Monthly Archives

July 2016

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Local women aim to revolutionize the way we think about fashion

Wild Reign

From left, Sammi Shea, Justene Bartkowski, and Nina Konz are shown in front of their new store, Wild Reign. Together, they aim to overcome societal pressures to dress a certain way.

Clarks Summit’s newest store opens at 116 Depot Street

By Elyse Notarianni

Saturday, July 9 marked the opening of Wild Reign, Clark’s Summit’s newest clothing store for women. Wild Reign’s founders, Sammi Shea, Nina Konz, and Justene Bartkowski, aim to overcome societal pressures to dress a certain way.

“Our slogan is: We’re freed to be wild. We’re worthy to reign,” says Nina Konz. “We are free to be ourselves as individuals, and we are worthy to be royal, glamorous, and captivating. We want to empower women to be themselves, not what the world says they should be and not what their insecurities make them afraid to try.”

These women spend a lot of time and through searching for their inventory, or “treasure pieces” as they call them. The difference between Wild Reign and a second-hand store is they take the time to find quality products. This means customers spent less time rooting through old, damaged items to find something worthy buying. They restore or repurpose items by repairing damages or altering the design through sewing and embellishing. Each piece is practically new but sold at a second-hand price. And the best part? No used clothing smell. 

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Wild Reign inspires a new way for women to shop

Throughout this process, each founder has honed in on her own personal brand, which they display on their Instagram account, WildReign. In her jean shorts and t-shirts, Sammi is the American Sweetheart, while Nina prefers lace, long dresses, and the title “Revival Princess.” Justene dons flowing, floral pieces as the “Messy Flower Child.” Each woman who interacts with the business is encouraged to find their own style whether on their own or with the help of the store’s employees.

Sammi, Nina, and Justene want to create a personalized shopping experience. To help a woman find her style, they take the time to get to know her. Together, they talk and create a Pinterest board of things she loves to wear and the look she aspires to achieve. That way the founders can determine her style and find clothes that fit her personality. If they don’t already have exactly what they are looking for in the store, they go out into the field to find it.

“We go above and beyond for our customers,” says Bartkowski. “We often search for clothing with a specific person in mind because we want it to feel as if we are giving them a gift. Taking the time to get to know the women in our stores and doing everything we can to serve them is our mission. We take that very seriously.”

Giving back to the community

By pursuing their passion for clothing and personal style, the women of Wild Reign hope to send a bigger message to teenagers in the area. So many people who grew up in a small town dream of leaving for something more, but these women prove that bringing their ideas into the community can promote change by creating something new.

“We want to give back to the community,” says Sammi Shea. “We don’t want to be a surface level business. At Wild Reign, we want people to feel like they are a part of something.”

Are you interested in finding your style? Visit the girls in their store on 116 depot street, suite 1,  or order clothes through their Instagram account, WildReign.

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Events

Piper Kerman speaks audience in Scranton, PA

Piper Kerman
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Greenfield from Marie Claire

Piper Kerman at the Scranton Cultural Center

by Elyse Notarianni 

Piper Kerman, author of “Orange is the New Black,” spoke to a sold-out audience at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple July 19 as a part of the Lackawanna County Library Guest Speaker Series. Her memoir and hit Netflix series detail her experience as an inmate at a minimum security women’s federal correctional facility in Connecticut.

Piper Kerman shares her story

Shortly after her college graduation, Piper Kerman found herself involved in a relationship with an international drug smuggler, Nora Jansen. Upon Jansen’s request, she carried a suitcase of money from Chicago to Brussels in 1993. Officials arrested Kerman in 1998 on charges of money laundering and drug trafficking.  She pled guilty and was sentenced to 15 months in prison, a sentence she did not serve until 2004.

Piper Kerman
Elyse Notarianni holds up her ticket as Kerman speaks about her time in Danbury Prison

In her speech, Kerman pulled attention to the incarceration rate in the United States, one of the highest in the world. Incarceration rates for women alone have increased by 650 percent over the past 30 to 40 years.

“If we are going to have the biggest prison system in the world,” Kerman said, “then I think more Americans should think about that and talk about it.”

Orange is the New Black encourages Americans to do just that. As a nation, we see crime as one entity, and we ignore the individuals involved. While the Netflix series is meant to entertain, it reminds its audience that the depictions on the screen represent reality.

On stage, Piper Kerman is a blonde, upper-middle class white woman in a blue floral dress. When you visualize this woman in an orange jumpsuit or humiliated by a strip search, understanding hits. These issues are real and they are standing right in front of you.

