If you’ve been keeping up with our Local Getaways section here on Bronxmama, then you know we recommend the Poconos often. With something to do year round in every season, it’s one of our favorite places to visit to unplug and enjoy the outdoors. Winter of course, is when folks hit the slopes and take advantage of the snow covered mountains. But the Poconos also offers plenty of other winter fun for all ages. The perfect example of this is Fireside Christmas at The Inn at Pocono Manor. During Fireside Christmas, families visiting Pocono Manor can enjoy appearances by Santa and his elves in their workshop, holiday crafts, letters to Santa, decorating cookies, and more. So we packed our bags and headed 2 hours to the Poconos for some holiday fun.
We checked in to the Inn at Pocono Manor around 3 pm and headed up to our room. Being a century old, The Inn at Pocono Manor has done an amazing job at keeping that period charm without feeling dated. The antique look of the room felt warm and cozy, perfect for a winter’s stay in the mountains. Our room featured 2 double beds, a pullout couch, dresser, and desk. There was no mini fridge, but we bring our cooler on all of our trips so we were able to keep the drinks for the kids and a bottle of vino nice and cold.
Exploring the Main Manor
We planned to head over to Fireside to see Santa around 5 o’clock, so we decided to do our usual exploration of the indoor activities and amenities first. Every corner you turn of Pocono Manor is decorated in festive holiday decor and there are places to sit and lounge throughout. With plenty of fireplaces and Christmas trees, it’s the perfect opportunity to snap some photos for this year’s Christmas cards too!
Within the Inn of the hotel you’ll find several dining options, an indoor pool, a game room, and arcade. Inside the game room there are pool, ping pong and Foosball tables- as well as activities for the smaller kids, and even a screen to watch movies. Across from the game room is a small arcade, with some classic games like Skee ball, racing, and shooting games.
After playing a few games in both the arcade and game room, we headed outside and across the parking lot to Fireside, where Santa and his elves would be for the evening. Fireside Christmas runs from 12 to 8 on Fridays and Saturdays, and 12 to 5 on Sundays. Guests can purchase the special Fireside Christmas package ahead of time when booking. Speak to reservations about your package options to make the best selections for your family. We even learned that Santa would be feeding the reindeer at some points too! Upon entering, our eyes widened as we entered this Christmas wonderland. Decorated to the nines, Fireside looked magical.
First we headed over to Santa and Mrs. Clause for some photos and to let the kids chat it up about their wish list. While our four year old was mesmerized by her visit with Santa, our ten year old just recently learned the truth about the jolly old man, so I wasn’t sure how she would interact with him. Feeling too old to sit on his lap, she sat on the floor in front of him as her sister sat on his right knee- but I smiled as I looked over and saw her chatting it up with him about what she wanted for Christmas and to help her sister share her list too. I believe Briana was able to believe for so long because when she would ask me, I’d say if she wants to believe then he’s real- because it’s about the magic. I really felt like this was the perfect place to still feel that holiday spirit and let her allow her sister to do so too. It doesn’t matter how old you are, that magical feeling of Christmas can be felt by anyone and Fireside Christmas is the perfect place to experience that.
We then sat down to decorate sugar cookies. To my surprise the girls didn’t want to eat them until after dinner and we headed upstairs for more fun. The girls wrote their lists to Santa and made a few foam ornament crafts. Before we knew it, it was time to head to dinner.
Dinner at The Exchange
We dropped our plates of cookies upstairs in our room and then headed down to the Exchange restaurant room- dining packages are available for families to include breakfast and dinner accommodations during their stay. Be sure to speak to your server about what items are included, as some menu options have an upcharge. Sitting in our cozy booth I was reminded of the history of the hotel I read about in our guidebook in the room. Opened in 1902, Pocono Manor was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. To know that families had dined in this very room over 100 years ago was such an amazing feeling. Perhaps my great great great grandchildren would one day dine in this very room too.
