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BikeCarbondale

  • By
  • July 30, 2018
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BikeCarbondale Riverwalk Lackawanna Heritage Trail

BikeCarbondale: Along the History Trail

HOTEL ANTHRACITE GUESTS PEDAL BACK IN TIME

Up-Valley Trail System Connected

A NEW stretch of trail in Northeastern Pennsylvania offers residents and visitors one-and-a-half miles of compacted terrain that’s ideal for jogging, walking, and cycling. The Carbondale Riverwalk opened in May (2018) and on a late spring afternoon, adults and children of all ages spent their afternoon taking in the prolific greenery along the Lackawanna River, a 40-mile long river that’s known for extraordinary fly fishing.

BikeCarbondale Lackawanna River Heritage Trail
The BikeCarbondale program is managed by the Lackawanna Heritage Valley (LHV) in conjunction with two prominent Carbondale partners: Hotel Anthracite, 25 S. Main St. and the Greater Carbondale YMCA, 82 N. Main St.

On that day, couples strolled hand-in-hand, children pedaled diligently to keep up with their parents, and cyclists took advantage of the safe pedestrian-only pathway.

Partners

I imagine I was among the first-timers to participate in the bike loan program. While usage statistics are not available yet, it’s safe to say exercise and nature enthusiasts continue to discover and utilize the new pathway, partly because of “BikeCarbondale,” a free bike-share program that makes it possible for individuals to borrow a bicycle so they can take in the Carbondale’s Coal Mining History. The program is managed by the Lackawanna Heritage Valley (LHV) in conjunction with two prominent Carbondale partners: Hotel Anthracite, 25 S. Main St. and the Greater Carbondale YMCA, 82 N. Main St. The program is made possible with funds made available through the Northeast Pennsylvania Healthcare Foundation. Individuals age 18 years and older are eligible to loan one of the authority’s 10 bikes available at the hotel and YMCA. 

Cycling was my first activity after checking in at the Hotel Anthracite, Carbondale’s newly-renovated lodging (formerly known as Carbondale Grand Hotel). (You can read more about the hotel in an upcoming article on my website.) Chris Simpler, Hotel Anthracite general manager, was eager for me to test drive a bike and the new trail. I returned to the hotel revitalized after approximately two hours.

LHV projects stimulate the region’s economic development, enhance tourism, and strengthen community organizations with a goal to improve and increase the quality of life for area residents. The Lackawanna Heritage Valley trail system spans 70 miles from the confluence of the Lackawanna and Susquehanna Rivers in Pittston and continues north where it connects with the Delaware & Hudson Rail Trail and the Carbondale Riverwalk.

 

BikeCarbondale Riverwalk
You never know who you’ll meet along the trail. As I was rounding the bend on the LHV Riverwalk, riding the bike I loaned from Hotel Anthracite, bike loan partner, I stopped to chat with fellow artist Joe Kluck. Photo by Joe Kluck.

You will celebrate the sunshine and appreciate the shaded areas, too. When you stop for a break, take note of the established trees that provide a canopy and the shrubs and native plants alongside the banks that serve as a natural border. Venture into downtown Carbondale and admire the architecture.

BikeCarbondale Bike Loan Program
BikeCarbondale is a loaner bike program for adults 18 years and older. One of the highlights is a one-and-a-half-mile stretch of newly-opened trail in Pennsylvania that runs from the historic town of Carbondale to Simpson.
Since 2013, LHV has opened eight miles of well-maintained heritage trails that enhance and showcase the region’s striking beauty and diverse scenery. You can watch the videos of the grand openings of the Scranton to Taylor, D&H Extension Trail, and Archbald to Jermyn stretches, and learn more about the most recent, Carbondale to Simpson.

Trail project partners were the City of Carbondale, PennDOT, DCED (Department of Commerce and Economic Development) and DCNR (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources). FABCOR (Jessup) and Rutledge Excavating Inc (Tyler Hill) completed the trail with and QPI (Carbondale) constructed the wall near the junkyard. The Riverwalk section will connect to the D&H Rail Trail later this summer to form a 20-mile stretch of fully developed trail. 

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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 https://www.PoconoManor.com/Events for more information.

You can reach out to Possinger and find additional Cast & Blast information at poconomanor.com/manor-sports. 

To learn more about Pocono Manor, see my companion story joanmatsuitravelwriter.com/inn-pocono-manor-splendor. 

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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The Tailwater Lodge: stylish traditional fishing lodge

  • By
  • March 14, 2017

A Stylish Traditional Fishing Lodge

stylish traditional fishing lodge
The Tailwater Lodge – Photo courtesy of the Tailwater Lodge

In the heart of Altmar, NY, only a stone’s throw away from the banks of the Salmon River, is the Tailwater Lodge, one of The Woodbine Group’s signature properties. The Woodbine Group is a privately-held family-run commercial real estate holding and development company based in Syracuse, NY, with strong ties to fly fishing.

stylish traditional fishing lodge
The former gymnasium houses the restaurant and bar. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

While the Tailwater Lodge has already received rave reviews from anglers who flock to the region for world-class fishing, Phase I, completed in 2014, was only the beginning.

