Listening to the gurgling waters of the
Wallenpaupack Creek on a warm, lazy afernoon. Sitting on a lawn chair just
behind the Sterling Inn, a couple of feet from the bank of the creek. The
smell of freshly-cut lawn mingled with the scent of the forest on the
other side of the water. You reach down to scoop a handful of water. It's
feels clean and cool. A flash of red and another of blue signal a cardinal
and a bluejay darting into the woods, deep in the Pocono Mountains of
The romantic Pocono Mountains have been attracting
honeymooners for nearly two decades. While most stay at posh resorts, many
are beginning to discover the delights of the region's county inns, which
have long taken a backseat to resorts with champagne-glass tubs and
glowing fireplaces. While the latter offers modern amenities, the former
offers sumptuous comforts and the romantic aura of another time.
Tucked away into peaceful corners of lush Pocono valleys
and mountainsides, these quaint establishments and their innkeepers are
dedicated to the age-old tradition of innkeeping. Individualized
accommodations and fine cuisine, as well as personal service have become
their hallmark. The inns' gracious hospitality and their picturesque
surroundings seem to be in perfect harmony with Mother Nature.
These inns offer variety--a turn-of-the-century farm
house, a storybook French chateau or a restored Tudor manor. Adorned with
Victorian and early 20th-century collectibles, lace, wicker, and family
heirlooms, each has its own distinctive character. Brass and four-poster
beds, armoires and dressers grace the guest bedrooms, suites and cottages.
Overstuffed parlor chairs nestled next to massive fireplaces and wooden
rockers on grand verandas beckon the two of you to relax and unwind after
your hectic wedding.
Where have these inns been while the Pocono resorts
received all the attention. All seven of them were inns or guesthouses
long before the other resorts were even open. But due to changing travel
habits and tastes, they fell out of favor. Now under the loving hands of
dedicated innkeepers, they have once again been reborn.
The Sterling Inn, in Sterling, is more like an
old-fashioned resort. Located on a back road, it offers enticing hiking
and walking trails on its 103-acre property and nearby. One even leads to
a waterfall on the ridge behind the inn. There's an indoor heated pool and
a little pond with willow trees and a few ducks. But its the inn's natural
setting that gives it its charm.
Originally built in 1860 on what is believed to be the
site of an Indian village, the first major expansion came in 1911, when a
large dining room and sitting area with fireplaces were added, as well as
20 guest rooms. Those were the days of hall baths, with washbasins on the
dressers and chamber pots under the beds. Long gone are those
One of its buildings was a former school house which was
later purchased and converted to additional rooms. In 1927, the Hilltop
portion of the inn was sold by the Edwards family to Mrs. Alice Julian,
who owned it until the present owners, Ron and Mary Kay Logan, bought it
in 1982. Though the actual date of construction of Hilltop is unknown, a
newspaper discovered under old wallpaper was dated 1868. Two other homes
built sometime in the 1870s, the Guest House and the Meadowlark Cottage,
are also a part of the inn. Today, ten buildings provide 38 rooms and 16
suites in a variety of styles. Rooms are $160 and suites $220 per couple,
including breakfast and dinner, weekends.
The magnificent French Manor in South Sterling,
also owned by the Logans, is a stone chateau possessing many of the
features of Joseph Hirschorn's actual French manor in the south of France.
One hundred and sixty-five craftsmen and artisans
created the elegant hunting lodge for him using natural lumber and
fieldstones from the Huckleberry Mountain. Leaded glass doors and windows,
an imported Spanish slate roof, a Romanesque arched entranceway, a
spacious stone veranda and massive stone fireplaces attest to the
artisans' mastery. A more upscale place that doesn't take children, its
rooms, with breakfast, are $180 to $225 weekends.
The Settler's Inn of Hawley was built in 1927 by
the Hawley Community Hotel Company. Believing the town would benefit from
having a "grand Hotel" to house the hundreds of visitors to Lake
Wallenpaupack, the new company sold $100 shares in the new hotel and a
goal of $145,000 was set for the 55-room hotel's site, equipment and
Unfortunately, the Crash of 1929 halted construction
until the 1930s when it was purchased, finished and run as The Tudor Manor
well into the 1960s. After being sold again, the Arts and Crafts period
building functioned as a boy's school, a nightclub and as housing for the
elderly. The 54-room hotel was purchased yet again in 1980 by present
innkeepers Grant and Jeanne Genzlinger, who combined the former rooms into
18 larger ones and began restoring its former glory. Now its chestnut wood
beams, native bluestone fireplace, outdoor patio and beautiful herb
gardens add to the ambiance of this Tudor manor. All rooms have private
bath and are $83 to $113 on weekends, including a full breakfast.
