Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau, Inc / Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau, Inc
EssentialsFollow a scenic trail and cross rustic bridges to view eight tumbling cascades at Bushkill Falls .
Hop aboard for some daring white-water rafting on the Delaware or Lehigh rivers; trips depart near the Lehigh River Bridge in Jim Thorpe and in Lehighton.
Catch a spectacular vista from Pocono Knob , the highest point in the Pocono Mountains, where the view stretches over the mountains and Delaware Water Gap into New York.
Visit the Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm for a tour of its well-preserved, 19th-century farm buildings.
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Follow an underground tour of the No. 9 Mine & Museum and learn about the area's coal mining history.
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AttractionsIn a destination with dozens of attractions, you may have trouble deciding where to spend your time. Here are the highlights for this destination, as chosen by AAA editors. GEMs are “Great Experiences for Members.”
The Pocono Mountains Area is well known for its recreational pursuits. Folks converge on the 2,400-square-mile area largely to take advantage of the mountains, rivers and lakes affording wonderful opportunities for water sports and snowy recreation. In winter months, skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing and tubing are popular activities at a number of local ski resorts. Among the best are Big Boulder Ski Area and Jack Frost Mountain , within miles of each other in Blakeslee; Shawnee Mountain in Shawnee on Delaware; and the largest, Camelback Mountain Resort in Tannersville.
When the summer sun shines, it's time to hit the water. The 5,700-acre Lake Wallenpaupack is usually packed with boaters, anglers, water-skiers and jet-skiers, and its sandy beach at Palmyra Township is popular with swimmers and sunbathers. If you're interested in a more adventurous water experience, try white-water rafting on the Lehigh River. Trips guided by Pocono Whitewater Rafting depart just north of the Lehigh River Bridge in Jim Thorpe . Lehighton Outdoor Center trips depart 4 miles south of the bridge in Lehighton. Take to the water in a kayak, canoe or raft, and brave the frothy rapids of this scenic river, flanked on either side by verdant cliffs bearing tiny waterfalls.
Hiking, biking and horseback-riding trails are common in this pastoral region. Trails and charming roadways also weave through the scenic Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area , which abuts the Delaware River as it follows the Kittatinny Ridge of the Appalachian Mountains. A portion of the historic Appalachian Trail passes through the 70,000-acre gap, and splashy Dingmans Falls can be reached by a boardwalk trail.
In Bushkill, follow a nature trail and cross a couple of rickety bridges to reach Bushkill Falls , a set of eight tumbling cascades. The main waterfall drops some 100 feet into a cool pool. Another of the region's scenic spots is the overlook at Pocono Knob in Mount Pocono. On a clear day, you can see over the mountains, lakes and rivers into New York state.
While the Pocono Mountains area is better known for its natural attractions and recreational pursuits, its reputation as a family resort commands that there be some fun diversions for the younger set. Claws 'n' Paws Wild Animal Park in Hamlin is home to monkeys, bears, big cats, tropical birds, reptiles, alligators and other animals. Kids can feed apples to lories in the aviary, and can pet deer, lambs and giant turtles.
During summer, the attractions at Camelbeach Waterpark in Tannersville are a great way to cool off. The park has more than 35 waterslides, a tubing river and a giant wave pool, among other child-pleasing diversions. Try the 8-story Titan waterslide, the 6-story Triple Venom speed slide, or the Vortex and Spin Cycle, a pair of slides that dump riders into a huge bowl for some head-spinning twirling.
The Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm is a good spot for hands-on educational experiences. A AAA GEM attraction, this living-history museum in Stroudsburg comprises restored farm buildings that were once home to a Pennsylvania German family who lived here from 1780 to 1913. Find a house, barn, schoolhouse, smokehouse, springhouse, icehouse, sugar house and tool sheds. Farm animals take residence here, guides in period costume give tours and craftspeople demonstrate household tasks and crafts.
Other points of interest in the Pocono Mountains highlight its former residents. In Bushkill, visit the Pocono Indian Museum , which educates about the Delaware Indians through exhibits featuring artifacts uncovered in the region. As a tribute to the industrialist, the interior of the Asa Packer Mansion in Jim Thorpe is almost exactly as Packer left it: After the death of the house's last owner, the Italianate villa was closed for 44 years, its contents remaining intact. The result is an excellent example of an ornately furnished, 18-room Victorian home straight out of 1878. Notable pieces include a bookcase belonging to Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Grand Welte Cottage Orchestrion, an enormous, working music box that Mrs. Packer had packed and shipped with her on vacations.