This is the kind of realization the Kerman wants to inspire. Kerman works to educate people who have the power to incite change by speaking to audiences across the country. She talks about inequalities in the justice system based on race, sex, power, and socio-economic status.

Reforming an ineffective system

In the end, Kerman sends a powerful message about reforming an ineffective system. She got to know women whose lives were negatively affected by the nation’s drug trade. Through them, she now understands her part in in the problem. However, she says that instead of serving time in prison, she could have worked directly with these women through service. This would have not only helped her understand the effects of her actions, but would have allowed her to work to correct her mistakes.

To lock up a woman in federal prison costs the government $30,000 a year, whereas rehabilitation programs may cost as low as $18,000 and offers a lower likelihood of the women repeating that offense. Kerman strives to inform people that alternative methods not only exist, but are an improvement over our current system. 

Kerman ended her time in Scranton, Pennsylvania by encouraging her audience to learn about the criminal justice system. She wants people to find ways to get involved— even if that just means donating books to their local prison.

Elyse Notarianni
Elyse Notarianni is a student at American University and a guest blogger at joanmatsuitravelwriter.com.
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Family Destinations Lifestyle Pocono Mountain Resort TreeVentures

Pocono TreeVentures aerial ropes course

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  • July 15, 2016

Aerial ropes course at Fernwood Resort

Pocono TreeVentures

Stories from the trees

by Kuni, Kento, and Yoshi Matsui, guest bloggers

Pocono TreeVentures aerial ropes course consists of 14 acres through the trees at varying heights and difficulty levels. Each aerial ropes course offers a different challenge level and participants are encouraged to try all five courses.

In June, Kuni, 55, Kento, 16, and Yoshi Matsui, 12, tried their hands at the Pocono TreeVentures aerial ropes course, a challenging adventure for folks of all ages. While the father and sons trio were guests at Fernwood Resort and The Villas at Treetops and Fairway, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, they were offered an opportunity to test their strength and skills.

aerial ropes course
A member of the Pocono TreeVentures aerial ropes course staff trains Kento (left), Yoshi and Kuni Matsui before they begin the course. Photos by John Pahls, Fernwood Resort

Outdoor Ventures Group designed and installed the aerial ropes course with safety as a priority and all participants are suited with a safety harness and they receive a briefing by trained staff before entering the beginner course.

Pocono TreeVentures aerial ropes course and Zip Racer are open year-round weather permitting. The number to call for current course conditions is 800-446-0231.

Leave your sandals and flip flops in your car because closed-toe shoes are required on the courses. 
aerial ropes course at Pocono TreeVentures
All participants are suited with safety gear. Photos by John Pahls, Fernwood Resort

“I’m sure that the view from 40 feet in the air is great, but it takes too much mental focus to even begin to think about the scenery. All you see are the obstacles and all we thought about is how to overcome them.” Kento 

Here’s what Kuni, Kento, and Yoshi had to say about their morning at Pocono Tree Ventures.

What were your expectations before you began the course? Were you nervous/anxious about the course and the height factor?

Kuni: We were excited because it looked like lots of fun, but we could not tell how high and how challenging it was from where we registered.

Yoshi: Getting geared up with harnesses was pretty cool because they (the harnesses) look like the ones we’ve seen on television survival shows.

What was the most enjoyable aspect of your time spent in the trees? Describe how the course began and progressed from beginning to end. Was it difficult from the beginning and consistent throughout the course or a gradual increase in difficulty?

Kuni: We had to go to a center starting platform to access each of the four courses, and decided to skip the beginner level, instead opting to take the intermediate path. The courses included a myriad of balance and strength obstacles that test your physical condition and coordination.

Yoshi: The 30 ft drop at the end…

Kuni: The “Skateboard” zip line…

Kento: My favorite place was the first zip line from the starting platform.

What was the approximate distance between you and the ground throughout the course? Did you feel safe?

Editor’s Note: The distance ranged from 20 to 40 ft off the ground.

Yoshi and Kuni: We felt safe because of the double harness system that ensured you are always connected to a safety wire.

Kento: Safe? Yes. The double harness was a really good idea. It ensured that there’s no chance of falling. Stable? No. The obstacles were designed to unbalance you and test your abilities. I enjoyed the feeling of adrenaline I felt and the little bit of instability made it even more fun.

What course did you follow? Beginner, intermediate or advanced? Is there a profound difference in the degree of difficulty from the beginner to advanced?

