Woodloch Pines & Spa Re-Opening

Shannon Smyth
Woodloch resort and The Lodge at Woodloch will be re-opening with COVID-19 safety protocols in place. The best place to vacation in the Poconos.

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The FLOAT Therapy Experience

Shannon Smyth
Flotation therapy via @agirlsgottaspa @lodgeatwoodloch Sensory deprivation doesn't necessarily sound like a very glamorous or indulgent spa treatment. Maybe the thought of being enclosed in a tank or a windowless room feels a little (or a lot) claustrophobic to you. But let me tell you, it is the most amazing thing ever! Floatation therapy, if you don't know just yet what it is, is unlike any other spa treatment you've ever had. Most spas offer it in a pod-like tank or a tank similar to some sort of ice chest. The tank is filled with warm water, not very deep at all, and epsom salt. You then close the tank door once inside and typically there is not a ton of room for you to move, and you simply float. You can choose to have soft lights on or off, music on or off, and you are left alone for 50 minutes. Sensory deprivation or ligh therapy in the float tank via @agirlsgottaspa @lodgeatwooloch What is sensory deprivation? Blocking out most of your senses - sight, sound, smell, taste and touch, creates an amazing wellness tool. You suddenly aren't concentrating on anything other than your own breath. The weightlessness of your own body allows every muscle to relax and release tension. Since the water is as warm as your skin, and due to the high concentration of epsom salt, you literally cannot feel the water you are floating in. All of this is supposed to also help you relax your mind, and for those of you like me who have 50 tabs open at any given time on your computer while holding your phone in the other hand, talking your kids through their homework and holding a toddler on your lap all at once - it is a very welcomed opportunity! The Lodge at Woodloch, an amazing destination spa in the Pocono Mountains, now has a FLOAT Therapy treatment that I was able to experience for myself. You can either go in alone for 50 minutes or 75 minutes, or you can float with a friend for the same time intervals. Thankfully for people like me who tend to get claustrophobic in small, enclosed spaces, their sensory deprivation tank is acutally a room with a pool in it. There is no cover that lowers down on you, but instead has a very large door that you shut to the room. The pool room also has very high ceiling and wide walls. @lodgeatwoodloch FLOAT therapy room review via @agirlsgottaspa How does FLOAT Therapy work? At The Lodge at Woodloch, you are escorted to the FLOAT room where a spa professional asks you a series of questions (do you have any health issues, large cuts, communicable diseases, etc.) She explains to you how the float room works, that you'll need to shower prior to and after your session, that you'll need to remove any makeup you may have on, as well as any jewelry. She then leaves you alone and only comes back (and just waits outside of the room in the hallway) once the floatation system tells her that your session has ended. You then put in silicone ear plugs (theirs are from Leaping Lizard and pretty amazing as NO water got in at all), proceed to shower using their body wash from head to toe and then step into the pool...completely naked. I had brought my swimsuit thinking that this would be my attire, but nude is what you wear for 50 minutes. Once you hit the button to adjust lighting (you can turn it off, have a white light, or have colored lights) or sound (on or off, loud or soft), an automated voice comes over the sound system telling you that your FLOAT treatment is about to start, this sets the time for 50 minutes. There was a neck floatation that I used to keep my head above water and they have a small hand towel that you can use to drape the exposed part of your chest and stomach since the air is a bit cooler than the water (although I found it all balanced out rather quickly once I shut the tank door.) I highly recommend saving the towel for when you may need to wipe your eyes instead. Trust me. I accidently rubbed my eye after my hand had been in the water and was able to rub the stinging salt out right away. Can you image if that towel had been salty and wet? Yikes. I tried every variation of the lighting and no lighting and music and no music. I couldn't get my mind to stop with complete sensory deprivation (no sound, no lights), but I did like low music and no lights. It was quite soothing and relaxing. It felt like floating in space. When the 50 minutes were up, another announcement came on and let you know that you are done and that the sanitation process will begin shortly. My short two steps to the shower were all it took for the salt to begin to crystalize on my skin. You then use the body wash to cleanse your skin again. I was amazed to see salt all over the shower floor. In case you were wondering, the high level of Epsom salt won't dry out your skin. It contains Magnesium Sulfate, which is absorbed through the skin. This typically helps to soften dry skin and can sometimes help treat eczema. I asked if it would strip hair color and if you have recently color treated your hair, it is not recommended to use the FLOAT Tank (if it does not come off on a towel, it should be thoroughly set.) It can remove tints of hair color, though. Overall, it is safe to use on color treated hair. If you have a Keratin Treatment, it would not be recommended. The sanitation process itself is pretty cool to watch.
When I opened the FLOAT room door, someone was there to greet me and bring me back to the Women's Retreat, where I showered again because there was salt in places there should not be salt. Enough said. What amazed me most about this float experience is that my entire body felt as relaxed as if I had just had a one-hour massage. Being all alone in the tank made it even better because I wasn't worrying myself about snoring, what I looked like, and any other thing that comes to mind when someone is giving you a facial or massage. I could just purely RELAX. It was heaven. I can't wait to do it again! Have you tried floating yet? Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!