The Zane Grey Museum is in the Western author's former home, which is a bit more modest than the Packers' quarters. Grey called the town of Lackawaxen home from 1905 to 1918, and he published his first and most popular novels while residing here. Photographs, books and personal items are displayed. Home to former Pennsylvania governor Gifford Pinchot, the stone Grey Towers National Historic Site in Milford is styled as a French chateau, complete with turrets and meticulous gardens.
Once you've explored the mountainsides, board a train and head deep underground into the No. 9 Mine & Museum in Lansford to see the dark, gritty workplace of miners who toiled here from 1855 to 1972. A AAA GEM attraction, the anthracite mine tour explores its paths and gangways, the old mine shaft and even an underground hospital. The site also comprises an above-ground museum crammed with drills, picks, shovels, axes, saws, miners' caps and lamps, blasting equipment and a mucking machine.
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RestaurantsOur favorites include some of this destination's best restaurants—from fine dining to simple fare.
Dining spots in the town of Stroudsburg vary from pubs to grills to country inns. The Sarah Street Grill is a friendly, casual tavern popular among college students, working professionals, locals and tourists alike. Works by local artists line the walls, and bands typically perform on weekends. The menu covers a broad scope, from burgers and wings to pizza and pasta. There's even a small sushi bar on site, and the staff creates traditional favorites like California rolls, as well as in-house originals.
Subdued elegance aptly describes the mood in the dining room of the Stroudsmoor Country Inn . A marvelous Sunday brunch and weekend buffet menu are huge draws for this American restaurant.
Housed in a historic downtown space in Stroudsburg, the interior of the Siamsa Irish Pub was designed and built in Ireland, and its pieces were shipped to the Pocono Mountains area and reconstructed by local Irish craftsmen. The result is a restaurant that stands out as the most authentic pub in the region. It boasts a lively atmosphere and a delightful menu of Irish specialties, such as corned beef and cabbage, as well as stateside favorites like nachos and hot wings.
Nearby in East Stroudsburg, you'll find Peppe's Bistro . Teeming with Old World charm, this romantic spot is perfect for celebrating an anniversary or just enjoying one another's company. Offering Northern Italian cuisine with some Continental influences, chefs make their own pasta and prepare fresh meats and seafood. Delicious desserts are made in-house.
Two restaurants in Tannersville please choosy diners. Relaxed, and with the charm of a sea shanty, Smuggler's Cove is the place to go for fresh seafood. Prepared in a variety of styles, dishes include crab, lobster, shrimp and a rotating menu of fish. If you're not in the mood for seafood, Italian cuisine (with some traditional American sandwiches and salads) rounds out the menu.
Those with more adventurous palates will happily escape a steak and seafood rut at the mountainside Tandoor Palace Restaurant & Bar . Whimsically housed in a restored train car, the restaurant features a menu with authentic Indian cuisine and a sizeable number of vegetarian offerings. While traditionally spicy, the food can be adjusted from mild to three-alarm hot. For a sweet and creamy treat on a hot summer day, try the mango lassi.
Other restaurants in the region include Baileys Rib & Steakhouse in Mount Pocono. When looking for a belly-busting good meal, locals head to this hot spot nestled in the mountains. Aromas of huge steaks, seafood and smoky ribs waft through the space, tempting the taste buds. Prices are reasonable, and the atmosphere is relaxed, making the steakhouse a great spot for families or a hungry group of friends.
In Hawley, head to The Settlers Inn at Bingham Park , a chef-owned restaurant rooted in supporting the small farm community. It features a seasonal menu using fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits. High-quality seafood and meats comprise a tempting menu with such items as pan-seared sea scallops in lemon sake sauce, house-made fresh fettuccini with portabellas and sweet potato puree and grilled petite filet mignons with beurre rouge with marble potatoes. Freshly baked breads and sumptuous desserts are made in the restaurant's bakery. The wait staff attends to every last detail, leaving you to relax and enjoy a nicely paired wine with your meal in this Mission-style lodge.
