Summer is everyone’s favorite time to getaway on the weekends. And if you happen to live in New York, Philly or DC, the Pocono Mountains make for the perfect weekend escape. Once you get out of the DC traffic it’s a pretty straight shot up a scenic route. While they have recently rebranded themselves as a family destination and solidified their spot as one by opening two new waterparks, there’s something there for everyone. Especially if you love outdoor adventure. The US has some amazing sites to go and see, you can go on Dreamland Tours and hike through the Utah canyons, really experience what America has to offer.
THE CHATEAU RESORT
Last weekend I set off with a few other DC bloggers to explore all the Pocono region had to offer. We started by establishing a home base at the The Chateau Resort. The resort is conveniently situated in the middle of the Pocono Mountains and offers more affordable rates then the all-inclusive waterparks.
The check in desks are located at the back of the lobby and it’s hard to pay attention with the stunning mountain views just outside. When I walked into my suite I was immediately greeted by a spiral staircase leading up to my bed. The room was huge and climbing up to the lofted bed made it feel like I was sleeping in a treehouse! Well, a luxury treehouse.
After settling in we met downstairs and headed over to the Camelback Lodge at Camelback Resort. The resort offers skiing in the winter and outdoor adventures all year round. They also boast a brand new waterpark for when the weather’s less than perfect outside. You can get a tan through the sky light all year round!
After arriving at the lodge, we sampled their signature mojitos at Neptune’s overlooking the indoor waterpark. After a while we wandered downstairs to see the park firsthand. The space is lined with private cabanas and even equipped with a swim up bar. For dinner we ate at their buffet Hemisphere’s before sampling all their dessert specials. My favorite by far was the variety of cheesecake pops dipped in chocolate and served with a strawberry mousse.
Early the next morning we set off for Whitewater Challengers for a morning of rafting on the Lehigh River. The Pocono Mountains offer just about every form of outdoor adventure from hiking to skydiving with views of the NYC skyline to race car driving, but whitewater rafting is possible one of the most popular. The region hosts 170 miles of river, so its best to hire a guide, and the Lehigh River alone offers multiple whitewater rafting excursions.
When we arrived, we were taken back to a pavilion for a summer camp-style breakfast. Scrambled eggs, cafeteria style trays, fruit loops. Since the weather had turned wet and cold, we opted for wet suits. White water rafting in the rain is actually a lot of fun (I mean, you get wet anyways) but we weren’t prepared for the cold.
SHAWNEECRAFT BREWERY AT SHAWNEE INN
The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort has a long history and presents the excellent service and authentic experience you would expect from a secluded, family-run resort. They grow their own produce on the same island that hosts their popular golf course, and are about to add glamping to their diverse line up of lodging options.
When we pulled into ShawneeCraft Brewery at the back of the Inn we were greeted and seated at a long table. The chef explained we would be sampling a four-course farm to table meal paired and prepared with four of their craft brews. On a side note, I absolutely loved their brewery logo. I looked to see if they had any apparel with custom embroidery of it on for sale but I couldn’t see that they had unfortunately. It would have been great to keep! After dinner, we headed back behind the bar for a private brewery tour and finished the evening with locally roasted coffee. The coffee was delicious and reminded me of one of the blends I get in my Iron and Fire coffee subscription back home, except Iron and Fire will deliver it to your doorstep so you don’t have to travel far to taste luxury. It was a pleasant reminder of back home but also reminded me that now every time I drink my coffee at home, I’ll be able to think of this amazing trip and all of the wonderful things I have learned. I really enjoyed learning about the local produce first hand from the farmers and vendors joining us at dinner.
BREAKFAST AT THE CHATEAU RESORT
The Chateau Resort offers a quick breakfast buffet each morning. The dining room is just off the main lobby and offers views of the mountains and the pool.
For our last morning we stopped in for a quick breakfast after checking out. Our sweet server brought coffee and we helped ourselves to the buffet. It’s a quick and easy option if you are short on time or can’t be bothered to leave the hotel (it’s supposed to be a vacation after all).
The Kalahari Resorts and Convention just opened a brand new resort, convention center and waterpark. It is hard to guess by the impressive size of the resort, but it is family owned and the entire experience is inspired by the families 26-day trip to Africa.
When we arrived at Kalahari we were greeted by one of the family members for a sneak preview of the resort before its July 1 grand opening. Every aspect of a guest’s stay is influenced by the Kalahari theme from the coffee beans imported from plantations in Rwanda to the hotel decor handcrafted by African artisans and bought at village markets during their trip. It is exciting to know it’s a family business and they are actually there running it. They really fell in love with Africa and wanted to bring their experience back to the Pocono region. You can check out video from their African trip here.
Right in between all the resorts we visited lives Desaki, a hibachi house offering the region fresh sushi and smoking hibachi dishes served with a side of entertainment. The space is impressive and equipped to host everything from a family reunion or wedding to a VIP corporate meeting.
Or you could just settle in behind the grill with a couple of friends like we did and enjoy an oversized, delicious lunch. We started with a variety of their sushi specials served on big wooden boats followed by more grilled meats, veggies, rice and lo mien then you could imagine. Everyone walked out with at least one take out box. The staff is friendly at this family-centered restaurant, and conveniently they will even pick you up from your hotel in their bus if you’d like a driver.
Overall we had an excellent weekend in the mountains. Not even the rain could stop us.