Spring Travel: Get Hungry in the Poconos

A Poconos haven slows down our quick-serve obsession via farm-to-table dishes, cooking demos and gourmet workshops.


Photo via istockphoto

If we’re being technical, the Lodge at Woodloch bills itself as a luxury spa destination — and with its indoor pool, salon, trio of hot tubs, and a treatment menu that stretches from body wraps, facials and massages to hydrotherapy and reiki, that’s certainly an apt descriptor. But this resort, tucked three hours away from Philly in the far northeast corner of our state, is also (surprise!) a food lovers’ paradise.

Here, meals are leisurely and thoughtful, a far cry from grab-and-go grub and lunches scarfed desk-side. And you’re urged to indulge: Each stay (in spacious rooms and suites, all with private verandas) includes three gourmet meals per guest every day in the Tree Restaurant and Bar, a lodge-like space with sweeping floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook a sea of green. Dinners are three lingering courses featuring organic meat and fish and locally sourced greens, with most veggies and herbs plucked from the lodge’s three on-site gardens. The food is worth savoring: a kohlrabi and dried cherry salad, a perfectly seasoned Chilean sea bass wrapped in banana leaves, a mushroom and goat cheese flatbread, broccolini blanketed in phyllo with horseradish from a local creamery, cloud-like pear mousse with a crumbling of ginger.

Attached to the restaurant is the chef’s kitchen, which hosts cooking and baking demonstrations, workshops, wine tastings, juicing sessions and cocktail-making classes six days a week. You’ll want to sign up for these (some free, all under $100), because as you eat — and eat, and eat — you’ll find yourself concocting grand culinary plans: actually making use of your tortilla press, nailing the perfect consistency for vichyssoise, finally growing that herb garden. (The lodge offers gardening classes to help you get started.) After a few days of dining like a king, you’ll find the takeout life suddenly seems, well, unappetizing.

WHERE TO STAY: The Lodge at Woodloch, 109 River Birch Lane, Hawley, Pennsylvania; starting at $269 per night.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: The Lodge is adults-only, so leave kids under 16 at home. Have young ’uns? Book a stay at the Lodge’s sister property, Woodloch Pines.

BRING HOME WITH YOU: Nurture With Nature, the Lodge’s cookbook ($24.99), which features more than 100 recipes for seasonal dishes, skincare treatments you can whip up with items from your pantry, and herbal healers from the resort’s naturalist.