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Cast & Blast at Pocono Manor

  • By
  • July 5, 2017
Pocono Manor Sports

Learn new skills at Pocono Manor


Trap Shooting and Fishing


When you meet Mike Possinger, you’ll understand why the Pocono Manor Resort & Spa  “Cast & Blast” package is so much fun.

Mike Possinger, Manor Sports’ Director, Pocono Manor Resort & Spa, teaches guests to trap shoot. All lessons are centered on gun safety.

Pocono Manor Resort & Spa’s consummate manager of Manor Sports delights in introducing folks to trap shooting and fishing. They happen to be two of Possinger’s specialties, but the package can be tailored to beginners or more experienced folks who want to fine-tune their skills.

Cast & Blast is one of an assortment of “Stay & Play” packages available at Pocono Manor, a historic inn located in Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania.

According to Possinger, the original plan was to offer Cast & Blast as a Father’s Day promotion but his idea soon evolved into an all-day event that’s perfect for families, couples, and groups.

“It took off,” Possinger said. “The opportunity is right here. You’re going to shoot right here and go a half-mile away and fish in another.”

Creating moments that result in smiles and laughter are among his goals and this year marks the first time Pocono Manor formally marketed this “Stay & Play” package to guests and non-guests. Overnight lodging, breakfast, three hours of fishing, and an Intro to Trapshooting rates start at $199 per night. A resort fee and tax are not included and reservations are required.

Pocono Manor Packages
I learned the essentials of trap shooting during my recent stay at Pocono Manor. Photo by Mike Possinger. 

Here’s what Kelly Shannon, Pocono Mountains Visitor Bureau PR and social media manager said via email about Pocono Manor’s contributions to the Pocono Mountains’ tourism industry.

“Pocono Manor Resort & Spa is a huge draw to visitors, positively contributing to the tourism in the Pocono Mountains. With so many catered packages and onsite activities like fishing, horseback riding, archery, biking, seasonal events, and in the winter even horse-drawn sleigh rides, snowmobiling, and ice skating, Pocono Manor has so much to offer for all tastes. The resort’s renowned golf course and its serene spa provide even more entertainment to guests. With so much to do, we find visitors returning to indulge in their other activities season-to-season.”

I recently sampled the trap shooting and fly fishing package during a two-day assignment sponsored by Pocono Manor Resort & Spa. Cast & Blast includes about an hour of trap shooting and two to three hours of fishing, but experienced anglers who want to spend more time on the water can fish at the on-site streams for hours.

Possinger is certified through the National Rifle Association (NRA) for shotgun and pistol handling and will devote as much time as needed to be sure participants are comfortable handling a gun. He provides full instruction, covering topics such as gun safety and proper ways to hold, aim and shoot and he’ll tailor a package to meet the needs of families, small groups or corporate clients. Prices will vary, depending on how much casting and blasting you want to do.

“It’s one of those things you don’t experience every day of your life in your own backyard, so we try to make everyone comfortable. People want to learn how to handle a gun,” Possinger said. 

Participants must be 12 years and older to participate in that particular package, but Possinger said he’ll be happy to “dream up all sorts of games and activities that will keep everyone happy.”

“If that’s all it takes to make them (people) smile, why not do it? I’ve been at Pocono Manor for a long time and I want you to have fun. I’m the ‘bartender” or ‘beauty salon’ out here.”

Possinger joined the Manor in the mid-1970s as a snow-maker when the manor’s ski program was in operation. Following college and years in politics, Possinger learned the Manor Sports director’s position was available.That was 12 years ago.

“I don’t complain about getting up in the morning and going to work. I go and it’s one of those things that happens when you find a once-in-a-lifetime job.”

Since then, he has catered to guests, including countless individuals with special needs and circumstances.

“Years ago, a guest (a lady) had a bucket list. She was terminally ill and in a wheelchair. I built a tripod and made it so I could set it across her wheelchair. I made a holder that set on her wheelchair and she could turn the tripod and just pull the trigger. She told me, ‘I can’t believe I’m doing this. Situations like that are very special to me.”

I spent my second day at Pocono Manor fly fishing in a stream on the property, along pristine “catch and release” water. The on-site stream is only available to registered Pocono Manor guests. A valid Pennsylvania fishing license is required for anyone who plans to take fish from the property.

Pocono Manor Sports
Anglers will find stocked and native trout in streams located on Pocono Manor’s property.

