The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

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Nestled in the northeastern region of Pennsylvania is a lovely four-season destination called The Pocono Mountains. Rolling mountain terrain and breathtaking views and waterfalls encompass an area of 2,400 miles and four counties. I’ve lived in Pennsylvania almost my whole life and never visited this area before. I’ve heard it called the old “Honeymoon Capital of the World” and after a romantic getaway with my husband, I understood why! Instead of going to another beach for vacation this year, we decided to stay in the beautiful Keystone State of Pennsylvania for an early 4th wedding anniversary trip in the Poconos.

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

Pocono Palace - from https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-cWUOkuit-Ik/VbRJnU7TKgI/AAAAAAAAjpM/ZP9Hc8yNNl8/s512-Ic42/249.JPG

I booked us a few nights at the couples-only Pocono Palace Resort located in Marshalls Creek. The hotel is part of the Cove Haven Entertainment Resorts and includes two other properties, Cove Haven Resort in Lakeville and Paradise Stream Resort in Mount Pocono. All three resorts feature all-inclusive options with more than 600 luxurious suites that provide services and amenities that specialize in providing every guest with a romantic experience including: dining, nightlife, year-round recreation, skiing, golf, horseback riding, relaxing spas, and headline entertainers like comedians, musicians, and more! All of the resorts participate in a “Key Around Program” that allows all guests to enjoy services and amenities from all three resorts.

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

As my husband and I drove up the tree-lined path toward the resort, we passed a heart-shaped sign that read, “You are now entering the Land of Love” embossed around pine and walnut trees and ferns. The mountain and lake views of the resort reminded me of similar views in the movie Dirty Dancing, in which the family vacationed in the Catskill Mountains of New York.

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

As we pulled up to the lodge, the lake glistened behind it with families enjoying the amenities on the water while a couple laying in a hammock on the lush, green grounds took a nap in the shade. We checked-in with a warm welcome from Julia who told us about the property and surrounding areas. A photographer encouraged us to take a romantic picture by a large stone fireplace with a crackling fire.

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

Two walls displayed famous people who have stayed on the property with signatures on their frames. I introduced myself to the Manager, Janice, who was kind enough to upgrade our reservation with their most luxurious suite, to get the full experience of the property. Before we went to see our accommodations, a frequent guest named Charlie talked with us about how he’s been coming to the Pocono Palace Resort for over 20 years and never had a bad experience. One of his favorite things to do when he visits is to go fishing on the lake, explaining that he’s caught dozens of fish over the years. It was easy to take his word for it with his busy lifestyle as an Oncologist working on breast cancer research as he escapes to none other than this resort hidden away in this lovely town. 

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

In fact, the Poconos became a place for many to flock…many GI’s during World War II would take their significant others and families to the Poconos. The area had a romantic appeal for young people and honeymooners. The first honeymoon resort of the Pocono Mountains was called The Farm on the Hill and more plush resorts opened in the 1940s and 1950s spurring a growing resort business. In the 1960s through the 80s, the heart-shaped tubs were introduced at Caesars Cove Haven in Lakeville (which later became the Cove Haven Entertainment Resorts). Life Magazine ran photos of their sexy suites resulting in naming the Pocono Mountains the “Honeymoon Capital of the World.” The Pocono Raceway opened its 2-1/2 mile super speedway in the 70s with the first series of Indy car races; NASCAR followed soon after, and the Poconos continues to bring over 100,000 race fans twice each summer. The growth of whitewater rafting, golfing, outlet shopping, festivals and other attractions, has also increased the appeal of the Poconos as a year-round destination. In the 90s, several well-regarded honeymoon resorts closed and other accommodations and tourist attractions made significant improvements to their properties. In the 2000s, casinos and spas, championship golf courses, and restaurants catered to stressed guests looking to be pampered.

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

Breathing in the fresh, mountain air, we were ready to relax and be pampered too. Let me just say that the Roman Towers Suite did not disappoint! As we walked in, the décor featured royal red carpeting, tall, white towers that resembled Roman ruins at every turn, with long windows and mirrors nearly everywhere. The first thing we saw was the seven-foot Champagne Glass Jacuzzi Whirlpool Bath-for-Two that overlooked the living room where a cozy, log-burning fireplace could set the mood for a romantic escape. Our favorite feature of the suite was easily the glass-enclosed, heated heart-shaped pool. A dry sauna with a massage table with a heat lamp were in the same room as the pool; even though it was summer, the heat of the sauna felt so good on our sore and achy muscles. If that weren’t enough, we climbed the stairs to the second floor to view our round, king-sized bed with a celestial ceiling to feel like you’re sleeping under the stars. We absolutely loved it! Two TVs with Bose 321 surround sound systems with DVD and CD players were also on both floors of the suite. A personal refrigerator for some water or ‘bubbly’ later was close to the Jacuzzi tub and bedroom area. The bathroom had a double vanity and a separate shower with two seating options. In all the places I’ve traveled with my husband, this was definitely a “fantasy-palace.” You’d have to go out of your way to have a bad time here! The suites by themselves were an attraction—it made us wonder if anyone ever left it long enough to use all the fun amenities offered on site or in the surrounding areas. 

