Our Mystic, CT Adventure

Although this post contains sponsored/hosted/affiliate material, all opinions within are honest and my own. Thank you for your continued support!

We prepared for our trip to Mystic, CT by watching Mystic Pizza. If you haven’t seen it, make sure you do so for it’s a classic. (Julia Roberts, Lili Taylor…I mean, c’mon!)

When I told Jason I landed a #hosted trip at Hilton Mystic, he looked at me with his sly smile and said, “Well, Danielle, you know what I always say…’You can never go wrong with a Hilton.’” He has literally said that statement since I met him almost 13 years ago. (As a quick aside, before Jason met me, he has been to only a handful of places; I have dragged him to the Caribbean, Europe, and around the USA; he quickly realized he married a woman with a thirst for adventure. When in doubt, book a Hilton.)

We arrived at the Hilton Mystic and checked into our double bedroom. (Thank you to CC & Christine for an easy check-in/out process). Our room was spacious and tidy. The bathroom had a tub shower, which is always helpful for a preschooler. Hilton Mystic has a gym (that I actually got to use), a pool (that plays a movie at 7 PM every weekend), an arts and crafts room (shoutout to Annie & Betsy, you both were so patient and kind to Em), and an on-site restaurant The Irons, which served an amazing breakfast buffet. Hilton Mystic also has a fire pit area and several areas to take pictures. We had our picture taken with the infamous ship’s wheel and pirate.

The first night in Mystic, we went to Mystic Pizza and grabbed a whole pie with meatballs, and two Mystic Pizza lagers. Em had a 6″ kid’s plain pie. Em finished her entire pizza and J and I housed the meatball pie. The dough was sweet, the sauce flavorful, and the meatballs homemade. The brews were ice cold and refreshing after a 3+ hour drive.

Then, we went back to Hilton Mystic and made a sensory bag and some artwork in the craft room, and then watched a movie while splashing in the pool. Pool towels are provided, which is a huge plus. There is a variety of seating options; chaise lounges, tables, and comfortable sofas. The pool water was crystal clear and heated.

Downtown Mystic was the quintessential New England town, filled with restaurants, bars, shops, and ice cream parlors. We got some chocolate and Oreo fudge for dessert. Downtown Mystic has lots to see and do.

The following day, our first stop was the Mystic Aquarium, followed by the Mystic Seaport Museum. Both venues are indoors and outdoors, so if it rains the entire time like it did during our stay, make sure you pack your raincoats, rain boots, and umbrellas.

The Mystic Aquarium was super fun and located right across the street from the Hilton Mystic. Emilia enjoyed watching the beluga whales, learning about different types of jellyfish, and viewing Stretch the snapping turtle. She also got to touch string rays and hermit crabs in the touch tanks. We learned so much about the different sea creatures.

The Mystic Seaport Museum blew us away, both figuratively and literally. We loved exploring different ships. (the pictures don’t capture the size of the ships relative to our heights; trust me, they are humungous). Emilia enjoyed the Children’s Museum where she got to play with all of the toys. We also learned historical tidbits about how sails were made, how boats were built, etc. The on-site tavern was a great place to enjoy some local brews and gave us adults a place to kick back and relax and study the map.

Red 36 was our sport for a late lunch/early dinner. I opted for the hot lobster roll and clam chowder. Delicious.

Sift Bakery was where we stopped for dessert and splurged on a cookie and macarons. I understand why Sift came highly recommended. I will be back for more goodies.

Then we took a drive and wound up on DuBois Beach. It was magical. The sea breeze paired with some sunshine was the perfect ending to a day of exploration. Emilia collected rocks. Jason sat on the rocks. I paced the beach in deep thought. It was perfect. I am so lucky to have had this experience with my family.

We scurried back to the Hilton Mystic where Em made a penguin with Annie in the arts and crafts room. Then, we enjoyed another movie in the pool.

The nice part about our Mystic trip was that at the end of a long day, Hilton Mystic was there to entertain Emilia (arts and crafts and the pool) and add comfort to our stay. The beds and pillows were fabulous; I slept like a rock. The on-site restaurant, The Irons, serves breakfast and dinner, perfect for families with littles that need added convenience. The fire pits would have been a great place to sit and enjoy a glass of wine. (Darn rain!) I got an amazing workout in the gym. As most of you know, Jason is a stickler for cleanliness, and our room was cleaned thoroughly, as well as the communal spaces (arts and crafts room, pool, elevator, lobby).

Bottom line: We need to return to Mystic. A weekend was just a taste of all that Mystic, CT has to offer and I am itching for more adventure. Be sure to book your stay at the Hilton Mystic through my link.

Have you been to Mystic, CT? Let me know in the comments!

Please, make sure to share this post and Pin it to your travel board!

If you haven’t already, view my Highlight Reel of Hilton Mystic on my Instagram.


