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.
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OAHU – The Island of Oahu, known as the Heart of Hawaii, sets the rhythm of the islands with exciting, new improvements, changes and additions on an ongoing basis. Below is a glimpse of new and dynamic updates with Oahu’s hotels & resorts, activities & entertainment, restaurants and cuisine, shopping, and festivals and events.
Hotels & Resorts
The Island of Oahu caters to travelers of all ages and budgets. A variety of hotels and resorts offer a multitude of packages to make any trip unforgettable.
Find the perfect deal and escape to Oahu.
The former Pacific Beach Hotel recently debuted as the all-new Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach following an extensive $115 million transformation. As Oahu’s sophisticated, new resort in the heart of Waikiki, Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach will offer a stylish new way to stay and play in Waikiki, which is transforming with new cultural, culinary and shopping offerings. The resort will feature star-studded collaborations with Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, acclaimed New York architecture and design firm Rockwell Group, which designed the resort’s lobby, restaurant, pool deck, guestrooms and suites; and architectural firms WATG and Pacific Asia Design Group. The 839-room modern resort will feature five new culinary concepts and a destination pool deck, along with authentic design touches inspired by Oahu’s lush landscape and rich cultural heritage. AlohilaniResort.com
As one of Hawaii’s largest hotel management companies, Aqua-Aston Hospitality is proud to offer guests some of the best value in the islands. For new bookings arriving Jan. 1, 2018, Aqua-Aston is pleased to announce the expansion of its guest amenity program. Varied by hotel, the new amenity program will include valuable additions, such as exclusive discounts for Aqua-Aston guests at select Oahu eateries and attractions; discounted or free entry for Aqua-Aston guests to Bishop Museum, Honolulu Museum of Art, and Waikiki Aquarium; improvements to our popular Waikiki-to-Ala Moana shuttle service; a curated roster of live, onsite entertainment; and newly-added Hawaiian cultural programs. Aqua-Aston.com
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina is re-defining the luxury spa experience with the debut of Naupaka Spa & Wellness Centre. The island’s newest spa haven combines innovative health and wellness practices with traditional Hawaiian healing. On five floors, Naupaka features fourteen indoor treatment rooms, indoor hot and cold plunge pools, steam room, sauna, needle shower, two Himalayan salt chambers, relaxation areas and change rooms, and the resort’s fifth pool – a private sanctuary featuring an outdoor lap pool and whirlpool surrounded by foliage and swaying palms, overlooking the hotel’s porte cochère. A barbershop (serving local craft beer) and a feng shui-inspired Billy Yamaguchi Salon complement spa offerings. Outdoor treatments are offered in tranquil muliwai massage hales overlooking the Pacific and the resort’s lush gardens. FourSeasons.com/Oahu
Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach continues Hilton’s “Another Day in Paradise” into 2018. Guests can book five nights and get the fifth night free, opening the way for visitors to experience the stylish and modern amenities of the largest Hilton Garden Inn in the world. HGIWaikikiBeach.com
The new Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach now features a full garden of kalo (taro) plants that line the full length of the pool deck. Once a month, a Hawaiian cultural advisor will give a hands-on lesson on how to harvest kalo while sharing the history and importance of this staple to the Native Hawaiian culture. After harvesting their own kalo, participants will prepare their own lau lau (steamed pork and/or fish wrapped in taro or luau leaves) for cooking and tasting. The kalo is a “living exhibit” at Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach allowing guests to nurture this plant through its normal life cycle. HyattCentricWaikikiBeach.com
In addition to the recent Hawaiian Music & Dance Hall of Fame Historical Exhibit, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach will launch a special walking tour centered around the cultural history of the area. This tour, “E hoala e” (Revive, Renew, Restore), will be held once a week to provide guests an in-depth look at the history and culture of the island, culminating in a visit to the onsite Historical Exhibit. In the warm spirit of Hawaiian hospitality, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach will be offering a special group offer for select dates in 2018. Groups can have easy access to entertainment, shopping, dining, spa, and cultural immersion, with rooms starting at just $215 per night. The reservation must include a minimum of 10 paid rooms to take advantage of this limited time offer. Waikiki.Regency.Hyatt.com
For families visiting Oahu, the Lotus Honolulu at Diamond Head provides an assortment of goodies for children of all age groups. Infants receive a new Infant Amenity Package complete with infant-safe sunscreen, fragrance-free, all-natural baby bath products, and a squeezable baby whale. Children ages 12 and under receive a complimentary box of crayons and cultural activity book of fun and educational activities celebrating all things Hawaii. Once the book is completed, children can exchange it for a souvenir gift. The property also offers complimentary souvenir boxes decorated with the child’s choice of anthurium flowers or Hawaiian fish. Onsite or at the beach, kids can choose from a selection of grab-and-go inflatable fish toys, beach balls and slippers for water play, and complimentary beach bags with a pair of children’s sunglasses. LotusHonoluluHotel.com
Waikiki Parc is offering an extensive Valentine’s Day package entitled LOVE at the Parc. The limited-time offer includes one two-hour surf lesson for two, a romantic chef’s special dinner for two at Leahi Concept Kitchen, a romantic Dive-In movie, complimentary parking and access to the Valentine’s Day Weekly Mingle, a special holiday-themed gathering with mini red velvet cupcakes, cheese and fruit platters, champagne with strawberries, and the hotel’s private-label Parc Chic wines. WaikikiParc.com
Activities & Entertainment
The Island of Oahu is brimming with fun-filled activities for everyone to enjoy. Visitors can explore Hawaii’s special culture and iconic history, or choose from a wide variety of outdoor and indoor activities to energize the spirit.