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Ratatouille with Herbs de Provence Recipe

Shannon Smyth
Recipe: Ratatouille with Herbs de Provence from @lodgeatwoodloch via @agirlsgottaspa If you ever have the chance to visit The Lodge at Woodloch either for a Pocono getaway, or locally for a spa day, you won't want to miss the chance to eat at TREE. Woodloch's TREE is literally a delight to your tastebuds. Everything comes fresh from their garden and/or locally sourced farmers. It's always healthy and absolutely delicious. Below is the recipe for their mouth-watering Ratatouille with Herbs de Provence. I think you'll love it! Ingredients 2 pounds eggplant, cut into 1- inch cubes 2 ½ pounds tomatoes, seeded, and cut into 1/4- inch cubes 1 ½ pounds yellow onions, thinly sliced 1 ½ pounds bell pepper, assorted colors, cut into 1- inch pieces 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 1 cup (approximately) extra virgin olive oil 1 ½ tablespoons herbs de Provence, dried, if using fresh herbs triple the amount 1 pound zucchini, cut into ¾ - inch half moons (remove seeds from larger zucchinis) 1 pound yellow squash, seeded, cut into ¾ - inch pieces 1 teaspoon black pepper 2 teaspoons kosher salt Directions Toss eggplant in 1/2 teaspoon salt and place in a colander. Let stand in the sink for 30 minutes. Pour eggplant onto several paper towels and blot to remove excess moisture. In a heavy-bottomed, 5-quart pot over medium heat, add onions and approximately 4 tablespoons of oil. Season with about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook for about 4 minutes until onions are soft, stirring occasionally. Add peppers and cook for another 4-8 minutes, adding enough oil to keep mixture quite moist. Add garlic, cook for another 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, herbs de Provence* and about a 1/3 cup oil. Cover partially to allow steam to escape. Cook for 30 minutes until tomato starts to break down, stirring occasionally. Put eggplant into simmering mixture along with enough remaining oil so vegetables are quite moist, but not swimming. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place zucchini and yellow squash in mixture and cook until they are just soft, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Add pepper. Check seasoning. May be served hot, warm, or at room temperature. Improves when refrigerated overnight and reheated. Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!

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Pre-Natal Massage at The Lodge at Woodloch

Shannon Smyth
Pre-natal massage review of @lodgeatwoodloch via @agirlsgottaspa Your aching back, your swollen cankles, your sore shoulders... if you are in your third trimester of pregnancy, I'm sure you can relate. There's so many things to look forward to with your impending arrival, but feeling like your body is falling apart is not one of them. As someone who absolutely loves her spa massages, pre-natal massage was something I was curious about since massage during pregnancy can have some unwanted side effects (especially if you are considered high risk, like myself.) Before heading to your local spa to indulge in a pre-natal massage, make sure that the therapist is trained in pre-natal. There's pressure points, etc. that are to be avoided during pregnancy because they can trigger contractions (some even say pre-term labor.) And there are certain essential oils you should stay away from. You should also get the all clear with your doctor/mid-wife first, as well. The Lodge at Woodloch, located in the beautiful Pocono Mountains, has staff that are trained in pre-natal massage. Once I had the all clear from my mid-wife team for massage, I ventured up during their Beauty Event Weekend in June.  The Lodge at Woodloch offers 50 and 75 minute Pre-Natal Massage, 50 minute Pre-Natal Shiatsu Massage, a 25 minute Gentle Belli Facial and a 50 minute Nuturing Body Polish. The treatment rooms at The Lodge at Woodloch are always relaxing with low lighting, soothing fragrances and tranquil music. When my therapist told me I would first lay on my back, I was surprised. I was worried that it would be uncomfortable or that I'd have difficulty breathing, however the massage table is manipulated in a way that you don't actually lay flat. It was quite comfortable, in fact. Pre-natal massage at The Lodge at Woodloch includes massaging your shoulders, scalp, arms, legs, ankles and bottom of your feet with Mama Mio Skincare. For the massage I had, they used O.Mega Tender Touch Massage Oil which contains avocado oil, jojoba oil, borage seed oil, rose hip seed oil and combined it with an essential oil blend of citrus, lavender and ylang ylang. Avocado Oil - rich oil that readily penetrates the skin due to the presence of Palmitoleic Acid. Avocado Oil is best suited for dry skin applications. Jojoba Oil - the closest oil to your skin’s own sebum; it is very soothing, helpful in healing and protecting skin from the ageing process. Borage Seed Oil - very high in the essential fatty acid Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA – Omega 6), making it extremely valuable in skincare formulations. Numerous studies have shown the topical application of oils containing GLA will effectively repair severely dry skin. Rose Hip Seed Oil - high in Linoleic and Linolenic essential fatty acids, which are key components of the epidermal lipid bi-layer. This oil is beneficial for the treatment of damaged and distressed skin by providing intense moisture. It smelled amazing. Who knew how much my feet were in need of a massage until the therapist touched them? She then moved to my belly for a brief belly massage. I warned her that my son may kick her in the process. However, he must've have felt how relaxed his mom was and didn't move the entire time. Once the front portion of your body has been tamed into relaxation, you then lie on one side with a pillow between your legs, a pillow under your head and a cloth covering your eyes so that a portion of your back can be massaged. Maybe it was just me, but the pillows were literally the fluffiest most comfortable pillows I have ever experienced and I wanted to drift off to sleep. You then switch sides so that she can give the rest of your back the attention it needs. When the 50 minutes were up, I told the therapist I would be OK if she just left me there to sleep. Unfortunately, others needed to be pampered so I couldn't take a nap. Darn. This pre-natal massage was glorious, my only advice is to go with 75 minutes. Take in as much pampering as you possibly can before your little one arrives. My husband gifted me a gift certificate for The Lodge at Woodloch that I intend to split between a pre-baby pedicure (because I honestly can't each my feet anymore) and a post-baby Tension Tamer massage when my upper back will be in dire need of soothing. If you've had a pre-natal massage at The Lodge at Woodloch, I'd love to hear about your experience in the comments! Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! *Disclosure: This massage was comped. However, all opinions and glorious relaxation are all my own.

