Are you dreaming of landing that trout, bass, or other fish species?
“Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die” is full of breathtaking photography and detailed information about 50 of the world’s most spectacular fly fishing destinations. Author Chris Santella is a skilled freelance writer and storyteller who offers his readers a collection of 50 essays created by master fly anglers. The in-depth interviews feature extensive background information for each of the destinations with advice and fishing anecdotes that you’ll find enticing even on the coldest winter day. Santella’s work is one you’ll commit to memory and refer to as a resource guide when you’re planning your next fly fishing getaway.
I received a copy as a Christmas present in 2018 and although I receive hundreds of book review requests (on a variety of topics) each month, I’d never run across this gem. Santella’s guide covers all of the details and history fly anglers looking for premium places to fish need to know. The “IF YOU GO” that follows each essay: “Prime Time,” “Getting There,” “Accommodations,” and “Equipment,”is invaluable.
Santella is a regular contributor to The New York Times, Forbes.com, and other fly fishing publications.
Buy Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die.
Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.
When you meet Mike Possinger, you’ll understand why the Pocono Manor Resort & Spa “Cast & Blast” package is so much fun.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Bright sunshine and mild temperatures set the stage for my extraordinary visit to Woodloch Pines, a 1,200-acre award-winning all-inclusive family resort in Hawley, Pennsylvania. This exceptional four-season destination is located in the Lakes Region of Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.
A brief history (courtesy of Woodloch)
Before I go into details related to my visit, you should be aware that Woodloch Pines Resort has been family-owned and operated for more than 53 years, offering all-inclusive vacations to generations of families for decades. From the moment you arrive at Woodloch, you will experience the Kiesendahl family’s commitment to top-notch service.
The original 12-acre Woodloch featured a main lodge, annex and two cottages that accommodated up to 40 guests. As its popularity continued to grow, by 1961, the Kiesendahl family had doubled the size of the lakefront resort. In 1983, the resort had grown into 150 acres with nearly a mile of shoreline and 135 rooms. Fast forward to 2016 and you’ll find 160 guest rooms in four different categories and more than 300 acres that beckon you to explore. Most rooms can accommodate up to six people and offer a spectacular lake view from a private balcony.
Awards too numerous to mention
You can expect outstanding service at Woodloch Pines, a family-owned and managed resort. The Kiesendahl family continues to carry on the tradition of excellence and warm hospitality.
Woodloch is regarded as one of America’s “Best Inclusive Family Resorts” and TripAdvisor.com voted Woodloch as the #1 Family Resort in America. To see a complete list of awards and accolades, click here.
A perfect day
I arrived at Woodloch Pines mid-week on a gorgeous mid-September afternoon. Fall hadn’t officially arrived and the leaves weren’t ablaze with color yet but I was delighted to have an opportunity to explore the property under brilliant sunshine and a moonlit evening sky. Here’s a moment I captured after dinner, while on my way back to my guestroom.
A dedicated and loyal staff
DJ Luis is among the many caring and enthusiastic staff at Woodloch. He wears many hats, from a “captain” and tour guide of the scenic boat tour to a multi-talented in-house entertainer.
Listen and watch Luis as he reveals why he has an affinity for Woodloch.
Although I traveled solo to Woodloch, my suite could comfortably accommodate a family. Should you desire more or less space, Woodloch has 160 guest rooms and 70 guest homes to meet your needs. Busy travelers and families will particularly appreciate the well-stocked kitchen with plenty of space to prepare a meal.
Woodloch: An all-inclusive resort with abundant amenities
18-hole championship golf course and community at its sister properties, Woodloch Springs and an award-winning luxury destination spa The Lodge at Woodloch located within a two-mile radius.
Complimentary WiFi available in all accommodations
flat-screen television with cable and pay-per-view movies, refrigerator, iron and ironing board, coffee maker, hairdryer, and in-room safe in every room.