In partnership with Honolulu’s newest transportation system Biki by Bikeshare Hawaii, Aqua-Aston Hospitality now offers the “Discover Oahu” package to guests who book direct. The package is inclusive of two Biki Free Spirit bike rentals (featuring multiple trips up to 300 min.). With 100 convenient Biki bike stops from Downtown to Diamond Head, guests staying at an Aqua-Aston-managed property will be able to use Biki to discover Oahu’s varied eateries, shops and activities at their own pace and in a sustainable way. Aqua-Aston.com
Guests can marvel at Hawaii’s amazing humpback whales aboard Atlantis Cruises’ Majestic. With its sleek, modern design, the Majestic hosts three different levels for guests’ viewing pleasure. Its top level, open air deck offers 360-degree views, ideal for spotting exciting whale activity and other marine life. AtlantisAdventures.com
The “Holo Moana: Generations of Voyaging” exhibition at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum celebrates the resurgence of the centuries-old, ancestral practice of long-distance ocean voyaging. Closely following the Hawaiian sailing canoe, Hokulea, and its return to Hawaiian waters, the exhibit is based on a collaboration between Bishop Museum and the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) and is on display in the J. M. Long Gallery through June 24, 2018. Cultural objects from Hokulea’s voyages are on display along with a variety of interactive stations. Visitors can step into a wind-based immersive experience that uses digital sensors and electronics to bring to life the winds used by voyagers and told of in Hawaiian cultural stories. Visitors can also enter a full-dome projection theater with audio narrated by PVS president Nainoa Thompson, master of the traditional Polynesian art of non-instrument navigation. BishopMuseum.org
Live entertainment is featured on Saturdays at Haleiwa Store Lots in the Kamehamalu Courtyard from 2-4 p.m. Visitors can enjoy performances from local artists at the plantation-style gathering place in the heart of Haleiwa town. HaleiwaStoreLots.com
Hawaiian Ocean Adventures (HOA) will begin operating a second location on the windward side of Oahu beginning January 2018. Activities will include adventures onboard a Hawaiian sailing canoe, kayak and SUP adventures. HOA is a locally-owned and operated family eco-tour business offering true authentic ocean activities out of Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa. HawaiianOceanAdventures.com
Pacific Historic Parks is happy to announce several new tours in 2018 including a 2018 USS Arizona Memorial Tours, Pearl Harbor Visitor Center Tours, Pearl Harbor Virtual Reality Tours, Diamond Head State Monument tours, as well as a tour of the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park that includes lunch. Group, military and travel agent discounts are available. In addition, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor has added a new F-16A Fighting Falcon to its extensive collection of modern jet fighters. A new “B-17E Swamp Ghost Tour” has been added and can be booked at the front desk upon arrival. PacificHistoricParks.org or PacificAviationMuseum.org or Bowfin.org
Paradise Helicopters, a leading Hawaii helicopter tour company, is launching an adventure-packed tour of Oahu’s most historic WWII sites and iconic movie settings. In the Kualoa Expedition Tour, guests depart from Kalaeloa Airport near the Ko Olina resort area. After flying over some of Oahu’s most iconic locations, guests touch down at Kualoa Ranch where they have the option of three ground adventures: A horseback tour, ATV tour, or Kaaawa Valley zipline tour. The Kualoa Expedition Tour starts at $719 per person for an experience of up to 6.5 hours, including luxury ground transportation back to Kalaeloa Airport. The zipline experience is an additional $30 per person. ParadiseCopters.com
Roberts Hawai‘i and Hawaiian Crown have joined forces to offer a convenient new pineapple delivery service – available exclusively for domestic travelers using Roberts Hawaii’s Airport Shuttle Service on Oahu. Guests can now preorder boxes of locally grown Hawaiian Crown and Sweet Gold pineapple – picked to order, pre-inspected, packed, sealed and delivered to the airport in time for departing domestic travelers to pick up and take home. AirportShuttleHawaii.com/SweetGold
Several new events are included in the line-up at Our Kakaako for 2018. Scheduled the third Friday and Saturday of the month, Paakai Marketplace showcases unique local products and Hawaiian culture at SALT at Our Kakaako. The monthly event, held in in collaboration with PAI Foundation features live music and is a free, family and pet-friendly event starting at 5 p.m. In addition, the popular SALT Bar Crawl occurs on the third Saturday of every month starting at 5 p.m. Village Bottle Shop and Tasting Room, Moku Kitchen, and Bevy Bar at SALT at Our Kakaako feature different breweries each month. SaltAtKakaako.com
The Star of Honolulu is splashing into humpback whale season with daily whale watching cruises. From Dec. 23, 2017-April 5, 2018, kids ages three-11 can cruise aboard the Premier Whale Watch cruise for free with each paying adult. StarofHonolulu.com
Twogood Kayak’s Hawaii has announced the launch of a new kayak tour created specifically for those who enjoy being outdoors in Oahu’s exotic and tropical ocean environment. For this excursion, guests will have the option to choose the tour area from a list of options that offer the best of kayaking on Oahu. TwoGoodKayaks.com
Restaurants, Cuisine & Chefs
Oahu is known for its diverse culture, which is exhibited by the assortment of cuisine found throughout the island. With wonderful choices and an array of culinary options, there’s a restaurant fit for everyone.
