Victoria’s Diary: Growing and restoring

A look at the stunning dining room at the lodge.
My mom and dad.

Many of my readers know I started my media company with one newspaper in my living room, four children, a dream and a prayer. This week, we launched amNewYork METRO, a combined daily newspaper joining our 70 other media titles.

So when I decided after weeks of negotiations to acquire and merge the two daily newspapers (amNew York and METRO), I escaped for a few days, joining my kids.

After spending New Year’s together, I nurtured myself at a resort in the Poconos: the world renowned The Lodge at Woodloch, A DESTINATION SPA.  

When I arrived, I read a booklet in my room and learned of the powerful and impactful story about the family who created this stunning award-winning resort. It is a family operation, as is my company. Under the leadership of three generations of the Kiesendahl family, the lodge is proud to be “a getaway for people to gather and create lifetime memories.” The spa offered me a chance to disconnect from the rest of the world and relax. 

I had the pleasure of meeting John Kiesendahl, whose dad started with a one-building hotel, which has grown into a 1,500-acre playland with the help of his children.

I stayed at the spa (for adults only), set on 500 acres, and across the road my daughter and grandchildren stayed at the family-oriented Woodloch Pines. It was created out of the playbill of the old Concord in the Catskills, but the family has taken it to a new level with over 50 indoor and outdoor activities, making it a go-to destination year round. Down the road from where I stayed is a champion golf course where you can buy or do a timeshare in beautiful multiple bedroom homes, or in a house on the lake.

John, whose dad lived on Long Island in Massapequa Park and moved his family to Hawley, Pennsylvania, is devoted to his adopted state, serving on a bank board, the school board, and the county tourism council, to name a few! Like me, he gets involved in the community where he’s built his business.

My latest acquisition includes a daily newspaper in Philadelphia, so I too will be transplanted to Pennsylvania, and I look forward to meeting and getting involved in the state that John calls home.

My stay at the lodge’s all-inclusive spa was superbly serene. The schedule of classes could have kept me busy from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., but I only took two: a superb drumming class where I hit a ball with drum sticks and soft yoga taught Fitness Director Cindy Wasilewski.

The 40,000 square foot spa includes an indoor pool and hot tubs inside or outside (I did go out into the cold to experience that hot tub and it was enervating).

I treated myself to facials, massages and, best of all, a meeting with Talia Segal Fidler, a holistic health and nutrition counselor who taught me so much in our one-hour session. 

Then, a resourceful swimming exercise class, which taught me how I can improve my daily swim exercises at home.

But what is a hotel without a great kitchen? Executive Chef Josh Tomson produced spectacular meals that were stunningly presented. I did eat sensibly, but the exquisite breads and desserts were irresistible! And there is also a deep wine cellar with innumerable choices to accompany every dish on the menu.

But of all the “things” available at Woodloch, the greatest amenity provided by the Kiesendahl family is the warm, professional and welcoming staff. From the moment I arrived, each person who I had the pleasure of meeting spoke of the tradition of excellence and hospitality that is the culture and mission of this three-generation award-winning family.

I took a shuttle bus to meet my kids and when I asked who owns the resort, the driver responded by telling me how adored, respected and loved each of the family members are. I truly felt the infectious kindness and service of the world-class resort staff. My stay was so superb, I’m bringing my daughters back to celebrate my birthday!

For information on any of the five Woodloch properties, call 1-800-WOODLOCH.