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December 2016

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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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Lifestyle Nigeria World Travel

Experience Nigeria

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  • December 21, 2016

My travel experience in Nigeria

By James Svensson, guest blogger

It was 4 pm and the African sun was just setting. The weather was hot and the crowd at the airport pressing. Conversely, I was enjoying myself and was soaking in the new environment like a sponge. We were in Calabar, a major tourist city in Southeastern Nigeria renowned for its beauty and hospitality to visitors. Earlier, we had been in Lagos, a major port city and the commercial hub of Nigeria. While Lagos had been a mix of all elements of humanity, Calabar was calmer to the eyes clearly.

Not my first visit to Nigeria

We had just finished a business conference in Lagos and wanted to tour some parts of this great African nation before returning to the U.S. Personally, I wanted to see the famed Obudu Hills and the accompanying cattle ranch. My colleague, Tom and I cleared through customs and headed for the cab area. We already had a pre-arranged cab waiting for our arrival. This wasn’t my first visit to Nigeria or Africa. I had visited Kano, Sokoto, Abuja, Enugu and Port Harcourt and have come to realize that Africa was indeed a beautiful continent with its amazing wildlife, the mind-blowing terrains and vistas, the people and their vast but peculiar culture, and the many local delicacies. It was too much; I now understood how the European explorers must have felt in those great years of exploration. There was just so much to see in the world and I was determined more than ever to build my savings and go into traveling and touring fully, not for money but for the joy it gives to the soul to be able to enjoy so much freedom and see the beauty in the world. It will make you appreciate being alive.

Ekong was all smiles

We finally saw our cabman – his name boldly emblazoned on the placard he was carrying. His name was Ekong; the young man was all smiles and welcomed us profusely to his city and his cab. We couldn’t help but return his enthusiasm. After some small talk, he loaded up and we moved from the airport. We were to lodge at LeMeridien International Hotel in downtown Calabar and then continued on to Obudu the following day.

Outstanding Accommodations

From what I could see of the city, it was well-thought out and planned, the roads were good with small trees planted on the intersection between the roads. The atmosphere had become cooler, too, and in less than an hour, we were at our destination. The hotel was a very nice one with an outstanding reputation. We were booked into two adjoining rooms. I settled in and took a shower before calling Tom to ask how it was at his end. We agreed to rest a bit before heading down to the intercontinental restaurant to have some dinner.

Varying Scenes

At dinner, we met two European couples headed for Obudu and we quickly became friends. The food was good and the talk was even better. I was enjoying myself to be honest….there’s nothing more enjoyable than relaxing in a totally different environment from what you were used to. We left the following morning for Obudu; our new friends were in different cabs and following closely. The scenes were varied – small towns, villages, narrow tarred roads with much vegetation on the sides and a lot of open spaced highways. The terrain was lush in some areas and sparse in others, hilly in some and flat in others. It was a beauty to behold and we took a lot of pictures. After about 2 hours and 30 minutes, we drove up to a sign showing “Obudu Cattle Ranch and Resorts”. We had finally arrived it seemed. We drove through the arched sign and down the road; I must say the landscape of Obudu is mind-blowing. It was simply plain to see, the winding road network, the hills, the plains, the lush vegetation, the atmosphere, the weather which was cool and the beauty of the resort itself.

“Edikaikong” a local delicacy

The resort was a very large one and had so many wonderful facilities. The lodging was wonderful and we were booked into a lovely two bedroom suite that had a view facing the hills and mountains in the distance. I couldn’t take enough pictures, we had three days of awesomeness to enjoy in this place and I was very eager. During lunch, I tried out the local delicacies and especially enjoyed a soup called “Edikaikong.” Anybody visiting Calabar is encouraged to try this soup.

Three days of relaxation, good food and soul-calming fun

We later met our tour guide, Joseph, and he outlined our tour schedules. We had cable car rides, hill climbing, trail hiking, nature walks, golfing, horse riding, and animal sightseeing. It was fun and I am not sure I can put it all down in writing. Three days of relaxation, good food, and soul-calming fun and activities, I didn’t want it to end. The experience was better felt firsthand, the food was a lovely experience and the people were wonderful. I know Nigeria as a country that doesn’t have a sterling reputation but I will encourage any traveler or tourist to try out the sights and sounds in this popular West African country.