Robert Bijess, Tailwater Lodge resort manager said management realized the current lodge needed additional space to offer other activities and events that compliment a great fishing experience.

“Our goal (from the beginning) is to be a resort property that appeals to everyone,” Bijess said. “We’ve done that quickly and I think we are at a point where the fishing community knows us and now we’re reaching out to others outside of the height of angling in this area.”

Phase I architectural firm, Edwin I Harrington Architects, was back on the scene to lead the design team for Phase II that was completed in 2016. Charity Buchika, interior designer also returned. One of the hallmarks of The Woodbine Group properties is the company’s commitment to the preservation of under-utilized properties. The former Altmar School is a prime example of well-thought-out design and the use of repurposed materials.

“We are working with the same architects and interior designers who worked on the existing lodge,” said Bijess in 2016.

Among the many notable must-see elements of the new addition are repurposed timbers that have been incorporated into the overall design. Six exposed beams that weigh 1,000 pounds each were used, according to Bijess.

“They are beautiful solid pieces of lumber that are exposed. So again, the addition will have the same feeling as the rest of the building,” he said.

Guests will undoubtedly find the Tailwater’s decor to be a mix of astounding comfort with that “lodge” feeling you would expect.

stylish traditional fishing lodge
After spending a full day fishing in the Salmon River, Kunihiko Matsui, RA, had an opportunity to tour the Tailwater Lodge and experience an array of expertly prepared food. Lunch and dinner are served in the on-site restaurant, the former school gymnasium. The atmosphere is rustic charm combined with a big city feel. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

What’s new at the Tailwater Lodge?

With Phase II completed in 2016, the Tailwater Lodge can now offer its guests “The Barn” as a setting for their upcoming events. Weddings and rehearsal dinners, anniversary parties, family reunions, corporate meetings, and gatherings are among the opportunities you’ll have to experience in the Tailwater Lodge’s newest space. Event specialists are also available to help you create a signature afternoon or evening party. One of the highlights is a ceiling constructed using rough-hewn beams, which further enhances the open, airy setting.

On-site catering, full bar service, silverware, crisp linens and of course, the Tailwater’s mouth-watering meals can be tailored to meet your needs.

Follow this link to learn more about the barn. 

Photo courtesy of the Tailwater Lodge

The Tasting Room

Experience 24 beers on tap, an extensive wine list and gourmet meats and cheeses in the Tailwater Lodge’s premier tasting room. Large and small groups, ranging from 350 to 400 guests, as well as couples and traveling folks, will find The Tasting Room a welcome offering before or after a day of outdoor activities.

 

Simply, yet extraordinarily comfortable accommodations Photo courtesy of the Tailwater Lodge

 

Accommodations

Out-of-town guests will truly delight in the overnight accommodations. The furnishings in each guest room are crisp, clean and extraordinarily gracious. Find a moment to relax in the light-filled rooms. To help you feel at home, guest rooms feature a refrigerator, free high-speed wireless internet, flat-screen cable TV, and a hearty, complimentary hot breakfast. The glass-enclosed shower stall is one of my favorite features. Upon my return to the lodge after a day fishing in the Salmon River, I also found the locker room and wader wash area to be extremely convenient.

Management has crafted a lodge with its customers’ needs in mind.

Romantic Getaways

This 75-year-old fully-renovated school is an ideal setting for a romantic getaway. Whether you’re a couple who longs for an afternoon fishing together, hiking, birdwatching, or whatever interests you share, the Tailwater Lodge has been revamped with romance in mind.

Arrive on a Friday night and usher in your weekend with a meal in the lodge’s restaurant. Awaken Saturday and Sunday morning to a full breakfast. Order a picnic lunch upon your arrival and you’ll have a meal to take with you on your travels. Altmar and Pulaski, NY offer many scenic spots where you can create new memories. Request travel-related information here.

“The Tailwater Lodge is a very unique experience,” Bijess said. “We are seeing an increase in couples who come here for a getaway. They come by themselves or bring another couple along.”

Non-anglers can also enjoy all the Salmon River offers. Try tubing or a canoe or kayak trip.

Bijese commented, “We have a very diverse property and we are excited to see the number of calls we’ve received from people interested in summer, our off-season.”

To view additional photos of the Tailwater Lodge, visit tailwaterlodge.com/dining. 

Read what other travelers have to say about the Tailwater Lodge at TripAdvisor. You can also book online. 

Disclosure:

My stay was comped but my opinions are my own.


 

52 Pulaski Street Altmar NY 13302 | (855) 895-6343

info@tailwaterlodge.com

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Family fly fishing fun

  • By
  • 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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