Baku, Waikiki’s modern robatayaki restaurant, has introduced weekday lunch pairing specials. Each special features one of Baku’s robata-inspired or signature lunch dishes paired with a signature cocktail, craft draught beer, sake tasting flight, artisanal shochu, or wine from the restaurant’s extensive list of imported beverages, all for less than $20. Options include the robata-grilled Baku Burger, a sushi combination lunch, robata skewer platter, and more. baku-waikiki.com
After 29 years of featuring set menus, Chef Mavro has divided the restaurant into two venues and now offers a small plates menu in the main dining room and his famous Grand Tasting Menu in the upper tier. The iconic restaurant will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2018. ChefMavro.com
Located in Aqua Ohia Waikiki’s newly refreshed lobby is the local’s favorite tiki bar and lounge, Da Big Kahuna Waikiki – an ideal venue to grab a bite in-between daytime excursions or to sip a drink before heading out for evening adventures. In a casual restaurant setting, sample a tasty menu of contemporary Hawaiian and American plates. Da Big Kahuna’s menu includes juicy burgers, pub-style appetizers, and salads. Known for its iconic Fish Bowl Cocktails, Da Big Kahuna features a full bar and now offers food and beverage room service up to Aqua Ohia Waikiki’s 12th floor where guests can imbibe on their lanai (balcony) gazing out to the energizing city below. Da Big Kahuna Waikiki is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. OhiaHotel.com
Known throughout Oahu for his Poke Stop restaurants, Maui-born Chef Elmer Guzman brings his specialty to the Luana Waikiki Hotel & Suites with his latest concept, Fish Hook Café. Serving breakfast and lunch, Fish Hook Café offers an assortment of locally and sustainably-sourced grab-and-go items including salads, sandwiches, pastries, and gourmet coffee, as well as Chef Guzman’s delicacy: poke bowls, built-to-order. With the opening of Fish Hook Café guests have an additional dining option called Fish Bowl, the property’s breakfast buffet, where Chef Guzman also selects the rotating Hawaiian-style staples such as meats, cereals, pastries, and Oahu-grown fruits. Fish Hook Café is open daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. while Fish Bowl’s buffet is served daily from 7 to 11 a.m. FishHook.Cafe
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina is thrilled to announce a new partnership with award-winning chef and restauranteur Michael Mina. Fish House, the resort’s signature line-to-table restaurant will become Mina’s Fish House. Some architectural and décor changes are planned for Four Seasons’ iconic beachside dining experience, including an outdoor bread oven and private dining room. Guests can expect an exciting new menu featuring locally-caught fish and locally-sourced produce for a unique dining experience. FourSeasons.com/Oahu
The world’s largest open-air shopping center recently unveiled a new foodie destination. Lanai @ Ala Moana Center now features local favorites and eateries new to Hawaii, including Ahi & Vegetable, BRUG, Mahaloha Burger and Sobaya. The remaining eateries, including Agave & Vine, Da Spot, HiTEA Café, Ike’s Love & Sandwiches, Musubi Cafe Iyasume, Teppanyaki Farmer and Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha are opening soon. Lanai @ Ala Moana Center is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. The contemporary food hall offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and grab-and-go options, and features indoor and outdoor seating for up to 450 customers. AlaMoanaCenter.com
Locals and visitors will now be able to catch some poolside rays with a mimosa in-hand at Mahina Brunch, the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club’s new musically-inclined Sunday dining experience. Centered around celebrated chef Ed Kenney’s elevated home-cooking style using locally sourced foods, Mahina & Sun’s executive chef Erik Leong incorporates seasonal ingredients into the new Mahina Brunch menu available poolside or inside the restaurant, every Sunday from 6:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Diners can also groove to rotating sets curated by Aloha Got Soul. MahinaandSuns.com
Oahu is home to hundreds of high-end designer stores, as well as local boutiques carrying locally-made products.
Ala Moana Center recently unveiled Hula With Aloha, an authentic Hawaiian cultural experience where kamaaina (locals) and visitors can network, practice and learn the art of hula from award winning kumu hula (hula teachers). Open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Hula With Aloha is located on Level 3, Ewa Wing in the Bloomingdale’s Court and features beginning, intermediate and advanced hula classes, lei making and more. AlaMoanaCenter.com
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort recently expanded its retail offerings within the 22-acre resort. Among the most notable openings is the return of DFS to Hilton Hawaiian Village. The luxury retailer, known for its duty free airport shops and destination luxury galleries, will open an approximately 2,000-square-foot space at the resort in December 2017. Among the expanded options is the resort’s logo shop, Anuenue, which sells curated items of the cherished Rainbow Mural, Hilton Hawaiian Village logo memorabilia, and the resort’s own exclusive coconut papaya skin and hair care line. HiltonHawaiianVillage.com
Located in the heart of Waikiki, International Market Place is Oahu’s premier shopping, dining and entertainment destination. Guests can ring in Chinese New Year with festivities throughout February, enjoy “O Na Lani Sunset Stories,” the center’s free daily hula and storytelling performance, and snap a selfie with legendary Hawaii musician Don Ho’s one-of-a-kind bronze statue in the Banyan Court. Visitors can then finish the day at one of eight chef-driven restaurants on the Grand Lanai. ShopInternationalMarketPlace.com
Festivals & Events
Oahu is home to the largest number of festivals and events throughout Hawaii. Visitors can connect with the local community and experience renowned events showcasing the island’s rich arts and culture, the world’s top amateur and professional sporting competitions, and the many ethnic celebrations exclusive to Oahu.
Jan. 8 – 14, 2018, the Sony Open in Hawaii kicks off the PGA Tour by bringing 144 of the world’s best professional golfers to Oahu’s exclusive Waialae Country Club. Past participants include notable golfers including 2017 winner, Justin Thomas. Thomas also became the first to open the year with back-to-back wins in Hawaii since Ernie Els in 2003. The seven-day event is one of the largest charity events in the state of Hawaii. SonyOpenInHawaii.com
The Volcom Pipe Pro, a World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000-rated event, returns Jan. 29 – Feb. 7, 2018 to cap Hawaii’s winter season of surf at one of the most iconic waves in the world, the Banzai Pipeline. The Volcom Pipe Pro’s track record of epic, barreling surf draws major talent year after year, making it a true mix of aspiring professionals and the sport’s greatest names, including 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater and Hawaii’s own John John Florence. The event is free and open to the public and also produces a world-class broadcast that is available to stream via WorldSurfLeague.com and the WSL app. WorldSurfLeague.com
The 10th Annual Ukulele Picnic in Hawaii will be stringing together a day of exciting events in celebration of Hawaii’s most beloved instrument. The festivities are being held at the Kakaako Gateway Park on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018 with performances by famous musicians from Hawaii and Japan, vendor booths, or you might take the opportunity to study professional Ukulele players’ techniques! All events and entertainment are free and open to the public. UkulelePicnicInHawaii.org/en/
Feb. 10 – 17, 2018, local and global artists will showcase their work in Honolulu during a widespread beautification and education of street art during POW! WOW! Hawaii. The event will include gallery shows, live panel discussions, mural projects, concerts, live art installations and more. PowWowHawaii.com
Taking place on Feb. 19, 2018, the Great Aloha Run is an 8.15-mile foot race that starts at Aloha Tower in Honolulu and ends at Aloha Stadium in Halawa. A three-day sports, health and fitness expo occurs during the weekend of the race and includes an array of exhibition booths offering unique products and services, entertainment, workshops and more. GreatAlohaRun.com
Wanderlust, the producers of the largest yoga lifestyle events in the world, is returning to Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s fabled North Shore in 2018 for Wanderlust Oahu that will unfold over Mar. 1 – 4, 2018. This beach yoga and wellness retreat at Turtle Bay Resort will kick off Wanderlust’s 2018 festival season and offer awe-inspiring experiences and settings for yoga enthusiasts, music lovers, foodies, surfers and seekers. TurtleBayResort.com
The 24th Annual Honolulu Festival is one of Hawaii’s premier cultural events, promoting understanding, economic cooperation and ethnic harmony between the people of Hawaii and the Pacific Rim region. Taking place Mar. 9 – 11, 2018 the festival draws thousands of new and returning spectators. Through educational programs and activities, the festival continues to successfully share the rich and vibrant blend of Asia, Pacific and Hawaiian cultures with the rest of the world. HonoluluFestival.com
The Prince Kuhio Festival is a series of events, ceremonies and activities organized by The Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs to celebrate the birthday of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole who founded the first Hawaiian Civic Club on Dec. 7, 1918. These celebrations began in the early 1970s and have grown to include month-long activities including a commemorative parade, choral concert, “Hoolaulea” or “Hoikeike” (celebration), and more. This year’s festival will take place on Mar. 25, 2018.
What draws someone to a particular location varies from person to person but The Eagles Mere Inn, a Sullivan County landmark, is a favorite among folks who yearn for a peaceful country setting.
After several visits to Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania over the course of 20 years, I can’t understand how anyone could forget the timeless beauty of “the town that time forgot.” In 2017, I had an opportunity to experience Eagles Mere as a guest at The Eagles Mere Inn.
“..Let’s Not Forget…The Town That Time Forgot..”
The inn is far enough from the busy Route 42, the main road through the borough, yet only a short walk to the center of town and Eagles Mere Lake – two prominent hubs for year-round activities.
Eagles Mere is a family-centered hamlet that was founded in the early 1800s as a glass factory. By the late 19th century, the town had evolved as a mountain resort community renowned for its grand turn-of-the-century Victorian summer homes or “cottages.” The population grows from 120 full-time residents during the off-season but as summer arrives that number can grow to more than 3,000.
Eagles Mere Inn
The Eagles Mere Inn was built in 1887 and each guest room highlights historic places, events, and people prominent in the borough’s history.
The Lewis Glass Suite is named after the George Lewis Glassworks Era from 1804 to 1830. Located on the second floor of the inn, this two-room suite features a painted iron and brass queen bed, five delightfully large windows, sitting room with a sliding door partition, love-seat sleeper couch, 24″ smart television, comfortable chairs, and a private bath with a shower. All but two rooms have a television but you can certainly bring a book to read, a journal, and/or a drawing pad and pencils as a much-needed break from electronics. Eagles Mere is a haven for environmental preservationists and birdwatchers so be sure to tuck a pair of binoculars in your suitcase. All four seasons afford opportunities to catch a close-up glimpse of the wildlife that roams on hundreds of acres of nearby land.
Eyelet, handmade quilts, and soft cotton linens are all part of the appeal. Each guest room has a signature style that’s in keeping with the era and name given to each accommodation.
By day, the light floods in and in the evening, the sitting area is a comfortable retreat after an activity driven day.
The Whirlpool Room, standard king and queen rooms, junior suites, deluxe suites, select king rooms and standard full rooms are your lodging options. Accommodations range from $129 to $199 and a hearty country breakfast is included in the room rate.
Romantics can explore Eagles Mere for the entire month of February thanks to a special Valentine’s Day offer. Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a “romantic weekend package” when you book a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday stay. That package includes the room, breakfast, 3-course dinner, wine, roses, and chocolate.
Call the Inn (570)-525-3273 to book your stay.