Traveling: the spice of this journey of life

Travelling is fun, liberating and educating, nothing inspires the mind and soul to be able to experience the peculiarities of different environments and enjoy the positives in them. I believe life is a journey and traveling, the spice of this journey of life.

You can learn more about Nigeria when you visit this link.





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Hawley historic lodging: Settler’s Inn breakfast and gardens

  • By
  • December 20, 2016

Hawley historic lodging

White table linens and classical music to begin your day

History and architectural buffs will be in awe of this Hawley historic lodging option. Think for a moment about the many mornings you’ve grabbed a granola bar or yogurt out of your refrigerator and dashed off to work or errands. While we all eat breakfast on-the-go from time to time, imagine a weekday or weekend when your day begins on a much more relaxed note, with soothing classical music playing in the background, white table linens and extraordinary service.

A “go to” breakfast choice

The Settler’s Inn at Bingham Park, Main St., Hawley, PA, is not only a favorite go-to breakfast choice for local residents but it’s also a highly-regarded getaway for couples and business travelers. It’s one of those establishments that has continued to evolve for nearly a century. I suspect customers have been praising the top-notch service and cuisine for as long as the inn has been in business. During my stay at Silver Birches Resort, a sister property, I opted for a full breakfast at The Settler’s Inn.

Hawley historic lodging
The Settler’s Inn – Photo courtesy of The Settler’s Inn

A brief history

You can thank an enlightened community and the local chamber of commerce that had the vision, imagination, and wisdom to build The Settler’s Inn.  The hotel was built in 1925 but historical documents note the onset of the Great Depression and World War II delayed the opening until 1944. Proprietors, Jeanne and Grant Genzlinger have continued their tradition of careful attention to details and a “hands-on” approach to customer service since they purchased the property in 1980.

Arts and Crafts Lodge

As you drive along Main Street and you come upon The Settler’s Inn, you will be mesmerized at the mere sight of this 1920′s English Arts and Crafts-style lodge set on the corner of a busy intersection in Hawley. The Arts and Crafts period in American architectural history is synonymous with “Mission Style,” which both challenged the tastes of the Victorian era and epitomized the international arts and crafts movements that flourished in Britain, Europe, and North America between 1880 and 1910. Simple forms and traditional craftsmanship are a few of the hallmarks of the Arts and Crafts’ trend.

Hawley historic lodging
Settler’s Inn dining room Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

Breakfast lovers WILL DELIGHT

My eyes opened wide when my server arrived from the kitchen with a muffin and a small bowl with a dollop of jam. Moments later, he brought to me a silver tray of pure breakfast bliss: farm-fresh eggs cooked my way, over easy; crispy (non-greasy) oven roasted potatoes, two sausage links with the skins crisped, two strips of bacon and two slices of (gluten-free) toasted bread. Orange slices garnished my plate. The Country Breakfast is $7 and one of the selections on the menu. Sample menus are available

The Country Breakfast is $7 and one of the selections on the menu. Sample menus are available here. If too much time has passed since you’ve had a leisurely breakfast, take treat yourself to a breakfast at The Settler’s Inn.

What shall you do with the rest of your morning…

Explore the six acres of land that surrounds The Settler’s Inn. Your first stop after breakfast should be the magnificent herb and flower gardens and The Potting Shed gift shop located behind this Hawley historic lodging. I met The Settler’s Inn longtime friend and gift shop employee, Susie George, while she was tending to the garden plants. Be sure to watch George describe some of her Hawley childhood memories.

Side trips, tours and activities in Hawley

The management has provided a list of activities that range from fitness to dining options in and around Hawley. Visit to see the updated information.

Depending on the length of your stay, you should consult this page for outdoor sports, hiking, and fishing opportunities.

To learn more about Silver Birches Resort, one of the Settler’s Hospitality’s other properties, follow this link.

The property is bordered by the Lackawaxen River, which offers anglers hours of fishing and relaxation.

What’s blooming in The Settler’s Inn gardens.

Take a brief tour of the gardens with Susie George


AAA Four Diamond Award (2009 – 2014) — Lodging and Dining

Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau 2008 Green Award Diamond Award 2014

Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 

Open Table Diner’s Choice Award – 2013 through 2016

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence – 2013 and 2014

Many thanks to the management at The Settler’s Inn for their hospitality during my recent sponsored stay at Silver Birches Resort. Rest assured, 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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Family fly fishing fun

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  • December 15, 2016

Family fishing fun in upstate NY. Are you fishing for fun family outdoor vacations?