Microwaves and cribs available at an additional charge
All homes feature full kitchen with all cooking utensils and tools as well as an outdoor gas barbecue grill, at least one gas fireplace
One-and-a-half mile paved nature trail plus a three-mile natural terrain trail; bicycles available for use on trails
White sandy lakeside beach with swimming and a water slide.
Waterskiing for guests aged 13 and older, paddle and row boats, canoes, kayaks and sailboats
Indoor and outdoor pool; indoor Kids Splash Zone, outdoor kiddie pool
Bumper cars and boats, and go carts
Woodloch Forest – three-level indoor playground with four slides, tree house, and a separate single-level toddler play area.
Horseshoes, shuffleboard , and bocce ball court
Basketball gymnasium and outdoor basketball courts
Outdoor sand volleyball court
Four new tennis courts
Two nine-hole miniature golf courses
Toddler room, arts and crafts room, and The Bunker- a lounge and Nintendo Wii center
28’ climbing wall
1500 square foot exercise facility with state-of-the-art equipment
Follow this link to view a list of resort amenities available at an additional charge.
Dining and evening entertainment go hand-in-hand
The Lakeview Dining Room is a newly renovated space and gathering place for generations of families to dine comfortably. Upon your arrival at the dining room, members of the Kiesendahl family eagerly meet and greet their guests before dinner.
The dining room was nearly filled to capacity with a mix of ages from one to 85, and yet, the service was extraordinary.
Menus change daily and meals are offered at specific times throughout the day to allow guests to take full advantage of the activities planned. Here’s a sample menu from September 2016. Dining options and meal plans are available here.
Now that you know what was on the menu during my visit, I’ll make your mouth water. After devouring the shrimp cocktail appetizer and salad, my server delivered an unspeakably moist and flavorful salmon served over black rice.
Wondering where to dine at this family resort?
On-site you have a choice of the Woodloch Dining Room, The Country Store at The Inn, North Lodge Cafe, and the Lakeside Grille & Outdoor Poolside Bar (both open seasonally). Only a short distance from Woodloch Pines is The Market and the Clubhouse Grille Room at Woodloch Springs.
Meet Bradley Kiesendahl
I had the pleasure to chat with Brad on a night when he was in costume as “Spock,” from “Star Trek.”
Why was he dressed as Mr. Spock? Please continue reading.
Throughout the evening, he served as the emcee but also took the time to check in at each dining table to be sure guests were beyond satisfied with their meals.
Ah…and then, as I was finishing my dinner, along came Woodloch’s social staff and theater cast also in costume, parading through the dining room. Characters make daily appearances at mealtime. The Lone Ranger and his horse were among the familiar characters who entertained adults and children alike. Do you recognize the monkey from movies and television?
“The Wonderful World of Television”
Family and staff continue a tradition
Following dinner, I was invited to attend a Woodloch themed theater performance, “The Wonderful World of Television” – hence, the reason why TV land characters made their appearance during dinner. A new, creative theme has been chosen every year since the mid-sixties. The family-oriented performance was a retrospective glance back at iconic television shows from the advent of television to many of our current hit series.
I was in awe of the talent, set design and dedication of the cast members who starred in the production. Most of the cast is part of the vast Woodloch family and staff.
Here’s a clip from the performance.
The cast of mostly in-house performers drew constant applause from the audience as they danced to and sang the theme songs from decades of television’s finest moments, with a backdrop of custom-designed sets. A small pyrotechnic display sparkled on the stage at the finale.
Before the closed, theater-goers were also treated to film clips of the notoriously funny Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Johnny Carson.
Take a moment and view some of the photos I took during the performance.
Early morning on the water
Early morning brought anglers to the shoreline to get their dose of Mother Nature as the mist on Lake Teedyuskung slowly dissipated, giving way to another day of bright, blue sky.
My suite offered a wonderful view of the lake. I awakened to an overwhelming desire to cast my fly line into Lake Teedysukung but as I walked towards the shoreline, I noticed the silhouette of one fisherman, Bob Gaines from Yardley, PA. Bass and sunfish are plentiful and I watched intently as Bob caught and released one fish after another.
