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Saluting Carbondale’s History

  • By
  • November 5, 2018
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Hotel Anthracite outdoor dining

Hotel Anthracite: Every Detail Tells a Story

Settlers Hospitality Group Hails Carbondale’s History 

Saluting Carbondale’s vast history is no easy task. This Pioneer City was founded on March 15, 1851, and is the fourth oldest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Settlers Hospitality Group chose to honor Carbondale’s coal-mining and railroading history when it refurbished the Hotel Anthracite.

Every piece of art that adorns the walls throughout the hotel tells a story. Consequently, you won’t find a stock photo in the lobby, restaurant, hallways, or guest rooms and each piece, whether it’s a framed photograph or another medium, is in some way related to the city’s rich anthracite and cultural history.

Hotel Anthracite - Kol Steakhouse
You won’t find stock photos on any of the walls at the Hotel Anthracite, Carbondale’s newest hotel. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

Unwavering Service

Settlers Hospitality Group is an award-winning hospitality company based in Hawley, PA, one of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s most endearing historic towns. The group owns and manages The Hotel Anthracite, along with the Settlers Inn, Ledges Hotel, Silver Birches Resort, and Sayre Mansion.

Settlers’ goal is to provide their guests with a one-of-a-kind tribute to the heritage that surrounds each of its properties. Equally as important to guests are the exceptional accommodations and cuisine and unwavering service.

“The key operating philosophy of the hotel arm of the Settlers Hospitality Group is to provide an independent and authentic lodging experience that is guest-focused, locally flavored, and pet-friendly,” Chris Simpler, Hotel Anthracite general manger, explained.

Simpler commented in detail about the hotel’s history during our lunch at KOL Steakhouse, the hotel’s signature restaurant. He delved into the features as I sampled the OUTSTANDING Baby Greens and Quinoa Salad, topped with grilled chicken and drizzled with a Champagne Blood Orange Vinaigrette. Suffice to say, the hotel has covered all the bases with style, creativity, and artistry.

Hotel Anthracite outdoor dining
Take your romantic dinner or gathering outdoors on the patio. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

Born and raised in the Hudson Valley, Simpler found himself back in Northeastern Pennsylvania to partner with Settler’s Hospitality. His wife Jenna (Simpler) runs the resort side of the Silver Birches Resort, a Settlers property that celebrates the history of the Lake Wallenpaupack region.

Indoor-Outdoor Connection

Jeanne Genzlinger, the matriarch of the Settlers Hospitality Group, served as the main designer. She selected a neutral color palette, which is an ideal backdrop for the history and outdoors’ themes. Jeff George, (artistic design), S. Robert Powell (Carbondale historian) and Juan H. Espino (artist: The Looking Glass Gallery) all played significant roles in the historical detailing within the walls of the Hotel Anthracite. Altogether, the decor is the best of all worlds. As you enter the Hotel Anthracite, you’ll find historical charm effortlessly blended with modern amenities guests expect.

Large chunks of official anthracite coal are displayed in the Hotel Anthracite lobby surrounded by photos of the Gravity Railroad and its first locomotive, “The Stourbridge Lion.” They’re your cue the decor is intended to educate, enlighten, and motivate you to discover more about Carbondale’s past.

“We have utilized that foundation to bring photography and recreated historical elements to Hotel Anthracite,” said Simpler.

Carbondale Anthracite Coal History
Towering Anthracite Coal immediately shines a light on Carbondale’s anthracite history. Photo courtesy of Hotel Anthracite.

Finishing Touches

Hotel Anthracite Carbondale
One of my favorite guest room features is the view overlooking one of Carbondale’s neighborhoods.

“The feeling we were going for was to bring the hotel back to emphasize what’s out the windows. The neutral palette is great to work with because you have a lot of flexibility. It’s a clean and modern look but it also fits well with the historical theme we have,” he said.

Hotel Anthracite Renovation
All rooms were recently redesigned to provide guests with all new furnishings and linens.
Hotel Anthracite business traveler
Business travelers can count on high-speed internet and an efficient work area.
Hotel Anthracite lodging
If the rest is at the top of your list after sightseeing and other outdoor activities, the beds are dressed in super-soft sheets and a down-alternative comforter.

Formerly known as the Carbondale Grand Hotel and operated as a Best Western until the Settler’s group purchased and renovated the building, the Hotel Anthracite averages 15,000 stays a year in their newly-appointed rooms. The management is in tune with their guests’ needs and expectations and delivers a high-quality package.

In the guest rooms, new beds are topped with standard and king-sized pillows. What’s more, towels, linens, curtains, and the sofas are also new.   Certified botanical organic bath products are provided in dispensers rather than single-use throw-away bottles to reflect Settlers Hospitality’s commitment to conservation.

YES to Pets

Pets and their families stay in comfort with the pet program in place. Yes, the hotel has pet-assigned rooms to protect guests with allergies. But Simpler said, “We always do something personal to welcome the dogs to our property.” Be sure to inquire about the pet policy when you reserve your room.

Simpler’s way of thinking about The Hotel Anthracite is, “Why not make it a great experience that people talk about.”

