A few weekends back was Mel & my 10th anniversary! It has been quite a journey thus far – many ups and a few downs, but after all, we have definitely grown together and stronger because of it!
To celebrate, we decided to stay “gazelle intense” about our finances and enjoy a “Timeshare Pitch” weekend in the Poconos. This works out for a couple reasons: 1) Our honeymoon was in the Poconos, and 2) The weekend only cost us $50 plus gas and food, very niiice!
The drive to the “resort” was quite nice – Route 84 all the way to PA, then route 209 through the Delaware Water Gap Reserve – which was beautiful to drive though! Our little girls were joining us for the fun adventures, so with gameboys clicking, we had a nice quiet drive there!
We arrived at the resort around noon-ish on Friday. Of course, I didn’t read the directions on our confirmation printout, so I drove us to to the wrong building to check in. Melody was very gracious, she let me make my little mistake with much grace 🙂 While standing in line to find out we were at the wrong place, some lady gave me some discount mini-golf tickets, which I thought to be slightly odd… until I figured out that it was 6 bucks per adult for mini-golf! We finally ended up back at the welcome center, where we confirmed our reservation, and were sent back to the first building to get our room keys.
With room keys in hand, we were off to check out our suite! After taking at least 1 wrong turn, I got us there safe and sound! The timeshare facilities were cute little “villas” that were more like 2 level condos. From the outside, they looked spiffy enough, there were probably 80 or so nestled in the cluster we were staying at (pictures to follow)
Our first impression was that there was a dead animal somewhere near our villa (Ridgetop 103) but after a few trips back and forth to bring our bags in, I realized it was just the garbage bins that were right in the middle of everything in our parking lot. No biggie – at least we didn’t have to haul our garbage far when we checkout eh?
The rooms were spacious and inviting – almost like a ski villa – there was a cute firelpace in the small living room, a kitchen, dining room, and some open toed stares that gave the upstairs a loft-like feeling. Upstairs there was a small master bedroom, 2 full size beds in a separate bedroom, and 2 bathrooms (one with whirlpool tub… ooo!) The girls aren’t used to stairs (the only ones in our house are the crummy ones to our basement) so they made a game out of passing things to each other through the open stairs. This was not a big thril for Mel and me – all we could envision was one of them getting their head stuck in the stairs and somehow hanging themselves to death or something else horrible… So… time for something else fun to do!
We went out to dinner at this place called Peppes – it was an italian themed restaurant that advertises kid-friendly atmosphere. This seemed important to us, since many “fine dining” places in the area had either rules about kids, or no kid-choices on the menu. This is usually not a problem for us, as our kids could split an adult meal – they are good eaters and not picky, but we figured we’d get better service at a place that marketed itself in our demographic. It was a good choice – the atmosphere was somewhat unique, the wait staff was fairly nice, and quite attentive. All in all, it was a great place for our anniversary dinner – they even brought blueberry cheesecake and sang happy anniversary at the end (surprise!)
We decided that it was time to get in some swimming – we got all done up and drove to the indoor pool attached to the main Shawnee recreation center. The pool was nice, the room was very humid and a little dirty, but the girls had a great time swimming. We were probably one of the only “Caucasian” families there – no big deal – the more the merrier eh? This is not the kind of thing I would have normally noticed, but it seemed like there was sort of a general disregard for adults in some of these kids – splashing anyone they could in the pool, and not happy or sorry looks at all – just kind of mean stares…. weird. I swam for about 15 minutes, and then sat out and did my people watching thing… It was getting depressing – one kid was cowering in the corner because his “friends” were going to beat him when he got in the pool. We wrapped our our swimming shortly thereafter anyways because the girls were tired, and we wanted to grab an ice cream at the local DQ before we hit the hay.
The next day, we had to attend our 120 minute no-pressure sales presentation. We signed up for the early show because we wanted to get it out of the way for the rest of our day, which we were hoping to spend at the Celtic festival going on that weekend at the ski resort. The atmostphere was cozy, yet efficient (short, hotel grade rugs, self serve coffee and lobby-type waiting chairs… made me kind of feel like I was at bobs discount furniture) I could tell they were designing this place to move tons of people through will still trying to keep the maintenance down and looks up. Looooong story short: we didn’t buy because their rate was outrageous and I didn’t feel like putting more credit through any other sources (i.e. credit union). We were apparently the “ideal couple” making the “ideal income” and they wanted our business – the low pressure quicly became high pressure, and our salesperson looked more like she wanted a cigarette the whole time than anything else – I became frustrating to deal with, the pushed us through a few more salespeople before finally dumping us at the exit counter. We grabbed our $100 refund and took off. In hindsight, it was a very interesting experience – we learned a lot about timeshares, saw what Windham had to offer. We completely underestimated the amount of energy involved to deal with the situation, and spent most of our brainpower for the day before lunch!
We took off to find the Country Kettle – they have a huge bulk-candy selection and being candy lovers all of us, we had to check it out. 4.5 pounds of candy later, we left to grab sugar buzzes and drive back to the villa. We all took naps, and when we woke, found that the weather sucked, nixing our plans for the Celtic fest that afternoon. We grabbed some supper at the Four Seasons diner and played some pac-man, and hit the mini golf course to finish up our day.
Sunday, we had to be checked out by 10, so up and out we went – we grabbed breakfast at a local “IHOP” type restaurant and decided to drive home instead of hang around. I drove the first 40 minutes or so, but by the time we hit 84, Mel offered and I slept… all the way home. She made great time!
Overall it was a cool weekend adventure that sort of embodied our 10 years – a little frustrating, a little me-being-stupid, a little unexpectedness, a little spontanaeity, some hard work and resulted an a lot of joy and some really great memories. All in all, I think we would probably do it again… maybe in another 10 years!