Scenic Boat Tour
A boat tour is a perfect way to see the gorgeous scenery that surrounds Woodloch Pines family resort. You’ll also catch a view of the property from a different perspective as you learn more about the Woodloch’s rich history.
After a full breakfast, I made my way to the Tea House boat dock, where I boarded Woodloch’s 10:30 a.m. tour boat. If you’re sticking to a tight schedule, guided tours run every 15 minutes, weather permitting.
A family barbecue and picnic on the lawn
Later that morning, I celebrated my final meal at the resort at a barbecue and picnic on the front lawn before leaving for an afternoon fly-fishing class at The Lodge at Woodloch, a sister property, and another award-winning, world-class spa destination.
The traditional weekly cookout brings guests together to mingle in an informal setting, while they have a choice of their favorite “picnic” food.
What’s happening at Woodloch Pines today?
The Edge is your source for up-to-date schedules of activities courtesy of the social staff. Their aim is truly to keep you happy and busy during your stay at Woodloch Pines Resort.
Pocono TreeVentures aerial ropes course consists of 14 acres through the trees at varying heights and difficulty levels. Each aerial ropes course offers a different challenge level and participants are encouraged to try all five courses.
In June, Kuni, 55, Kento, 16, and Yoshi Matsui, 12, tried their hands at the Pocono TreeVentures aerial ropes course, a challenging adventure for folks of all ages. While the father and sons trio were guests at Fernwood ResortandThe Villas at Treetops and Fairway, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, they were offered an opportunity to test their strength and skills.
Outdoor Ventures Group designed and installed the aerial ropes course with safety as a priority and all participants are suited with a safety harness and they receive a briefing by trained staff before entering the beginner course.
Pocono TreeVentures aerial ropes course and Zip Racer are open year-round weather permitting. The number to call for current course conditions is 800-446-0231.
Leave your sandals and flip flops in your car because closed-toe shoes are required on the courses.
“I’m sure that the view from 40 feet in the air is great, but it takes too much mental focus to even begin to think about the scenery. All you see are the obstacles and all we thought about is how to overcome them.” Kento
Here’s what Kuni, Kento, and Yoshi had to say about their morning at Pocono Tree Ventures.
What were your expectations before you began the course? Were you nervous/anxious about the course and the height factor?
Kuni: We were excited because it looked like lots of fun, but we could not tell how high and how challenging it was from where we registered.
Yoshi: Getting geared up with harnesses was pretty cool because they (the harnesses) look like the ones we’ve seen on television survival shows.
What was the most enjoyable aspect of your time spent in the trees? Describe how the course began and progressed from beginning to end. Was it difficult from the beginning and consistent throughout the course or a gradual increase in difficulty?
Kuni: We had to go to a center starting platform to access each of the four courses, and decided to skip the beginner level, instead opting to take the intermediate path. The courses included a myriad of balance and strength obstacles that test your physical condition and coordination.
Yoshi: The 30 ft drop at the end…
Kuni: The “Skateboard” zip line…
Kento: My favorite place was the first zip line from the starting platform.
What was the approximate distance between you and the ground throughout the course? Did you feel safe?
Editor’s Note: The distance ranged from 20 to 40 ft off the ground.
Yoshi and Kuni: We felt safe because of the double harness system that ensured you are always connected to a safety wire.
Kento: Safe? Yes. The double harness was a really good idea. It ensured that there’s no chance of falling. Stable? No. The obstacles were designed to unbalance you and test your abilities. I enjoyed the feeling of adrenaline I felt and the little bit of instability made it even more fun.
What course did you follow? Beginner, intermediate or advanced? Is there a profound difference in the degree of difficulty from the beginner to advanced?
Editor’s Note: They followed two of the intermediate courses. One was more advanced than the other.
What were your thoughts as you progressed?
Kuni: There were a few obstacles on the second course that I couldn’t figure out how to do. I watched my sons ahead of me and mimicked their movements and I got through it.
Yoshi: When I felt apprehensive about any of the obstacles, I just pushed through and did them. I felt about the same about every obstacle.