The Salmon River and Tailwater Lodge

Nurturing a love for the outdoors


Family Fly Fishing Fun
Children don’t need fancy gear or expensive equipment to experience fly fishing. A rod, reel, bathing suit and a few flies are all Kento Matsui needed to fish in the Salmon River. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

Plan one summer outdoor family getaway.  

What are your plans for summer vacation?

As the distance between New Year’s Day and the last day of school narrows, time passes in the blink of an eye, or so it seems. Early spring is the ideal time to begin planning family and pet-friendly excursions.

“We’re going where?”

What’s the best way to choose an outdoor-oriented vacation that’s suitable for every family member?


That’s simple. The “where shall we go on vacation?” conversation can begin with a brief mealtime discussion. Ask your kids and partner for suggestions. My first choice is typically fly fishing, but I know that’s not tops on my kids’ list of priorities, so incorporate hiking, a kayak or canoe trip, and swimming with fishing.

Nurture your love for the outdoors

Planning vacations that suit everyone’s needs is a challenge. When I arrange family trips, I look for destinations that offer opportunities to connect with nature. Teaching children to respect and ultimately preserve our natural resources requires time, diligence and patience. If we don’t encourage them to venture outdoors, how will they ever find that peace and oneness they can derive from a long hike, summer picnic, or time in the water?

Two years ago, while I was on an overnight fly fishing girlfriend getaway with my friend, Rosangela, I discovered the lush forests of the Upstate New York region, specifically Altmar and Pulaski. It was one of those adventures that can be difficult to describe to someone who doesn’t have a calling to fish or a fondness for the outdoors. One option is to set aside two or more days. The Tailwater Lodge, an upscale Orvis endorsed fishing resort in Altmar, NY, caters to year-round family activities. Their rooms are spacious and family-friendly and the on-site restaurant is particularly convenient and a hit with my kids.

If you’re not a fan of crowds, the best time for families to visit the Tailwater Lodge is from spring until summer’s end. Anglers flock in droves to the Salmon River from the fall through early spring in pursuit of the famed salmon and steelhead, respectively.

Not only will you find meticulously clean, first-class accommodations. The staff caters to its guests’ needs by offering a variety of services to make your visit more enjoyable. Forget about spending those precious hours worrying about what the kids will eat for breakfast or lunch. A complimentary full breakfast is included with each reservation and available each morning bright and early. With advanced notice and an additional charge, the staff will also prepare a picnic lunch for you to bring along on your adventure so you can get out on the water early.

I’m not suggesting this type of vacation is suitable for young children. My sons, for example, are older and are comfortable in the water. They’ve also had swimming lessons. Still, we kept a watchful eye on them and reminded them of the dangers of strong currents and slippery rocks. Water levels can rise quickly, depending on weather conditions and the amount of water released from upstream dams. Consult with the Tailwater Lodge concierge for updates and the best spots to fish.

Family Fly Fishing Fun
Not yet bored with fishing, Yoshi Matsui casts into the Salmon River with his Orvis rod and reel. I bought the combo not knowing if he would ever agree to fish. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

When the kids need a break, the water’s edge and the paths leading from the parking lots to the river can also serve as your outdoor science classroom. During our last trip, we observed a snake (from a safe distance) as it slithered along the shoreline and made its way into the water. Also, be sure to take note of the breathtaking scenery and a variety of indigenous waterfowl and other birds gliding across the sky. Stop for a moment to look for soaring Eagles and nests.

Family Fly Fishing Fun
Always practice safe wading and supervise your children. Water can rise quickly and without warning and some ledges can be steep. Ask about water levels and releases from upstream dams before leaving the lodge.

Be sure to wear a sturdy pair of closed-toe shoes and knee-high socks (or waders) to protect your feet and legs from the insidious poison ivy that grows freely throughout the forests. You might catch a fish (catch and release) but you definitely do not want to bring home blistering and oozing sores from the poison ivy that lines the trails.

Family Fly Fishing Fun
Yoshi Matsui is shown after casting his fly line into the Salmon River. 
Fishing licenses are required for persons 16 and older. Learn more about fees and regulations here at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website.