Editor’s Note: They followed two of the intermediate courses. One was more advanced than the other.

What were your thoughts as you progressed?

Kuni: There were a few obstacles on the second course that I couldn’t figure out how to do. I watched my sons ahead of me and mimicked their movements and I got through it.

Yoshi: When I felt apprehensive about any of the obstacles, I just pushed through and did them. I felt about the same about every obstacle.

Kento: I was the first (in my family) to go through every obstacle, so I was the one who had to figure out every problem we encountered, without any example to follow.

What are a few of the skills a person needs to have in order to complete the courses?

Kuni: Endurance and mental toughness

Kento: Balance, upper body strength

Yoshi: I think you need a good amount of courage.

Should you try the aerial ropes course at Pocono TreeVentures?

Kuni, Kento, and Yoshi agree the course is excitingfun, and challenging.

Edited by Joan Mead-Matsui

Visit http://visitpoconos.com/Poconos-Articles/ArtMID/2889/ArticleID/480/You%E2%80%99ll-Feel-Close-to-Home-Fernwood-Resort-Ideal-for-Families-on-the-Go.aspx for a detailed wrap-up from my stay at Fernwood Resort.

 

 

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Dining at Spa Destinations Events Exhibits Family Destinations Hiking in Northeastern Pennsylvania Lifestyle Northeastern Pennsylvania dining Pocono Mountain Convention Center Pocono Mountain Dining Pocono Mountain Resort Pocono Mountain resorts TreeVentures

Fernwood Resort: Four seasons of family fun

  • By
  • July 15, 2016

Fernwood Resort: creating year-round family experiences

Gina Bertucci: Focus is on family at Fernwood

Activities=Quality Family Time 

 

 

Family fun…Have you taken the time to create lasting memories with your family?

Creating an experience that’s all-encompassing for families and guests of all ages is one of the challenges Gina Bertucci, Fernwood Resort co-owner, embraces.

Gina Bertucci
Gina Bertucci, co-owner, Fernwood Resort

With more than 18,000 member families, Fernwood Resort and the Villas at Tree Tops & Fairway®, 2157 River Rd, East Stroudsburg, PA, is part of RCI and is one of the largest vacation ownership properties in the Mid-Atlantic region with 650 beautifully-appointed villas.

“We have both timeshares and rentals so we’re a mixed-use property,” Bertucci explained.

Lodging options range from one-to-four bedrooms with accommodations for every taste, with a home-like feeling and amenities from simple and economical to deluxe and spacious.

When you’re ready to venture out onto the property, you’ll also see why Fernwood has received awards for being green.

According to Bertucci, “As a business, when we were looking at how to develop these pieces of property, what did we do?”

The Pocono TreeVentures and zipline courses are examples of the extraordinary measures Bertucci and her partners have taken to preserve the beauty and nature on the property.

 

family
The Matsui family receives instruction before beginning the Pocono TreeVentures course. Photo submitted by Fernwood Resort.

 

“We looked at ways to preserve this property. There’s a stream that goes through it, but really when you’re up in the trees, you really do appreciate the nature and the beauty of this region.”


Everywhere you turn at Fernwood, there’s something for everyone. A few of the free on-site activities are swimming and weekly pool parties, summer family movie nights, picnics and BBQ nights. At an additional cost, try horseback riding at Bushkill Stables, Pocono TreeVentures Ropes and Zipline courses, Blue and White Lightning Tubing and Paintball. Visit Fernwood Resort’s website for prices and hours of operation.

 

family
Kento Matsui enjoys an afternoon of swimming at Fernwood Resort’s outdoor pool.

 


 

Family
Discover the countryside surrounding Fernwood Resort. You can explore on foot or by horseback at Bushkill Riding Stables. Reserve your horse and saddle by clicking here

Approximately 15 years ago, Bertucci and other businesses affiliated with the Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau got together to answer the question, how can we continue to showcase the Poconos as a region to explore and enjoy, and at the same time, preserve its natural beauty?

The Fernwood partners, for example, utilized approximately 10 acres of gorgeous farmland for the TreeVentures and Zip Line courses.

“It’s beautiful and challenging and when you’re finished, you think I just did something and it’s great exercise. It’s about authenticity,” commented Bertucci. “And not everyone has had a chance to try horseback riding? For other people, it’s shopping at the Crossings (Premium Outlets), canoeing on the Delaware River, bike riding, seeing nearby Bushkill Falls or following a lovely natural walking path at the 77,000-acre at the Delaware Water Gap National Historic site.”