Kento: I was the first (in my family) to go through every obstacle, so I was the one who had to figure out every problem we encountered, without any example to follow.
What are a few of the skills a person needs to have in order to complete the courses?
Kuni: Endurance and mental toughness
Kento: Balance, upper body strength
Yoshi: I think you need a good amount of courage.
Should you try the aerial ropes course at Pocono TreeVentures?
Kuni, Kento, and Yoshi agree the course is exciting, fun, and challenging.
Fernwood Resort: creating year-round family experiences
Gina Bertucci: Focus is on family at Fernwood
Activities=Quality Family Time
Family fun…Have you taken the time to create lasting memories with your family?
Creating an experience that’s all-encompassing for families and guests of all ages is one of the challenges Gina Bertucci, Fernwood Resort co-owner, embraces.
With more than 18,000 member families, Fernwood Resort and the Villas at Tree Tops & Fairway®, 2157 River Rd, East Stroudsburg, PA, is part of RCI and is one of the largest vacation ownership properties in the Mid-Atlantic region with 650 beautifully-appointed villas.
“We have both timeshares and rentals so we’re a mixed-use property,” Bertucci explained.
Lodging options range from one-to-four bedrooms with accommodations for every taste, with a home-like feeling and amenities from simple and economical to deluxe and spacious.
When you’re ready to venture out onto the property, you’ll also see why Fernwood has received awards for being green.
According to Bertucci, “As a business, when we were looking at how to develop these pieces of property, what did we do?”
The Pocono TreeVentures and zipline courses are examples of the extraordinary measures Bertucci and her partners have taken to preserve the beauty and nature on the property.
“We looked at ways to preserve this property. There’s a stream that goes through it, but really when you’re up in the trees, you really do appreciate the nature and the beauty of this region.”
Everywhere you turn at Fernwood, there’s something for everyone. A few of the free on-site activities are swimming and weekly pool parties, summer family movie nights, picnics and BBQ nights. At an additional cost, try horseback riding at Bushkill Stables, Pocono TreeVentures Ropes and Zipline courses, Blue and White Lightning Tubing and Paintball. Visit Fernwood Resort’s websitefor prices and hours of operation.
Approximately 15 years ago, Bertucci and other businesses affiliated with the Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau got together to answer the question, how can we continue to showcase the Poconos as a region to explore and enjoy, and at the same time, preserve its natural beauty?
The Fernwood partners, for example, utilized approximately 10 acres of gorgeous farmland for the TreeVentures and Zip Line courses.
“It’s beautiful and challenging and when you’re finished, you think I just did something and it’s great exercise. It’s about authenticity,” commented Bertucci. “And not everyone has had a chance to try horseback riding? For other people, it’s shopping at the Crossings (Premium Outlets), canoeing on the Delaware River, bike riding, seeing nearby Bushkill Falls or following a lovely natural walking path at the 77,000-acre at the Delaware Water Gap National Historic site.”
What’s our recommendation for off-site family engagement?
Don’t leave the Poconos without a stop at Bushkill Falls, known as “The Niagara of Pennsylvania.” With each season the landscape changes, providing a unique experience each time you visit. We suggest you reserve a half-day for your adventure.
Bushkill Falls is the “Niagara of Pennsylvania”
Why should you plan a trip to the Pocono Mountains’ region?
As the nights turn chillier and the leaves that adorn the trees of the Pocono Mountains fall to the ground and create a gentle blanket of vibrant shades of red, yellow and orange, celebrate fall by tuning into the sounds of freshly fallen leaves underfoot. Celebrate the four seasons in the Pocono Mountains.
“There’s something for everyone in the Pocono Mountains. It’s all here and that’s fortunate for us. Family time is part of the fabric of our lives. You remember those moments together.” Gina Bertucci, Fernwood Resort.
The Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum is an excellent place to experience a portion of the history of Pennsylvania Anthracite. Pat and I spent a few hours on a beautiful July day at the Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum at Knoebels Amusement Resort. http://www.knoebels.com/ride-play/attractions/mining-museum.