Woodloch Pines Resort – Hawley, PA

Our stay at Woodloch Pines was #hosted. All opinions within are my own.

Prior to this trip, I didn’t realize how big of an area the “Poconos” covered, even though I graduated from East Stroudsburg University many, many years ago. I have never ventured to Hawley, PA, where Woodloch Pines Resort is situated until this past weekend for our #hosted family getaway.

Woodloch Pines was absolutely amazing and will be an unforgettable trip.

We were in a 1 bedroom Edgewater suite in the Springbrook section of the resort. Our room had a balcony and overlooked the lake. It was stunning. In the warmer months, I could picture myself sitting with a big glass of wine and a book, taking in the fresh air and beautiful lake view. The two bathrooms (one with a stall shower, and one with a tub) were very helpful and we appreciated the coffeemaker, microwave, and comfortable beds/pillows. J is picky AF when it comes to cleanliness, and Woodloch is extremely clean and the grounds appear to be meticulously maintained. Everyone was super friendly and helpful; the resort is huge and I am bad with directions even with my trusty map, so thank you to everyone at Woodloch who explained and re-explained where to go and how to get there.

Let’s talk about meals. Woodloch Pines is an all-inclusive resort where you can choose a 2 or 3-meal plan option. (All of the details are on their website) You have a designated table for the duration of your stay and seat yourself during the breakfast, lunch, and dinner times. Can’t make it to the Inn? No problem, just call in your order and they will have it prepared for take-out. We did this for lunch when Nick was napping. Miss a dining window? Don’t worry, there are several a la carte options around the resort. The food was spectacular. Emilia loved the pumpkin bread. Nick enjoyed the pizza and french fries. Jason loved the pork shank with whipped potatoes. I loved the Woodloch Mud Pie dessert. The Bloody Mary at breakfast was one of the best I’ve had and the Tiddly Wink is a Woodloch specialty — must try! Menus are all posted online or on the Woodloch app.

As for activities, you can be busy from the morning until 1:00 AM. They have an activity sheet (also on the website or app) that lists all of the activities for the day. One of my friends messaged me and said, “Dan, it’s like a cruise but on land!” Honestly, that’s how Woodloch is — they have pools, hot tubs, a sauna, gyms, a splash pad with a slide, a toddler section, an arts and crafts room (Em made a photo frame out of popsicle sticks), a snow tube run, bumper cars/kiddie cars, an indoor playground with a toddler section, an outdoor playground, a climbing wall, a ropes course, a basketball court, several ping pong/pool table, and arcade games throughout. {I am missing things, so be sure to check out the website.) Then, they have activities that change daily. Em was able to attend the jewelry-making activity in the Kids Club room. Nicholas played with the toys and activity cubes. The staff was so kind and helpful. They had activities like Winter Olympics, Horse Racing, Bingo, and nightly entertainment (magic shows, a DJ, etc.)

This is where I tell you that these family trips are for the kids; J and I would wake up late, go to the gym, venture around the resort (we didn’t see half of what Woodloch has to offer during our stay), play pool, take a dip in the hot tub, sit in the sauna, eat meals in peace, get a spa treatment at The Lodge at Woodloch, go to the adult activities, catch a show, and grab some drinks at the nightclub if we didn’t bring the cherubs with us. Our nights end at 7pm when Nicholas is tapped out at 15 months old. Emilia, however, got to stay up late and challenged Dad to a few games of ping pong.

Here are a few tips to make your trip to Woodloch memorable:

  1. Bring a stroller for the kids or plan on utilizing the shuttle.
  2. Visit the gift shop. I got the coolest Woodloch ornament and some stickers.
  3. Take a walk around the lake. It is gorgeous. Bring a telescope or binoculars because the starry sky is mesmerizing. Em found the Big Dipper.
  4. Grab an activity sheet at the front desk every morning and prioritize your day. (Our priorities were the pool/splash pad and getting Em to the jewelry-making activity). Don’t expect to see or do it all. We didn’t see the entire resort and didn’t do a fraction of what was offered. We’ll just have to go back!
  5. Download the Woodloch app on your phone. It has menus, a daily activity sheet, a map, and more!
  6. Breathe. Even I took a few minutes to sit on the balcony to look at the lake and took some nice deep breaths of the crisp winter air. It was refreshing and revitalizing.

[[Side note: I want to tell you that if you aren’t following me on Instagram, make sure you head over there and check out my Woodloch highlight reel.]]

Between looking at the beautiful lake, taking a dip in the pool & hot tub, going down the water slide, making arts and crafts, beading a necklace during the jewelry-making activity, playing in the indoor playground, and taking the indoor kiddie cart for a spin, staying at Woodloch was a welcomed break from reality and allowed our family to make memories to last a lifetime.  

Book a room at Woodloch right through my link.

Though this was a hosted trip, (thank you, Woodloch), all opinions expressed within are my own. Be sure to visit Woodloch’s website and Instagram.

