Vacation = RELAXATION: Part 1

If you don't want to read a vacation blog post, here is the (boring) nutshell version:

January - August 2nd:  STRESS!!  (envision Anger from Pixar's Inside Out)
August 3rd 1 pm - August 6th 11 am:  Bliss!  Peace!  Calm!  Skytop!
August 6th 11:30 ...:  Back to the real world.  STRESS!

The longer version goes something like this:

2019 has been a rather stressful year for me and my family.  If it was just one thing, it would be more tolerable...but multiple stressors have gotten to ALL of us.  It would be nice if we could take a week long vacation, but that wasn't in the cards.  What we COULD manage was an long weekend getaway for my son's 14th birthday. (How did that happen?)  We've been to Skytop for his birthday for the past two years and also visited last November for 3 days...why are we going back again?  Well, despite all that we've done, there's still a lot that we haven't.  Plus distance wise close by (only about 90 minutes away), but feels like a world away.  Most importantly, it's a place where we can all relax.  I mean REALLY RELAX.  And we all NEEDED that.  

So on a sunny Saturday morning, we packed up the car (3 suitcases, 3 garment bags) and headed west on Route 80 to the Poconos.  There were a lot of trucks for a Saturday and plenty of crazy drivers.  (And here I thought they confined themselves to Route 3 or the Garden State Parkway.)  Over the years we have established a tradition/ritual of sorts of stopping one of the last exits in NJ for lunch at McDonalds.  And of course getting a photo in the big chair!

But that wasn't the only photo my son wanted.  Off the main highway and on the way up Route 447, we pass the now abandoned Penn Hills Resort.  This sadly run down and left to rot property has been an obsession of my son's for many years.  This year he wanted to have a photo taken of him with the sign in the background.  It's the kid's birthday weekend; how can we not oblige him?

Less than two hours after leaving our home (remember we stopped on the way), we pulled into the resort gates and up the long drive.  How can you NOT feel good as you approach the lodge which gives the illusion that it just grew out of the ground and has always been part of the landscape?  (The architect really put thought into this back when it was being built in 1920s!)  Pulled up to the portico and within a few minutes a bellman was there to take our luggage and park our car.  (Another plus for me; while we are at Skytop I don't have to drive anywhere...I could if I wanted to, but I am happy to just kick back and just enjoy.)  

We checked in at the front desk and were thrilled that "our" room was ready.  Yes, we have a favorite room on the third floor that is perfect for our family and I always try to request it.  While it has a lovely view of the south lawn, the best part is that it is long and narrow and is spacious enough to allow three of us to move around the room without stumbling over one another.

With keys to the room, we got settled and then I grabbed my nook and headed down to the south porch.  Settling in I felt such a sense of calm.  It was as if the view and the mountain air were a balm to my stressed out self.  I consciously thought to myself:  I am RELAXED.  I haven't felt this way in so long...I just want to cry with happiness.  (I didn't though.)  My soul truly needed this.

As is often true with our Skytop vacation, there is so much I want to DO, but I also just want to be.  To sit and just be.  (I don't think there is enough of this in my life and probably not in other's as well.)  I sat there with my book reading and was eventually joined by my husband and son, the latter had decided he wanted to go on a walk that was scheduled with the resort's naturalist.

While he enjoyed that, I did get up and wander around a little.  A quick visit to the gift shop where the shelves and aisles were less cluttered than before and offered more Skytop branded merchandise.  (Like the tote bag that I'm still regretting not purchasing.)  What was once the tea room is now called The Marketplace, which make a bit more sense.  The space has always had the feel of classic ice cream shop and with the addition of a popcorn chart and candy dispensers it is even more difficult to resist the lure.  While there is a counter and tables in the shop, there are also shaded tables outside in the courtyard (perfect for the warmer months).

The siren call of the South Porch called to me again.  I settled in next to the hubby and finished The Summer of 69 on my nook.  Before starting in on my next summer read (Queen Bee), I decided to take another stroll; this time down the South Lawn path to the Lakeview Inn.  I had never seen the lawn so busy!  There were kids and families everywhere!  Playing corn hole, doing arts and crafts with the activities staff, kicking a soccer play, exploring yoga and was a cornucopia of activity with something to interest just about any person of any age.

The flurry of activity continued down at the Lakeview Inn.  The new Callaways (formerly the Deli at the Lakeview Inn) was brimming with people and the picnic tables were full.  As I walked by the outdoor grill and down towards the lake beach my stomach rumbled from the scent (even though I wasn't hungry).  The lake was full of swimmers and it seemed like every single beach chair was filled!  Wow!  This would be the time to stay at the Inn...the daylight views are breathtaking.  (And I hear next year the nighttime view will be just as stunning; after some renovation takes place.)
It was of course, then back to the lodge and sitting on the south porch and reading.  As great as it was to walk (and I LOVE to walk) and to truly feel a wonderful peace; sitting there on the porch and breathing in the mountain air brought a smile to my heart.

While I was taking it all in, my cell phone rang.  It was Colleen, who manages the restaurants and who I trust with my life (because of my allergies).  Colleen always makes my dining safety a priority.  I told her where I was and she came out to review my dining plan.  She wanted to make sure that I knew who our servers would be, as she had specifically gone over my allergies and concerns with them.  I cannot stress enough how her attention to detail has made my dining experience at Skytop one that is not fraught with tension (as it usually is when I dine out).  Since she has been at Skytop and worked with me, I have not had a single bad or concerning experience.  She and the staff she has trained are amazing and give me so much more than just peace of mind.

After our "meeting" I settled back again with a glass of wine and a snack, while my son enjoyed the 4 PM tea (or lemonade) and cookies in the Pine room.  While there was activity all around me, I was in a blissful state of just being.

My son asked if he had enough time to walk around the lake before getting ready for dinner.  I told him he did, so off he went.  I continued to read and sip my wine.  After 20 or so minutes, I decided I should join him and walk off some of the snacks.  Thanks to modern technology, I was able to see where he was and let him know I was coming to meet him.


We had  lovely walk.

Dinner was less than an hour away, so it was time to head back to the room, clean up and get dressed for a fun evening...


  1. Always enjoy reading about your trips to Skytop, sounds like it was much needed!


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