Knoebels, “America’s Largest Free-Admission Amusement Resort” is located in the heart of the anthracite coal region in Pennsylvania. This year, Knoebels is celebrating its 90th anniversary.
What will you find at Knoebels?
The air-conditioned museum opened in 1988 and is chock full of mine artifacts, stories, displays and great information about mining and life in the coal regions. The visit was surely at the right price. Admission to the museum, amusement park, and parking are FREE.
A sock filled with money
The first thing I saw at the door to the museum is one of my obsessions – a squished penny machine. When I’m on vacation, I carry a sock filled with shiny new pennies and quarters on the chance there’s a machine. I can insert two quarters and a penny, and presto: A 51 cent souvenir, with the die-pressed symbol of where you visited. But, I didn’t bring the sock with me, so I went to the gift shop counter and took two shiny pennies from the “need-a-penny” jar and got four quarters for a dollar. I went home with the two mine museum squished pennies they had. Knoebels gets new penny dies every year, and this year they have 37 different designs. I guess I saved a bundle ($17.50) by forgetting the sock.
Go to the Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum
Genealogists and history buffs can pick up and read hand-written accident reports from the coal mines more than a hundred years ago. You can search a database for accidents involving your ancestors. See displays and models showing mining methods, tools, and equipment. Finally, be sure to have your partner or a bystander take your picture outside driving a mine “Lokie” two years older than the park, and see other tracked mine equipment.
Most of the equipment in the museum are from the collection of the late Clarence “Mooch” Kashner of Coal Township. Kasner was once president of the Independent Miners, Breaker men, and Truckers union, and a retired PA State Mine Inspector. He asked Peter Knoebel to display the artifacts and memorabilia he’d acquired throughout his career. In 1988, the museum, a building built to resemble a coal breaker, was opened.
One of his pieces in the museum, a rough yoke fashioned from coveralls and a parachute harness, was used to pull one miner to the surface from a collapsed mine during the 1963 Sheppton Mine Rescue. Because of the harness Travel Channel visited Knoebels. The museum, the mine rescue, and the harness were featured in one episode of the Travel Channel’s “Mysteries of the Museum” in 2013. Watch the rerun on July 24 at 8 p.m. EST and 7 p.m. (http://www.travelchannel.com/shows/mysteries-at-the-museum/episodes/sheppton-mine-disaster-bite-board-erie-collar-bomb) You can watch on July 24th at 8 PM, 7 p.m. Central.
There’s lots more to see and do at Knoebels.
Knoebels is ranked as one of the top-ten family amusement parks in the United States. The first thing after the museum, you see the Black Diamond. We didn’t take the dark coaster ride through the coal mine on the Black Diamond, but you should. Instead, we went through three more museums and exhibits. I rode on the 103-year-old carousel and grabbed three brass rings without falling off my horse once. The Grand Carousel was voted the best carousel in the Golden Ticket Awards competition held by Amusement Today in 2007, and 2010 to 2015. In addditon, Knoebels food has won the awards 13 times in the last 15 years. Make sure you sample some before you left the Park.
Our 39 mile “trek” to the Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum was well worth the trip.
Bundle a trip to Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum and Pioneer Coal Mine Tour
When you’re planning your visit to Knoebels, you should also allow time to visit a nearby top ten tourist attraction in Pennsylvania. Consider first scheduling a half-hour trip to the Pioneer Tunnel Mine Tour and “Lokie” ride in Ashland. (www.pioneertunnel.com) This “newer” narrow gauge locomotive was built in 1927. It is a 0-4-0 type Lokie that typically was used to haul coal from strip mines. I suggest you first take a trip on the train behind a Lokie in the morning and the Coal Mine Tour at noon. In addition, get your picture taken in a Lokie and visit the Knoebels Anthracite Coal Mine Museum in the afternoon. Maybe spend your evening on some of the rides on the bargain “Sundown Plan.” Don’t miss all the photo ops.
