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The Lodge at Woodloch

  • By
  • December 4, 2017

The Lodge at Woodloch

 

Chakra Bowls in the entrance at The Lodge at Woodloch. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui.

Destination: Bliss

Calm your mind, awaken your soul

 

Spending a day at The Lodge at Woodloch is synonymous with a day in heaven.

 

The Lodge at Woodloch is a family-owned, one-stop spa destination located in the Lakes Region of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Individuals who want to experience a complete overhaul will find a phenomenal setting for total mind and body rejuvenation.

You’ll need to tailor your stay at this award-winning resort and allow time to savor every class, activity, and meal you choose. Depending on the length of your stay, I suggest you select one or two indoor spa services and one or two classes or activities and plan to venture outdoors. Use your time to tap into the adventure in your soul.

I arrived there eager for my massage session but immediately picked up a schedule of events and classes at the registration desk before heading to my room to change. A complete list of classes is available at the front desk and in each of the guest rooms, but if narrowing the selection is a bit daunting, a personal concierge can assist you with scheduling. You can view a current schedule of activities here.

Venture Outdoors

 

Even if the thought of being out-of-doors in the cold Pocono Mountain air sends chills up your spine, bundle up and take a walk. The property is so picturesque throughout the year, with scenic hiking and bike trails that are a favorite among nature-lovers.

The dock at The Lodge at Woodloch is a vantage point for observing waterfowl and other wildlife.  Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui.

Refresh

 

Your comfort is a number one priority to the management and staff at The Lodge at Woodloch. Feel free to drop in at the coffee and tea kiosk for a glass of fruit infused water, high-end herbal tea with locally-produced honey or artisan coffee. Lucious treats are available throughout the day. Hydration is important after a day of activity and guests receive a complimentary refillable water bottle and shopping bag branded with The Lodge at Woodloch name and logo. Filtered water is available in each guest room, so guests can refill their water bottles as needed.

Refresh with orange infused water or herbal tea with organic honey.

Find Time to Socialize

 

If you’re traveling alone, ask to dine with other solo guests. The main dining room and bar area are warm and friendly and a popular spot for great conversation.

Unleash Your Spirit

 

If exercise isn’t your bag, try a gentle chakra yoga session to free the creative flow you’ll need for a cooking demonstration or a watercolor painting class. Daytime and evening events are available.

You don’t need to be flexible to practice yoga. To the contrary, yoga has far-reaching health benefits from improved posture and overall health to a more flexible you.

Learn New Skills

 

Flyfishing? Betterment is often the result of branching out and learning a new hobby. Join the knowledgeable team at the lodge and allow them to introduce you to the joys of fly fishing.

Adam Nidoh, fly fishing instructor, teaches fly fishing 101 to Kathy Marsh, a guest from California.

Stick with the familiar or try something new when you join in on an organized fly-fishing class designed for aspiring fly anglers who yearn to be on the water. Full and half-day guided fishing trips on the Lackawaxen and Delaware Rivers can be arranged with advanced notice.

 

Art Abounds

 

On your way through the lobby, take note of the art that hangs on the walls in the corridors. The Lodge at Woodloch has created a venue for regional artists to display their wares, which is indicative of the management’s commitment to the arts. The paintings displayed during my visit provided a visual appeal and warmth that original art evokes.

Art at The Lodge at Woodloch. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui.

 

Signature Dining

 

Dining at TREE, The Lodge at Woodloch restaurant, is an experience you’ll relish. The naturally-raised meats, fish, seafood; organic, locally grown vegetables and wholesome grains are combined and presented with an artistic flair.

A few of the entrees from a sample menu are Oven Dried Tomato & Charred Broccoli Flatbread – Basil Pesto, Homemade Ricotta, Calkin’s Creamery Vampire Slayer, Balsamic Reduction (veg) Shrimp Pad Thai – Shaved Root Vegetables, Local Cabbage, Scrambled Farm Egg, Pistachio, Hoisin Sauce (gf) Eggplant Cutlet Parmesan – Smoked Mozzarella, Oven Dried Tomato & Olive Tapenade, Arugula and Roasted Pepper Aioli (veg). Samples menus are available here.

Romantic soft lighting The Lodge
Many of the selections are plant and vegetable-based and bursting with flavor and texture that’s sure to please. Feel free to begin your lunch at the Buffet Station Salad Bar & Seasonal Condiments that’s brimming with a Chef Inspired Daily Soup and energy and protein-packed selections for vegan and vegetarians. There’s no guesswork as you’re helping yourself at the stations or ordering from the menu. Vegan and vegetarians are clearly marked.

