Nestled in the Pocono Mountains on 400 pristine woodland acres with a private lake, the Lodge at Woodloch is a luxurious destination spa that pampers guests from the moment they arrive. An escape to this secluded enclave in northeastern Pennsylvania allows guests to rediscover passions or uncover new hobbies.
Our travel group has been visiting the Lodge for several years now to experience nature at its finest. We especially like partaking in the self-enrichment activities hosted by an amiable staff, each an expert in their field. With a continually changing menu of classes, there’s something new and exciting to discover each visit: Chair Yoga, Body Pump, Journaling for Self Discovery, Power Napping—the list goes on.
A typical day begins with a healthy breakfast in the Tree Restaurant. All tastes and food allergies are accommodated with such offerings as gluten-free vegan pumpkin pie pancakes, or farm eggs with potatoes, bacon, or turkey sausage. A scrumptious theme continues at lunch, with options that include whole grain pasta, roasted tomatoes, kale, and a vodka cauliflower cream sauce. Dinner is a feast for the senses with menu highlights like the delectable banana leaf–wrapped Chilean sea bass or richly flavored shrimp and grits.
In a hotel setting, sometimes the littlest things—like a great cup of tea—can have the greatest impact. Sachets from Two Leaves and a Bud are offered throughout the property: in the Garden View Room, the restaurant, the health club, throughout the spa, and in the retail store.
Over twenty varieties of teas are offered as part of the Lodge’s tea service, from Organic Detox and Organic Invigorate, to Organic Chamomile, Organic Assam, and Jasmine Petal Green. Each tea has a distinct purpose, such as reducing stress, helping muscles and joints, or increasing vitality.
According to Jen Okeson of Two Leaves and a Bud Tea Company, it’s uncommon to see some of these teas as a resort’s most popular. But the Lodge’s clientele seeks herbal relaxation and healthy options.
“When you are in that very tranquil environment at Woodloch, it is easy to gravitate to a cup of chamomile, add the honey from their on-property hives, and enjoy a cup or two,” Okeson says. “It’s a magical place.” She says when the company released its Purpose Filled Tea line last fall, Woodloch saw instant interest. The line of teas are intended to serve a function in the body and include names like Organic Detox, Organic Hydrate, Organic Energize, and Organic Invigorate.
Okeson says the tea’s eco-friendly packaging has also been an important part of the guest experience at Woodloch. “The lodge is very thoughtful in its choices and really reviewed our packaging intensely. The compostable sachets and sleeves that actually will break down were seen as a green choice that is still convenient, easy and attractive.”
At least once a year, Two Leaves teams with the Lodge to offer guests various experiences with tea. Tea experts share information about what each season means in the tea world, covering tea basics and explaining different tea types. Guests taste some garden-specific assams and Darjeelings from the Reserve Loose Tea line, along with Organic Lemon Ginger and Organic Tropical Goji Green.
The content of the classes continues to evolve. In honor of June being National Iced Tea Month, an iced tea class will be offered this month at the Lodge. Participants will make black, green, and herbal iced teas in quantities ranging from a single cup to a three-gallon batch sized for serving guests at parties.
Guests respond enthusiastically with questions about the various health benefits of tea, caffeine content, and the differences in processing various teas. The goal is to have people learn something about tea and to get them excited enough to try more teas.
“Tea is the most classic, yet interesting of beverages,” concludes Okeson. “It is simple and spectacular all at the same time.”
—Roger Sands is a freelance food and travel writer based in Moscow, Pennsylvania.