Celebrate coal mine history
Finally, join Pat and me on Sat., Aug. 20, 2016, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. as we celebrate the 24th Annual Pioneer Day and the 53rd Anniversary of the Pioneer Tunnel Tour. Take a mine tour and a steam train ride. Enjoy the special events that will be held adjacent to the tunnel.
In the works
Pioneer Tunnel will be adding a reconstructed mine headframe to its attractions, hopefully this fall. I’ll write about it then.
Across the road from the Starlight Lake, only a stone’s throw away from the blankets of lily pads, boat docks, and mostly tree-lined shore is the Inn at Starlight Lake, a romantic country retreat for guests in search of a setting to relax and unwind, without distraction.
Adirondack and rocking are situated on the large front porch to provide guests with an unobstructed view of the lake. Astilbe, daylilies, and varieties of ornamental grass and other perennials are tucked in corners around the perimeter of the inn and add to the charm and ambiance of this historic structure and country setting.
A Brief History
Sari Schwartz and her husband, Jimmy, started coming to the Inn at Starlight Lake in 1974. Jimmy’s friend, an avid hunter, introduced them to the region.
“His friend had a problem with his car and didn’t want to stay overnight at the hunting camp so one of his buddies drove him around and they came across The Inn at Starlight Lake,” Sari Schwartz recalled.
When his friend returned to New York City, Sari said he told Jimmy, “We really should bring the girls up here some weekend.”
They spent their first night at the inn New Year’s Eve in 1974 and continued to celebrate the new year there for 19 consecutive years. “When life got in the way,” Sari said, “We stopped coming for a while until 2000 to 2001.”
Throughout the years, Sari and Jimmy became friends with the former owners, Jack and Judy.
“We were always kidding with Judy, when you’re ready to sell, we’ll buy it (the inn). We kidded one too many times,” Sari commented.
While the inn is off the beaten track in Starlight, PA, they were both in the hospitality business and bought the inn and property in 2005 with the intention to retire there.
“This was supposed to be our retirement,” she explained. “But Jimmy passed away in 2011.”
Aside from personalizing the interior with some of their own accessories and painting the exterior, Sari noted, “It’s pretty much the same. We decided we weren’t going to change the inn. That’s what we wanted to do.”
Fortunately, Sari runs the inn with the help of her daughter and son-in-law and support from the community.
“Life as an innkeeper is a lot of work but a lot of fun,” Schwartz said. “I’m a people person most of the time. I’ve been very lucky to have a great staff and to have a son-in-law who knows a lot about a lot of stuff. We’ve also always been very fortunate with the tradespeople in the area.”
A year round retreat
The inn is a four-season vacation destination but summer is their busiest time with fall close behind in popularity.
A July 4 barbecue is one of the events planned throughout the year.
Celebrate the holidays at an old-fashioned barbecue.
Schwartz said, “We observe the holidays. On July 4, we have always had a barbecue.”
The cost is $15 per person and $10 of that goes into a scholarship fund that Schwartz explained is given to the young people who work at Inn who are going to college.
“It has reached a point now where people actually give us donations for the scholarship fund. Even if it just buys their books, it something. We try in our own way to give back to the community.”
Four to five Murder Mystery Weekends per year, an illusionist, magician, and renaissance fair are a few of the special offerings.
Activities that will bring you back to nature
Don’t expect to find Wi-Fi, televisions, telephones, or air conditioning in any of the guest rooms. Wi-Fi is available in the public area of the Inn. But don’t despair. You’ll likely be too busy swimming, playing board games, hiking, paddling a canoe or kayak, or engaged in conversation with Sari or other guests. Be sure to ask for a complete list of activities when you book your reservation.
When it’s your time to dine…
The entire inn is family-friendly and so are the generous portions. Homecooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in the bar, dining room, and enclosed sun porch. Breakfast is on-the-house for registered guests.
“People are telling me I should start to advertise the fact that we have a lot of vegetarian dishes on our menu. We will also accommodate vegans and guests on gluten free diets.”
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.
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.comor call 1-800-742-9633