Gourmet dining awaits at The French Manor Restaurant in Sterling. Set in the style of a chateau in the south of France, its spacious, elegantly appointed dining room features a 40-foot vaulted ceiling supported by massive wood beams, and dual fireplaces and candlelight create a romantic mood. Diners also may choose to enjoy their meal on the terrace, which offers a panoramic view of the Pocono Mountains. Either way, dinner will be memorable, with classical and nouvelle French cuisine. Specialties and favorites include pan-roasted duck breast with roasted potatoes or grilled rib-eye served with lobster tail. A pianist plays on Friday and Saturday evenings.
See all the AAA Diamond Rated restaurants for this destination.
EventsIn addition to its many cultural and historic landmarks, this destination hosts a number of outstanding festivals and events that may coincide with your visit.
The region celebrates all year with a bang—from beer festivals to music concerts and NASCAR races, you'll find something to keep you busy during your visit.
Known for its winter sports, the Pocono Mountains welcome the Mid-Atlantic Snowboard and Freeski Series to the Camelback Mountain Resort in Tannersville in early January. Watch while regional athletes compete in slalom, giant slalom and half pipe competitions, and take notes for your own mountain-shredding experience.
In late June, head to either the Lehigh River Sojourn or the Delaware River Sojourn . Taking place on the Lehigh and Delaware rivers, respectively, the festivals each offer canoeing, kayaking and white-water rafting trips on the rivers, along with organized camping, catered meals, shuttle service and entertainment. The Lehigh River Sojourn is 3 days, while the Delaware River Sojourn runs for 8 days—both are great family events.
The Pocono Raceway near Long Pond is the site of two NASCAR races a year—the first, the Pocono 400 in early June, and the second, the Overton's 400 in late July. On these weekends, more than 100,000 fans pack the stands to watch NASCAR drivers whiz around the track's three turns.
Fall signals the reaping of the crop, and a number of festivals celebrate the harvest. Attend the Harvest Festival at the Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm in Stroudsburg in early October, and you'll feel as if you've entered another century. More than 50 tradespeople in traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dress demonstrate such crafts and skills as spinning and weaving as well as the making of apple butter, baskets, brooms and candles. Guests to the farm can sample cider and bread, sign up for a quilt raffle and enjoy folk entertainment.
Enjoy the cool, crisp weather in early October at the Autumn Timber Festival at Shawnee Mountain in Shawnee on Delaware. Activities include lumberjack competitions and chainsaw sculpture demonstrations as well as children's activities, country music concerts, and food and craft vendors.
The Split Rock Resort showcases domestic beverages at its ale-oriented event in November, The Great Brews Beer Festival .
Pocono Mountains residents usher in the holidays the old-fashioned way. During the Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm's Old Time Christmas , costumed guides with lanterns escort guests through decorated 19th-century buildings. At Olde Time Christmas Celebration in Jim Thorpe , the whole village is adorned in Christmas finery. The town's Victorian buildings are a perfect backdrop for concerts, caroling and train rides with Santa. The Grey Towers National Historic Site in Milford also is decked out for the holidays; tour all three floors of the mansion during the Celebration of the Season event, which runs from early to late December.
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Love is in the AirThe Pocono Mountain Area, popular for its majestic scenery and year-round recreation, is even better known as a honeymoon hot spot. The region's love nests—complete with heart-shaped bathtubs and decor in shades of lacquer red and royal purple—are part of American folklore.
The area became a romantic destination during World War II when soldiers on leave vacationed in the Pocono Mountains before shipping overseas. Following the war, many of these GIs married, and—thanks to postwar prosperity—very young couples could afford to take honeymoons. They returned to the area to celebrate, and it became known as the Honeymoon Capital of the World. By the late 1950s, the area was welcoming some 2,000 honeymooners per week, rivaling Niagara Falls as the newly marrieds' go-to spot.
The tourist board quickly caught on, and lodge owners created special resorts geared to honeymooners—some even required a recent marriage certificate to secure a room. Along with the supposed exclusivity, resorts installed such romantic enticements as two-person sunken tubs, and stays included organized activities and family-style dining with other couples to foster camaraderie.
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When honeymooners arrive late to breakfast, few wonder why!
Places in Vicinity