A travel journal
to Poconos by zabelle
Quote: Forget everything you think you know about the Poconos. They are so much more than just a honeymoon destination. They are a four season, multi generational getaway location that every member of the family will enjoy.<
Lakes dominate the scenery here. What really fascinated me was that most of them are man-made. Being from New England, I found this hard to imagine. I know of a couple of small ponds that are man-made, but never anything on the scope of giant Lake Wallenpaupak, with its 52 miles of unbroken coast line. Even our small lake is flooded farmland; the stone walls that we are patiently removing are a dead giveaway.
For those who like outdoor entertainment, Bushkill Falls is a must. Billed as the Niagara Falls of Pennsylvania, Bushkill offers wonderful trails and scenic vistas to hike or just walk.
Children will love Claws and Paws. This is an animal park that is set in the woods and offers some unique and surprising encounters with a great many wild creatures.
If shopping is more your bag, a visit to Holly Ross Pottery will send you home with many bags and maybe even a few boxes. The savings here are phenomenal and the selection tempting. There are enough antiques stores to keep even the most avid antiquer occupied, and if you can’t live without your outlet fix, Tannersville has the "Crossing" where all the usual and a few unusual retailers have gathered in an easy-to-visit outlet mall.
The Poconos are widespread, and you will need to have a car. An airport services Greater Scranton, and there is a train station as well. Driving is by far the preferred way to see the sights. The deep valleys and rolling hills dotted with scenic lakes make driving an enjoyable experience. With so much to see, give yourself plenty of time to fully enjoy the scenery.
Restaurant | "Kundla's"
It doesn’t look like much from the outside. It took us several months to realize anything was there. There is a logical explanation for why we didn’t realize it was a restaurant by the smell; it is only open in the warm months. As soon as they started cooking, we started noticing.
First let me warn you, parking can be a problem here. There is a Weiss Supermarket across 348 and it is often a good idea to just park your car there and cross over. We have never been here when it wasn’t crowded. It's great food and everybody for miles around knows it.
The half chickens, beef ribs and pork ribs are slow cooked over open pits. It’s amazing to watch them turn those huge baskets of chicken halves. The flavor comes from the cooking not from being buried under barbecue sauce. You get in line and place your meat order. They grab the chicken halves from coolers where they are stored, brush them with sauce and then whack, whack, whack, it’s in 4 pieces. I love watching. We have tried everything. The ribs just fall of the bone, the beef ribs are big and a little tougher but it’s the chicken I love. You can get a combination of chicken and ribs and also beef and pork ribs.
You move down the counter and pick your sides, fresh white corn on the cob, steamed and buttered, wrapped in foil, homemade french fries, half sour pickles, baked beans, potato and macaroni salad and a cooler with drinks. You slide your tray to the cashier and then it’s off to find a picnic table to enjoy your treat at. We took our 2 oldest grandkids there last week and they both loved the chicken and fries. One of them is 13 almost 14 so you know how hard it can be to please a kid this age. They both had more than they could eat and it cost us $27 for 4 of us.
Most of the help are teens so sometimes service can get a little backed up especially at the fries and the register but this is not about fast food, this is about good food. Everyone in line seems pretty laid back and the only concern is finding a table, best bet is to send one of your party to grab a table while one waits for the order.
If you still have room there is an ice cream bar to get dessert but we have never had enough room to try it.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 19, 2002
Kundla's Western Beef Company
Hamlin, PA 18427
Keatings isn’t the kind of place that you just happen to pass. It's on a very back road in Cortez Pa. Cortez in located east of Scranton, south on Honesdale and right next door to our cottage in Mt. Cobb. Half the fun of eating there is finding it. There are signs more than 5 miles away advertising it along the road and the trick is to not get lost. Once you have found it, you are in for a treat.
This is the old fashioned kind of ice cream bar located right at the farm. The drawback of course is the odor of cows outside but once your inside you will be fascinated by all the marvelous flavors to try. They make over 80 flavors and on any given day you will have a choice of 30 or more. What I really liked besides the delicious ice cream was that when my little grandchildren wanted a cone the staff gave them each a small one and charged me for one medium; they automatically did it. They also let them try any flavor that looked good to them. (Yes, I know Baskin and Robbins lets you sample, too, but this is Cortez!!!)