The Pine Knob Inn began life as a tannery. In
1847, George Northrup and Dr. Gilbert Palen opened a tannery in what was
then Frogtown. Prior to the Civil War, the two men built homes side by
side along he Brodhead Creek and, taking the name for the hemlock tree,
Tsuga Canadensis, which furnished the bark for the tanning of sole
leather, Dr. Palen renamed Frogtown Canadensis. The tannery closed in
1875, and the building was turned into a guest house in 1886. Dr. Palen's
home became the Pine Knob Inn. The addition of two small guest houses and
a cottage in the 1900s enabled the inn to increase its capacity from 30 to
Innkeepers, Bob and Kathy Overman purchased the inn in
1985 and have turned it into a romantic couples' retreat, reminiscent of
an English country house. Rooms here are $158 to $190, with full breakfast
and dinner, weekends.
Inn at Meadowbrook
Originally an equestrian center, the manor house
of the Inn at Meadowbrook, near East Stroudsburg, was built in the
mid-19th century by the Sebring Family. The mill house, built in the late
19th century, was a working grist mill. The Inn's trademark dining room,
added in 1924, features a 15-foot ceiling, arched columns, raised
fireplace, tall Palladian windows and French doors.
In 1940, the property was purchased by a European
horseman who built the stables and began inviting guests to join him for
horseback riding. Many famous authors and actors were among his guests.
Twenty years later, the stables were expanded and a large indoor riding
arena was added. Bob and Kathy Overman purchased the Inn in 1985 and
renovated it into a country inn. Rooms, with shared or private baths, are
$60 to $95, including country breakfast.
Built in 1890, the 10-room Frogtown Inn, in
Canadensis, also began life as a farmhouse. Its owners began taking in
guests and soon it became known as the Old Village Inn. It has been
renamed by its present owners, Stanley and Carol Zimmer, who have restored
it. Maple trees line the drive and a trout stream flows through its six
acres. Its romantic cozy rooms are $80 per couple, including a full
Crescent Lodge, in Cresco, has been owned and
operated by the Dunlop family since 1946. Now in its third generation, the
Inn manages to combine both the quaint charm of yesterday with the modern
comforts of today. Thirty individual guest rooms feature canopy beds,
intimate balconies and wall fireplaces was well as whirlpool tubs,
Jacuzzis and sundecks. A very special one high up in the woods, is perfect
for honeymooners who want to be left alone. Rooms are $100 to 150 on
weekends. Cottages start at $170.
Perhaps it's the intimate ambiance of these inns or
their attention to detail that contributes to their inviting atmosphere.
Family run, sometimes for generations, they never leave their guests
wanting. And each is preserved with care and authentically furnished,
bringing history to life.
The Pocono country inns are known for their fine and
personalized service. And that service usually extends to meals.
Sumptuous meals are elegantly prepared, often by
innkeepers themselves, and served in convivial dining rooms appointed with
laces and linens, fine china, candles, flowers and spectacular views of
Pocono mountain scenery.
after all, can compare with the taste and aroma of home-baked breads,
cakes and pies, locally grown fruits and vegetables that explode with
color and flavor, and fish and game from nearby farms that are uniquely
prepared and vary from season to season. The menus are as varied as the
Each inn's cooking approaches gourmet, with specialties
to fit every taste. The Sterling, for instance, offers braised stuffed
pork chops Emmenthalaer, while Crescent Lodge offers roast duckling. The
Pine Knob Inn proudly serves a five-course, candlelit dinner, featuring
whole stuffed lobster.
Settler's Inn, uses Pennsylvania beer, wine and cheeses
and plans its menus around the harvest of its own herb garden with over 15
varieties of herbs and spices. Or guests can choose from either a creamy
risotto with wild mushrooms or venison with chestnut puree. For those
wishing for a taste of Europe, the French Manor and Frogtown Inn serve
authentic French cuisine.
Frogs legs Provencal, home-smoked salmon, potage with
rabbit, and roast duck with blackberry sauce are just some of the enticing
entrees. After dinner, guests gather in amiable parlors and pubs or on
grand verandas for conversation or table games.
Each inn serves its guests a hearty country breakfast,
often included in the price of a room. The Inn at Meadowbrook invites its
guests to begin their Sundays with fluffy pancakes and bacon. Pine Knob
serves a gourmet breakfast on Sunday, complete with sausage and biscuits,
Belgian waffles, and blueberry pancakes.
The French Manor serves an elegant brunch. For many, the
Poconos are synonymous with breathtaking scenery and invigorating outdoor
activities. All the innkeepers can make arrangements for canoeing, tennis
and golf or guests can go hiking, fishing, and swimming in nearby ponds
and lakes. Antique lovers will find numerous shops and cooperatives in and