On July 20, 2017, Erin Caulfield, a Pocono Manor spokesperson announced Pocono Manor Resort & Spa has received certification from the Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA), the largest clay target shooting organization in the world. She also noted the resort has installed five state-of-the-art Pat-Trap machines.

Pocono Manor Resort & Spa is now the only resort in the Pocono region with the ability to host ATA-member only sanctioned registered shoots.

Caufield said Pocono Manor will host its second registered shoot on September 30, 2017. Participants are eligible for discounted overnight rates.

Save the date


Spend Oct. 14 outdoors at Pocono Manor’s Family Field Day with Dunkelberger’s Sports Outfitters. The day’s activities will include Instruction in shooting .22 rifles, airsoft rifles, shotguns, compound bows and crossbows, fishing, fly-fishing demos, children’s games, and a barbecue menu.  Visit for more information.

You can reach out to Possinger and find additional Cast & Blast information at 

To learn more about Pocono Manor, see my companion story 

Manor Sports is open Mon. to Sat., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.







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Bob Dunlop shares stories from the Crescent Lodge

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  • April 3, 2017
Bob Dunlop, Crescent Lodge owner, has dedicated more than 70 years to the hospitality industry. Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui

Crescent Lodge: a retreat from city life

Peaceful paradise in the heart of the Poconos

In 1947, Jack Dunlop and his wife, Minerva, traveled to the Pocono Mountains and found the perfect spot — a nine-bedroom former boarding house on 28 scenic acres along Route 191 in Paradise Valley.

Bob Dunlop, current Crescent Lodge owner, described his parents as typical “New Yorkers” who discovered their niche in the Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.

Dunlop was 10-years old and growing up on Long Island, N.Y. when his father purchased the rooming house “in the country” as a retreat from city life. Family and friends gathered there on weekends and summers to play cards and unwind.

The Crescent lodge is located in Cresco, PA in the heart of the Poconos at 5854 Paradise Valley Rd, at a busy thoroughfare that intersects with Route 191. Despite a constant flow of traffic; inside the lodge, guests will find a peaceful reprieve among the antique furniture and memorabilia Dunlop has collected over the years. Don’t miss the wall of photos near the registration desk that feature Dunlop immersed in one of his favorite hobbies – golf.

The Crescent Lodge, Paradise Valley, was a former boarding house. On a mid-summer evening, there wasn’t a seat available in the dining room. My table had a view of the pool and Dunlop’s collection of vintage cottages he and his father built, one by one, over a 70-year span.

As I scribbled notes in my stenographer’s notebook, I heard a male voice ask, “How’s everything?”

I gazed up and found Dunlop standing next to my table. Whenever he’s in town, he makes his evening rounds to each table. greeting dinner patrons and inquiring about their meals. From the brief conversations I overheard, I wasn’t sure if the customers were close acquaintances or new customers, but nonetheless, I heard rave reviews. Dunlop and his son, Wayne, have built their business by carrying on a tradition of personalized service, flavorsome cuisine, and plentiful portions. Part of their success is attributed to a hands-on approach. On that night, Dunlop’s son, Wayne, was the maitre d, but he also serves as the chef, according to Dunlop.

Decades of

As I waited for my French Onion Soup appetizer to arrive, Dunlop gave me his undivided attention as he shared decades of stories about his life in the hospitality business.

“My father bought the property and came up often with his friends on the weekends,” Dunlop commented. “When they started the business, they did not charge guests. The guests felt guilty not paying to stay here.”

Wistful Charm 

Patrons will find a touch of vintage charm, whether they choose to stay in the inn or one of the captivating cottages. Each accommodation at the Crescent Lodge has its own distinctive style and is adorned with ample furnishings covered in soft, comfortable fabrics.

Guests can choose from a room in the inn or in one of the custom-built cottages.

Rather than dress his rooms in the most up-to-date fabrics and colors, Dunlop has chosen to retain a style that’s reminiscent of the late 1940s, intermingled with the amenities guests expect. Private bathrooms with a shower and bathtub, toiletries, hair dryer, ironing board, and iron are some of the comforts provided. Many of the cottages feature a fireplace and sunken jacuzzi built for two.

Dunlop offers his guests the timeless style and elegance they’ve come to expect. 

Dunlop has witnessed first-hand significant changes in the hospitality industry. One way to stay up-to-date with trends is the practical approach he has acquired after nearly 70 years in the business by staying in touch with his customers’ needs.

“I was just a kid when my father began to build the cottages in a semi-cirle,” Dunlop explained, referring to the cottages dressed in cedar shingles. 

Years later, when he was absorbed in his own career, Dunlop, an architect, made a decision to take over the family business, but his design skills and training weren’t wasted. Upkeep often included building and renovation projects. Cedar is a key element in the cottages’ exterior facade and all but one of the bungalows has a fireplace.

“My parents didn’t know what to do with the (Crescent Lodge) business. So, I gave up my business and I took over,” he said.

The Cedar shingles incorporated into the cottage design lend a romantic appeal.  

While being in the hospitality business is at the very least demanding, Dunlop said a dedication to the business is a necessity.

 Anyone who gets into the hospitality business needs to know it’s very time-consuming,” he quipped. “I’m like a doctor. If somebody needs something at three o’clock in the morning, we have to get up and do it, but it’s very rewarding.”

Dunlop draws his dinner clients from a variety of demographics. Folks passing through the Poconos or those with second homes dine with him on a frequent basis and many are faithful followers who have been fans for years. Overnight guests range from honeymooners seeking romance, privacy and outdoor recreational activities to the over 55 crowd, who shop, golf or kick back.

“I have to give my dad credit. He was very progressive for that era. We’ve had a really nice business and we’ve met all sorts of people. You make a lot of people happy. I don’t think we’ve made anybody unhappy,” Dunlop said. 

Visit for more information regarding rates, menus, deals and packages. You can also find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor


My trip was comped but my opinions are my own.













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Silver Birches: historical lakeside resort

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  • December 15, 2016

Circa 1904 farm transformed

Silver Birches lakeside resort is brimming with history

Are you looking for lakeside resort lodging that’s reminiscent of yesteryear with modern day conveniences?

At 205 Route 507 in Hawley, you’ll find Silver Birches Resort, a vintage lakeside resort set on almost 700 ft. of shoreline along the picturesque Lake Wallenpaupack. Silver Birches is brimming with a history that dates to The “Roaring Twenties.”

In 1926, George and Rachel Singer watched their circa 1904 farm transformed into a lake. Yes, if you guessed Lake Wallenpaupack, you are correct.

lakeside resort
The sunset over Lake Wallenpaupack as seen from my room in The Motel at Silver Birches.

A Brief History

As 1929 approached, after recognizing there would be a need for additional lodging in Hawley due to an influx of tourists, the farmhouse was renovated to accommodate guests. In need of extra hands to help run the resort, Rachel eventually enlisted the help of her sister, Marjorie Ehrhardt, to assist with the day-to-day operation of the inn so George could focus on his logging business.

Marjorie and George Ehrhardt purchased Silver Birches in 1943 and their lodging business continued to thrive and grow. You would likely be hard pressed to find someone in Northeastern Pennsylvania who hasn’t heard of Ehrhardt’s and it’s legacy in the Pocono Mountains.

As Ehrhardt’s business continued to expand, “Lakeshore Motel” was born in 1966.  In 2015, Justin Genzlinger became the new owner of “Silver Birches” and the historic preservation was soon underway.

Read more about the history here.

lakeside resort
The “Lakeshore Motel” or “Lakeshore,” is a recently renovated lodging option at Silver Birches, Hawley, PA. My room was located in the lower level left end unit.


Sinfully Comfortable Accommodations

During my stay at Silver Birches, I found my guest room in the completely restored motel delightfully comfortable, with a fantastic view of the water. Immediately upon entering my room, my eyes were drawn to a bedspread with matching pillow shams that took me back to my childhood and my favorite bed covering: a similar white chenille bedspread.  The decor and furnishings Genzlinger and his design team selected for the guestrooms tastefully reflect the history of the property and are soothing to the eye. A wall mounted fireplace will get the chill out on a cold winter night or you can adjust a dial for ambiance without heat.

lakeside resort
A Chenille bedspread with matching pillow shams and a quilt will keep you warm.


Tastefully Renovated Lodging

Guests can book their perfect lodging fit from among three categories: guest rooms, cottages, and houses with options for porches, decks, balconies, fireplaces and whirlpool tubs. Each of the guest rooms has been completely and tastefully renovated in 2016 and all of the buildings and cottages also received an exterior upgrade. Included with each guest room is a clear view of Lake Wallenpaupack.

Learn more about the Inn, Lakeshore, Sunset View, Bunkhouse, cottages and houses here.

Meet the Executive Chef

In this video, Ben Sutter, Settler’s Hospitality Group executive chef, talks about his culinary career and the cuisine guests can expect to find at Silver Birches.

You can view the full menu at The Dock on Wallenpaupack here.  If you’d like more information regarding the Settler’s Hospitality Group, follow this link.

Many thanks to Sarah O’Fee and the management at Silver Birches Resort for their hospitality during my sponsored stay. Rest assured, my opinions are my own.  

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Pocono TreeVentures aerial ropes course

  • By
  • 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 for a detailed wrap-up from my stay at Fernwood Resort.



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Kalahari Resorts and Convention Center

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  • March 12, 2016

Kalahari Resorts and Conventions Pocono

A Treasure trove 

of fun and African culture

Kalahari Resorts and Conventions’ Pocono Mountain location is a cultural treat for children and adults alike.

The resort is a treasure trove of African culture and folk art that offer endless educational opportunities for the youngest to the oldest guest. While children will be eager to check-in and head directly to the waterpark and arcade, each photograph and sculpture tells a story and is certainly worth your time to tour and ponder.

Art abounds at Kalahari Pocono.

Take time to experience art 

Kalahari is museum-like and the careful attention to detail reflects the Nelson family’s fascination and respect for indigenous African art, folklore, and culture. The resort provides an impressive and thoughtful selection of artifacts, photographs, and statuettes the family collected during their 11 or more journeys to the continent.

Head to the waterpark

No doubt the draw for kids is the family-oriented 100,000 square foot indoor waterpark. Even the names of most of the water park attractions: Anaconda, Lazy River, Crocodile Cove, Indoor/Outdoor Family Whirlpool, Wild Wildebeest, Lost Lagoon, Tanzanian Twister, Thirsty Turtle Swim Up Bar, Rippling Rhino, Zimbabwe Zipper, Splashdown Safari, Barrelling Baboon, Tiko’s Watering Hole evoke a sense of adventure. There’s an attraction for every age and when patrons need a break, they can find relaxation in one of the private indoor cabanas fitted with a flat screen TV, chaise lounges, and refrigerator.

More fun awaits you

And then, outside the water park, there’s the arcade with a whopping 30,000 square feet of video games and contests, Blacklight Mini-Golf, Mini-Bowling, and the NEW XD Dark Ride 5-D Theater. Kids and adults can move from one game to the next and effortlessly spend hours getting their visual fix.

When it’s time to refuel… 

The eateries within the resort are particularly geared towards kids and families, but older children and grown-ups can also dine peacefully. Servers are well-trained and eager to please.

Your choices are Brandberg Food & Drink, Great Karoo Marketplace Buffet, Ivory Coast Restaurant, Felix’s Bar, The Last Bite, Java Manjaro, Café Mirage, Waterpark Dining and Pizza Pub. You’ll want to make a dessert stop at Last Bite Candy & Ice Cream and Java Manjaro, Kalahari’s signature cafe that features handpicked Rwandan coffee beans that are brewed on-site. In the background, recorded drum music from the streets of Cape Town resonates and enhances the African theme and helps to set the stage from the moment you arrive at the main entrance.

After your Safari adventure…

When you’re ready to call it a day, Kalahari offers 457 African-themed rooms and suites that are equipped to meet the needs of traveling families. The two-bedroom suite is equipped with one king size bed, two queen size beds and a queen size sofa sleeper that provides ample room for adults to relax without disturbing sleeping children. A coffee maker, television, refrigerator, flat screen televisions, and free Wi-Fi are a few of the standard amenities.

What to bring

Don’t worry about packing a suitcase full of clothes and gear. A swimsuit, cover-up, flip-flops and casual attire are all you’ll need for your overnight stay at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions Pocono.

A weekly special Character Breakfast is held on Saturday morning beginning at 10:50 a.m. at Brandberg Food & Drink. Breakfast gets underway at 11:00 a.m. The cost is adults/$25 and children/$15 and includes visits with character friends, family style dining, games, music, coloring contests, and great photo opportunities. Reservations are required and must be made in advance.

For more details regarding lodging and activities, visit

To read my full recap at, click here.


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