Salmon River

Family Fly Fishing Fun
Photo courtesy of New York State Department of Conservation

Above all, this post is intended to pique your interest in fishing and provide alternative family vacation ideas. While my second trip to the Tailwater Lodge was sponsored, I returned there with my family because I was so impressed with the accommodations and wanted my family to experience the lodge and the Salmon River.

The Salmon River community thanks you in advance for protecting and helping to preserve the region’s natural resources. Follow all rules and practice catch and release.


The Tailwater Lodge is located 52 Pulaski Street, Altmar NY 13302. For more information, follow this link.

Please note my trip to the Tailwater Lodge was comped, but my opinions are my own.

If you’d like to purchase Orvis products prior to your trip, follow this link: Orvis

I will receive a commission from Orvis at no cost to you if you choose to purchase an item using this link.





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A much-needed date night: Mount Airy Casino Resort

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  • December 15, 2016


A perfectly crafted date night

Mount Airy Casino Resort


Are you longing for a much-needed date night?

A quiet dining experience at a table for two? A concert? Or both? Date nights don’t happen often enough and setting aside a night out can be a daunting task.

More than two years ago, Vincent Jordan, Vice President of Marketing & Player Development at Mount Airy Casino Resort, introduced me to the first-class accommodations at Mount Airy during a weekend travel assignment. Recently, my husband and I returned as dinner guests and were treated to a full-course, candlelit meal at Bistecca by IL MULINO, followed by a concert featuring jazz saxophonist legend, Kenny G, and a “meet and greet.”

If you crave shellfish, Bistecca’s Market Oysters are a spectacular beginning to your meal.

Date night began at 6:30 p.m. on a Friday evening at a candlelit table for two. If you’ve never been to Mount Airy, Bistecca is located on the second floor and only steps away from the casino and several other dining options. The location is particularly convenient for guests and visitors who plan to try their skills (and luck) at the gaming tables and slot machines or get their taste of nightlife in Gypsies Lounge, one of Mount Airy’s busiest entertainment venues.

Bistecca is the perfect setting to reminisce over a meal that’s expertly prepared and served in a relaxed, casual setting. Celebrate your night together with a cocktail or a selection from an extensive wine selection from around the world.

A succulent appetizer – Octopus with white beans and tomatoes.

Are you wondering about the type of fare you’ll find at Bistecca? The cuisine is a combination of Abruzzo-style and a modern steakhouse. Meats are hand-cut by the executive chef, the pasta is handcrafted, and the seafood and produce are extremely fresh.

The kale salad featured apples, almonds, shaved parmesan cheese and a delightfully light, flavorful dressing.

Most of our meal selections came from the main menu. We selected ORGANIC ROASTED BEETS goat cheese and tomatoes, GRILLED OCTOPUS white beans and tomato, WHOLE GRILLED BRANZINO fennel, arugula, orange, COLORADO LAMB CHOPS, MARKET OYSTERS, TRUFFLE FRIES  and STEAKHOUSE FRIES from the menu. There was more than enough food for two people to share. I wish I could say I favored one dish. They were all seasoned and cooked to perfection. Guaranteed, if you go to Bistecca, you will find something for even the most finicky palette. Before you go, you can view the entire menu here

Colorado Lamb Chop

Reservations are recommended.  Guests who haven’t made a reservation will definitely wait in line for a table on the weekends. Plan to arrive for dinner by 5:30 or 6 p.m. to allow plenty of time to relish every bite.


Whole Grilled Branzino with fennel, arugula and orange. I typically order fish when I’m on assignment and I wasn’t disappointed with the Branzino’s citrus aroma and lightly salted skin. 

Concert time

The clock was ticking as we finished our meal. After more than 90 minutes of culinary bliss, we were eager to pick up our Kenny G concert tickets at the box office.

Jazz saxophonist legend, Kenny G is one of the recent headliners to perform at Mount Airy Casino Resort. We met Kenny at a photo op and “meet and greet” held after his concert.

Whether you want to be dazzled by top-name entertainers, dance the night away or laugh until your sides ache, after your meal at Bistecca, your night out isn’t over yet. Stroll across the casino floor after your meal and experience big-name talents on stage at Gypsies lounge. After you’ve nourished your taste buds, it’s time to celebrate the performing arts at one of Mount Airy’s shows.

Book your meal, entertainment and lodging online at mountairycasino.comYou’ll find Mount Airy is always jumping with activity, so why not spend the night.