Your tastebuds will be tantalized by such exotic flavors as rice pudding, coconut custard pie, 3rd rock, funky monkey (amazing like Chunky Monkey from Ben & Jerry’s), very berry cheesecake, kiwi, peach melba and the old standards of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry in regular and sugar free. The ice cream is rich and full of extras but is not as rich as the gourmet ice creams. It has a very real and very fresh flavor and they had the business to show that we were not the only ones who thought so.
There are a couple of booths inside and a couple picnic tables outside. Most people just buy their treats and eat them in the car. We however had not only 3 grandchildren but also our new puppy so we ate in. I was very pleased that they let us bring him in because it was too hot in the car for him to wait there.
Their pledge is "We promise to live up to your expectations by providing you with a product that everyone will enjoy" and our family thinks that they have succeeded very well.
Keating's Heaven Gate Farm
What a find this was. Randy and Carole Worhrle and their children provide a memorable buffet experience. This is not one of your usual buffets, nor is it brunch. It is breakfast offered with made to order omelets done for us on several occasions by daughter Leeann who really knows her omelets. This last visit of the summer had Randy at the omelet pan as Leeanne has gone off to college. The sons of the family Nicky and Chris are busy managing the kitchen and producing a family recipe french toasts that are to die for. They taste like a hot sticky bun.
Beside your cups of hot coffee and cold juice you can choose from fresh fruit served in a watermelon, bread pudding, Belgian waffles, Blueberry blintzes, eggs, cheese and Canadian bacon on an English muffin, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, bagels, pastries, cereal, and if you request it toast.
The omelets are what greet you as you walk in the door and on busy days you place your order before you even have a seat. On that first day it wasn’t quite as busy and Carole brought me some of her homemade jelly with my toast. We are now regulars and we get a greeting when we arrive. Oh, did I forget to mention, all this is only $7.95!!!
The atmosphere is very soothing, pastel colors and soft music playing. The walls are decorated with crafts. If you prefer there is a glass atrium, which offers a large additional seating area. There are booths along the walls and tables in the center. This is a children friendly restaurant.
Now Kay’s also serves lunches and dinner and since the buffet stops the week after Labor Day we will have to try another meal until next summer. Believe me, we can hardly wait.
By the way, the restaurant serves Italian food made from Randy’s mother’s recipes and Kay was her name.
Open 7 days a week 11am-11pm.
Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania
Restaurant | "The Cabin Cafe"
The restaurant itself actually does look like a cabin with log walls and a large stone fireplace. The tables are all wood and no two are the same. As you walk in the door you are greeted by a large case filled with pastries on one half and penny candies in the other half. The restaurant was quite full but we had only a short wait to be seated at our table. The tablecloths are all either vintage tablecloths or vintage material. It makes a very attractive setting. The tables are also set with an eclectic mix of salt and pepper shakers, ours were pigs. The coffee mugs also look like ones you might find in your own home.
There was a large specials board on the wall and today’s offerings were banana pancakes, 3-cheese omelet, Southern Bell Benedict and Breakfast Burritos. On the regular menu there was Eggs Benedict, Veggie Benedict, Irish Benedict (with corn beef), Sourdough bread pudding with vanilla caramel sauce and more.
Al decided to have the 3-cheese omelet and it was absolutely perfect. It was cooked all the way through and not browned (which I hate). Actually that omelet it what brought us back, I wanted it too. It was served with home fries, which are sliced fried potatoes and this was the only week point in the breakfast. They just aren’t crispy enough.
I had the cinnamon raisin french toast, which were served with a pitcher of warm syrup. They were wonderful, thick slices redolent with raisins and cinnamon.
The coffee was gourmet and our cups were kept very full. Al thought the food took a little long to be delivered but certainly it was well worth waiting for.
The clientele on this particular day was very mixed. A combination of vacationers, locals, a couple in Harley tee shirts and several families. Everyone looked comfortable being there. It is certainly child friendly and even the restrooms are delightful and ultra clean. This is breakfast at its best with modern nuances and good old-fashioned atmosphere.
Open Tuesday–Sunday, 7-3.
update 2007 A change in ownership had us worried but it was needless. The food just keeps getting better and better. A new favorite of mine is the fruit bowl with yogurt and granola. It has whatever fruits are in season with plain vanilla yogust and delicious crunchy granola.In the colder months I often opt for their warm granola bowl which is a chunkier oatmeal with the choice of honey or raspberry sauce and the addition of bananas makes it just perfect.This has been our favorite for breakfast for 5 years.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 19, 2002
135 North Main Street
Restaurant | "Rainetree Restaurant"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 3, 2007
570 South Sterling Road
South Sterling, PA 18460
You enter through a small museum, which tells you about the wildlife in the area. You go through displays of stuffed animals, flora and fauna. It’s a warm up for what is to come.
