Looking to explore your adventurous side, or maybe just relax on a great family getaway? A new Meetup.com group, established this year, offers area residents a chance to vacation to the region’s most relaxing resorts.

Kathy Arseneau, founder of New England Resort Explorers, took some time to chat with us about her group, how the community can benefit from it, and some wonderful success stories.

Around Concord: Please tell me again what the official name of the group is. When did it come about? How did you/the founders come up with the idea to put it together? How has it evolved over its lifespan? 

Kathy Arseneau: New England Resort Explorers was just established this year. I started this group because my family is blessed to own a timeshare at Steele Hill Resorts in Sanbornton, N.H. Because I love to travel and my husband’s travel time is limited, I started traveling with extended family and friends and have had some amazing adventures! It has now grown to include families that I don’t even know, but happen to be “friends of a friend.” In July, I decided to start a “Meet up” with our timeshare.

AC: How often/when do you meet? What types of activities do you do at your meetings? How about outside of the meetings?

Arseneau: We have several “meet ups” every month. Whenever I see a great vacation deal I grab it and find someone with like interests to share it with. If it is a vacation that I can’t attend, I purchase a “guest certificate” and someone else reimburses me and has a glorious vacation thanks to my timeshare. Since many of the people that use our timeshare are home school families, we see each other every Wednesday afternoon at the Concord Sports Center. I facilitate a home school gym program at an indoor baseball field.

We have 50 – 70 children that attend. I will also be facilitating a home school ski program at Ragged Mountain this year, we will have some meet ups there as well.

AC: If I’m a newbie and want to get involved, how do I go about doing it? What benefits does each group serve its members?

Arseneau: A newbie should join our meet up (meetup.com/New-England-Resort-Explorers), it’s free to join. Once you join, you will start to receive invitations to all of our trips. Once you see one, RSVP quick, because they go fast! The benefit to joining our meet up is that you get to explore so many wonderful places at amazingly low prices without having to own a timeshare!

AC: What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned through these endeavors?

Arsenau: I have met so many interesting people from all over the United States, some have flown here to join us on a meet up. I have learned to explore new interests and to take risks that I wouldn’t have taken if it weren’t for my fellow explorers. For example, riding a zip line and exploring a high ropes adventure course.

AC: Could you go into more detail about the various locations you’ve traveled to through this meetup? Do you have any specific memories or favorites that you can share? How about your members’ favorites?

Arseneau: We have traveled to over 15 locations, many of them more than once. Here is a list of some of them followed by members’ favorites:

Steele Hill, Sanbornton, NH, Attitash Mountain Resort, Smuggler’s Notch, VT, Well’s Beach, ME, Village of Winnipesaukee, Mountain Edge Resort, Sunapee, NH, Mittersille Resort, Franconia Notch, The Sands Resorts at Hampton Beach, The Summit Resort, Laconia, NH, Deer Park at Loon Mountain.

Here are some testimonials:

Julie and Steve, along with their children, on a Labor Day week family vacation to Smuggler’s Notch. The family resides in Weare.

“Our Labor Day week vacation to your timeshare at Smuggler’s Notch was voted our best family vacation ever by our kids…and we’d have to agree! Because it was Labor Day and the beginning of the off-season, we didn’t have to contend with crowds. We practically had the village to ourselves. We have five children, ages 15 down to 8 months old. It was truly relaxing for my husband and I to be able to lay poolside and watch them having a blast in the pool or on the waterslides and not have to search for them among a sea of tourists. Our condo was just a short walk down a trail to an indoor waterpark, inground pool, and hot tub. This was my family’s favorite spot because we could go there day or night and it had something for everyone to enjoy. Lastly, the spaciousness of the condo itself was perfect for our large family and the kitchenette allowed us to save lots of money by being able to have most of our meals there. Although, we did take advantage of the delightful “Pirate Dinner,” at the restaurant on Tuesday evening, where our pirate host even sang our baby girl a sweet lullaby. So many beautiful memories made. Our 4 year old daughter has even packed her bags in anticipation of returning someday soon.” Julie and Steve, Weare, NH

Photo courtesy of Andrea Quenneville.

“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to use the timeshare in June this year. We drove up Mt. Washington, swam in an indoor pool and saw a wild black bear. My children are usually homebodies, but after our short getaway to the Mt. Washington Valley, they decided that traveling is a lot of fun and can’t wait to do it again!” – Andrea Quenneville

“Our house does not get TV coverage so to watch any live TV event we have to leave home. For several years we have rented a hotel room on SuperBowl Sunday, which is fun, but gets a little cramped with our large family. Last year Kathy told us about her timeshare at Steele Hill. We were able to rent it for Super Bowl Sunday – what a blast!! We had plenty of space and invited several friends to join us. We were able to enjoy the pool before, during and after the game – getting updates on the game at the bar by the pool. The game itself was pretty lousy, but for us it was the best SuperBowl Sunday we have ever had! Thanks Kathy and Steele Hill for a great family memory!”

“What a wonderful time my family shared at Attitash. From the pool and hot tubs, plentiful walking trails around the property, and the vast beauty we found in the mountains it is nestled in. We will cherish the memories made while playing along the Saco River, and hiking Diane’s Bath.”

AC: What are your plans with your groups in 2015? Goals/events/new ideas? 

Arseneau: We have a Christmas meet up scheduled in December. We will meet at Canterbury Shaker Village for dinner and to enjoy their Christmas festivities. We will then head over to the Gift of Lights at the Speedway. We will spend the night at Steele Hill and enjoy their breakfast buffet on Sunday morning before heading out to do some shopping at the Tilton Outlet Malls.

I plan on finding some ski and stay deals this winter along with putting together a snowmobile tour get away as well. The neat thing about this “meet up” is there is no limit to what we can do and explore. My long term goal is to organize trips outside of New England and then outside of the USA!
AC: What makes Concord special to you in terms of your passion? How about the members of your group? 

Arseneau: We love this area because we are not far from the mountains, the lakes, the ocean, waterfalls, hiking, biking, and skiing trails.

AC: What other information would you like to pass along? Parting words for the community? 

Arseneau: We welcome anyone to join our meet up. We have had get aways for just ladies, couples, families, home schoolers, Moms and children, you name it and we can do it. That is the neat thing about this meet up, we think outside the box and love our members’ input. We hope that you will travel with the New England Resort Explorers really soon!

Click the images at the top of the article to see a full gallery of photos from New England Resort Explorers.

Are you a part of a meet up group or organization that would like to share experiences, memories and photos with the Concord community? Contact us.