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

In-room Sauna - The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

After we got settled, we went off to dinner which was back in The Lodge. A greeter named Kat gave a warm, friendly smile and asked for our names. She seated us in the dining room, which was decorated with tree branches with white lights along a mix of old stone and wood that easily gave you the impression of a camp lodge. The tables had white, thick tablecloths and navy blue napkins. A candle was always at the table, even at breakfast. A menu telling the items of the day were featured; the all-inclusive option really is the way to go at a place like this—you really get the bang for your buck and all the options were absolutely delicious. Our first night, my husband had a salad and I had the beef barley soup. Bread and butter were served along with the dinner we selected from a menu of four options. We had grilled chicken with broccoli, candied yams, and corn salsa. It was garnished with a beautiful, purple orchid.  The after-dinner entertainment our first night was a dance & party with DJ Barry plus Karaoke and the “Newlywed/Not-so-Newlywed Game.” Throughout our stay were an abundance of activities like Dirty Mind Trivia, Sexual Pictionary, happy hours, TV & music trivia, golf cart rentals, and even an Outdoor Adventure Zone that featured laser tag, paintball, horseshoes, lawn bowling, volleyball, cornhole, croquet, Frisbee golf, bocce, badminton, and even outdoor movies. 

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

 

Additionally, on-site, were massage and spa services that you can even request to have in your private suite; an outdoor pool and grill, a fitness room, tanning beds, plus the marina that sits on Echo Lake has every water activity you can think of—even we participated in paddleboating and fishing (I caught a bluegill too!). One afternoon, we decided to drive off-site to Bushkill Falls, nicknamed “The Niagara of Pennsylvania.” Accessible through four different hiking trails and bridges are eight unique waterfalls burrowed in the wooded Pocono Mountains. The falls were first opened to the public by Charles E. Peters in 1904 and are still owned by the Peters family. Adult admission is $13.50/day, Seniors 62 years of age and older is $12.50; children aged four through ten years of age are $8, and children three years and younger are free. You can also rent paddleboats, play miniature golf, fish, and mine for gemstones. Anyone who visits the magnificent falls will feel truly peaceful being one with nature. The cool mist from the alluring Falls that brushed across our bodies as we hiked the highs and lows of the footpath felt so good in the humid, summer air. 

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

Bushkill Falls, PA. From The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

Bushkill Falls, PA. From The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

Bushkill Falls, Poconos

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

Afterward, there was a Native American museum on-site and I’m extremely fascinated with Native American history and couldn’t wait to go in. The museum was all in one room showcasing life of the Delaware Indians who lived in that area. The houses were longhouses built with a sort-of thatched roof and animal skins. Displays along the walls taught the reader about hunting and food, child-raising and overall village life of the native inhabitants. The Pocono Mountains region was native to many Native American tribes including the Iroquois, Shawnee, Minisink, Lenape, and Paupack. In the 1600s, the Dutch established settlements here near the famous Delaware Water Gap but were forced out by the English later on. The history was fascinating and reminded me a lot of the Native Americans who lived along the coast of Virginia near Jamestown. Connected to the museum was a gift shop and we bought a gorgeous hand-painted vase that has horses and trees on it with deep blues, purples, and greens along with two children’s books. 

Native American Museum, Poconos

Native American Museum, Poconos

We tried to book a couples massage after our visit to the Falls but we didn’t book it in time (note to readers: book early!). We got our funny caricature done by a traveling artist named Mary Kay. She talked with us the whole time as she drew and colored us. My husband especially wanted this keepsake for such an amazing trip we had and I’m glad we did it. You can find Mary Kay Williams on Facebook and view more of her work. She’s a traveling artist and could stop in a city or town near you! Her email is marykayarts[at]gmail.com and accepts art commissions and is also available to draw at parties and events. She’s charismatic and funny and told great stories! 

