Stay Warm And Get Crafty Indoors. Or Visit The One And Only… Villa Roma – For An Overwhelming Italian Experience.

I just returned from the Villa Roma. This is an old-school resort where mostly Italian people from Brooklyn and Lawng Islanders gather to eat mountains of food, gamble, generally indulge, and most importantly, spend time with la familia.

My Grandfather Ralph found the place and we had gone a few times when I was a tween. My sisters had the idea of going back, and we have reintroduced the tradition since my godson Jake was three years old. He’s turning 18 on March 23rd! My nieces, nephews, sisters, husbands, and parents adore the Villa Roma. What’s not to love….

Each day, the one and only Doc Holiday hands out the activity sheet, featuring jackpot bingo, bocce ball tournaments, and left-center-right dice. There’s also a gambling lounge with OTB, card tables, scratch-offs, and keno—it’s awesome! Our family’s favorite activity is the horse races, where the little kids move wooden horses on the forum stage while the adults (and kids) place bets. The pot can reach thousands of dollars. How does the VR get away with this? We all wonder, but no one asks (the code of silence).

You can learn pickleball with Doc, play cornhole, or win an indoor golf championship. I participated in the crafts, even though sometimes I was the only adult. We designed birdhouses, painted rocks, and made jellyfish.

Craft creatures from the odds and ends around your home.

The evening activity list is plentiful, making it hard to choose. There’s movie night, a visit to Marty’s Lounge to see the tricks of Magic Tom, the world’s best magician. Sing at karaoke or get hypnotized by Mr. Hypno and… dance the night away to fist-pumping techno at DJ Black Jack Dance Party.

Go rogue, off  Doc Holiday’s itinerary and visit the other buildings on the grounds. There’s rock wall climbing (I made it to the top!), hanging out at the bowling alley, and of course, there’s the ski mountain with a very hip vintage 70’s lounge.

Yup, it’s pretty much a Dirty Dancing vibe, with more kids.

Give a plain ol’ rock the rock star treatment.


I could talk endlessly about this special place, but what I really want to emphasize is crafting. While we’re in the midst of winter and eagerly awaiting spring, the Villa Roma reminded me that crafting is the perfect indoor activity. So if you can’t make it there, here are three ideas to inspire your next craft night with friends or with the family.

Paint a Rock: We’ve all painted shells, but what about rocks? During my brisk beach walks, I’ve noticed smaller versions of the large jetty rocks on the sand. Grab a few and break out the acrylic paint. Give it as a gift. Use scrap paper and Mod Podge to decorate the rocks. Make garden markers for your herbs and veg, and write: basil, tomatoes, thyme, etc. with a paint pen… you’ll be all set for the gardening season.

Craft Jellyfish: I’m a big fan of using recycled materials. Let the kids gather materials only found in your home: a paper plate, ribbon, napkins, the newspaper (ahem). You’ll be surprised by what ordinary materials you can transform into a cool craft. Cut and glue your pieces together to make a jellyfish or other sea creature.

Bird feeder Bagel: This is one of my favs. Use a stale bagel, and loop a string through the center. Cover your bagel with peanut butter and then roll it in a dish of bird seed. Hang it from a tree near your home, and the beautiful winter birds (and an occasional squirrel) will enjoy your gift. Full instructions here.

tagged in art, crafts