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Hotel Anthracite: Every Detail Tells a Story

  • By
  • November 5, 2018
  • Sticky
Hotel Anthracite outdoor dining

Settlers Hospitality Group Salutes Carbondale’s Heritage

Hotel Anthracite: Carbondale’s Past Revisited

Every piece of art that adorns the walls throughout the Hotel Anthracite tells a story. 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 Carbondale, Pennsylvania’s rich coal mining 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

Hotel Anthracite, The Settlers Inn, Ledges Hotel, Silver Birches Resort, and Sayre Mansion are all owned and managed by Settlers Hospitality Group, an award-winning hospitality company based in Hawley, Pennsylvania. The company’s goal is to provide their guests with a one-of-a-kind tribute to the heritage that surrounds each of its properties. I was a hotel guest at two of the group’s properties: Hotel Anthracite and Silver Birches Resorts and also treated to a fantastic full breakfast at The Settlers Inn.  The message is consistent – 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 and features as he sat across the table from me during our lunch in KOL Steakhouse, the hotel’s signature restaurant. As I sampled the OUTSTANDING Baby Greens and Quinoa Salad, topped with grilled chicken that was drizzled with a Champagne Blood Orange Vinaigrette, Simpler delved deeper into why guests will travel to stay and dine at the hotel. You’ll read more about the food details later in this article but 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

Simpler was born and raised in the Hudson Valley and 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 Inn family was the main designer and the neutral color palette she selected 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. The decor is the best of all worlds because as you enter the Hotel Anthracite, you’ll find historical charm effortlessly blended with modern amenities guests expect. Take note of the large chunks of official anthracite coal on display in the Hotel Anthracite lobby and the photos of the Gravity Railroad and its first locomotive, “The Stourbridge Lion.” They’re your cue that 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 shine 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 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 consequently, delivers a high-quality package. In the guest rooms, for example, guests will find all-new beds, topped with standard and king-sized pillows, towels, linens, curtains, and new sofas.   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 is seasoned with aromatic basil and arranged with tomatoes, balsamic, asparagus, and accompanied by creamy risotto. I said “NO” to dessert because my palette was content. My meal was a perfect-sized portion and 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 fresh, local beer on tap or in the bottle? Come to Kōl Steakhouse and quench your thirst.  The bar is stocked with a variety of liquor and chances are if you have a particular mixed drink concoction in mind, the bartender will be able to accommodate your hankering.

“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 is known for its 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. Aside from walking, cycling, and cross-country skiing,  Elk Mountain Ski Resort undoubtedly has a trail for you, whether you’re a beginner or advanced skier. 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. Hotel Anthracite is a small-town treasure in Northeastern Pennsylvania and a base camp to explore a revitalized region with so much history and culture.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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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Shawnee Inn Glamping

  • By
  • July 2, 2016

Romantic” Shawnee Inn Riverside Glamping

Connect with nature luxuriously


Nature at your doorstep

Tim MacMichael often falls asleep at night listening to soothing music from an app he installed on his phone. On May 25, Mother Nature provided the sleep-inducing background melodies Tim heard while he drifted off to sleep at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort Riverside Glamping. The inn is located in Shawnee on Delaware in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

“They were great sleeping sounds,” Tim said on May 26 as he and his wife, Christine MacMichael, Warren, NJ, sipped coffee on the deck next to their bell tent. 

Tim and Christine have been guests at historic Shawnee Inn probably four times, according to Tim, but when they received emails promoting Island and Riverside Glamping, Christine said, “That made me want to try it.”

“We heard the tree frogs, crickets, the water lapping in against the shoreline, and some woodpeckers and other birds chirping towards the morning,” Christine noted.

Tim and Christine MacMichael
Tim and Christine MacMichael, Warren, NJ, watched activity on the Delaware River from their deck on the Shawnee Inn Riverside Glamping site.

 

Rather than lug their tent and camping supplies to a camping site, they decided to focus on a more relaxing and convenient alternative known as glamping or boutique camping.

What is glamping?

It’s glamorous or luxurious camping that’s synonymous with resort-style services that are not associated with traditional camping. Shawnee Inn offered Tim and Christine the convenience and luxury of a room in the inn with the added pleasure of connecting to the outdoors.

Guests can choose from two boutique camping options: Shawnee Island Glamping, a secluded experience on a remote island in the middle of the Delaware River that’s only accessible by canoe and Shawnee Riverside Glamping on a semi-secluded tract of land on the north lawn of the resort that overlooks the scenic Delaware River. High-speed Wi-Fi, a queen-size day bed, electricity, coffee maker, refrigerator, lantern, fan, radio, and full access to resort amenities are standard comforts that enabled Tim and Christine to rough it in style.

Upon their arrival at the Riverside site, they found their queen-sized bed dressed with luxurious linens, an extraordinarily comfortable mattress, and white fluffy pillows.

Christine commented after a restful night’s sleep, “The bed, blankets, and pillows were so comfortable. Everything is so well done and luxurious. Glamping here is a lot easier and more convenient (than camping) and we love it.”

“We’d absolutely do it again,” Tim said. We just pack an overnight bag and that’s it.”

To reserve your bell tent at Shawnee Inn, visit shawneeinn.com or call 1-800-742-9633

 

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Fishing Pocono Mountain fly fishing Pocono Mountain Retreats The Lodge at Woodloch

The Lodge at Woodloch Fly-fishing to escape

  • By
  • April 29, 2016

Fly-fishing is an opportunity to embrace nature

Escape to the water

As a Fly-fishing instructor and guide at The Lodge at Woodloch, Adam Nidoh offers resort guests an opportunity to embrace nature and try something they’ve never done before.

He joined the staff at the Hawley, Pennsylvania spa destination resort as a Fly-fishing instructor in summer 2012 when the previous management was looking to expand activity offerings. Nidoh teaches the lodge’s Introduction to Fly-fishing and Fly-tying classes, and private instruction along with one-half and full day “catch and release only” trips on the nearby Lackawaxen and Delaware Rivers. Bring your favorite rod and reel or inquire about borrowing one from the lodge when you register for a class or book your fishing trip with Adam.

“We provide an escape in a relaxed setting,” said Adam Nidoh, Fly-fishing instructor. “…Time on the water to forget all you’ve left behind and just take in the sights, sounds and surroundings.”

Reservations are required and can be made when you book your stay or by contacting the spa concierge.

“I’m at the lodge on Tuesday and Thursday and I’m also available for one-half and full day guided trips any day of the week,” Nidoh said.

All equipment is provided during classes and guide trips and rods are also available to registered guests who want to try their hand at casting into the lodge’s Little Lake Teedyuskung from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A valid PA fishing license is required for all off property fishing excursions. Purchase your fishing license here at the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission website.

Visit thelodgeatwoodloch.com for more information.

9896730293_4e9e2a9a0f_k
Escape to the water for half or full day guided fly-fishing with Adam Nidoh, an instructed at The Lodge at Woodloch. Photo courtesy of The Lodge at Woodloch.

Adam Nidoh fell in love with fly-fishing more than 15 years ago. He’s the manager of A&G Outfitters in Dickson City, PA. 

 

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