 

What’s our recommendation for off-site family engagement? 

Don’t leave the Poconos without a stop at Bushkill Falls, known as “The Niagara of Pennsylvania.” With each season the landscape changes, providing a unique experience each time you visit. We suggest you reserve a half-day for your adventure.

 

family
Preservation of our natural scenic wonders is top-priority for Gina Bertucci, Fernwood Resort, representatives from other businesses and resorts and members of the Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau. Visit Bushkill Falls but please follow the rules as shown above. Observe and appreciate but hands-off plants and wildlife.

family
Bushkill Falls is host to many family adventures, schools and group tours, weddings and is a fantastic photo op. I guarantee you will get your workout while on your trek up and down the steps leading to and from the basin. Grab a bite to eat at the snack bar and then stock-up on keepsakes and souvenirs at the gift shop.

 

 

family
When you need to cool off on a warm summer day, you will appreciate the cool mist of water from the cascading falls and the shady areas provided along the trail leading to the basin.

 Bushkill Falls is the “Niagara of Pennsylvania”


Why should you plan a trip to the Pocono Mountains’ region?

As the nights turn chillier and the leaves that adorn the trees of the Pocono Mountains fall to the ground and create a gentle blanket of vibrant shades of red, yellow and orange, celebrate fall by tuning into the sounds of freshly fallen leaves underfoot. Celebrate the four seasons in the Pocono Mountains.

“There’s something for everyone in the Pocono Mountains. It’s all here and that’s fortunate for us. Family time is part of the fabric of our lives. You remember those moments together.” Gina Bertucci, Fernwood Resort.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Anthracite Heritage Art and Culture camping Exhibits Family Destinations Museums Northeastern Pennsylvania

Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum

Experience coal mine history

by Mike Korb

The Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum is an excellent place to experience a portion of the history of Pennsylvania Anthracite. Pat and I spent a few hours on a beautiful July day at the Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum at Knoebels Amusement Resort. http://www.knoebels.com/ride-play/attractions/mining-museum.

Knoebels, “America’s Largest Free-Admission Amusement Resort” is located in the heart of the anthracite coal region in Pennsylvania.  This year, Knoebels is celebrating its 90th anniversary.

What will you find at Knoebels?

The air-conditioned museum opened in 1988 and is chock full of mine artifacts, stories, displays and great information about mining and life in the coal regions.  The visit was surely at the right price. Admission to the museum, amusement park, and parking are FREE.

Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum
Pressed pennies are one of Mike Korb’s obsessions.

A sock filled with money

The first thing I saw at the door to the museum is one of my obsessions – a squished penny machine. When I’m on vacation, I carry a sock filled with shiny new pennies and quarters on the chance there’s a machine.  I can insert two quarters and a penny, and presto: A 51 cent souvenir, with the die-pressed symbol of where you visited. But, I didn’t bring the sock with me, so I went to the gift shop counter and took two shiny pennies from the “need-a-penny” jar and got four quarters for a dollar.  I went home with the two mine museum squished pennies they had.  Knoebels gets new penny dies every year, and this year they have 37 different designs.  I guess I saved a bundle ($17.50) by forgetting the sock.

Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum
A reenactment of the Sheppton Mine Rescue (1963) with one of the actual rescue harnesses.

Go to the Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum 

Genealogists and history buffs can pick up and read hand-written accident reports from the coal mines more than a hundred years ago. You can search a database for accidents involving your ancestors. See displays and models showing mining methods, tools, and equipment.  Finally, be sure to have your partner or a bystander take your picture outside driving a mine “Lokie” two years older than the park, and see other tracked mine equipment.

Most of the equipment in the museum are from the collection of the late Clarence “Mooch” Kashner of Coal Township. Kasner was once president of the Independent Miners, Breaker men, and Truckers union, and a retired PA State Mine Inspector.  He asked Peter Knoebel to display the artifacts and memorabilia he’d acquired throughout his career.  In 1988, the museum, a building built to resemble a coal breaker, was opened.

One of his pieces in the museum, a rough yoke fashioned from coveralls and a parachute harness, was used to pull one miner to the surface from a collapsed mine during the 1963 Sheppton Mine Rescue.  Because of the harness  Travel Channel visited Knoebels.  The museum, the mine rescue, and the harness were featured in one episode of the Travel Channel’s “Mysteries of the Museum” in 2013.  Watch the rerun on July 24 at 8 p.m. EST and 7 p.m.   (http://www.travelchannel.com/shows/mysteries-at-the-museum/episodes/sheppton-mine-disaster-bite-board-erie-collar-bomb) You can watch on July 24th at 8 PM, 7 p.m. Central.

There’s lots more to see and do at Knoebels.

Knoebels is ranked as one of the top-ten family amusement parks in the United States.  The first thing after the museum, you see the Black Diamond. We didn’t take the dark coaster ride through the coal mine on the Black Diamond, but you should.  Instead, we went through three more museums and exhibits.  I rode on the 103-year-old carousel and grabbed three brass rings without falling off my horse once. The Grand Carousel was voted the best carousel in the Golden Ticket Awards competition held by Amusement Today in 2007, and 2010 to 2015.  In addditon, Knoebels food has won the awards 13 times in the last 15 years.  Make sure you sample some  before you left the Park.

Our 39 mile “trek” to the Knoebels  Anthracite Coal Mine Museum was well worth the trip.

Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum
Mike Korb found many photo ops.

Bundle a trip to Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum and Pioneer Coal Mine Tour

When you’re planning your visit to Knoebels, you should also allow time to visit a nearby top ten tourist attraction in Pennsylvania.  Consider first scheduling a half-hour trip to the Pioneer Tunnel Mine Tour and “Lokie” ride in Ashland. (www.pioneertunnel.com)  This “newer” narrow gauge locomotive was built in 1927.  It is a 0-4-0 type Lokie that typically was used to haul coal from strip mines. I suggest you first take a trip on the train behind a Lokie in the morning and the Coal Mine Tour at noon.  In addition, get your picture taken in a Lokie and visit the Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum in the afternoon. Maybe spend your evening on some of the rides on the bargain “Sundown Plan.”  Don’t miss all the photo ops.

Celebrate coal mine history 

Finally, join Pat and me on Sat., Aug. 20, 2016, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. as we celebrate the 24th Annual Pioneer Day and the 53rd Anniversary of the Pioneer Tunnel Tour. Take a mine tour and a steam train ride.  Enjoy the special events that will be held adjacent to the tunnel.

In the works

Pioneer Tunnel will be adding a reconstructed mine headframe to its attractions, hopefully this fall.  I’ll write about it then.

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Clarks Summit stores Everything Natural Lifestyle

Everything Natural: feed your holistic lifestyle while on the go

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  • July 13, 2016

Everything Natural 

Holistic lifestyle heaven

Shopping for fun and entertainment

Have you left home for a business or vacation trip and forgotten to pack your vitamins and supplements, snacks, or toiletries?  If you happen to be visiting or traveling through Northeastern Pennsylvania, chances are you’ll find everything you need at Everything Natural, a holistic lifestyle store located at 426 S. State Street in the heart of downtown Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania.

Barry Kaplan, co-owner, explained, “When people are traveling, they want to shop at a different type of natural foods’ store, one that’s different than what they have in their hometown. They want to be entertained. It has long been documented that people use shopping for fun and entertainment. Case in point, we entertain our guests.”

Everything Natural carries thousands of quality products and offers consistent personalized customer service.  Owners, Barry and Donna Kaplan and Michele Cooper have created a warm and inviting atmosphere that’s aesthetically pleasing and a breeze to navigate.

Products and Services

Say goodbye to the “crunchy granola” perception of natural foods  

“Bid farewell to the notion that natural food is “brown, bland, blah and boring,” Kaplan said. 

Shoppers will find fair trade, sustainable gifts, books, organic produce and grocery items, grab-and-go meals, homeopathic remedies,  jewelry, nutritional supplements, and minerals on the shelves with new arrivals prominently displayed at the end of the aisles. Everything Natural is truly a one-stop shop, whether you follow a Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, gluten and/or dairy-free regimen, or your goal is to make healthier choices.

“We have criteria we ask and look for from our vendors. Some of the companies we do business with now are companies that have changed their products to meet the sustainability criteria,” Kaplan said.

If your schedule allows, take a yoga class while you’re in town. Classes are held on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. To view a class schedule, click here.

Have a question or comment about a product?

No problem, the staff is knowledgeable and eager to assist.

 

Artfully designed displays are set up throughout the store.
Artfully designed displays are set up throughout the store.
Barry Kaplan shown at a weekly planning meeting at Everything Natural.
Barry Kaplan meets with staff often to plan promotions, sales, workshops, and holistic health fairs. 

Say hello to Barry Kaplan

Kaplan made a decision to lead a vegetarian lifestyle in 1969 and his interest in nutritious foods has grown exponentially throughout the years. He and his partners have created a holistic wonderland of non-GMO, sustainable, and healthful products that are free of toxic chemicals, man-made food additives, and dyes and artificial sweeteners.

Store tagline: “Shop here if you know what’s good for you. ”

Visit www.everythingnaturalpa.com for directions, store hours and a list of upcoming events.

 

 

 

 

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Family Destinations Fishing Fishing Destinations Hiking in Northeastern Pennsylvania Lifestyle Pocono Mountain Retreats

Rediscover Nature at The Inn at Starlight Lake

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  • July 7, 2016

Find your peace of mind 

The Inn at Starlight Lake

Across the road from the Starlight Lake, only a stone’s throw away from the blankets of lily pads, boat docks, and mostly tree-lined shore is the Inn at Starlight Lake, a romantic country retreat for guests in search of a setting to relax and unwind, without distraction.

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Adirondack and rocking are situated on the large front porch to provide guests with an unobstructed view of the lake. Astilbe, daylilies, and varieties of ornamental grass and other perennials are tucked in corners around the perimeter of the inn and add to the charm and ambiance of this historic structure and country setting.

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A Brief History 

Sari Schwartz and her husband, Jimmy, started coming to the Inn at Starlight Lake in 1974. Jimmy’s friend, an avid hunter, introduced them to the region.

“His friend had a problem with his car and didn’t want to stay overnight at the hunting camp so one of his buddies drove him around and they came across The Inn at Starlight Lake,” Sari Schwartz recalled.

When his friend returned to New York City, Sari said he told Jimmy, “We really should bring the girls up here some weekend.”

They spent their first night at the inn New Year’s Eve in 1974 and continued to celebrate the new year there for 19 consecutive years. “When life got in the way,” Sari said, “We stopped coming for a while until 2000 to 2001.”

Throughout the years, Sari and Jimmy became friends with the former owners, Jack and Judy.

“We were always kidding with Judy, when you’re ready to sell, we’ll buy it (the inn). We kidded one too many times,” Sari commented.

While the inn is off the beaten track in Starlight, PA, they were both in the hospitality business and bought the inn and property in 2005 with the intention to retire there.

“This was supposed to be our retirement,” she explained. “But Jimmy passed away in 2011.”

Aside from personalizing the interior with some of their own accessories and painting the exterior, Sari noted, “It’s pretty much the same. We decided we weren’t going to change the inn. That’s what we wanted to do.”

Fortunately, Sari runs the inn with the help of her daughter and son-in-law and support from the community.

“Life as an innkeeper is a lot of work but a lot of fun,” Schwartz said. “I’m a people person most of the time. I’ve been very lucky to have a great staff and to have a son-in-law who knows a lot about a lot of stuff. We’ve also always been very fortunate with the tradespeople in the area.”

Inn at Starlight Lake (4 of 14)

A year round retreat

The inn is a four-season vacation destination but summer is their busiest time with fall close behind in popularity.

A July 4 barbecue is one of the events planned throughout the year.

Celebrate the holidays at an old-fashioned barbecue.

Schwartz said, “We observe the holidays. On July 4, we have always had a barbecue.”

The cost is $15 per person and $10 of that goes into a scholarship fund that Schwartz explained is given to the young people who work at Inn who are going to college.

“It has reached a point now where people actually give us donations for the scholarship fund. Even if it just buys their books, it something. We try in our own way to give back to the community.”

Four to five Murder Mystery Weekends per year, an illusionist, magician, and renaissance fair are a few of the special offerings.

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Activities that will bring you back to nature

Don’t expect to find Wi-Fi, televisions, telephones, or air conditioning in any of the guest rooms. Wi-Fi is available in the public area of the Inn. But don’t despair. You’ll likely be too busy swimming, playing board games, hiking, paddling a canoe or kayak, or engaged in conversation with Sari or other guests. Be sure to ask for a complete list of activities when you book your reservation.

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When it’s your time to dine…

The entire inn is family-friendly and so are the generous portions. Homecooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in the bar, dining room, and enclosed sun porch. Breakfast is on-the-house for registered guests.

“People are telling me I should start to advertise the fact that we have a lot of vegetarian dishes on our menu. We will also accommodate vegans and guests on gluten free diets.” 

Visit innatstarlightlake.com to view menus and additional information.

