

Pan Seared Red Snapper with Blood Orange Vinaigrette, Black Rice, Blood Orange Supremes

Beef Two Ways:

Grilled Petite Filet Mignon, Cabernet Reduction

Holiday “Pot Roast” over Mashed Yukon Potatoes, Pan Reduction

Butternut Squash Gratin

Desserts

English Toffee Pudding

Peppermint Pillow Ice Cream “Baked Alaska”

House Made Holiday Sorbets

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An Adam’s Family Christmas

ADAMSLogoDec15By Allison Mowatt

Adam Barziloski knows a thing or two about working with Christmas trees. For him, it’s as natural as breathing air—a fragrant, pine scented air, of course.

“I’ve always enjoyed the Christmas atmosphere, and now I’m sharing it with the Honesdale community,” he said.

His family owns and operates Bennie’s Nurseries in Tunkhannock, which consists of about 100 acres of trees in various fields. In 1932, his grandfather planted his first batch of Christmas trees. Adam worked on the farm from the time he was a little boy. Over the years, people flocked to the farm with holiday cheer in their spirits, anticipating finding the perfect tree for their home. Now, Adam is bringing the same festive experience to Honesdale.

“This is something I put my heart into,” he said. Adam and his wife, Jean, a Hawley native, recently moved to the area from Tunkhannock. He started Adam’s Hardscape & Excavation in Hawley, and Adam’s Christmas is a brand new venture for him.

Adam’s Christmas opened on Black Friday and will remain open through December 23rd. The business is located at 703 Old Willow Avenue and consists of a two-level barn and parking area where people can browse and take their time. “I want people to feel like they can relax and have all day to pick out their tree.” He tried to re-create the feeling of being in the country in a commercialized setting. “Hopefully, people will feel like they’re walking through a tree farm,” he quipped.

Adam goes to the family farm in Tunkhannock where the trees have been cut and baled, waiting to make the journey to Honesdale in his truck.

People can purchase a variety of trees including Douglas Fir, Frasier Fir, Con Color and Blue Spruce. Trees span the height from three feet to sixteen feet tall and are perfect for anyone’s home or office. Some helpful hints Adam shared are that Douglas and Frasier firs are best for needle retention;, Blue Spruce are sturdy, and Concolor emits a citrus smell, has long needles and also are ideal for needle retention. In addition to trees, Adam sells beautiful fresh cut wreaths in sizes ranging from 6 inches to 8 feet, bows, swags, garland, and other holiday items.

For ideas on crafting the perfect holiday centerpiece, come to a workshop at Adam’s Christmas on December 3rd and 4th from 4 to 8 p.m. and December 5th from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. On December 6th and 13th from 1 to 3 p.m., free photos with Santa are available, and from 3 to 5 p.m., people can bring their furry friends for pet pictures with Santa.

“With Adam’s Christmas, we hope to bring a new tradition and experience to Honesdale,” he said. Adam hopes to add children’s activities, a small bonfire, hot cocoa, cookies and more.

Adam’s Christmas is located off Route 6 across from Weis Markets in the white barn behind Zefran Dental Group. For more information, call (570) 251-0050.

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Could You Be One of the Ones?

By Allison Mowatt

truck2With the recently launched recruitment marketing campaign called One of the Ones, Pike County officials are hoping to raise awareness about the importance of the need for more volunteer emergency responders.

“We’re looking to retain existing membership and increase our volunteer base through this county-wide program and also spark an interest in our youth,” said Commissioner Caridi.

He gave an idea of just how important such a program is to the county. “Over a decade ago, the Commonwealth had about 300,000 volunteers,” he said. “Now the Commonwealth has about 50,000.”

laddersThe reason for the decline is many families require two incomes, leaving little time for the training drills required and time spent on emergency calls. This fact is compounded particularly in Pike County because it is the fastest growing county in Pennsylvania, bringing twice as many emergency calls with not enough volunteers to handle everything from fighting fires to raising funds for the companies.

The demand for county emergency service volunteers continues to increase. People can volunteer in a variety of capacities including firefighter, EMT, underwater rescue, heavy rescue, driver, administrative personnel, and grant writer.

This campaign is one the Commissioner earnestly discussed and planned for two years. In March, the Commissioners approved a contract with Canned Fire, Inc., a professional marketing firm, operated by Steve Powell. They purchased the program for about $43,000, and the One of the Ones campaign launched in September.

In order to engage the community and spread the word, county emergency training personnel made a professional video, which includes Pike County firefighters proclaiming what it means to be a volunteer emergency responder. The video is currently available online and will also be advertised on local television and radio. In addition, posters and brochures are available.

Pike County is the first county within the Commonwealth to initiate this program, which includes its eighteen fire companies. County officials and volunteers visited the three school districts within Pike, and now these schools feature emergency responder clubs. “Anyone fifteen years and up who wants to help is our target audience,” said Jordan Wisniewski, Operations and Training Manager at the Pike County Training Center. He is also a fellow officer of a local volunteer fire department.

flash3The Center on Route 739 opened in 2012 and is the hub for training and instruction for fire, ambulance, and police personnel. It is a professional state of the art multi-purpose training facility accessible to all emergency services personnel throughout the county. The three-story facility is beneficial to local EMTs, first responders, firefighters an,d police since before it opened, there was no place for volunteers to train locally. The center offers training for real life scenarios in rappelling and also hostage and forced entry situations. In addition, there are classrooms, a storage facility, and fire training tower for practicing live burns and evacuations. There is also a spot for a helipad and a storm water retention pond for practicing pump operations. The facility is vital in protecting the entire community and emergency service volunteers who put their lives at risk. “We want to give them every possible tool to save their lives and our lives,” said Commissioner Caridi.

OCT SBS2About eight years ago, the Commissioners helped form a group called the Emergency Service Training Facility Task Force with representatives from ambulance, police, and fire departments throughout the county who’ve met on a regular basis to discuss ways to attract additional volunteers. “With the One of the Ones campaign, we’re trying to roll off a recognition program where businesses and their owners can give thanks to the men and women who sacrifice time away from their loved ones to train and answer calls,” said Mr. Wisniewski. “They can offer discounts, rewards programs, or free merchandise. This is a policed program and each volunteer will have ID that states which agency they’re with.”

To get involved, visit your local agency and mention you’re interested in the One of the Ones program and in what field.

To find out how you can Be One of the Ones, fill out an application, view the campaign video or other details, visit www.pikesbravest.org or call (570) 296-1960.