REdiscover Lunch

 

If you need a getaway, visit The Lodge at Woodloch’s website where you’ll find a package to suit your needs. All packages include accommodations in one of 57 extravagant guest rooms, three gourmet meals per night of stay, speakers and workshops, creative arts, scheduled group fitness classes throughout the day, lectures, chef’s cooking and baking demonstrations, guided group adventure outings, a personal spa concierge, pools with hydro massage waterfalls, indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis®, steam rooms, saunas, and a 3,000 square foot state-of-the-art cardio weight studio.

Accommodations at The Lodge at Woodloch. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui.

 

KUDOS!

 

The Lodge at Woodloch WILL exceed your expectations. The resort has consistently received a wide array of awards over the years from the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Award to the Travelers’ Choice Award by TripAdvisor.

For more information, visit thelodgeatwoodloch.com. You can view special seasonal offers here.

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Celebrate National Public Lands Day

  • By
  • September 27, 2017
National Public Lands Day
National Public Lands Day 2016 volunteers show their support by helping park rangers maintain precious land along the Delaware River. Photos courtesy of the National Park Service.

Celebrate the Public Lands You Love

 

One of the best ways to show your appreciation for the rivers and trails you enjoy year-round is to join more than 200,000 volunteers around the country on Sat., Sept. 30, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., as they celebrate National Public Lands Day.  

What is National Public Lands Day?

 

National Public Lands Day is an event organized by the National Environmental Education Foundation to promote enjoyment and volunteer conservation of public lands in the United States. The signature event is held on a Saturday in late September.

2016 National Public Lands Day volunteers lend a hand.

How can you help?

You can get involved and pitch in locally in Northeastern Pennsylvania at the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River. Volunteers are needed to help park rangers with three projects.

  1. Clean up trash from the river while paddling from Narrowsburg, NY to the Ten Mile River Access, NY.
  2. Maintain the Tusten Mountain Trail near the Ten Mile River Access by helping to widen the trail and vista, install trail markers, and remove hazards from the hiking path.
  3. Clear mile-a-minute and other invasive plant species from around the Zane Grey Museum and Lackawaxen Access.

 

National Public Lands Day by Joan Mead-Matsui
Be one of the 200,000 volunteers who pitch in to help maintain U.S. national parks.

National Public Lands Day will kick off at 9 a.m. at the Ten Mile River Access located on Crawford Road, Narrowsburg, NY. Following the kick-off reception, volunteers will be assigned to groups and move to their designated location to begin the projects.

The maintenance sessions will wrap up on a rolling basis as projects conclude.

To register, call 570-729-7134 ext. 220 or email kelleen_lanagan@partner.nps.gov. Additional information can be also be found online at nps.gov/upde.

 

 

 

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Shawnee Inn Holiday Traditions

  • By
  • December 21, 2016

Celebrate Christmas along the scenic Delaware River  

Shawnee Inn holiday traditions

Breakfast with Santa

What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

I have fond memories of my children’s eyes opening wide as they watched Santa make his entrance at a Breakfast with Santa we attended for years. Now that my children are older, I long for those days.

Throughout December, children of all ages had an opportunity to share in a long-established Shawnee Inn holiday tradition. On Sat., Dec. 3, at the first breakfast with Santa held this year, I had the pleasure to watch a group of children anticipating Santa’s arrival. As he entered the River Room Gastropub, all eyes were on the man dressed in red.

Breakfast with Santa is one of the many events held at Shawnee Inn, Shawnee on Delaware, PA during the month of December.

Shawnee Inn holiday traditions
Santa visited Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort throughout December.

Sharing Holiday Spirit

Shawnee staff and management shared their holiday spirit and thoughts with me. Kaitlyn O’Connor joined the staff as marketing coordinator more than a year ago.

On a cold, (windy) late fall day, Jeromy Wo, Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort marketing director, ventured outside with me onto the Shawnee Inn lawn, overlooking the scenic Delaware River, where we talked about some of his most coveted Shawnee Inn holiday traditions.

You can watch the video here.

Dining in the River Room Gastropub

There’s an ambiance in the River Room Gastropub that’s synonymous with leisurely dining. The River Room is one of three on-site restaurants available to guests and travelers. I began my meal with a piping hot, savory French Onion Soup that really could have been a meal in itself, but I knew I couldn’t pass on an opportunity to have a juicy and tender portion of salmon filet that was quite extraordinary and artfully presented. And sure, why worry about extra calories, so I also ordered a side of crispy steak fries.

