Harbor Lodge Blog - Harbor for the Holidays

Harbor Friends and Family ... we are excited to offer you yet another "Harbor Voice" from our blog space, and your forum for all things Harbor. Pati Brown, our long-time Lodge Manager, and the epitome of Harbor's spirit of giving and kindness, who has blessed this resort with her presence for more than 30 years now, brings you a blogspace all about lodging and the spirit of Mountain Harbor. Please enjoy and follow these Lodge segments - we thank you so much for being part of the conversation!

Harbor for the Holidays

"Working right up until the last second, racing out to attend sport and social activities, grabbing your phone every five minutes, rushing to put the laundry in while balancing your check book in your head….it’s time to get away for the holidays.

Take a moment and smell the air here – fresh and clean, with the scents of lake, pine and wood smoke.  Traffic jams at Harbor tend to be caused by deer, squirrels and foxes crossing unexpectedly in front of you.  You get to sleep in a bed you didn’t have to make.  There are no grocery lists or to-do lists here and if you find yourself in hot water – it’s probably a steaming hot tub as you gaze out over the lake.  The car pool stops at the lodge for biscuits and gravy in the mornings or hot blackberry cobbler with ice cream at night for that last little treat before heading back to your cabin.

And you can relax with the Harbor family for the holidays.  We’re cooking all your favorite food, hanging garland and lights and planning a really BIG party for you.  You won’t find your crazy uncle here – unless you bring him along – but you’ll feel right at home.  You can feel the happy bustle of the staff.  This is something we talk about and plan for all year long.  It’s the end of our long season and everything builds up to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Our Harbor lodging options start with our cozy guest rooms with all of the expected amenities (comfy beds and tiled showers) to something you might not expect in a simple resort guest room (in-house gourmet coffee, hot cocoa and popcorn, a four-cup coffee maker, microwave and small fridge) and, of course, the beautiful lake view.

The beautiful Harbor East Condominiums, many with rustic log siding, feature fully equipped kitchens, wood burning fireplaces and two and three bedroom floor plans, are featured in many of our special packages.  What a great lodging value!

Want the storybook cabin on the lake?  Our Harbor North cottages are for you!  With unique architectural details, log siding, exotic wood floors, and authentic antique accents, these units epitomize luxury lake lodging.  You’ll love the beautifully appointed kitchens with stainless steel appliances, thoughtfully stocked cabinets and charming dining spaces.  The whole family can relax by the native stone fireplace and catch up on the latest family tales or catch the big game on the flat screen TV.  After the evening winds down, soak away your cares in your own private hot tub overlooking the lake.

You’ll even find a special holiday gift from Harbor on the table.

After a sumptuous Thanksgiving feast, families stroll along the quiet, leaf – strewn roads before heading back to a cozy night together.  Friday morning brings a bevy of holiday activity as the Harbor crews bustle to get Thanksgiving changed over to Christmas.  The Lodge Restaurant undergoes a huge transformation, even as guests enjoy steaming plates of biscuits and gravy and an array of hot, fresh items from the generous breakfast buffet.  Outside the parking lot is cleared for the lighting ceremony, Christmas trees sprout up, bonfires are built and the first strands of holiday music keep everyone focused on the evening’s big event.  From the kitchen, the scent of over 1200 holiday cookies being baked for the guests at the lighting ceremony wafts into the afternoon breeze.

Just after dark, the musicians, Chana and Randy, begin playing Christmas carols on the main stage.  The kids are all proudly boasting their face paintings (compliments of our small army of elves – okay, we really just have four, but they are mighty!), adults sip hot cocoa and hot apple cider by the bonfires and family pictures are made with Mrs. Santa.  The suspense grows as everyone listens for the sound of Santa coming!  And there he is!  Santa arrives via hay ride wagon with flashing lights and candy canes for everyone!  The kids scramble to be first to grab his hand as he makes his way through the crowd and up to the big switch.  Everyone helps Santa count down to throw the big switch and ….all the lights of Harbor come on!  As the first hayride wagons fill up for a tour of the resort, Santa holds court among the hay bales for each boy and girl to come and sit in his lap with a list of special Christmas wishes.

The music plays, the hay ride wagons roll and Santa’s lap is full until every last guest has a full Christmas heart.

On Saturday, the tempo changes again.  Happy guests take the last trail rides of the season at the stables or enjoy one last cheeseburger at the Lodge. Down at the fire station, though, everyone is scrambling.  The fleet of fire trucks gleam, and long rows of tables are set out for the evening’s guests at the Joplin Fire Department Fundraiser.  Cooks from all over our neighborhood vie for the bringing of the most popular homemade spaghetti sauce at the fundraiser.  Firemen cook huge vats of pasta, toast garlic bread, and put out big bowls of salad.  Cakes, pies and treats arrive for the auction along with donations ranging from decorator accessories, furniture, art and all kinds of unexpected treasures.  It’s an authentic, small town experience and all for a great cause.

As the cars are packed up and folks leave the lake and head back home, a quiet falls over the resort.  The last car drives away in a flurry of leaves and a squirrel scampers in its wake.  We hope you have a wonderful holiday season back at your home and we’re so happy you started the holidays here with us."

Happy Holidays from all the Staff and Families of Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa!