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Rediscover Nature at The Inn at Starlight Lake

  • By
  • July 7, 2016

Find your peace of mind 

The Inn at Starlight Lake

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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.” 

Visit innatstarlightlake.com to view menus and additional information.

“As an innkeeper, the people, her guests, have made this all worthwhile.” Sari Schwartz

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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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Kalahari Resorts and Convention Center

  • By
  • March 12, 2016
Resorts

Kalahari Resorts and Conventions Pocono

A Treasure trove 

of fun and African culture

Kalahari Resorts and Conventions’ Pocono Mountain location is a cultural treat for children and adults alike.

The resort is a treasure trove of African culture and folk art that offer endless educational opportunities for the youngest to the oldest guest. While children will be eager to check-in and head directly to the waterpark and arcade, each photograph and sculpture tells a story and is certainly worth your time to tour and ponder.

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Art abounds at Kalahari Pocono.

Take time to experience art 

Kalahari is museum-like and the careful attention to detail reflects the Nelson family’s fascination and respect for indigenous African art, folklore, and culture. The resort provides an impressive and thoughtful selection of artifacts, photographs, and statuettes the family collected during their 11 or more journeys to the continent.

Head to the waterpark

No doubt the draw for kids is the family-oriented 100,000 square foot indoor waterpark. Even the names of most of the water park attractions: Anaconda, Lazy River, Crocodile Cove, Indoor/Outdoor Family Whirlpool, Wild Wildebeest, Lost Lagoon, Tanzanian Twister, Thirsty Turtle Swim Up Bar, Rippling Rhino, Zimbabwe Zipper, Splashdown Safari, Barrelling Baboon, Tiko’s Watering Hole evoke a sense of adventure. There’s an attraction for every age and when patrons need a break, they can find relaxation in one of the private indoor cabanas fitted with a flat screen TV, chaise lounges, and refrigerator.

More fun awaits you

And then, outside the water park, there’s the arcade with a whopping 30,000 square feet of video games and contests, Blacklight Mini-Golf, Mini-Bowling, and the NEW XD Dark Ride 5-D Theater. Kids and adults can move from one game to the next and effortlessly spend hours getting their visual fix.

When it’s time to refuel… 

The eateries within the resort are particularly geared towards kids and families, but older children and grown-ups can also dine peacefully. Servers are well-trained and eager to please.

Your choices are Brandberg Food & Drink, Great Karoo Marketplace Buffet, Ivory Coast Restaurant, Felix’s Bar, The Last Bite, Java Manjaro, Café Mirage, Waterpark Dining and Pizza Pub. You’ll want to make a dessert stop at Last Bite Candy & Ice Cream and Java Manjaro, Kalahari’s signature cafe that features handpicked Rwandan coffee beans that are brewed on-site. In the background, recorded drum music from the streets of Cape Town resonates and enhances the African theme and helps to set the stage from the moment you arrive at the main entrance.

After your Safari adventure…

When you’re ready to call it a day, Kalahari offers 457 African-themed rooms and suites that are equipped to meet the needs of traveling families. The two-bedroom suite is equipped with one king size bed, two queen size beds and a queen size sofa sleeper that provides ample room for adults to relax without disturbing sleeping children. A coffee maker, television, refrigerator, flat screen televisions, and free Wi-Fi are a few of the standard amenities.

What to bring

Don’t worry about packing a suitcase full of clothes and gear. A swimsuit, cover-up, flip-flops and casual attire are all you’ll need for your overnight stay at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions Pocono.

A weekly special Character Breakfast is held on Saturday morning beginning at 10:50 a.m. at Brandberg Food & Drink. Breakfast gets underway at 11:00 a.m. The cost is adults/$25 and children/$15 and includes visits with character friends, family style dining, games, music, coloring contests, and great photo opportunities. Reservations are required and must be made in advance.

For more details regarding lodging and activities, visit kalahariresorts.com/pennsylvania.

To read my full recap at visitpoconos.com, click here.

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Mount Airy Casino Resort

  • By
  • March 12, 2016

Rustic decor, fun dining

at Guy Fieri’s Mount Pocono Kitchen

Mount Airy Casino Resort eateries sure to please

The rustic decor at Guy Fieri’s Mt. Pocono Kitchen, Bistecca, By IL Mulino, a combination of steakhouse and Italian cuisines;  Lucky 8 Noodle + Sushi Bar, The Buffet, Red Mango Yogurt Café, Starbucks, and Nostalgia Candy Store all offer distinctive cuisine. You won’t need to walk more than a few feet when hunger pangs set in because the restaurants are situated along the perimeter of the casino floor. Light fare is also available at the Get Wet Pool Bar, a 52,000 square foot, indoor/outdoor, four season pool complex and entertainment venue.

Mount Airy Casino Resort offers its guests an award-winning dining experience. Best Ambiance, Best Service, Most Romantic, Best Special Occasion are among the awards the restaurants at the casino resort have earned. 

Guy Fieri followers might ask, “So, what’s the atmosphere at Guy’s Mt. Pocono Kitchen?”

“Relaxed and fun,” is how Bill Goeke, front of the house manager at the Mt. Pocono kitchen described the atmosphere at the restaurant.

The interior was designed to offer a rustic feel and while the rough-hewn lumber used throughout the restaurant could easily be found in other eateries, there’s simply no denying the decor at Guy Fieri’s Mount Pocono Kitchen is distinctive and has received the thumbs-up from Guy Fieri, the iconic star of the Food Channel’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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Every item on the menu is approved by Guy Fieri and his people, according to Goeke. Chef Devan Gerhart came up with the ideas for the menu selections and then presented them to Fieri and his staff.

Among the new items on the menu are “Hall of Fame” Brisket Tacos that feature house-smoked brisket, topped with citrus slaw, avocado, chipotle creme and pico de gallo on white corn tortillas and the Ultimate Asian Chicken Wrap, filled with minced chicken, Southeast Asian Spring Rolls, Thai Skewers, and paired with three sauces: Chipotle Peanut, Sesame Ponzu, and Sweet Thai Chil served with six crisp lettuce cups. Guy Fieri’s Mount Pocono Kitchen has the largest in-house smoker in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

To view the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, click here.

Customer service is also a priority. The staff makes frequent stops at each table to be sure customers are satisfied and Goeke circulates from table-to-table to be sure customers are pleased with their meals.

He said, “I go around to the tables and ask ‘How’s everything?’ I get feedback and I want to hear about their experience. You can get a burger anywhere, but here, you can get a burger and have a fun time.”

Guy’s restaurant is open 24 hours.


Luxury lodging, a 16,000 square foot spa, and salon, 24-hour exercise facility, lakeside 18-hole golf course, gaming with more than 1,600 slot machines and 70 table games, a variety of restaurants, and nightlife equal a vacation getaway you’ll savor.

Learn more about Mount Airy Casino Resort at www.mountairycasino.com

Click here to read my spa and complete wrap up stories at visitpoconos.com

Congratulations to the Lisa DeNaples, Mount Airy Casino Resort Owner and her staff for yet another AAA Four Diamond Award® Designation. 

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