“As an innkeeper, the people, her guests, have made this all worthwhile.” Sari Schwartz

 

 

 

 

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Lifestyle

Meet Elyse Notarianni

  • By
  • July 5, 2016
Meet Elyse Notarianni
Elyse Notarianni, guest travel writer Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

Meet Elyse Notarianni…

I am Elyse Notarianni and I will be working as a guest blogger for joanmatsuitravelwriter.com. I am a junior at American University in Washington, DC studying Spanish and Print Journalism.

I’ve always loved to write, but I never thought I would ever have the ability to work as a journalist. I didn’t think I had anything substantial to say. But as I started gaining more freedom to choose my own classes and activities, I realized I gravitated towards writing activities.

I first started writing for American’s chapter of Her Campus as a weekly contributor. One of my first articles, Scranton in The Office Versus Scranton in Real Life, received more than 82,000 views in the first week, was the site’s top national story for three days, and was featured on local radio station’s social media accounts. That’s when I realized that I can be a writer if I want to, and I might even succeed.

Since then, I have written articles for The Odyssey, press releases and event coverage for local businesses, and have been working as a writer and editor for an upcoming website called asecondchance.com.

Writing for this blog has given me the opportunity to learn from an experienced journalist about what it means to write for such a strong community like ours in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Travel writing is new to me, but I look forward to the challenge.

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Meet “Garden Doug Z,” Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort lead gardener

  • By
  • July 5, 2016
garden

Cultivating farm-to-table vegetables

Meet Shawnee Inn lead gardener

“Garden Doug Z” 

“Garden Doug Z,” also known as Doug Zimmer, cultivates many varieties of plants in his gardens at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort, Shawnee on Delaware, Pennsylvania.

His craft is to provide Shawnee Inn guests with the freshest farm-to-table produce and vegetables.

Zimmer is the lead gardener at Shawnee Inn, formerly Buckwood Inn, a historic inn with a well-established reputation for extraordinary customer service and lodging and championship golf courses. The Shawnee Inn guests know today is due in part to visionary Charles Campbell Worthington. According to Shawnee Inn history, Worthington was an engineer and inventor by trade, who never enjoyed urban living. Soon, after discovering the great outdoors at Shawnee on Delaware, he relocated to this quaint, small village in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania and “made his mark in the community.”  Current owners, Charles and Ginny Kirkwood and their family, are also advocates for sustainability and preserving natural resources.

Garden Doug Z is an experienced gardener and is highly-regarded for his vast knowledge of horticulture. He carries on the Shawnee tradition of “fresh food from the gardens on premises” and outsourcing, only as needed, from nearby farms.

Here’s a quote from the Shawnee Inn history archives.

“The food served in the dining room came fresh from gardens on the premises and nearby farms, an on-site creamery provided fresh milk, cream and butter and drinking water of the purest quality was gravity-fed directly into each room,” according to Shawnee Inn history.

I met Zimmer in early June, while I was a glamping guest at Shawnee Inn. Upon meeting him, I asked my host, Kaitlyn O’Connor, Shawnee marketing coordinator, if I could interview him and snap some photos of Doug alongside his various gardens. Little did I know, he is also the lone gardener.

Zimmer quickly noted, “It’s really not hard to be the lead gardener when you’re the only gardener.”

Sure, he gets help from management when he needs it, but Zimmer added, “I’m pretty much on my own a lot of the times. Today, I needed help with tilling.”

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Meet Garden Doug Z, (Doug Zimmer) lead gardener at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort. Zimmer cultivates the inn’s on-site herb and vegetable gardens. Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui, travel writer, journalist and photographer.

What is the origin of his nickname?

He said, “Some girls gave me the nickname Garden Doug Z.”

How many acres does he farm?

He’s not sure, but I can attest that rows of vegetables and herbs are methodically interspersed in several tracts of land that border the Shawnee golf course. One of his gardens is situated along the golf course, with a spectacular view of the Delaware River.

“I can tell you how I grew tomato plants 30 years ago but I really have a problem with people’s names and acres.”

Garden Doug Z at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort
Garden Doug Z is shown in the middle of one of the gardens he plants and methodically cultivates at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort, Shawnee on Delaware, PA.

Elephant garlic, onions, cabbage, tomatoes, and kale are among the varieties of vegetables he plants and cultivates each year.

All of his plants are grown from seed but he noted he is also blessed to have access to a greenhouse. “We don’t bring out the plants (from the greenhouse) until the weather settles down.”

Intrigued by herbs

As we moved to the herb garden that was brimming with healthy, nurtured plants, Zimmer graciously handed me a sample of his “Mountain Mint” crop that flourishes in his herb garden.