Feel free to pin to your travel board:

The Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark Review

Our family needed this #hosted trip. After the year we’ve had with Nick’s medical issues (cranial helmet, heart murmur, surgery, croupe, the ‘rona, and RSV), him being a consistently inconsistent sleeper, and juggling working both inside and outside the home with a preschooler with lots of extracurricular activities and a husband in law enforcement with an insane schedule, I’ll repeat myself…

We needed this trip to The Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark. The Kartrite is located in the Catskills, which is less than a two-hour drive from our home. (Monticello, New York to be exact). Check-in was a breeze, and the beautiful lobby showcased a very tall Christmas tree and the infamous blue “K” that we made a point to snap some family pictures in front of. Everyone working at the Kartrite seemed genuinely happy; everyone smiled and asked, “Can I help you with anything?” Hospitality at its finest.

We headed to our two-bedroom suite which was huge – one bedroom had a King sized bed and the master bathroom had a stall shower. Em and Nick had their own room with 2 Queen beds (Nick was in the pack-and-play). They shared a bathroom with a tub towards the entrance of the room. The living room was comfortable, and it had a table for 6 people which was great when we had dinner in the room on our last night. The balcony had a great scenic view, too. A mini-fridge, microwave, and coffee maker provided good creature comforts. One thing about the Kartrite, it is immaculately clean. Jason is the most annoying person in the world when it comes to accommodations, and for him to mention how clean the Kartrite was means a lot. (Trust me, we have left places because it was not up to his standard of living.)

[[Side note: I want to tell you that if you aren’t following me on Instagram, make sure you head over there and check out my highlight reel so you’ll be able to see everything I am talking about. ]]

There are so many food options at the Kartrite. We especially loved Harvey’s Wallbanger, where we had Buffalo Wings, The Cowboy Burger, the Kartrite Club (by far the biggest turkey club Jason has ever eaten in his life), and the Catskill Hot Chicken. Em loved the spaghetti and meatballs, too. We enjoyed our morning coffee and breakfast sandwiches at The Highline. We got a delicious pizza at Surfside Grille inside the waterpark.

Let’s talk about the waterpark. Did you know the Kartrite has the largest indoor waterpark in NY state? This was our family’s first time at an indoor waterpark and it did not disappoint. Lifeguards were everywhere, and floatation vests are available for anyone to use. Em and Nick both loved the “Puddle Ducks” section where little Nicholas splashed away in six inches of water with plenty of water tables. Emilia loved all of the slides. I actually stood there for 2 hours watching her go down the slides over and over and over again. (She slept until 8:30 am the next day, which is why I let her go full boar…virtual high five!) We were very fortunate that the Kartrite gave us our own cabana, loaded with drinks, snacks, oversized towels, a fan, lounge chairs, a table, comfy seating, and a flat-screen television. This was great just to chill, eat our lunch in peace, and take a break. With two little ones, a cabana is an absolute must-have. This was hands down the best part of our trip. The waterpark literally has something for everyone — attractions for littles like Em and Nick, thrill rides, a hot tub pool that goes indoors and outdoors, a lazy river, a bar for adults to indulge in a fruity cocktail or beer, and so much more. There is no greater joy than seeing my babies happy. Em had a smile from ear to ear and Nick’s laughs made me laugh. Good job, Kartrite.

After we showered and had dinner, we had fun at the Playopolis arcade. Bowling at Van Winkle’s Alley was our favorite; followed by skeeball, ring toss, claw games, and carousel rides. The Kartrite has a wall climbing area, a ropes course, virtual reality, an escape cube, etc. After you earn your tickets, you go to The Vault to trade in your tickets for prizes. Em absolutely loved shopping for prizes. She left with an entire brown bag full of toys and candy that she energetically showed family members upon our return home. “I won these at the arcave.” No, it’s not a typo, it’s just how she pronounces arcade which makes J and I chuckle.

While we did as much as we could (let’s be real, we are on the kid’s schedule, not our schedule), we weren’t able to attend any of the listed daily activities. Each day Kartite has several activities for your kids and/or the family to participate in. What I love is that you can choose to do it all, do some, or just do you. The Kartrite also has a really nice gym. No, I didn’t work out, but I was able to see the machines and they looked like they would have given me a good workout. (Insert laughs here.) I would love to visit the Kartrite in the warmer months so we could enjoy the hiking trails that are conveniently located on the property. (We couldn’t do it during our stay since it is hunting season.) There is just so much to do around the Kartrite no matter what season or time of day!

The icing on the cake was when Em said, “Mommy?! Daddy?! I just want to stay here forever.”

Me too, Em. Me too.

Use code SPLASH for up to 25% off your stay at The Kartrite. Though this was a hosted trip, (thank you, Kartrite), all opinions expressed within are my own. Be sure to visit Kartrite’s website and Instagram.

Feel free to pin to your travel board: