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Passover programs 2011

We (all 18 of us) are considering the Passover program at The Topnotch Resort and Spa in Stoxxe, VT.
The info on the internet states that Greenwald Caterers will be providing the food.

Have any of you heard of the hotel or caterer? How about rates for the week?

Thanks for your feedback.


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    1. If it's Greenwald from NJ, their food and service have been wonderful in my experience. Never was with them for a Passover program, but for bar mitzvahs and weddings....

      1. Greenwald Caterers has an excellent reputation. I have been to affairs they have catered. From a food perspective you cannot go wrong. Stowe vermont is very pretty. It is in the mountains and it is also a great ski resort. The Trapp family moved there when they left Austria. They even set up a resort of their own in Stowe.

        The only problem is that the weather may be "iffy" at that time of the year in Stowe, VT. It might be cold and rainy and there might even be some snow. Find out if there is still skiing at that time of the year. The hotel also has a great reputation so there might be a indoor things to do if the weather is bad.

        It is definitely not a warm weather destination at that time of the year. Its not the time of the year where you will be able to use an outdoor pool unless it is well heated. You have decide if this matters or not.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Elliotu

          Pesach is very late this year, not starting until April 19. I really doubt that there would be decent skiing in Vermont at that point.

          Greenwald catered two of my siblings' weddings within the last two years. My family has been very happy with them, but my understanding is that they offer a very wide range of food options, and that it's very much 'you get what you pay for.' They're capable of doing an upscale wedding, or chulent-and-kugels; I'd ask what sort of food they're providing before committing.

          1. re: GilaB

            It will be early spring in Vermont. Too muddy on the trails for good mountain hiking and too warm for skiing. And still chilly at night, you are in the mountains and snow happens in the mountains in April. No one except an Jew looking for a good price on a Passover package travels to Vermont at this time of year. That is why the caterers can rent the hotel and bring in the Passover program at a good price.

            The town itself is charming, as are the nearby towns, but things like antique shops and museums in this and nearby towns may not be open in April.

            1. re: AdinaA

              U would think so(cheap) but check the website the rates are no metsiah.

              1. re: MAHOSCH

                Just called and some guy Bruce called me back , the prices are pretty good...just ask for a good deal...he seems pretty fair....

                Still thinking about though...but if we can I would like to go..I have a lot of old memories about the area

          2. re: Elliotu

            I have used to go to school nearby, the weather in April is usually better tha n people think, being that it is late April it could actually be quite pleasnt an besides Greenwald being an outsnatding caterer, the hotel is really nice, my parents used to stay at Topnotch someimes when they came to vsit VT and it is goregous....definetly worth considering, my wife and are thinking of going there if we end up going away....
            As for shopping I do not remember things closing in April....but that is for Stowe and Middlebury...

            1. re: lutherjensen

              Good point. Based on this, we might go to that program

          3. Has anyone heard anything about the Passover program held in Lancaster Pennsylvania.? It is run by the Jewish Heritage Center.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Elliotu

              MY INLAWS WENT THERE LAST YEAR. The food is plentiful good and tasty. The program is very good. One issue they had is they pack the place, well over 1k people so the buffets are very long and elevators long wait and pool very crowded. That may not bother you but for older people its an issue. otherwise great

            2. I would check out the Westin Fort Lauderdale. Majestic is agreat program and their qouted rates are very reasonable. Beach, Hot weather, what could be bad. BTW if you want skiing there are two programs in Quebec/montreal.

              2 Replies
              1. re: MAHOSCH

                Anyone hear or know anything about the new for this year program by Gemstar in the Gaylord Palms Orlando? we are thinking of booking and cant find any info.

                1. re: MAHOSCH

                  I passed bye the outside of the hotel and it appears to be gorgeous but I have no clue about the food or program.

              2. Anybody have experience with the Aruba program in the Westin? Or going this year?

                1. We would like to go away as a mini-trip just for Chol Hamoed (Thurs-Sun) & would like to be take advantage of a Pesach Program so we don't have to shlep around food.
                  Any ideas of a program that would offer a good 11th hour deal just for Chol Hamoed (food could be Gebrochts)?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: bay1

                    am assuming you live in NYC try the one in Hershey and the one in Princeton if you find any good deals let me know

                    1. re: bay1

                      Try the program in Lancaster (Jewish Heritage Center). They seem to have the best rates overall.


