A note about traveling in a still present pandemic: We chose to visit Woodloch in the fall of 2020 because we were confident the resort was taking the proper precautions to keep staff and guests safe and because we knew we could spend a majority of our time doing outdoor activities. The resort exceeded our expectations, so much so that we returned this past weekend, less than six months since our last visit. We continue to be impressed by the measures the entire staff took to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Our family first visited the Woodloch resort in 2012; it was an impromptu trip after Superstorm Sandy flooded parts of Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey and we had no power for almost a week. We had so much fun, we vowed to return. It took a while, but we finally made it back to Woodloch in the fall of 2020 for the most magical weekend- we wrote a full post about the resort and the (seemingly) endless ways to have fun. We met so many people (and have since heard from even more people) who remarked “We’ve been coming here for years, since I was a child” that we thought it would be fun to return with my parents. A resort like Woodloch is the perfect place for a multigenerational trip.
Woodloch, which opened in 1958 as a 50 acre lakefront summer retreat with 40 guests staying in seasonal cottages, has grown into a 800 acre resort that includes over 160 guest rooms , 400 rental houses, and an 18 hole golf course (spread out across an additional 400 acres), award winning spa, and literally hundreds of activities. While there are outdoor activities for all seasons (skiing, tubing, skating, snowshoeing, hiking in the winter and boating, swimming, zip lining, and every outdoor sport in the summer), there are dozens of family focused competitions like trivia games that are offered all year.
We chose to visit Woodloch twice in one year because we knew it would appeal to everyone and because we knew the staff would give gift us time to reconnect, activities that would make us laugh, and memories that would last a lifetime. This week, we’re sharing some of the biggest benefits of multigenerational travel:
1. Trying new activities that could lead to a hobby: Woodloch amenities are a great way to try a new sport or take up a new hobby. The grounds include tennis, pickleball, volleyball, bocci, and basketball courts, with equipment readily available for guests. There’s a miniature golf course, tons of boating options (paddleboats, canoes, row boats, and kayaks), and even zip lining for the more adventurous guests. Many younger children have never had the opportunity to learn lawn games like bocci and shuffleboard, which are spread out throughout the grounds and are easily taught.
2. Working as a team to problem solve: Some of the unique activities that are popular at Woodloch include trivia contests like “Name that Tune” and “Tri-Emoji”, and “Minute to Win it”. Competing in mind and memory challenges ensures everyone, regardless of mobility, can participate, which makes it truly inclusive for all ages. The toddler generation will surely feed off the energy and music and be great cheerleaders (although there are plenty of activities with the Kids Club all day to keep them entertained). It’s important for all ages to value and respect the knowledge and insights each other brings to the family and these games often bring out that respect- and the occasional “how could you NOT know…!!” stories to retell. Many of the trivia games will surely bring back memories of favorite films, television shows, and music.
3. Discovering secret talents: One of our favorite parts of a visit to Woodloch is the daily bulletin, which lists dozens of activities that are available. Some resort amenities are open all day and do not require a reservation, but special events require a sign up on the Woodloch app (very easy to navigate). There are often sporting events, performance-based competitions, and arts and crafts projects the elicit talents people never knew they had (or did when they were much younger). Being at a resort which provided all the supplies and equipment (and cleans it all up!) makes it an easy “risk” with a high chance of reward.
4. Getting out of your comfort zone: Woodloch offers a wide range of activities that people might not want to try, or have the equipment to try, at home- go carts, rock climbing, ziplining, snow tubing, skiing, and even boating. The staff is well trained, attentive, and encouraging, so it felt safe to try something new. They even managed to get my mother out on the water four times in one weekend (albeit, my children’s begging to go on the paddle boats twice might have also played a factor)!
5. Using meal time as story time: Having a focused time, when you’re all in one spot (no screens allowed!) is a great opportunity to share stories of the past. Sometimes the stories flow naturally- an event of the day might remind the older generation of something from their own childhood; but you can also bring along a little help. There are dozens of books with discussion prompts, or sets of flashcards, that are easy to pack and bring to the (literal) table. Even better? Have your children write a list of questions they’d like to ask their grandparents about their childhood, or a couple of questions they want everyone to take turns answering.
6. Starting a shared collection of mementos: I’ve mentioned in previous travel tip posts (here and here) that we try to avoid buying a lot of tchotchke items when we travel. We tend to focus on the same theme and build a collection (snow globes and Christmas ornaments are our go-tos). Decide as a family if you want to start a collection of physical objects to remember your travels. Woodloch awards the winners of daily competitions with medals- the perfect mementos! Bonus: Have the “senior” generation sign the keepsake as an added (physical) representation of the memory.
7. Taking lots and lots of photos: Many families use reunion trips or trips with grandchildren as an opportunity to take formal pictures of the whole family, since you’re together. Especially if you have a picturesque setting, you should take advantage of the beach in the background, or a famous landmark. If you return to the same location each year, it’s even more fun to mark everyone’s growth and changes by taking the same photo in the same location. But some of my most favorite photos are the ones that aren’t planned; the spontaneous laughter or show of excitement or surprise can transport you right back to that moment in time. These are the types of the photos that end up in the frames in our home.
8. Seeing the world through someone else’ eyes: So many people remark that seeing the world through a child’s eyes softens an adult; it infuses innocence and unadulterated joy back into how we view people and places. For older adults, being with children brings a sense of enthusiasm and excitement about what otherwise might be a regular task like eating or swimming. While all the meals at Woodloch are treated as celebrations, and offer an abundance of food over several courses, there are popular items that returning guests know to watch out for (the homemade crumb cake at breakfast! The Mud Pie for dessert!) and diets and restrictions are forgotten. And for children, walking a little slower, observing the surroundings brings its own comfort (who doesn’t love holding the hand of a toddler?)
For our full guide to Woodloch, including lodging and dining options (get the meal plan!), check out this post.
Disclaimer: My family was given a media rate to visit Woodloch. All opinions expressed are my own.