Taste testing is a fantastic opportunity to sample and share a variety of menu items. Sometimes, choosing one entree is daunting if you can’t decide what suits your taste buds.
A.C.Little’s Drinkery, located on the inn’s lower level is pub-style and casual and an ideal setting to relax or catch your favorite sporting event on television. Dinner is available from the inn’s small plate menu and you can find your perfect brew from among the selections from local wineries and micro-breweries. A current menu is available at this link. The same menu is also available for diners who choose to have dinner in the dining room located next to the lobby.
Book Your Event
Couples planning to marry or individuals looking for an intimate, picturesque venue can also reserve the beautifully manicured grounds for parties and events of all kinds. Eagles Mere offers many scenic vistas and locations for photo ops.
What do snow and ice bring to Eagles Mere?
The famous toboggan slide has entertained residents and visitors since 1904. Created by the volunteer fire company, the slide is especially fun for thrill seekers. Sledders have been known to race down the hill at speeds up to 45 mph, according to townspeople, also known as “cottagers” who own second homes. Eagles Mere provides the setting for anyone with an affinity for winter. Details can be found here.
Eagles Mere Lake covers 114 acres and is surrounded by hundreds of acres of forest. Inn guests receive complimentary lake passes that can be used to swim at the beach or paddle their way around the lake in the innkeeper’s two kayaks.
Golfers can get in a round of golf during their stay at The Eagles Mere Inn. Reservations and an overnight stay are all you’ll need to enjoy the inn’s membership benefits at the Eagles Mere Country Club. Learn more about the club’s rich history that dates back to 1911.
Eagles Mere is a treat to visit. We all need a healthy dose of yesteryear and history to fully appreciate life today. Specialty shops, a noteworthy bookstore, the old-fashioned sweet shop, museums, an enchanting selection of country inns, cottages, and rentals; and a private golf club are a few of the reasons why Eagles Mere continues to draw thousands during peak tourist season.
When you want to venture out of town, on the outskirts, you’ll find spectacular waterfalls and plenty of nature on hiking trails.
During the winter months, one might see Eagles Mere as a ghost town but rest assured, that’s merely an assumption and not entirely true. Don’t let that stop you from planning a romantic fall, winter, or early spring getaway.
Follow this link for more information about Eagles Mere.
The Eagles Mere Inn is located at 29 Mary Ave., Eagles Mere, PA. You can reach out to the innkeepers at 570-525-3273 or visit eaglesmereinn.com/inn.
Have you arrived at a destination knowing from the get-go you’ll have an extraordinary stay?
My first impression of Villa Roma Resort & Conference Center was “lively.” That’s a characteristic I look for when I first step foot on a resort property.
Upon my arrival, vehicles were lined up, as guests loaded and unloaded their luggage. Even in late winter, a time of the year many resorts refer to as the “slow season,” the lobby was bustling with activity.
Caesar Night – a sight to behold and cherish
After spending an afternoon reminiscing in the lobby, the seniors reconvened for Caesar Night that evening. As I entered the main dining room, the maitre d’ was leading the crowd in a celebration of Italian cuisine and ancient culture. They chanted, “Hail Caesar,” as I discovered a most of the crowd was decked out in garb straight out of the Roman Empire.
Caesar Night is a Thursday night ritual at Villa Roma, marked by a seven-course feast prepared by Chef Peter Selthafner. An appetizer, choices of soup or pasta, salad, selections of entrée and a variety of scrumptious desserts are extremely popular among guests who want to take the time to relax and truly savor each course. When is the last time you devoted 90 minutes to casual dining and conversation?
The Regal Dining Room (located on the third floor of the resort’s new main building) is a perfect setting for Caesar Night and unhurried meals. You’ll find the decor – shades of rich blue and gold, decorative hand painted wall murals and large ceiling fixtures are the ideal backdrop for an Italian-themed meal.
Breakfast IS a BIG DEAL
Begin your day with breakfast prepared YOUR way. A bowl of fresh fruit arrived at my table, along with a cup of decaf coffee, shortly after I was seated at a table by the window. Service was consistently top-notch during my 24-hour visit to Villa Roma.
Villa Roma is ideally situated in New York State’s Catskills’ region. The mountains and countless acres of greenery that surround the resort are a draw for the thousands of guests who visit the Catskills each year in pursuit of hiking, fishing, and skiing opportunities. Abundant activities and a friendly atmosphere keep guests coming back year after year for nearly six decades.
The Main Dining Room, The Beechwoods Restaurant, Beechwoods Grill, Roman Garden Cafe, Dolce’s Ice Cream Parlor, Coffee Bar (new) and Pool Grill
In the fall of 1969, Martin Passante became the sole owner and by 1973, construction of the lobby and “Future” wing was underway. Prior to 1977, the resort was largely still a seasonal escape for guests but by the 1970s, the focus had shifted to year-round activities. Guests could still count on personalized service and made-to-order food but golf and planned activities were an added draw.
Always plenty to do
The Villa Roma guests see today has grown from an old-fashioned guest hotel with 46 rooms, 10 cottages, a pool, and two bocce courts to 24 timeshare buildings and 139 hotel rooms. Yet, the attention to details and outstanding customer service have not been sacrificed to accommodate more than 200,000 guests each year.
Recreational opportunities are plentiful. Golf enthusiasts can play a round at the resort’s 18-Hole PGA Championship golf course or get their tennis fix on the indoor and outdoor tennis courts. You’ll also find racquetball, volleyball, bocce, shuffleboard, basketball, indoor and outdoor heated pools, a fun park, fishing pond, Go-Carts, bumper boats, an arcade room, bowling alley, and fitness center. Villa Roma also offers nightly entertainment and three year-round dining outlets.