While I dined, a pianist played a mix of holiday music in the lobby amidst the Nutcrackers, Poinsettia, tinsel and twinkling lights. Sometimes, as in this case, I’ll shoot an impromptu video even when the lighting isn’t perfect. Here’s a segment featuring Chris Cinterella.

Celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah at Shawnee Inn

Christmas & Hanukkah Holiday Buffet

Are you looking for a festive buffet? Make your holiday memorable with friends and family as you gather together in the Worthington Ballroom on Sun., Dec. 25. The buffet will feature a carving station, with plenty of food prepared by Shawnee’s culinary team. Among the offerings at additional stations will be soup; fruit, cheese and salad; sides; chilled seafood; chef attended crepe; entrees; youth; festive bread assortment; coffee and tea; and dessert.

Reservations can be made by calling 800-742-9633. Prices: Adults /$34.95; Seniors (65+)/$29.95; Youth (12-16) $24.00 and Children/$1.00/each year.
(example 7 years old=$7.00)

New Year’s Eve Shawnee style

Celebrate the final hours of 2016 at Shawnee Inn on Sat., Dec. 31, 6 – 10 p.m. in the River Room Gastropub 

Buffet | $35 per adult
$25 Youth (12 – 16)
$1 for every year Children (2-11)
   ie. a 10 year old pays $10
plus 6% tax, gratuity not included

View the entire menu

 

Shawnee Inn photo gallery – photos by Joan Mead-Matsui

More information regarding Shawnee Inn’s rich history is provided in this video courtesy of Jeromy Wo. Find your spiritual nourishment while exploring the outdoors on a guided hike led by one of Shawnee’s knowledgeable guides or register for an off-site hike on one of the scenic trails at the nearby Delaware Water Gap recreation area.

Coming soon…a story and photos from my Shawnee guided hike at the Delaware Water Gap recreation area.


Many thanks to Rob Howel, Jeromy Wo and Kaitlyn O’Connor for their hospitality during my sponsored stay. Rest assured, my opinions are my own.  

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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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Rediscover Nature at The Inn at Starlight Lake

  • By
  • 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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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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Hiking in Northeastern Pennsylvania

Ricketts Glen State Park Hiking

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  • June 19, 2016
Ricketts Glen State Park Falls Trail System

Experience Ricketts Glen State Park

Explore the Falls’ Trail System 

A steady stream of foot traffic along the Ricketts Glen State Park Falls Trail System is indicative of the popularity of this 13,050-acre park located at 695 State Route 487 in Benton, Pennsylvania. Young and old alike celebrated Father’s Day 2016 at the park with hikes and picnics.

We began our Father’s Day trek at the “Falls Trail” trailhead, which begins gently on a well-maintained walking path. Parents accompanied by young children appeared to breeze through this portion of the trail and I was delighted to see many adults use their woodlands walk as a tool to teach their children about the wetlands, plants, and wildlife.

Ricketts Glen State Park spans three counties: Luzerne, Sullivan, and Columbia and offers a variety of hiking options on 26 miles of trails. Falls Trail gently winds through a forest over several wooden bridges but don’t be fooled. It becomes progressively more challenging. In fact, the Falls Trail System is rated 7.2 and the “most difficult” of all the trails at Ricketts Glen and the steep ledges along that trail could be a challenge for anyone with acrophobia, a fear of heights. Ganoga Falls at 94-feet is the highest of 22 named waterfalls. Murray Reynolds was the first of six falls we saw and Conestoga Falls was our last stop before we decided to turn around.

Cascading waterfalls through rock-strewn clefts on the hillside are an extraordinary sight and each waterfall we experienced is remarkably unique. Hikers should also take note of the mature timber, moss covered stones, lush greenery, and occasional wildlife along the way.

Be sure to read the rules on the trailhead signs and leave your flip-flops and sandals at home because they are not permitted on the trails. Mud and moss on many of the stone steps and along the water’s edge can be slick and hazardous.

What should you bring for a day hike? Wear sturdy hiking boots and bring a backpack large enough to accommodate water bottles and a picnic lunch if you’re planning an extensive hike.

Ricketts Glen is spectacular and well worth the drive and the hours you’ll spend engaging with nature. It’s also a fantastic workout, particularly during the heart-pounding climbs.

Visit dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/rickettsglen to learn more about Ricketts Glen and other nearby attractions.

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