Six Ways to Enjoy a Healthy Pocono Vacation
By their very nature, the Pocono Mountains exude health and wellness. Encompassing 2,400 square miles of pristine landscapes, the Pocono Mountains boast an abundance of activities geared to enhance one's mental and physical health.
Nestled in the northeast corridor of Pennsylvania and surrounded by rolling mountain terrain, resplendent waterfalls, lush woodlands and winding rivers, the Poconos provide a serene, holistic environment for its guests. Whether visitors seek a spiritual journey or an activity-filled vacation, the Poconos will meet the needs of health conscious travelers.
Here are six ways to enjoy a healthy Pocono vacation:
1) Mind/Body Classes, The Lodge at Woodloch
The Lodge at Woodloch is an exclusive property that features 57 finely appointed guest rooms and suites, along with a 40,000 square-foot luxury spa. The Balance, Alignment & Movement Posture Workshop is an informative workshop exploring how posture is influenced by habits and modern society. Guests learn simple stretches to help alleviate back pain and exercises to help improve balance, alignment and movement for overall better posture. Another excellent option is the Chi Gong Class which centers on the five elements of traditional Chinese medicine; Fire, Water, Earth, Metal and Wood. Movement and meditation are used to unite and harmonize the spirit of the five organs governed by each element. A series of exercises such as Ocean Breathing, Inner Smile and Toning the Six Healing Sounds activate the Chi.
2) Ballroom Dancing, Skytop Lodge
Since 1928, this majestic 5,500-acre escape has been the ultimate destination for time-honored traditions and exquisite vacations. Here, the unrivalled old-world charm of the Inn, Lodge and Cottages blends seamlessly with natures grandeur. Among its most popular activities is ballroom dancing, which rejuvenates one's senses while at the same time providing an excellent aerobic exercise. Several times each year, Skytop Lodge brings in a 18-piece orchestra that plays classics from the Great American Songbook. Fox Trot or waltz your way to health while music from a bygone era fills the Grand Ballroom. It's an experience that will have you coming back again.
3) Horseback Riding, Daisy Field Farm
Riding through the Pocono countryside on a majestic horse is another great way to see the natural wonders of the Pocono region. Whether you ride through woods, streams or meadows, you will get a close-up glimpse of the natural beauty of the Poconos, and you'll probably see some of the native birds and animals. Daisy Field Farm is a private farm and wildlife preserve offering horseback trail rides where guests can see wild deer, turkeys and other animals close up during their ride. Geared for people of all ages and horseback riding abilities, all rides are accompanied by friendly, experienced trail guides. For the less adventurous, horse drawn wagon rides are also available.
4) Hiking Trails, The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort
Walk along trails that are ripe with history. The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort and the Village of Shawnee on Delaware are rich with stories, landmarks and facilities that have existed for hundreds of years in this fertile land that borders the Delaware River. The White Blaze Trail at Shawnee is part of the famed Appalachian Trail that stretches from Georgia to Maine. Shawnee's section runs for one and a half miles with a vertical rise of 1,060 feet. At its peak hikers can stop and catch a wonderful view of the Delaware Water Gap. There's no better way to spend a day in the Poconos.
5) Skiing, Camelback Mountain Resor
Perhaps more than any other activity, the Pocono Mountains region is noted for its skiing. Home to eight ski areas and over 165 slopes, the Poconos offer challenges for all ability levels. Research indicates that skiing burns about 350 calories per hour while at the same time releasing endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling in the body. Skiers experience a natural "high" when swooshing down a mountain with the brisk air in their face and the crisp snow beneath the skis. Camelback Mountain Resort has been offering a quality product ever since it first cut trails across old logging lines in 1963. Camelback provides challenging terrain that will test the mettle of the most advanced skiers, while also allowing beginners to hone their skills on leisurely trails. Snow tubing is an alternative to skiing and a great way to experience the thrills of a Pocono winter.
6) Water Recreation, Whitewater Challengers
The Poconos boast more than 150 lakes on which visitors can water ski, jet ski or enjoy canoeing and kayaking. Whitewater Challengers provides plenty of options for the outdoor enthusiast. Enjoy great rapids, adrenaline-pumping action, and hair-drenching whitewater rafting on the Lehigh River, rafting through some of the most spectacular wilderness scenery you’ll ever see. Dam Release Whitewater Rafting for ages nine and older is the most popular and most exciting trip, featuring dozens of fun-filled rapids combined with spectacular wilderness scenery. Want an easier ride for the younger kids? The Family Style Summer Rafting Trips feature warm summer sun along with plenty of chances to swim along the way.
Roger Sands is a former assistant editor turned freelance journalist who writes about travel, sports, and, of course, wellness issues. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, SKI Magazine, the Pocono Record, and others. When not on the slopes or the courts, he enjoys afternoon tea, actually at all hours of the day.
Photos: Robert Sands