Regardless of the season or temperature, fishing and fly fishing are year-round sports enjoyed throughout the Catskills, but if fishing isn’t for you, follow this link to find a complete list of activities to pursue near Villa Roma.
The two-bedroom efficiency can accommodate up to six guests, with plenty of room to move around.
In addition to two large bedrooms, one with a king bed and the second with one queen bed, the living area also offers a pull-out double sofa bed, which is a definite plus for night owls who want to channel surf the flat screen television.
A kitchen with a full-size refrigerator, stovetop and oven, microwave, and a dishwasher is located adjacent to the living room. The bathroom in this unit is equipped with a separate bathtub and a shower stall, so guests can enjoy a long soak or shower.
Villa Roma also offers a one-bedroom efficiency, one-bedroom suite, deluxe rooms with a private balcony that’s perfect for stargazing or daydreaming; traditional rooms, and lodge rooms located only a short distance from the main building.
Nightlife – Dinner and a show
When you’ve finished dinner, where will you find nightlife in the Catskills?
Marty’s Lounge is one of the Villa Roma venues where you can enjoy a late night cocktail, sporting event or a movie on a large screen TV.
Upcoming Events You Won’t Want to Miss
You can count on being busy when you book your getaway at Villa Roma. Take a look at the following themed weekends planned for September, October, and November.
The Parisian history lesson begins from the moment you open her book.
Whether you’re planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the City of Light or you have a thirst for French history, Cahill walks you through the romance and sometimes tumultuous streets of Paris from the Middle Ages to the present (800 years). Paris is often considered to be one of the most romantic cities in the world. Lovers, Heloise and Abelard; Louis IX, Robespierre’s victim, Albert Camus, Edith Piaf and Henri IV are among the 22 famed Parisians she profiled in her 276-page guide.
Each chapter begins with a magnificent four-color illustration by Marion Ranoux, a native Parisienne, and photographer, followed by a tour that begins with a metro-stop. Cafes, gardens, squares, museums, bookstores, churches, and patisseries and other points of interest you’ll want to visit are featured in her lists of “Nearbys.”
The Streets of Paris is one of five travel books Cahill has published. You can find more information about “Hidden Gardens of Paris,” “The Smiles of Rome,” “Desiring Italy,” “For the Love of Ireland,” and “A Literary Guide to Ireland” (with Thomas Cahill) at http://www.susancahill.net/books-list.
Published by St. Martin’s Press; June 6, 2017
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In 1947, Jack Dunlop and his wife, Minerva, traveled to the Pocono Mountains and found the perfect spot — a nine-bedroom former boarding house on 28 scenic acres along Route 191 in Paradise Valley.
Bob Dunlop, current Crescent Lodge owner, described his parents as typical “New Yorkers” who discovered their niche in the Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.
Dunlop was 10-years old and growing up on Long Island, N.Y. when his father purchased the rooming house “in the country” as a retreat from city life. Family and friends gathered there on weekends and summers to play cards and unwind.
The Crescent Lodge, Paradise Valley, was a former boarding house. On a mid-summer evening, there wasn’t a seat available in the dining room. My table had a view of the pool and Dunlop’s collection of vintage cottages he and his father built, one by one, over a 70-year span.
As I scribbled notes in my stenographer’s notebook, I heard a male voice ask, “How’s everything?”
I gazed up and found Dunlop standing next to my table. Whenever he’s in town, he makes his evening rounds to each table. greeting dinner patrons and inquiring about their meals. From the brief conversations I overheard, I wasn’t sure if the customers were close acquaintances or new customers, but nonetheless, I heard rave reviews. Dunlop and his son, Wayne, have built their business by carrying on a tradition of personalized service, flavorsome cuisine, and plentiful portions. Part of their success is attributed to a hands-on approach. On that night, Dunlop’s son, Wayne, was the maitre d, but he also serves as the chef, according to Dunlop.
As I waited for my French Onion Soup appetizer to arrive, Dunlop gave me his undivided attention as he shared decades of stories about his life in the hospitality business.
“My father bought the property and came up often with his friends on the weekends,” Dunlop commented. “When they started the business, they did not charge guests. The guests felt guilty not paying to stay here.”
Patrons will find a touch of vintage charm, whether they choose to stay in the inn or one of the captivating cottages. Each accommodation at the Crescent Lodge has its own distinctive style and is adorned with ample furnishings covered in soft, comfortable fabrics.
Rather than dress his rooms in the most up-to-date fabrics and colors, Dunlop has chosen to retain a style that’s reminiscent of the late 1940s, intermingled with the amenities guests expect. Private bathrooms with a shower and bathtub, toiletries, hair dryer, ironing board, and iron are some of the comforts provided. Many of the cottages feature a fireplace and sunken jacuzzi built for two.
Dunlop has witnessed first-hand significant changes in the hospitality industry. One way to stay up-to-date with trends is the practical approach he has acquired after nearly 70 years in the business by staying in touch with his customers’ needs.
“I was just a kid when my father began to build the cottages in a semi-cirle,” Dunlop explained, referring to the cottages dressed in cedar shingles.
Years later, when he was absorbed in his own career, Dunlop, an architect, made a decision to take over the family business, but his design skills and training weren’t wasted. Upkeep often included building and renovation projects. Cedar is a key element in the cottages’ exterior facade and all but one of the bungalows has a fireplace.
“My parents didn’t know what to do with the (Crescent Lodge) business. So, I gave up my business and I took over,” he said.
While being in the hospitality business is at the very least demanding, Dunlop said a dedication to the business is a necessity.
Anyone who gets into the hospitality business needs to know it’s very time-consuming,” he quipped. “I’m like a doctor. If somebody needs something at three o’clock in the morning, we have to get up and do it, but it’s very rewarding.”
Dunlop draws his dinner clients from a variety of demographics. Folks passing through the Poconos or those with second homes dine with him on a frequent basis and many are faithful followers who have been fans for years. Overnight guests range from honeymooners seeking romance, privacy and outdoor recreational activities to the over 55 crowd, who shop, golf or kick back.
“I have to give my dad credit. He was very progressive for that era. We’ve had a really nice business and we’ve met all sorts of people. You make a lot of people happy. I don’t think we’ve made anybody unhappy,” Dunlop said.
Family fishing fun in upstate NY. Are you fishing for fun family outdoor vacations?
The Salmon River and Tailwater Lodge
Nurturing a love for the outdoors
Plan one summer outdoor family getaway.
What are your plans for summer vacation?
As the distance between New Year’s Day and the last day of school narrows, time passes in the blink of an eye, or so it seems. Early spring is the ideal time to begin planning family and pet-friendly excursions.
“We’re going where?”
What’s the best way to choose an outdoor-oriented vacation that’s suitable for every family member?
That’s simple. The “where shall we go on vacation?” conversation can begin with a brief mealtime discussion. Ask your kids and partner for suggestions. My first choice is typically fly fishing, but I know that’s not tops on my kids’ list of priorities, so incorporate hiking, a kayak or canoe trip, and swimming with fishing.
Nurture your love for the outdoors
Planning vacations that suit everyone’s needs is a challenge. When I arrange family trips, I look for destinations that offer opportunities to connect with nature. Teaching children to respect and ultimately preserve our natural resources requires time, diligence and patience. If we don’t encourage them to venture outdoors, how will they ever find that peace and oneness they can derive from a long hike, summer picnic, or time in the water?
Two years ago, while I was on an overnight fly fishing girlfriend getaway with my friend, Rosangela, I discovered the lush forests of the Upstate New York region, specifically Altmar and Pulaski. It was one of those adventures that can be difficult to describe to someone who doesn’t have a calling to fish or a fondness for the outdoors. One option is to set aside two or more days. The Tailwater Lodge, an upscale Orvis endorsed fishing resort in Altmar, NY, caters to year-round family activities. Their rooms are spacious and family-friendly and the on-site restaurant is particularly convenient and a hit with my kids.
If you’re not a fan of crowds, the best time for families to visit the Tailwater Lodge is from spring until summer’s end. Anglers flock in droves to the Salmon River from the fall through early spring in pursuit of the famed salmon and steelhead, respectively.
Not only will you find meticulously clean, first-class accommodations. The staff caters to its guests’ needs by offering a variety of services to make your visit more enjoyable. Forget about spending those precious hours worrying about what the kids will eat for breakfast or lunch. A complimentary full breakfast is included with each reservation and available each morning bright and early. With advanced notice and an additional charge, the staff will also prepare a picnic lunch for you to bring along on your adventure so you can get out on the water early.
I’m not suggesting this type of vacation is suitable for young children. My sons, for example, are older and are comfortable in the water. They’ve also had swimming lessons. Still, we kept a watchful eye on them and reminded them of the dangers of strong currents and slippery rocks. Water levels can rise quickly, depending on weather conditions and the amount of water released from upstream dams. Consult with the Tailwater Lodge concierge for updates and the best spots to fish.
When the kids need a break, the water’s edge and the paths leading from the parking lots to the river can also serve as your outdoor science classroom. During our last trip, we observed a snake (from a safe distance) as it slithered along the shoreline and made its way into the water. Also, be sure to take note of the breathtaking scenery and a variety of indigenous waterfowl and other birds gliding across the sky. Stop for a moment to look for soaring Eagles and nests.
Be sure to wear a sturdy pair of closed-toe shoes and knee-high socks (or waders) to protect your feet and legs from the insidious poison ivy that grows freely throughout the forests. You might catch a fish (catch and release) but you definitely do not want to bring home blistering and oozing sores from the poison ivy that lines the trails.
Fishing licenses are required for persons 16 and older. Learn more about fees and regulations here at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website.
Above all, this post is intended to pique your interest in fishing and provide alternative family vacation ideas. While my second trip to the Tailwater Lodge was sponsored, I returned there with my family because I was so impressed with the accommodations and wanted my family to experience the lodge and the Salmon River.
The Salmon River community thanks you in advance for protecting and helping to preserve the region’s natural resources. Follow all rules and practice catch and release.
The Tailwater Lodge is located 52 Pulaski Street, Altmar NY 13302. For more information, follow this link.
Please note my trip to the Tailwater Lodge was comped, but my opinions are my own.
If you’d like to purchase Orvis products prior to your trip, follow this link: Orvis
I will receive a commission from Orvis at no cost to you if you choose to purchase an item using this link.
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.”
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.
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.
Most of our meal selections came from the main menu. We selected ORGANIC ROASTED BEETS goat cheese and tomatoes, GRILLED OCTOPUSwhite beans and tomato, WHOLE GRILLED BRANZINOfennel, 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.
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.
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.
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.com. You’ll find Mount Airy is always jumping with activity, so why not spend the night.
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 Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui, freelance travel writer and photographer.
Mount Airy Casino Resort, 44 Woodland Rd., Mount Pocono
Seated across from me at The Gem and Keystone Brewpub at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort are two couples. They made a “pit stop” on a quiet, low-key Saturday afternoon to sample craft beer and have lunch – in that order. Food and a cold craft brew go hand-in-hand.