                    2. Did anyone go to Costa Rica with Kosher Expeditions?

                      How was it?

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: AdinaA

                        We just came back from Costa Rica. I would not recommend it. Very unorganized and rude. One of my worst trips I've ever been on. There is so much I could complain about but my best advise; go with someone else and avoid this tour!

                        1. re: madmann

                          Is there any forum out there that allows compete discussion of Passover programs? The rules of Chowhound are that only the food issues are allowed to be discussed, yet people are paying massive amounts of money for thee Passover programs and deserve to know what works and what is not working very well.

                          1. re: Elliotu

                            Well technically Chowhound has a board "Not about Food". I don't quite know what the rules there are. Problem is about the Chowhound user's radar. When I come to Chowhound I go directly to the Kosher Board and don't see what is going on other boards. If it was structured like some other Forums where you get or can set up email alerts for topics of interest then that would work also. i.e. if I am interested in a topic "Passover 2011 hotel experience" then I would get an email whenever anyone posts to that thread then it would not matter where the thread lies since it will be in my radar.

                            Chowhound Kosher works for me because of how the topics bubble to the top when people respond to or create new threads, but remove a topic from "Kosher" and as they say, out of sight out of mind.

                            1. re: MartyB

                              Given the number of first time posters who are probably finding Chowhound by googling for passover reviews, I would think this discussion could sustain itself there(assuming it still fits into the rules of that board).

                      2. There was a program advertised as "Pesach for Less". Did anyone go there and can comment on the program and food. I believe that they were asking $1,400/pp

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: MartyB

                          Yes, I have some family members that went with them this year. The place was nice a typical laquinta hotel. Small,clean and nice,not many frills. The food was very plain and simple,nothing fancy and not extensive in choice or menu. It was very heimish and for the most part heimish. The Tenebaums who ran it were from Lakewood so the crowd was typical clack hat/chasidish. The only very annoying complaint is they had a lot of family members who walked around and acted as spies. If they heard someone complaining or saying something bad about the food or anything they would up to the people and admonish them for talking lashon hara. not very professional,business like and really pretty dopey. Bad for business if you ask me. Overall they had a prettyy good time and basically got what they paid for.

                          1. re: MAHOSCH

                            The lashon hara thing is a bit of a turn off but other than that it sounds nice. I hope they did not have a 24hr tea room. Years ago I went to a simple place and have nothing but fond memories of it.

                            My daughter came back tonight from her stay at the Fontainebleau and her first words were "I got to start on a serious diet". I, like her, have no will power and I am lately shut out of kosher events because of their focus on food orgies. The hotel that I went to years ago would open up their "tea room" twice a day. One in the afternoon for some cake (what they brought out lasted some 5-10 minutes) and the evening for oranges, grapes and some cake (again lasted 5-10 minutes of feeding frenzy).

                            Were there any other programs whose theme was not eat, eat and eat some more?

                            1. re: MartyB

                              The program we went to sponsored by the Jewish Heritage center had a lot of food and the scale let me know I ate a lot. There was a massive amount of good food all day long. I survived the first day on a diet but broke down after that. The cost was so far less than other venues. I don't know how the Jewish Heritage Center and Greenwald Caterers managed to do such a great job at such a reasonable price.

                              1. re: Elliotu

                                Great program, they always run a top notch job in food and programing and the price is terrific for what they give you. I know may people who went there and they all rave. Did they have over 1200ppl again. Last year that was the only complaint, too many people and too many kids. in diclosure that complaint was from a few older senior folks

                              2. re: MartyB

                                Actually our program had a tea room that was open after the meals for a few hours at a time. Not a 24hr tea room. Nowadays when programs charge upwards of 4k per adult people expect their moneys worth and a food orgy. The mid level programs after trying to keep up have gone back to pairing down tea rooms,buffets etc to keep the pricing more reasonable and just like the client is hurting from the economy so are the programs. This year many people that used to run multiple properties ran only one or two and the weeling and dealing was definately to the customers advantage.

