Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mountain Creek... Our Favorite NJ Winter Getaway

Mountain Creek in Vernon Valley, New Jersey, is the place to go if you want a fantastic family winter getaway in the NJ/NY/PA area. It's just a short drive away, but you'll feel like you're a million miles away. It's the perfect mini-vacation!

I was expecting Mountain Creek, and its surrounding hotels, to be great, from what I had heard. However, I wasn't expecting to be blown away. The quality of their properties, the variety of activities, the food at their restaurants, and the friendliness of their staff, no matter where I went, was above and beyond anything I ever expected. 

Skiing, snowboarding, and tubing are just one part of the fun. Other outdoor adventures, and an abundance of indoor activities, will make sure you're never short of things to do. The thing is, you will probably not have enough time to do it all, but that's what future trips are for!

Red Tail Lodge...

Red Tail Lodge is the perfect meeting place to begin your day. Getting your passes and equipment are simple. Just choose your plan, and there are many to choose from, grab your gear and enjoy the trails! There are different options for lift tickets, and for packages with rental equipment and/or lessons. They also have a few newer additions... The 'Alpine Mountain Coaster" is the newest ride of its kind in the tri-state area!  The Alpine Mountain Coaster is a cross between an alpine slide and a twisting rollercoaster.  Ride alone or with a friend in their 2 seater coaster cars.  You control your speed, with a unique hand-braking system as you twist, turn and dip through the trees and through the Waterpark rides back to the bottom of the mountain. There's also the 'Soaring Eagle.' This new family-friendly attraction lets you experience the sensation of flying, while soaring down the mountainside on a suspended cable.  You can even share the fun with a friend on the comfortable side by side seats. Later on, at the Red Tail Lodge, enjoy lunch together with your group, rest and warm up around the fire pits, and end your evening relaxing in the restaurant after a long day of skiing and snowboarding. If you don't feel like driving there every day, just hop on one of the shuttles. They come as often as they're needed. It makes the entire process effortless.

Grand Cascades Resort...

As you turn into the Grand Cascades Resort and your car climbs up the long and winding road, it is a breathtaking site to see this majestic hotel at the top of the hill. The first thing you notice is the glass dome building, which contains the most gorgeous indoor pool complex we've seen, the Biosphere Pool Complex. It's awesome! (More to come later...)

The employees are so hospitable and friendly. You really feel that they care about you, and that they want you to have the best stay possible.

The suites are magnificent. As beautiful and immaculate as the best model homes. Brown and neutral tones work alongside granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, super comfortable furniture, and a gas fireplace. The kitchen adds so much convenience, and you can save a bundle. Just bring your favorite breakfast foods and cook them up in the morning before a long day outdoors. When you return, have a few snacks, and a couple of drinks, before you head out to a fantastic dinner at one of their restaurants.

The beds are heavenly.. Temperpedic mattresses will envelop you and give you one of the best night's sleep you've had in a long time. There is a washer and dryer so you can go home without the burden of having to do laundry. They also come in handy for drying snow-covered, wet clothing. Last, but not least, is the incredible bathroom. I'd love to just pick it up and put it right in my home. The vanity/sink looks like it's an antique. The floors are heated, yes heated, and the showers are invigorating. We could just grab our wardrobes and live there forever. Nothing else is needed. There's a wonderful little patio outside the living room with a fantastic view of the mountains. The lodge itself is spectacular with views on both sides which are to die for. 

Springs Bistro - Italian Restaurant.

Loved this restaurant. The food was so delicious and there was a great variety to choose from. The hostess and waitress were so attentive, subtly making sure we were okay. From the appetizers, salads, and entrees to the desserts, everything was prepared perfectly. Some of the delights we tasted were: Calamari Fritti, Frutti di Mare Affumicati (a lightly smoked seafood cocktail), Risotto al Frutti di Mare (Butter Poached Maine Lobster and Seared Sea Scallops), Homemade Meatballs with Fresh Pasta, and Fire Roasted NY Strip Sirloin. Dessert couldn't have been any better... Tiramisu, Chocolate Mousse with fresh Strawberries, and Homemade Cannolis.

Biosphere Pool...
First of all, before you enter the glass dome that leads to the pool, there's a great cafe that has light snacks throughout the day. As you enter the glass dome building for some relaxing by and in the pool, you can't help but fall in love with the view... snow-covered mountains that surround the hotel. While in the pool, just go through the plastic drapes and you're in a hot tub outside, where the brisk, fresh air, combined with the warm/hot water envelop you into a state of.. fabulousness! It's totally invigorating! Inside, there's a water slide that provides great fun for the kids, along with a few grottos and caves. There are even movies by the pool every night. Don't forget to check out the sauna and steam room as well. Love it!!! It's the perfect break after a long day of skiing.

Reflections Spa...
In a nutshell... heaven for your body, and your mind. Let the magic begin as the Reflections Spa staff takes you under their wings. Massages, facials, and wraps will make you feel like the star you know you are. You will enjoy every minute of it, and you'll feel relaxed for the rest of the day, at least!

Some of the small, but meaningful, extras that you will receive at Grand Cascades Resort are marshmallow toastings by the fire every night, free hot chocolate round the clock, free Wifi, and lots of great activities for the kids. There are also things for adults to do... we loved the hike through the mountains.

Mineral Springs Spa...
At Minerals Resort and Spa, kids and adults alike will be thrilled with their spectacular basketball courts (glass walls surround them), their sports club with the best equipment, running track, additional pools, another fantastic spa, and so much more.

We can't wait to check out their facilities during the summer months. Many more activities to do, including a super pumped-up water park! More to come on that later!

So what are you waiting for. Pick up the phone, make a reservations, pack your bags, and have a blast at Mountain Creek resorts.