Here’s a preview of upcoming events at Mount Airy. A complete list can be found You must be 21 years or older to enter the nightclub.




*Event is for guests 21 years & older.

TICKETS $65 / $55




TICKETS $65 / $55




TICKETS $65 / $55




TICKETS $65 / $55


Mount Airy Casino Resort, 312 Woodland Road, Mount Pocono, is the only full-service casino in Pennsylvania with an AAA Four Diamond Award. This swanky destination getaway is located approximately 90 minutes from New York City on more than 1,000 scenic acres in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

Mount Airy Casino Resort

Mount Airy Casino Resort Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui, freelance travel writer and photographer.

Mount Airy Casino Resort, 44 Woodland Rd., Mount Pocono



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Crescent Lodge: Paradise Valley dining

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  • December 15, 2016


The Crescent Lodge has been a thriving Pocono Mountain’s business for decades.

Relax among the antiques and vintage charm

The Crescent Lodge, 5854 Paradise Valley Road, Cresco, Pennsylvania epitomizes extraordinary cuisine, quaint lodging options, personalized service and relaxed atmosphere.

If you’re looking for an adult-only getaway, this family-owned resort offers a perfect setting for you and your partner to reconnect. Business travelers will also soon discover upon their arrival that while a life on the road can be lonely, they will feel welcomed by father and son team, Bob and Wayne Dunlop. The Dunlop’s have lovingly maintained and updated the lodge and its guest quarters to stay in sync with their guests’ needs.

A Personal Touch

The Dunlop family’s antiques, vintage memorabilia, a collage of Bob Dunlop’s cherished photos and comfortable seating around the hearth add a personal touch to the lobby. Be sure to look for Bob Dunlop’s wall of photos.

A personal touch and comfortable furnishings offer a vintage feeling that beckons guests to relax. Lobby at Crescent Lodge & Country Inn. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui.


On a warm summer morning, you will want to sip your first cup of coffee on the deck. Begin your morning relaxed and carefree and then find your way to breakfast at the inn across the way.

Birchwood Jacuzzi Cottage: Take note of the spacious deck equipped with comfortable outdoor furniture, where you can relax after a busy day of golf at a nearby course, sightseeing and shopping, hiking at the Delaware Water Gap recreation area or fishing in the Delaware River. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui.
Birchwood Jacuzzi Cottage: Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui.
The Birchwood Cottage is one of the lodging options available to guests. This home-away-from-home is well-equipped both indoors and outdoors. A king size bed, see-thru fireplace, sunken Jacuzzi, living area, cable TV, mini-fridge, coffee maker and private bathroom in the Birchwood Jacuzzi cottage are all the comforts you’ll need.
Birchwood Jacuzzi Cottage: Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui.

Slip into one of the complimentary robes provided in your room, fill the Jacuzzi tub and soak ’til your heart’s content.

Wood shingles embellish the exterior of the custom built cottages. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui.


The décor inside this custom crafted bungalow is equally as enchanting as the exterior façade. Dunlop, an architect, and his father built each of the cottages as spacious retreats from the hustle of everyday city life. All of the cottages at this adult-only inn are perfect for retirees, newlyweds and business travelers.

On-site trails at Crescent Lodge and Country Inn. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui.


After a few hours on the road, you’ll want to stretch your legs and breathe in some Pocono Mountain air. Nature-lovers will delight in the groomed fitness and nature trails conveniently situated behind the inn. Seize the opportunity to let your worries drift away. The Crescent Lodge is situated on 28 acres along Route 191 in Paradise Valley, with a wooded recreation area that surrounds the backside of the property

The pool is a welcome amenity on a balmy summer day, but many guests find poolside is a refreshing spot to have a cocktail before and after dinner.  Plan a return trip to the Crescent Lodge in late September or early October if you want to witness the splendid fall foliage in the Pocono Mountains.

Dinner awaits you 

Paradise Valley dining
Even on a warm summer evening, a crock filled with savory French Onion Soup is a perfect beginning to your meal.

Guests return year after year

On a warm summer evening, Bob and Wayne Dunlop greeted their dinner guests. The parking lot was packed with cars and there wasn’t a vacant table in the dining at 6 p.m. What makes this Paradise Valley dining option so popular? Personalized service is a long-standing family tradition that began in 1947 when the Dunlop family purchased the former boarding house known today at the Crescent Lodge.