The kids ordered classic kid’s menu options, while I opted for the Rib Eye with mashed potatoes and asparagus and my husband went for the rack of lamb. Everything was delish. Unlike some of the more casual dining options that many family resorts offer, the food at the Exchange was a bit more upscale food-wise, but still presented a family friendly atmosphere that made us feel comfortable.
While we truly had no room for dessert, we still opted for some chocolate cake to share before we could not eat another bite.
After dinner the girls were eager to head back to the game room for some family fun. They even tried their hand at pool. While there are so many fun activities to do around Pocono Manor, it always makes me happy to know that our children are most excited about spending quality time together- whether it’s a huge adventure or a simple evening of table and board games.
We had made plans to stop outside and roast some marshmallows at the bonfire, but the girls were eager to run upstairs to get into their pajamas and relax. So we did just that- Gia splashed around the tub for a bit, I sipped some wine with Luis, and Briana sat by the window- excited at the light snowflakes she saw, hoping the ground would be covered when she awoke. Before we knew it we were sound asleep.
With breakfast ending at 11, we were able to sleep in to around 8 or 9 before packing our bags and getting ready to check out. We then headed down to the Mountain View Dining Room for a relaxing breakfast together. The buffet offered an abundance of options- which between all of us, I think we tried a bit of everything.
The dining room was massive and offered gorgeous views of the mountains. Another fireplace with their classic PM monogrammed above sat between two Christmas trees near the omelet station. Even the light fixtures were decorated with holly. Pocono Manor truly does not disappoint when it comes to the holidays.
While it was the first weekend of December, the area was not yet covered in snow to be able to enjoy some of the winter activities- but we headed out to still enjoy some outdoor fun. Some of the activities visitors can take advantage of in the snow are:
- Pond Ice Fishing
- Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides
- Ice Skating
- Horseback Winter Trail Ride
- Snow Shoeing
- Cross Country Skiing
- Trap Shooting
By early January there is usually enough snow to partake in the winter activities, but be sure to keep up with the area weather to better plan your stay.
We headed over to Manor Sports where guests can sign up for the different activities offered outdoors. We tried our hands at archery and shooting a BB gun rifle. Funny enough as we shot at soda cans and sand bags, we spotted some real hunters in their camouflage headed out into the woods since it was the first day of hunting season. Upon check in, it was suggested we stay off the hiking trails- for obvious reasons! There was also a fitness center, driving range, and volleyball court for guests. Many of the activities are at an additional charge, so be sure to speak to the hotel when booking your stay to help plan your stay.
Our stay at Pocono Manor was short and sweet as we had another town to visit for the weekend, but we enjoyed every moment of it- and vowed to return once there was enough snow to enjoy some more of the winter activities, as well as summer to experience all of the warm weather fun. From the large families, to the couples we spotted- everyone we saw at Pocono Manor seemed to be having a wonderful time. Just like most of the places in the Poconos that we have visited, it was clear that most families tend to return year after year. Whether you visit with little ones to kick off the holiday season, or visit later in winter to try your hand at winter sports, Pocono Manor is a lovely escape for everyone.
About Fireside Christmas
November 25th thru December 26th
During Magical Fireside Christmas, families can enjoy: appearances by Santa Claus and his elves in their workshop, holiday crafts, writing letters to Santa, decorating cookies, as well as a spectacular 10,000 sq. ft. holiday light display with ornamented trees and a life size gingerbread house. Guests can also meet Rudolph and his team, or cozy up with a cup of hot cocoa from the gourmet hot chocolate bar, featuring a kids menu and specialty liqueur menu for adults. Evening bonfires set a cozy stage for roasting s’mores, while three large trees representing past, present, and future Christmases will be on display, inviting guests to explore the resort’s history and also share well wishes for the future. On the weekends, at bedtime for the children, parents can schedule the resort’s Elf Turndown Service complete with milk and cookies as well as a jolly holiday story read by one of Santa’s helpers. New this year is breakfast with Saint Nick, happening every Sunday from December 1st through the 18th.
For more information, www.poconomanor.com.
We received accommodations to facilitate this review. As always, opinions are our own.