With family so far away and not having much time off of work, traveling home for the holidays just isn't feasible for us, so 5 years ago we started a new family tradition of going on a small weekend getaway! This year, we got a car (courtesy of Drive Shop and Mitsubishi) which made our getaway much easier, no longer limited to places on a train line! We searched for a good hotel deal, requirements being that they had a Thanksgiving buffet, an indoor pool, and cost under $200/night.
Here's our vacation highlights in video form (keep reading below if you prefer the written form haha!)
I was a bit nervous if the Mitsubishi 2018 Outlander Sport we were provided by Drive Shop for the week would be big enough for us - it's just a 5 passenger SUV and we had to fit 3 kids across plus luggage and a double stroller. But, it was actually no problem with our 2 Combi Coccoro car seats (only 15.5" wide, affiliate link) and Kenzo in his RideSafer Travel Vest! Mia ended up getting car sick and I was thankful to have her right behind me, not sure what we would have done if she was way back in the third row!
Beside it being a super cute car providing just enough space and a smooth ride, we all thoroughly enjoyed the ginormous sunroof, and hubby and I made good use of the heated seats on the cold mountain nights! We also loved the video assisted back up, that the side view mirrors automatically fold in when you lock the car - so cool (and smart), and the iPad's audio could be pumped throughout the car via bluetooth - this totally saved us as we'd never used an iPad in the car for the kids before, and it wasn't loud enough on its own. (We bought the GoGear Tablet Holder (affiliate link) for the head rest, it was so easy and worked perfectly!) The Outlander's leather seats were gorgeous and comfy, and the back seats have a 60/40 fold, not that we could use that feature what with the 3 kids in back and all. And of course, the dual USB ports helped us keep our phones and tablets all charged up! Getting an average of 25MPG with an MSRP of about $26K, the Outlander is a fab SUV and now a top runner in our search for a family ride!
We previously stayed at Woodloch all-inclusive Poconos resort during summer over a year ago (see my review here) so we were eager to check out another family-friendly Poconos property during Fall season! We found a Groupon for Pocono Manor that included breakfast and jumped on it! The hotel, rooms, and facilities were outdated but charming, what you'd expect of a mountain lodge type place. The breakfast buffet was outstanding, definitely worth including in your package!! There were lots of rooms to explore and hang out in around the hotel, including an arcade and a "movie room" that had 2 pool tables, ping pong, and puzzles and blocks and other activities for kids. They had great playgrounds and an indoor pool, but no Jacuzzi or kiddie pool unfortunately. If you want an indoor water park, you'll have to pay major moolah for a day pass at H20ooohh!, Aquatopia, or Kalahari next door (which we did stop by to check out and ate lunch there twice), or stay at Woodloch, Kalahari, Great Wolf Lodge, Camelback, or Split Rock Lodge.
Pocono Manor had some activities that were included in the $20/night resort fee (such as bb gun shooting) and others that were an extra fee, such as archery, fishing, and trap shooting. We splurged on the $10 pony ride - it was our almost 5 year old's first time on a horse, so cute!
They also had a really cute "Magical Fireside Christmas" set up across from the main hotel. Through December 24, you can explore the decorated building, visit with Santa, decorate cookies and ornaments, and more!
About an hour north, not on the way home but a worthy detour nonetheless, we hopped a ride on the Stourbridge Line's Santa Express in Honesdale! Grab some complementary cookies and hot cocoa as you board the vintage train (make reservations and get there early or you'll have a hard time finding seats together!!). The cars are heated and decorated very cute for Christmas. They'll read a story and before you know it, Santa makes his way through the train sitting with each family for a couple of minutes to talk to the kids, take pictures, and give them a small gift (be warned, ours was a little jingle bell, my 4 year old was super disappointed (watch his face in our YouTube video), I guess he was expecting a Transformer or something LOL but for real, take care to prepare them so they don't get their hopes up, mom fail over here!!).
Overall it was a really fun ride, about an hour total, and the train goes very slow so don't worry about motion sickness or anything. Honesdale is a cute town, as well, with lots of little shops to explore. We ate at a pizzeria across the street. The car ride back to Brooklyn from there was about 2.5 hours, so possible for a day trip, but more realistic as part of a longer Poconos weekend getaway!
We had a great weekend getaway - as "easy" and "relaxing" as any vacation can be with 3 kids under the age of 5!! Do you have any tips for family-friendly spots in The Poconos? Or a great getaway from NYC we should try out next (you can see ones we've done previously here)? Leave a comment below!!
DISCLAIMER: We were provided the car, SafeRider Travel Vest, and Santa Express tickets for free in exchange for promotion, but hey, I'm no sell out - all thoughts and opinions are my own, honest and unbiased!
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1), focusing on fun and honest product and travel reviews, saving moms time finding the best for their families! Find what you need in the menu bar or search section above!