Travel & Leisure: by Jess McHugh

Children of all ages—and adults, too—are familiar with the feeling of putting the final gum drop on a gingerbread house and imagining what it would be like to step inside. Thanks to one luxury resort in Pennsylvania, that dream can now become a reality.

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort's Chateau LaFayette near Farmington has created a life-size gingerbread house in its lobby for guests to explore.

Pastry Chef Scott Tennant shaped the 12-foot-high, 14-foot-long and 12-foot-deep structure to look like a bakery storefront. Inside, guests can taste homemade gingerbread and even buy some to take home for the holidays.

The resort began work on the house back in October when two carpenters started building the wood-frame that would hold up the gingerbread, icing, candy and other edible delights that decorate the house.

All told, the 13-person team worked between 600 and 800 hours to complete the project, Tennant told Travel + Leisure.

The yearly gingerbread house is a nearly decade-long tradition at Nemacolin, but this is the first year that people can interact with and enter the house.

Each year guests kept remarking that the aroma of the gingerbread house always made them hungry for the cookies, and that is how the chefs at Nemacolin first got the idea for making the life-size bakery.

“I think that the big thing is that it comes down to home and family,” Ashli Mazer-Workman, Nemacolin's director of marketing, told T+L. “We just wanted to bring that feeling of family and home into the holiday experience.”

Guests have enthusiastically received this year’s creation. The pastry chefs check every morning and evening to smooth over corners of the house where guests were tempted into sneaking a taste, Mazer-Workman said.