If you arrive with a voracious appetite, you won’t leave hungry. The menu features American cuisine that’s expertly prepared. Portions are plentiful, so you’ll most likely leave with a “to go” container. If a light fare is more to your liking, try an appetizer like the French Onion Soup, which is almost a meal in itself and made with a flavorful and aromatic broth. A Caesar Salad is a perfect accompaniment to the soup. Click here ( to read a sample menu.

On weekends, you’ll dine accompanied by live piano music.

More information regarding lodging and special packages can be found at


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Split Rock: affordable family resort

  • By
  • December 14, 2016
affordable family resort

An affordable family resort

Split Rock: more than 1,200 acres of joy

Split Rock Resort is a year-round family-friendly entertainment resort located in the Lake Harmony region of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

My focus for summer 2016 was family-friendly vacations and the reaction was pure excitement when my sons learned they would get a shot at Split Rock’s indoor laser tag course and outdoor miniature golf course.  The “boys” (with their dad’s help) pre-selected their activities prior to our arrival at Split Rock and were raring to begin our adventure from the moment we checked in at the resort. We shared two competitive games of miniature golf.

The challenging mini-golf course is situated next to Split Rock’s iconic waterfall on a picturesque tract of land, with the tennis courts and bike rental shed close-by. I’d rate the course as intermediate but younger children can certainly tackle the gentle hills and obstacles with some assistance from an adult. Either way, you will undoubtedly have an hour or two of laughs while you play.

affordable family resort
Family activities, like miniature golf, laser tag, and cycling, teach children there’s more to life than electronics.
Miniature Golf at Split Rock Resort. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui.


Depending on the time you have allotted for your vacation at Split Rock, or the season, you can plan an afternoon line-up of activities, one after another, or take a break for lunch or dinner. Don’t forget to reserve your time and equipment at the registration desk. Here’s where you’ll find an updated daily list of activities.

affordable family resort
Ready, aim, fire…Kento Matsui sets his sights on winning our hour-long laser tag competition at Split Rock Resort. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui.

Laser Tag

Tops on my kids’ “must do” list was laser tag. Upon entering the indoor course, clearly, our focus was racking up points as we chased one another around the movable obstacles. Who would have guessed I would finally “get” why my kids are so hooked on the game? Laser tag is today’s version of tag, with the added zing of harmless and painless beams of infrared light that encourages tactical thinking, strategy and focus.

Experience Split Rock on two-wheels

Are you ready to challenge your total body strength? When I travel, one of the first amenities I look for is the bike rental shop and opportunities for mountain biking or mixed terrain cycling.

While I’m not as inclined to set out on a solo uncharted course, family cycling is invigorating and engaging. We chose the open road around Lake Harmony, which offers a variety of gentle and moderate hills to get your heart pumping. Bikes are available at the rental shed adjacent to the miniature golf course and tennis courts.

affordable family resort
Guests can find an updated list of daily activities at the registration desk.

What’s included in your vacation package at Split Rock Resort?

A resort fee, per day recreation fee, will be added to your daily room rate so you can enjoy the hotel services and activities without additional miscellaneous charges. To learn more about the activities included with the fee, click here.

Miniature Golf, for example, is open to the public and priced at $5/Adult | $4 Child/Senior. Birthday and party packages are available. Call (570) 722-9111, ext 671 for more information.

Stroll to the beach

affordable family resort
The beach located near the lodge is a hub of activity. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui.

Feel the sand between your toes

Our ideal summer getaway is one that includes a refreshing mix of relaxation and entertainment. On a summer day, adults can sip a cocktail at the outdoor bar and when the kids are supervised, stretch out on a blanket and snooze or read a book.

The lodge is ideally located next to Lake Harmony. An afternoon Limbo contest drew laughter as folks of all ages tested their flexibility.

Be sure to get your copy of the activities’ schedule, so you can be at the right place at the right time.

affordable family resort
How low can you go? A “Limbo” challenge was one of the contests held on the beach at Split Rock Resort. A DJ provided the music for this afternoon beach party. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui.

Nearby mountain streams and the picturesque 125-acre Lake Harmony are a hub for fishing, boating, swimming and year round activities. Celebrate your summer at Lake Harmony. The beach, dock, and pier are a hub for families and daily doings by the water.


affordable family resort
Swimming, kayaks, canoes and fishing will keep your family active.
Lake at Split Rock Resort. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui.