Eavesdropping is ok
Yes, I eavesdropped on their conversation, because I was curious to know which beer they ordered. The man on the far side of the table piqued my curiosity when he asked his friends, “Should we order the sampler?” He was referring to a selection of beer on the ShawneeCraft menu. As I devoured my lunch (an incredible Asian-inspired salad), they indulged in the selections from the ShawneeCraft Brewery.
The Gem is one of Shawnee’s dining locations where you can get your hands on a craft beer that’s hand-made at ShawneeCraft Brewery, an on-site brewpub, located only footsteps away from the inn. “True to Nature, True to the Craft” is the motto at ShawneeCraft.
What’s on the craft beer menu?
When it’s time to slow down, beer aficionados head to the pub to sample Artisan ales and lagers made with old-fashioned craftsmanship. Biere Blanche, a Belgian-style wheat beer; Session Porter, rich and dark with chocolate and black currant overtones; Session IPA, light in body Helles Lager; Harvest Saison, cloying pumpkin-pie concoction farmhouse-style beer; Imperial Coffee Porter, derived from locally-roasted and freshly-ground coffee from Fieldstone Coffee Roasters (Easton, PA); Raspberry Blanche, with raspberries added to the mix shortly after primary fermentation; and Birra Della Sol, brewed especially for Birra Pizza in Philadelphia, are among the selections.
ShawneeCraft Beers are “whole foods,” that contain the entire nutrient from which they were produced – unfiltered and unpasteurized, and sourced as locally and as organically as possible. According to the Shawnee brew master, they’re produced with no shelf stabilizing agents or chemicals and are brewed in a facility designed to minimize environmental impact and to conserve resources.
Other kinds of food
A jumbo pretzel served with Shawnee Inn Double Pale Ale Triple Play Mustard and four different types of pizza are also on the menu in case you want to grab a quick bite to share with friends. Tap Room hours are Friday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Food is available on Friday and Saturday evening.
Pairing craft beer and live entertainment
On Friday night and Saturday night, live entertainment fills the room. Aspiring vocalists can showcase their talents and mental acuity at Open Mic & Trivia night and then cap off the evening listening to musicians play your favorite tunes during Rhythm & Brews. Saturday night the entertainment continues.
The location is ideal for guests who want to experience Shawnee Inn nightlife without leaving the property, but the Tap Room is also a hub for local residents and Pocono Mountain visitors.
The atmosphere is rustic, as you might expect, and the attire ranges from jeans to business casual.
Brewery and Tap Room Tours are offered on Wednesday through Sunday.
Woodbine Group breeds new life into orphaned buildings
The Tailwater Lodge, Altmar, NY
Only steps away from The Tailwater Lodge is a lush, green shoreline along the Salmon River.
Tom Fernandez was traveling to fish in the lower fly zone of the Salmon River when he saw a “for sale” sign on the former Altmar Elementary School.
Fernandez said, “The rest is history.”
He’s an avid fly angler and a representative of The Woodbine Group, a privately-held, family-run commercial real estate holding, and development company based in Syracuse, NY. The school was built in 1935 as the Altmar Elementary School and was vacant for approximately six years when The Woodbine Group purchased the two-story, 32,000 square foot structure from the school district in March 2013. Following an eight-month construction process, the Tailwater Lodge opened with a project cost close to seven million dollars.
The design team included Edwin I Harrington Architects; Charity Buchika, interior design; Lan Co., site work; and interior hardwood and case goods by Artistry in Wood and Cab Fab.
Fernandez’s step-father, Norman Swanson founded the business in 1978. The Woodbine Group breathes new life into abandoned buildings like elementary schools, abandoned Jewish temples and former medical arts’ buildings through adaptive reuse projects.
“As my step-father says he finds ‘orphans’ and then breathes new life into them,” Fernandez explained. “That’s our business model. We are very sustainable. We have a very environmentally centric way of developing…”
Rather than tear down old buildings and start from the ground up, Fernandez said his family feels it’s necessary to revitalize this area of the country to bring new growth.
“There are some amazing buildings that have been abandoned and we choose to embrace that history and show what the northeast has to offer.”
The renovation of the building was more of a facelift with changes and updates made to the façade and the reappointment of space. Contractors were also able to utilize the majority of the windows and interior doors. Reclaimed timber conjures a “lodgey” feel, but don’t let the word “lodge” fool you. The Tailwater offers 42 guest rooms with unparalleled comfort and style and is one of two Orvis endorsed lodges in New York State.
“The large doors into the foyer, bar, birch walls, front desk pods were all reclaimed timber,” Fernandez says. “I think the restaurant and bar really stand out. Walking in and seeing the painting by Bob Ripley across the wall really brings the ‘lodginess” of the Tailwater out.”
Following an afternoon of fly fishing in the Salmon River, or any year-round outdoor activity, the Tailwater’s rustic décor, superb gut-pleasing meals served in the former gymnasium, over-the-top comfortable mattresses, custom-made in upstate New York, and bathrooms with large shower units and plentiful hot water will beckon you to come inside.
A refrigerator, free high-speed wireless internet, flat-screen cable TV, and a hearty, complimentary hot breakfast will prepare you for a day of searching for fish in the surrounding waterways or snowmobiling on the C5A Trail groomed trail system. Guests can don their gear and find onsite direct access to the Salmon River only footsteps away and upon their return to the lodge, can rinse their gear in the wader wash area and then store them in the facility’s locker area.
Fernandez noted, “The Tailwater Lodge caters to individuals and groups looking to tailor their experience.”