The area is divided into colored hiking trails that offer varying degrees of difficulty. The most popular trail takes 45 minutes to hike and leads you past the Main Falls. The problem the day we were there was that a tree had fallen and blocked that path right past the falls, we walked to the falls on that trail and then had to backtrack to change to another trail. The trails that we took (green to yellow then red) are also the easiest route but be warned! Going this way involves climbing many steep wooden stairs. There is no other way to see the Falls. My girl friend who has had many knee surgeries made it to the Falls but not without quite a lot of discomfort and we could not convince her to continue beyond them. I have arthritic knees but I was able to navigate the area with a minimal amount of pain. The view at the Falls certainly made it worthwhile. Don’t be fooled however, Niagara Falls this ain’t. But the wonderful sylvan setting and the lack of immense crowds certainly made up for the lack of water volume. If you are up for a more strenuous hike take the blue or red trail to Bridal Veil Falls.
We spent about 2 hours wandering with the kids though the woods and along the streams. It was relaxing and enervating at the same time.
Bushkill Falls Road / Rt 209
It is located off the beaten track in LaAnna, Pennsylvania, and there is nothing sleek about it. It is an original factory outlet located at the factory. If you can visit Monday through Friday, you will be as lucky as we were last week to get to have a tour. It is a small tour--nothing like the one we took 5 years ago at the Royal Worcester Factory in England--but it offers the same insight into how pottery is produced.
We were taken through the process from the pouring of the slag into the molds,
through the glazing and firing of the pottery, and we got to glimpse the inside of the kilns. We learned a lot and enjoyed ourselves doing it. We learned the difference between china and pottery and how to be sure we purchase quality china. One of the artists,
who is over 80 years old, was busy in another room adding the decoration to the individual pieces.
What brings me back here time and time again are the prices. They are wholesale. You pay the same for their pottery as any distributor would. This will save you up to 70% off retail. I come here to buy Fiestaware.
No, it's not perfect--you have through look through every piece to see if it has a flaw that you can live with, but for $1.99 per plate and $6.99 for a gravy boat, I find that there are many imperfections I can tolerate.
My daughter bought a full set of dishes (not Fiesta), and she was taken into the back room to pick the pieces of her set: 40 pieces for under $60! It is beautiful china at a phenomenal price.
You can also find an enormous choice of Fenton Art glass (all first-quality), Precious Moments, cranberry glass, their own Holley Ross items, and lots of seasonal and gift ideas. The selection and variety here is outstanding. I can't wait to do some of my Christmas shopping here.
The store is open daily from May to mid-December. The tours are held at 11am Monday to Friday. Hours are Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 5:30pm and Sunday 1pm to 5:30pm. The Tours are FREE!
Holley Ross Pottery
Poconos, Pennsylvania 18326
Attraction | "Claws and Paws"
The first exhibit you pass is the lion. The animals are caged but they have large areas to roam. No it doesn’t look like the Saranghetti as most new and modern zoos do but the animals appear to be well kept and reasonably happy. There is a nice mix of the exotic and the every day.
The children can feed the giraffe with the help of a member of the staff and they particularly enjoyed this. There are many attempts to entertain the younger guests all over the park. There is a dinosaur bone dig where children get a shovel and dig in the dirt for small dinosaurs. The staff is ever vigilant for anyone who might be having difficulty locating one; they are directed to an area where the fossils are more prevalent.
There are many photo opportunities available. Children are encouraged to climb aboard the covered wagon or enter the teepee set up in the Wild West area. They can also mine for gemstones for an additional fee. A show is offered in a pavilion several times a day and children get to hold and touch snakes and lizards. The kids loved that. This park is truly geared toward children but some of their offerings are beautiful and unique. The white Bengal tiger was magnificent and there was an albino wallaby that was the cutest thing. I loved the fennec fox, which I thought was the most adorable animal I’ve ever seen.
The paths are tough walking and unpaved. There is no way a stroller could be used with great success. This is a rustic setting so be prepared to watch out for tree roots and stones in the paths. There is some expansion going on so there will be new offerings next year.
There is nothing slick about this operation but on a warm day it offers a lot of shady coverage and more than enough entertainment to keeps kids and adults happy.
There is a snack bar and a large picnic area offered. The gift shop has some beautiful stuffed animals and lots of other things as well.
Claws 'N' Paws