Photo courtesy of Split Rock Resort.


On-site amenities are plentiful. Split Rock Resort is also the home of the H2Oooohh! indoor water park, a popular splash destination for guests of all ages. Ticket prices are $36 for 42″ or taller and $31 for under 42″. You can reserve the park for parties and events here.

If you crave more fun and adventure, check out the indoor/outdoor pool, golf course, massage center, movie theater, and bowling alley by clicking here.

Suggestions for off-site attractions 

If you venture off-site, you’ll soon discover why the Pocono Mountains region is well-known for its preserved natural beauty, charm, and abundant shopping outlets. You can access a guide to the Poconos here at

Winter weather brings an opportunity to shift your focus to cold weather activities like downhill on one of the nearby slopes and or carve your own path cross-country skiing on the hiking trail of your choice.

Split Rock Resort offers you an unforgettable family vacation. The address is 428 Moseywood Road, Lake Harmony, PA.

You’ll find more information at

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Discover your craft beer at ShawneeCraft Brewery

  • By
  • December 3, 2016
craft beer

ShawneeCraft Brewery

Discover new favorites

Seated across from me at The Gem and Keystone Brewpub at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort are two couples. They made a “pit stop” on a quiet, low-key Saturday afternoon to sample craft beer and have lunch – in that order. Food and a cold craft brew go hand-in-hand.

Eavesdropping is ok

Yes, I eavesdropped on their conversation, because I was curious to know which beer they ordered. The man on the far side of the table piqued my curiosity when he asked his friends, “Should we order the sampler?” He was referring to a selection of beer on the ShawneeCraft menu. As I devoured my lunch (an incredible Asian-inspired salad), they indulged in the selections from the ShawneeCraft Brewery.

The Gem is one of Shawnee’s dining locations where you can get your hands on a craft beer that’s hand-made at ShawneeCraft Brewery, an on-site brewpub, located only footsteps away from the inn.  “True to Nature, True to the Craft” is the motto at ShawneeCraft.

What’s on the craft beer menu?

When it’s time to slow down, beer aficionados head to the pub to sample Artisan ales and lagers made with old-fashioned craftsmanship. Biere Blanche, a Belgian-style wheat beer; Session Porter, rich and dark with chocolate and black currant overtones; Session IPA, light in body Helles Lager; Harvest Saison, cloying pumpkin-pie concoction farmhouse-style beer; Imperial Coffee Porter, derived from locally-roasted and freshly-ground coffee from Fieldstone Coffee Roasters (Easton, PA); Raspberry Blanche, with raspberries added to the mix shortly after primary fermentation; and Birra Della Sol, brewed especially for Birra Pizza in Philadelphia, are among the selections.

craft beer
Rhythm & Brews offers guests and visitors a chance to relax while listening to music from a variety of genres.

Whole Food

ShawneeCraft Beers are “whole foods,” that contain the entire nutrient from which they were produced – unfiltered and unpasteurized, and sourced as locally and as organically as possible. According to the Shawnee brew master, they’re produced with no shelf stabilizing agents or chemicals and are brewed in a facility designed to minimize environmental impact and to conserve resources.

Other kinds of food

A jumbo pretzel served with Shawnee Inn Double Pale Ale Triple Play Mustard and four different types of pizza are also on the menu in case you want to grab a quick bite to share with friends. Tap Room hours are Friday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Food is available on Friday and Saturday evening.

Pairing craft beer and live entertainment

craft beer
Singer/Songwriter, Bob Keel, entertains guests on a Fri., Dec. 2, 2016.


On Friday night and Saturday night, live entertainment fills the room.  Aspiring vocalists can showcase their talents and mental acuity at Open Mic & Trivia night and then cap off the evening listening to musicians play your favorite tunes during Rhythm & Brews. Saturday night the entertainment continues.

The location is ideal for guests who want to experience Shawnee Inn nightlife without leaving the property, but the Tap Room is also a hub for local residents and Pocono Mountain visitors.

The atmosphere is rustic, as you might expect, and the attire ranges from jeans to business casual.

Brewery and Tap Room Tours are offered on Wednesday through Sunday.

Here’s a clip from a Dec. 2 Rhythm & Brews.



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