New Traditions

1:48:00 AM mandy 0 Comments

This past winter was unusually warm. I wasn't states side for the major end of the year holidays but my friends kept me well updated on just how toasty it felt for November and December. With the weather the way it was and scheduling considerations, we couldn't make a cold wintery getaway like last year's.

Instead, our only option was in early March. Even then the days we stayed at the ski resort were in the 60s-70s! Much too warm for snow activities but at least, thankfully, they were still open (as we paid in advance for lessons). And hey, it's the time we spent together that matters most.

Camelback 2016 Aquatopia

The first day we arrived at Camelback Resort was spent at their newly opened indoor water park: Aquatopia. I believe this indoor park is for lodge/resort/hotel guests only. They do have an outdoor park during the warmer months which replaces the ski resort. That park may be open to all but don't quote me on that.

Aquatopia is on the small side but considering it is indoor and included with the stay there's enough to keep you entertained. The lines can get pretty long but it seemed to move relatively fast. I am not the biggest fan of water activities but my friends are and they enjoyed the water park very much.

I think the highlight for us was the Venus Slydetrap. As long as you stay within the weight limit, your group can all sit in one big float and enjoy being shot into darkness, spheres, and up & down the plant inspired mouth trap. Another one of the park's special features are the two very tall and steep slides with trap door contraption. (I think they're called the Paradise Plunge and Skydive Plummet.) Brave souls stand atop the door and way to be released & drop down below. I was barely willing to go on other the "tame" slides, so I steered clear of that thrill ride.

Camelback 2016 Ski Resort Snow Gear Rental

The activity that I was most excited for during the trip was snowboarding. A part of me was hoping that it would be like riding a bike, i.e. pick up right where I left off. If that were to happen it would mean I wouldn't fall much and be able to stop myself at will.

I think I did relatively well at our beginner class. I had some memory of how I should position my butt to steer a certain way. Our instructor this time was stellar. I can't remember his name but I do remember him putting a lot of care and effort into building our confidence. It also helped that the school was terribly busy the day we went because our instructor was able to extend our lesson and let us practice more with him. We also witnessed him giving advice to other beginner snowboarders on the bunny hill later in the day who weren't his students. The guy just can't help but help others!

Once we were set free to the bunny hills, my "skills" gradually went downhill as the day progressed. More falls. More unexpected crashes into the fences. Less control of turns. I want to attribute it to the melting snow conditions. Maybe I just do better on soft powdery hills? But it could have been...probably was due to the fact that I was losing confidence in myself after continuously falling. Guess I won't know unless I try again next time.

Camelback 2016 Ski Resort Bunny Hill at night

Yes, I am aware I look like a gray Michelin man. I was prepared for coldness! This get-up worked for me last year in what felt like the extreme cold. Little did I know...even though there is "snow" on the slopes, with 50s-60's°F weather, snowboarding can get HOT.

Camelback 2016 Snowtubing Hill

After the disappointing snowboarding session I had the day before, snow tubing sounded like it would be the highlight of the trip. I wasn't intimidated by it since we had so much fun on these slopes last year. Plus (I thought) the warm weather would make it more enjoyable this time. No more frozen fingers and toes! (Despite all the fun we had last year snow tubing, the freezing temps got to us fast.)

My prediction was half true. Snow tubing made up all the falls I had the day before. The weather was a nice cozy warm yet the breeze from going down the hill was refreshing. The only downside was the hill wasn't icy enough, which meant snow tubing wasn't as fast. It was more akin to a leisure car drive than being in a speedy race car. You get some, you lose some.

Camelback 2016 Lodge Double Bed Room Camelback 2016 Lodge Room View

With the near indoor water park, there also came the Camelback Lodge. The two are directly connected. While the ski/snowboarding hills are a short drive away, there is a free shuttle bus for transport. Don't fret if anyone is more experienced and could take the lifts up to the higher slopes. There is supposedly a ski in and out area of the hotel as well (according to my friends who explored the lodge). I think Camelback frequently has specials on their site if you're interested.

What travel post is complete without food?

Camelback 2016 Landmark Restaurant East Stroudsburg, PA - Country Fried Steak Breakfast Camelback 2016 Landmark Restaurant East Stroudsburg, PA - Country Fried Steak Breakfast
Landmark Restaurant
809 Seven Bridge Road East Stroudsburg, PA 18301
Country Fried Steak Breakfast Platter $8.95

Yes that is 2 very full plates of food for $8.95! It is a very cozy spot where a lot of other skiers and snowboarders dined before hitting the slopes. Affordable, big portions, and tasty...can't go wrong.

Camelback 2016 Red Lobster Bartonsville, PA - Dinner
Dinner at Red Lobsters in Bartonsville, PA

Camelback 2016 Ski Resort Lunch - Pastrami Sandwich, Fries, Pasta
Lunch from Camelback's Big Pocono Family Eatery

Get the fries! They were definitely the highlight of the pricey lunch.
The sandwich and pasta I got weren't too shabby either. This lunch was definitely much better than what I remembered having last year.

Camelback 2016 Lodge Buffet Dinner Camelback 2016 Lodge Buffet Dinner - Desserts
Buffet dinner from Camelback Lodge's Hemispheres

The selection is alright. It IS a buffet at the resort lodge so it is expected for it to be pricey. But since we were pooped from snowboarding all day it was worth the convenience.
If you do eat in, get the chocolate chip looking cookie with all the nuts (if you're not allergic)!

Camelback 2016 Sonic Bartonsville, PA - Sonic Cheeseburger Camelback 2016 Sonic Bartonsville, PA - Chili Cheese Tots
Meal from Sonic Drive-In in Bartonsville, PA

I've seen their commercials with the two guys on TV all the time! Since NYC doesn't have any Sonic's (I don't think) we were all excited to try it. Yes, excited to try fast food. We can indulge sometimes too. The Cheeseburger was standard. The chili cheese tots sound great but the tater tots were pretty soft and crisp-less. Just go for the plain tots, they're much better. Their shakes are great for sharing. Unless of course you can handle the cup full of sugar and cream. Then more powder to ya!

There is a video to accompany this post, just like last year!

In fact there are 2 videos this year. My friends found Jelly Belly's ever so popular Bean Boozled at the lodge gift shop. We've been curious to try it out but never had the time to all sit down for so long to attempt the challenge. Let's just say, we were defeated.