Caricature by Mary Kay Williams. The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

We decided to also take a tour around the Pocono Palace Resort and look at lakeside chalets, the outdoor pool, and buy a few items from the hotel gift shop before spending the rest of the afternoon cruising along tranquil Echo Lake and enjoying the serene views all around us. After a couple hours of paddleboating and fishing, we gained an appetite. We went back to our room to freshen up and then went to our last dinner at this charming resort. That night, my husband ordered one of his favorite foods, shrimp cocktail to accompany his dinner of salad, steak, roasted potatoes and a wedge of lettuce. I ordered the New England clam chowder, a truly delicious panko-crusted chicken breast that came with mashed potatoes and green beans. We both ordered cheesecake for dessert that night with strawberry topping. The great thing about ordering dessert was the sundae-bar they had for any dessert you ordered; chocolate sauce, fruit preserves, crushed cookies, little candies, whipped cream, nuts, cherries—anything to dress up the dessert you ordered. It was a big hit amongst the guests. Like I said before, go with the all-inclusive option because I promise, you won’t be sorry! Every day you get a full-hot breakfast that would make even a hobbit feel full. A display of eggs, bacon, sausage, French toast, pancakes, biscuits, bagels and cream cheese, fresh fruit, home fries, hash browns, and even berry-filled blintzes. Dinners give you at least four options for both the main course and dessert. You also get a choice of salad or soup and fresh rolls. You don’t get lunch in the package but after an extraordinarily huge breakfast you’re really not ready to eat until dinner… at least, that’s how we felt. 

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

If you do gain a midday appetite, Pocono Palace Resort has Spooner’s and the Lion’s Den Lounge on-site and of course, a diverse selection of options, if you venture off. We also thoroughly enjoyed the nightly entertainment that evening: John Graham, who’s a Magician and Mentalist. My husband loves magic shows; He’s the one that would buy a deck of cards or marbles and jacks and figure out ways to make things disappear in front of your eyes. Since that can sometimes turn into #epicfails, he gets a kick out of the magic acts of professionals. We both were entertained as this brilliant entertainer used comedic presentations of his predictions and illusions leaving the audience laughing through hilarious jokes as well as sitting in awe of his tricks. One great example as he called upon a volunteer in the audience was making a one dollar bill disappear and re-appear in a perfectly untouched lemon. He asked the volunteer to cut the dollar and asked another to write their initials on it. We watched the volunteer cut open the lemon and pull out the exact same dollar with the ripped edge and initials of another. I looked over at my husband who had this expression on his face of pure wonder and amazement. When the whole show was over, the engaged audience gave a hearty applause. My husband couldn’t wait to buy the latest magic acts John Graham was selling that had three magic tricks inside. He’s already practiced at least one of them on me and I can say, he did an excellent job—thank you John Graham—you made my husband’s day!! 

Today, the Poconos continues to thrive as millions of dollars are invested for renovations and new properties for both business and leisure; even adventure activities like zip lining, stockcar racing, biking, canoeing, and parasailing offer recreation sports and opportunities in nine of its state parks, offering a wide selection of outdoor fun. The quaint, small towns in the area also make for great day-trips and getaways, too! Milford, along the Delaware River, hosts film and music festivals while the Victorian town of Jim Thorpe, along the Lehigh River, displays historic mansions and picturesque scenery, earning nicknames like, “Switzerland of America” and “Gateway to the Poconos.” Honesdale, called the “Birthplace of the American Railroad,” provides themed railroad tours while Stroudsburg has spectacular artistry and shopping and has many notable people from the area including American comedy writer, Daniel Chun for The Office and formerly The Simpsons; Bryan K. Liechtenberg, an astronaut who flew on two NASA missions STS-9 and STS-45; and Chris Neild, an American football player for the Washington Redskins, just to name a few. If you have time, make sure to venture (maybe in the autumn season especially) on Pennsylvania Route 6—which stretches along 400 miles and 11 counties that help you experience the historic treasures of the state. National Geographic has named this span of road, “One of America’s most scenic drives!” 

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

My husband and I both loved this trip more than we even could have expected. I’d like to give a special thank you to the Resort Manager, Janice Goren, who went out of her way to make our stay extra special. She’s a lady who really understands the meaning of true hospitality. We can’t say enough great things about the Pocono Palace Resort, the staff, and the surrounding areas of the Poconos. Consider your next trip to be here—whether it is for a romantic getaway with your significant other or with the family, there’s something here for everyone!

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

 

Visiting the Poconos - resources for travelers: 

http://www.800poconos.com/ 
http://www.covepoconoresorts.com/ 
http://www.covepoconoresorts.com/resorts/pocono-palace 
http://www.visitbushkillfalls.com/ 
http://www.jimthorpe.org/ 
http://www.visithonesdalepa.com/
http://www.milfordpa.us/ 
http://www.frommers.com/trip-ideas/cultural-immersion/pas-route-6-drivin...

The Old Honeymoon Capital of the World...The Poconos!

 

Stasia Lopez is the Global Education Editor for Wandering Educators and is also a Career Consultant at the University of Pittsburgh. She graduated with her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Western Michigan University and earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Robert Morris University. Stasia is passionate about international education, travel,  and loves working on a college campus. She’s lived in four different U.S. states (Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania) and also studied and lived abroad in Rome, Italy. Stasia lives in the Pittsburgh area with her husband, Fernando.

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Stasia Lopez

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