I had never heard of Fern Resort prior to being invited on the LWAB Training Retreat last year so I really had no idea what to expect. My fellow volunteers suggested comfy clothes, bathing suits, toiletries and beach towels (although those could be borrowed on site) so that's what I packed! And we had everything we needed!
We were told we could enjoy all the amenities of the resort as soon as we arrived on check in day, even though check in time isn't until 4pm, and true to their word I saw them giving out wristbands to early arrivals. We lucked out and our room was ready a little early so we unpacked the car before we headed to the pool.
Our room was in the Hearthside Inn. The location was perfect - steps from the pool, beach and dining room, right across the parking lot from the kids Playvillage, and a short walk to the Marina Dock, mini golf and playground. My only complaint was that there are no elevators and the rooms are on the 2nd and 3rd floors, but if you need an accessible room there are other buildings with ground level rooms. The lower level of the Hearthside Inn has 2 conference rooms, our group utilized one while we were there, it was so convenient to have our meeting in the same building as our accommodations. The room was well lit with a large table and seats for at least 16 people. It came equipped with a fully stocked Keurig machine and a bar fridge full of cold drinks.
Back to the fun stuff! We did bring our own puddle jumpers but it looked like there were a limited number available to guests who requested them. The first day the kids just wanted to try out the wading pool, it was a perfect size for them! A gradual incline where it maxed out at around 2' deep. The area around the wading pool has a bunch of kid sized chairs and loungers for when (or if) they are ready to get out of the water. There are also 2 full sized pools on the pool deck, and even at a busy time never felt really crowded. Just off the pool deck is a small beach area with a box of sand toys for the kids to use - my kids spent an entire morning playing here!
There are lots of water sports to enjoy as well, we only took advantage of a paddle boat on our last morning, and it was a short one since the rain showed up just as we got on, but still fun! At the docks they also offered fishing, just a simple piece of wood, fishing line, hook and a piece of a worm (that they hook for you), this kept the kids busy for a little while watching the little fish nibble on it.
The dining room experience was nice, we had the same friendly waitress all 3 days. Dinner service includes a 5:30 children's buffet, with 'basics' like chicken fingers, fries, pasta, veggies, as well as sliced ham one night and roast beef the next. This allowed parents to feed their kids, and then take advantage of the Playvillage's supervised playtime, for free! We did bring the kids there the first night, but my daughter was overwhelmed and didn't want to stay very long, so the next night we opted out. Maybe next year we'll get a child free dinner :)
The regular dinner menu had a nice selection of starters, salads and entrees to choose from, and of course delicious desserts to finish it off! At lunch you had the option to stay inside or have a BBQ lunch on the pool deck, the food selection for both was quite good and we all found something to eat without complaints!We were sad to leave, with being in a meeting for most of one day, and early bedtimes for the kids, we definitely could have used more time to experience all the resort has to offer, but I guess that just means we'll have to go back!