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Spas in the Poconos: The Lodge at Woodloch

Shannon Smyth
A few years ago when I went to The Lodge at Woodlochfor a facial and massage, I swore that one day I would spend the weekend at their destination spa. The rooms are luxuriously appointed, the spa cuisine is to die for (I had lunch there during a recent event with Christopher Drummond Beauty) and the grounds are breathtaking. Although I only live about 40 minutes from The Lodge at Woodloch, the resort is tucked away here in the Poconos in such a way, that it felt like I was traveling far far away… One of the first things I noticed about The Lodge at Woodloch, was their superior customer service. We (Bryan & I) pulled up to the gated entry to give our name for our stay and by the time we got to the valet, they opened my door calling me by name and once inside, the concierge, also motioned to me calling me by name…all of which made me feel like a valued customer and not just some random person checking in. We scheduled a spa treatment, 9 holes of golf at Woodloch Springs, Wake-Up kayaking for 7am the next morning and made a reservation for dinner. After a quick tour of the resort, Bryan sat down for lunch at Tree while I was whisked away for a Tension Tamer massage with Gwen. If you haven’t heard me tweet and Facebook incessantly about how much I LOVE this spa, then you certainly need to stop by and try it for yourself. I chose the Tension Tamer massage, as sitting at my desk all day working has really had its way with my upper back and shoulders. At times, the pain has become unbearable. The Tension Tamer focuses on this key muscle group to help melt that stress away. And boy did it! At the beginning of the massage I told Gwen that I could barely feel any pressure from her hands in the area surrounding my neck because some of the area had gone numb. She worked her magic and within 30 minutes I was telling her that she was a magician. Suddenly there was feeling back in that area and the tension in the surrounding muscles began to ease up. I honestly did not want to leave after my 50 minutes were up. Gwen told me that due to my line of work, that I really needed to have massages focusing on that area more often. I completely agree! After finishing up a lunch plate that Bryan brought me to the room, we made our way over to Woodloch Springs, which is a private community with an 18-hole PGA 2 golf course. Since I have never played golf before, we decided on just doing 9 holes. The course was gorgeous despite how wet the green was from all of the rain we’ve been having in the Poconos. Bryan taught me how to play and I have to say, golf is hard work! I have a new respect for pro-golfers now! Dinner at Tree was delicious and we each had salad and chicken that was out of this world. At about 9pm we decided a swim was in order and made our way to their Aqua Garden (which has amazing waterfalls) and their Horizon Whirlpool. On a dark night with a view of the stars, it was breathtaking. I slept like a baby that night and I honestly didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning because the bed was so comfortable! Made me realize that I’m about due for a new mattress for my own bed. The morning was a little chilly, but we made our way toLittle Lake Teedyuskung for our 7am kayaking. Since the rest of the people who signed up for the session were no-shows, we had the guide all to ourselves! This 1:1 session was great as we learned more about the area we live in and got to take in all of the wildlife. Although the really ridiculous spider that kept jumping into my kayak, which almost made me flip over when trying to get it out, was not so amusing (at least for me, but Bryan and our guide thought it was pretty funny.) After breakfast at Tree, my feet begged me for a Restorative Rosemary Pedicure at their Lotus Salonand how could I say no? The view from my seat was beautiful and the bourbon vanilla soak helped soften my dry heels. I loved the seaweed wrap and Antoinette made my toes look pretty with SpaRitual’s Crystal Water nail polish. All in all, it was a relaxing and fun-filled weekend that we truly enjoyed. So whether you live locally and are looking for a staycation without feeling like you are really still local or are looking for a Pocono getaway, The Lodge at Woodloch should top your list of places to go. If you’ve visited or have had a spa treatment here, please share your experience in the comments! Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! *Some images from The Lodge at Woodloch’s website; disclosure: a portion of this stay was gifted.

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