 

KoL Steakhouse Dining: A Natural, Easy Fit

Hotel Anthracite menu
Add a slice or two of protein to your Baby Greens and Quinoa salad and you’re good to go.

What thoughts does the name “Kōl” evoke? If your guess is a “play on words” reflecting Carbondale’s anthracite legacy, you’re correct, according to Simpler.

“It (the name) is a natural, easy fit,” he said. “It aligns with our history.”

Kōl Steakhouse is for diners who want a dining experience that’s different – fine dining in a casual steakhouse setting. Renowned Executive Chef Michael Bodner begins with locally sourced aged beef and then adds his own creative flair to the regional fare and daily specials.

My choice was the mouth-watering Chicken Milanese Anthracite, a moderately priced entree ($19) from the Chef’s Plates’ section of the menu. The savory breaded free bird farm chicken breast, seasoned with aromatic basil and arranged with tomatoes, harmonizes with the balsamic dressing, asparagus, and creamy risotto. I said “NO” to dessert because my palette was content. My meal was a perfect-sized portion and a combination of flavors.

The wine menu offers more than 100 different bottles of wine in a full range of styles and prices. A handful of local wines are available, thanks to the hotel’s sommelier who put the wine list together for all of the Settler’s Hospitality Group’s properties.  Looking for a fresh, local beer on tap or in the bottle? Come to Kōl Steakhouse and quench your thirst.  The bartender will accommodate your hankering with a variety of liquor and mixed drink concoctions.

“You need to deliver something more – a new experience,” is Simpler’s philosophy.

View sample menus here.

“What will you do in Carbondale?”

Hotel Anthracite Carbondale
Once the weather in Carbondale turns chilly, you’ll find lodging guests and diners relaxing near the fireplace in Hotel Anthracite’s lobby. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

Simpler noted, “In the months I’ve been here (as manager), I’ve come to know the untapped opportunity and potential here in Carbondale is huge. Settlers Hospitality management and staff have proven that folks will drive from hours away to dine at their hotels because the experience and food are so fantastic.”

Community Partnerships = Endless Opportunities

Once you’ve taken an architectural and historical tour of Carbondale, venture into local communities and set your sights on Northeastern Pennsylvania’s four seasons. The Settlers Hospitality Group partners with local businesses in each of their hotels’ locations so guests have access to a variety of activities that range from skiing, cycling, hiking, to world-class fishing that will get your heart pumping.

Travel Tip: Hotel Anthracite is a mere 25 minutes from historic sites in downtown Scranton and less than 35 minutes from Honesdale and Hawley. Allow at least a half-day to explore each town. 

The Lackawanna Heritage Trail, a popular multi-use trail system. exemplifies how a partnership is a win-win for all businesses and visitors. You’ll find the Carbondale Trailhead literally across the street and less than a half-block away from Hotel Anthracite. Simpler says guests can borrow a bike through the BikeShare program at the hotel and The Carbondale YMCA and ride to the New York border on a bicycle.  The trail opened less than a week before my visit and you’ll find the link to my companion story here.  Spend some time at the newly-built Riverfront Park along the Lackawanna River and stop in at The Chamber Gallery and view the latest exhibit.

Travel Tip: Buy your Pennsylvania fishing license and bring your fishing gear. The Lackawanna River awaits you with an assortment of cold-water and warm-water fish species. Depending on where you fish, the river is home to trout, bullhead, bass, perch, and bluegills. 

History buffs should plan a self-guided walking tour and take in the architecture. Carbondale’s array of historic buildings has helped put the city on the map. Don’t miss the historic Memorial Square, City Hall, and the Trinity Episcopal Church and its extraordinary tiffany-windows. Similarly, guests who love snow sports like skiing will have no problems finding the perfect ski conditions at Elk Mountain Ski Resort. Inquire at the hotel about individual and family ski and rental packages. If you’re like me, combining business and pleasure does involve some advanced planning but your trips can be exceptional and memorable.

Conclusion: Whatever your reason for traveling, Hotel Anthracite is a first-rate lodging choice. Experience a small-town treasure in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the ideal base camp to explore a revitalized region alive with history and culture.

My visit was comped but my opinions are my own and based on my personal experience.

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concerts Dining at Spa Destinations Events Lifestyle Mount Airy night life Pocono Mountain entertainment Pocono Mountain events Pocono Mountain nightlife

A much-needed date night: Mount Airy Casino Resort

  • By
  • 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 mountairycasino.com/play/entertainment/headliners. You must be 21 years or older to enter the nightclub.

 

LOVERBOY

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*Event is for guests 21 years & older.

SATURDAY, APRIL 29 • 8PM • DOORS AT 7PM • GYPSIES
TICKETS $65 / $55

GET TICKETS

EDDIE MONEY

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FRIDAY, MAY 19 • 8PM • GYPSIES
TICKETS $65 / $55

GET TICKETS

THE COMMODORES

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SATURDAY, MAY 27, 2017 • 8PM • GYPSIES
TICKETS $65 / $55

GET TICKETS

CRAIG ROBINSON

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SATURDAY, JUNE 3 • 8PM • GYPSIES
TICKETS $65 / $55

GET TICKETS


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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