                                1. re: MAHOSCH

                                  A 24 hour tea room is important on Passover because if someone is not feeling well at night, ie a cold, allergy and needs a cup of tea, he or she has no other recourse. Its not like at your home, where you can walk into your own kitche and pour a cup of tea.

                                  1. re: Elliotu

                                    I went to a hotel years ago that did not have a 24 hour tea room. What I meant was that there was not an availability to eat cake/cookies/chocolates 24/7. The hot water urn was always filled and there was tea, coffee, milk and sugar available 24/7. The feeding frenzy that went on was the twice a day that the "keepers" came out with the cakes and fruits.

                                    1. re: MartyB

                                      At Kutsher's, you could NOT get any drink outside of mealtime and the 2-hour window when the tea room was open. No tea, no coffee, no seltzer, no juice, no soda. A few water coolers with small drinking cups were available, but that was it.

                                      At the very least, there should always be a hot water urn available, with tea bags and instant coffee.

                                      1. re: morris

                                        Tell us more about the Passover Kutcher's program. How was the food this year? How were the hotel rooms? Last year there was a problem with mould smell. Have they corrected it?

                                        1. re: Elliotu

                                          I was at Kutshers and you had to go in with the attitude that it wasnt costly but that the resorts in the mountains are in their final chapter and Kutshers the last kosher one among them all year. It is moldy smelling, there were actually garbage pails catching drops in the hallways because it rained alot, and that also put a damper on some possibilities like walking around the lake or boating. The food was at times very good, the meat or chicken, but at other times the fish seemed undercooked, the pesach pirogies straight out of the microwave. But choices were not lacking. The tea room was open twice a day and fairly well stocked, but it is true you could not get anything when it was closed. For people who work chol hamoed in the city, it is still a good option, the entertainment wasnt bad, and the most important thing was that I had a very good room which was pretty new and did not smell moldy. So if you go, it is worth the extra money for an upgrade.

                                          1. re: wantstoknow6

                                            We went to Honor's Haven for Pesach 2011 with Elite Dimensions.
                                            The hotel facility was very, very nice. The owners of the hotel invested a lot of money in the hotel and it shows. The employees of the hotel were top notch.
                                            Elite dimensions however was not. The hosts were non existent until the last few days of the holiday. They came around the dining room twice offering alcohol-once without cups. The entertainment was poor-ranging from shows starting late due to the sound/light person not showing up to a very poor quality of acts--you would think that someone would have screened the acts. Shabbos elevators were supposed to be throughout the hotel but they weren't. It wouldn't have mattered too much if the weather was warmer or it didn't rain but it was cold the first 6 days of Pesach and it rained very often--because of the physical structure of the hotel one wing required you go outside to get to the lobby because it lacked a Shabbos elevator. Catering by Weiss cut corners. The meal selection was poor. The quality started out pretty good but nosedived by the end of the holiday. The quantity of food for each meal was very small-although it was not a problem to get multiple meals. The advertised 24 hour tea room was not and the food selection in the tearoom amounted to not much more than a small variety of cakes, fruit, and drinks--there was nosh but nothing substantial. They used the tea room for kiddushim, their "pizza party", and their desert extravaganza (that they didn't tell anyone about ). As a tea room for people to drift in and out it was fine-to accommodate all the guests it was uncomfortably small and crowded. The program did not have a heimeshe feel! The lectures were fine although a bigger selection would have been more enjoyable. The movie room was underutilized but we were glad that they had it. Would we go back maybe-if they had a different caterer and had friendlier hosts.

                          2. anybody know anything about the Marco Polo hotel Pesach program?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: SPARKYSMOM

                              Thanks for info. Any idea what food is like. We need to be near fort lauderdale and it is only for the first days.

                            2. anybody hear about "Pesach at the Cove" in Riveria Maya near Cancun?

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: wantstoknow6

                                It looks like a very nice place and ram caterers are very good, however it will be a very Frum program and Mexico is not the safest place right now.

                                1. re: travelingjew

                                  Anybody go to Aruba with Afikomen tours (Booky and Leah)? Would like a review.

                                  1. re: travelingjew

                                    Yes my friend works for Ram at the Leblanc and its a 8* program tottally top shelf. Pesach in the cove will be the same except they are going after the sep swim,non gebrochts crowd. also very pricy. Mexico(riviera-cancun) is not a problem to travel to at this time.