Harry and Mary Kiesendahl, against all odds, planted the roots for a truly special resort over the course of 20 years. After working tirelessly for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, they were ready for some relaxation time themselves. Eager to continue his parents legacy, John purchased the resort in 1981 and took the helm of the ship…
John Kiesendahl had long been preparing for this day.
After graduating from Cornell University, perhaps the best Hospitality School in the country, and serving in the United States Navy, he had all the knowledge and discipline he’d need to guide Woodloch. With experience at every single job at the property, from fetching drinking water as a child to eventually running the kitchen, he was more than familiar with the property and people that collectively made Woodloch.
Yet, even with decades of proper grooming, there is such a thing as opening night jitters.
“I still remember getting butterflies,” says John. “Mom and Dad were still very much involved in the business, greeting guests and whatnot. But responsibility was now on my shoulders.” To ease the tension back in the early days, John purchased a pair of funny pants with holly berries on them, just in time for the holidays. “Not only did the funny pants take the pressure off (sort of like golfing), the guests enjoyed them and were a great ice breaker.” And thus, the tradition of funny pants was born.
As word had spread across Long Island of a special resort nestled in the Poconos, John was faced with one of his first major challenges as owner: satisfying demand! Not only was there a need for more guest rooms, but also a clear need for Woodloch to upgrade their facilities so “traditional” was harmonious with
This was addressed with the construction of the Springbrook and Mountain Laurel units, starting in 1981. Not only were dozens of beautiful modern hotel rooms available for use, but a brand new sports complex opened alongside it. The outdoor pool was a wonderful alternative to our lakefront, and guests could
stay toasty warm all winter long with our indoor pool and hot tubs. Plus, with racquetball courts and an exercise room, Woodloch had become a true four season paradise.