Day Trip Poconos: Blue Mountain Ski Resort Danielsville, PA
Wyndahm Hotel in Allentown, PA
This was the first overnight trip for my Daughter and I and I wanted it to be special. I started researching prices and amenities 3 weeks prior to our trip at the different ski resorts in the Poconos. Google Maps was a great help in locating the Ski Resorts. I was looking for a place that would be inexpensive and close to our hotel that was based in Allentown, PA. Amenities were to include: Food and tubing offered with an hourly or 1/2 day rate. Half day tubing was less than $40.00. Blue Mountain is at the very southern end of the Poconos so it was approximately a 45 minute ride from our hotel. Blue Mountain Ski Resort in Palmerton, PA met my criteria, so now it was time to get started booking the hotel and packing for our trip. I planned on leaving Friday afternoon, checking into the hotel Friday evening at around 5-6, then out for dinner somewhere in the area. Wake up was to be whenever on Saturday, a 45 minute drive to Blue Mountain for a full day of Tubing with my daughter. We stayed overnight Saturday, then back home to Southern NJ on Sunday. When it came to hotel selection, I wanted someplace that was about 2/3 of the way between my home and the ski resort. I chose Allentown as the city to begin searching for a hotel as it was conveniently located 45 minutes from Blue Mountain. It turned out to be a great pick, plenty of awesome restaurants to choose from and we ended up with a great hotel. I've been a member of Expedia since 2003, I used them to compare prices in the Allentown area. We settled on The Wyndham Hotel for its proximity to the highway and restaurants. It was a good choice overall and the stay was pleasant, comfortable and within our budget of less than $100.00 a night.
Packing for the trip.
This was a winter trip, so my concern was keeping us warm and dry. Waterproof outer clothing is a must, as getting off the tube sometimes resulted in rolling off and laying in the snow. We both packed quality ski pants and a ski jacket. Dress in layers, so make sure to pack plenty of long sleeve t-shirts and sweatshirts. Thermal underwear really help, as sometimes it can get chilly waiting in line and during the trip up the tube conveyor. I chose to wear thermal underwear, sweatpants, long-sleeve tee, hooded sweatshirt and ski pants, with a ski jacket. I found that sweatpants were less restrictive and helped with ease of movement getting on and off the tube. Waterproof gloves are a must as our fingers seem to get cold faster than any other part of the body. Take care of your feet, wool socks or something synthetic is a must!!! "NO WHITE COTTON SOCKS", my experience in the Army has definitely made me a believer in the benefits of proper foot care. Cotton absorbs moisture, so if you want cold, wet feet for hours, be my guest and wear cotton socks, if not, then look for breathable moisture wicking socks in either wool or wool blend, polypropylene or other synthetic materials. When it comes to footwear, look for waterproof boots, no sneakers or flip flops for this activity. Columbia has the Bugabootu line and the North Face has ChillKats, both are good starting points for inexpensive, winter performance boot choices. Depending on your length of stay, plan on two outfits per day, one for tubing "the layers close to the skin did get sweaty" and one for after, to go to dinner or other activities. On to packing for the long ride. A GPS unit for the car is excellent and really makes these day-trips a breeze, for the old fashioned types, there are always road maps or printable directions from Google Maps or MSN. When traveling with children, entertainment is a must for the little guys, try a DVD player with movies, Nintendo DS or similar portable gaming system, books or stop at the dollar store for some inexpensive toys. Make sure to pack some snacks and drinks. I like to bring along a small cooler with ice and drinks. Popcorn, chips and crackers are a good choice for those hunger pangs and helps to keep the pit stops to a minimum.
At the resort.
On the road that takes you to the Blue Mountain ski resort there, is an interesting side trip for the adventurous traveler. The Appalachian Trail crosses the road a couple of miles before you reach the entrance to Blue Mountain. My daughter and I "she was 7 at the time" decided to hike a short distance up to the top of Blue Mountain for what ended up to be a marvelous view of the surrounding area. The hike was challenging but definitely doable if you set your mind to it. There was a restaurant Blue Mountain Drive In & Family Restaurant, at the bottom of the Mountain, we didn't eat there but it seemed cool from the road. Upon arrival we parked and followed the signs to the ticket booth to purchase our lift tags and we were walking to the bottom of the mountain within 15 minutes. The line was set up like an amusement park, a serpentine waiting area and the line constantly moved. There were two different areas, one for single and double tubing and an area for larger group tubing. It was Saturday, so the crowd was pretty large. We started tubing at 9:00 a.m. and the wait wasn't bad, by lunch time there was an approx: 20 minute wait between slides. We decided to have lunch so we walked to the restaurant that was on site. The Tubing Cafe. They offered hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, french fries, nachos, drinks, ice cream and other typical cafeteria style food choices. Prices were not cheap so bring some cash to spend or better yet....pack a lunch and eat at your car! After lunch we went back to tubing for a couple more hours, then back to the hotel for a swim in the indoor pool then off to dinner at Hunan Springs Chinese Restaurant in Allentown, PA, a really neat destination in an old tavern from the 1700's. Sleep came easy after this full day at a really cool and fun destination, Blue Mountain....wish we had more time.