“The medicinal property of the mint is it’s an “antispasmodic,” he said.

As he pointed to the chamomile, he explained,

“I think I’m happy and sedate enough that I don’t need the chamomile, but I’m very intrigued by medicinal plants. There’s an actual sedative in that stuff and that’s pretty cool.”

His affinity for horticulture developed at a young age.

“I couldn’t eat an apple without planting the seeds,” he said.

Obsessed with gardening

Zimmer admits his gardening is a compulsion.

He quipped, “I had it so bad in years past when I put all of my tropical, succulents, and jade plants inside for the winter. I couldn’t sit in my living room. I couldn’t get into my spare bedroom. So, two years back, I said to myself, ‘Doug, this is a sickness and you’ve got to have a 12-step program.”

Zimmer is a generous soul

He’s also known for giving plants away and converting a lot of people who believe they have a “brown thumb.” His advice to those folks is “You’re just a beginner and you’re growing the wrong plants. I have some plants for you that are hard to kill unless you put them in the oven at 350 (degrees).”

 

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Zimmer shares Shawnee Inn founder’s love for the outdoors and fresh produce and vegetables harvested on-site.

 

“You reap what you have sown”

Sustainability is widely practiced at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort and Zimmer’s goal is to utilize more seeds from his gardens and use natural compost materials to ensure the gardens are as organic as possible.

“We use composted leaves and mix some of the (ShawneeCraft) brewery stuff in there,” Zimmer said. “It’s definitely the compost that makes a difference.”

Taste trumps everything

While heirlooms are very fickle to grow, Zimmer plans to add other heirloom cultivars of tomatoes to his repertoire. Ultimately, taste is the deciding factor that trumps everything.

“If it tastes good, I’ll bend over backward to get that. I’m very proud of that. Through the years, it (the plant) has got to evolve.”

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I met Doug Zimmer, also known as “Garden Doug Z,” while I was on assignment at Shawnee Inn for visitpoconos.com.

 

 

Learn more about menus at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shawnee Inn Glamping

  • By
  • July 2, 2016

Romantic” Shawnee Inn Riverside Glamping

Connect with nature luxuriously


Nature at your doorstep

Tim MacMichael often falls asleep at night listening to soothing music from an app he installed on his phone. On May 25, Mother Nature provided the sleep-inducing background melodies Tim heard while he drifted off to sleep at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort Riverside Glamping. The inn is located in Shawnee on Delaware in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

“They were great sleeping sounds,” Tim said on May 26 as he and his wife, Christine MacMichael, Warren, NJ, sipped coffee on the deck next to their bell tent. 

Tim and Christine have been guests at historic Shawnee Inn probably four times, according to Tim, but when they received emails promoting Island and Riverside Glamping, Christine said, “That made me want to try it.”

“We heard the tree frogs, crickets, the water lapping in against the shoreline, and some woodpeckers and other birds chirping towards the morning,” Christine noted.

Tim and Christine MacMichael
Tim and Christine MacMichael, Warren, NJ, watched activity on the Delaware River from their deck on the Shawnee Inn Riverside Glamping site.

 

Rather than lug their tent and camping supplies to a camping site, they decided to focus on a more relaxing and convenient alternative known as glamping or boutique camping.

What is glamping?

It’s glamorous or luxurious camping that’s synonymous with resort-style services that are not associated with traditional camping. Shawnee Inn offered Tim and Christine the convenience and luxury of a room in the inn with the added pleasure of connecting to the outdoors.

Guests can choose from two boutique camping options: Shawnee Island Glamping, a secluded experience on a remote island in the middle of the Delaware River that’s only accessible by canoe and Shawnee Riverside Glamping on a semi-secluded tract of land on the north lawn of the resort that overlooks the scenic Delaware River. High-speed Wi-Fi, a queen-size day bed, electricity, coffee maker, refrigerator, lantern, fan, radio, and full access to resort amenities are standard comforts that enabled Tim and Christine to rough it in style.

Upon their arrival at the Riverside site, they found their queen-sized bed dressed with luxurious linens, an extraordinarily comfortable mattress, and white fluffy pillows.

Christine commented after a restful night’s sleep, “The bed, blankets, and pillows were so comfortable. Everything is so well done and luxurious. Glamping here is a lot easier and more convenient (than camping) and we love it.”

“We’d absolutely do it again,” Tim said. We just pack an overnight bag and that’s it.”

To reserve your bell tent at Shawnee Inn, visit shawneeinn.com or call 1-800-742-9633

 

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