I’m sharing what my hubby Bob and I did this past week just in case you happen to be daydreaming about what to do for a quick getaway before the chill of winter settles in.
We had a great getaway in the mountains this past week thanks to the generosity of friends who invited us to stay at their vacation home in Lake Harmony, PA. The area is also known as the Poconos and is an easy 2.5-hour drive from our home.
It was a 3-day getaway that we were both looking forward to but we made it a point to not make any plans until we arrived and would decide on the fly. A quick Google search gave us a handful of activities and restaurants that were close by.
The first night we arrived around 11pm and decided to call it a day.
The adventure begins…
On our first full day there it was up to me to decide what we would do. I’m pretty sure Bob was surprised when I said we would go out to breakfast and then go on a hike and finish the day with horseback riding. No, I don’t hike or ride horses but it seemed like it would be fun and the weather was absolutely perfect with mild autumn temperatures hovering in the low to mid-60s. The COVID-19 factor is still in effect and therefore masks and social distancing were factors in deciding what to do and where to go.
We enjoyed breakfast at a popular breakfast and lunch restaurant called, “Piggy’s.” It sits on the corner of a busy, winding country road in the heart of town. Their menu had a lot of American breakfast staples such as pancakes, eggs, and breakfast meats. Apparently, Piggys is famous for its “grilled toast” aka French Toast. I enjoyed an omelet with homefries and Bob had their famous cinnamon-sugar grilled toast The service was very friendly and professional while utilizing safety and sanitary measures for a pleasant dining experience.
After breakfast, Bob took me on a mini time-travel loop and showed me where he and his buddies used to ski and party back in the day. No doubt all involved had too much fun;-)
After that, we went to the Austin T. Blakeslee Natural Area (Highland Trail). This was maybe 15 minutes from where we had breakfast and I will say it was absolutely perfect! It was basically a 2-mile loop trail which means it loops you back to where you started. There was plenty of parking, picnic benches, and a pop-up bathroom for convenience. (aka Porto-Potty)
I mentioned the temperatures being mild, the sky was a clear blue and the sunshine was happy and bright. The trees were the most vibrant colors of yellow, orange, and various reds that I’ve ever seen! The combination of the weather, scenery, and being guests of Mother Nature felt magical at times. We walked, talked, climbed, skimmed stones across a babbling brook we came across that would make Sir Elton John and Crocodile Rock proud. (Actually, I failed miserably.) Bob kept finding little river rocks for me to skip across the water like he was doing but my rocks kept doing one thing…KERPLUNK!
Next up on the itinerary was horseback riding. Now, when I say, “horseback riding” think of it more like horseback “walking” which was more than enough for us. At one point a deer scared our horses and, well…you can probably imagine how quickly our hearts were racing while trying to hold on to the harness and/or saddles. We affectionately refer to things like this as “adventures in #Reginaland.”
Aside from the deer incident, it was a pretty mellow experience. Again, the beautiful weather with the sunshine peeking through the colorful foliage was gorgeous!
For dinner, we went to a local’s favorite called Shenanigans. Again the attention to detail with social distancing was done very well. We enjoyed our dinner and by 8 pm we were back at the house showered and relaxing after a FULLfilling day.
We heard of a quaint town called, Jim Thorpe, PA. It’s an old coal-mining town originally called Mauch Chunk in the early 1800s and renamed in 1954 after the Native American athlete Jim Thorpe. The center of town looks like a European village at the turn of the 19th century with its varied architecture. Much of the original Victorian homes and shops have been preserved and are now home to award-winning restaurants, cafes, gift shops, museums, and boutiques.
We enjoyed lunch at the Broadway Grille located in the Inn at Jim Thorpe, a grand hotel that was originally built in 1833 throughout its history. Many dignitaries including General Ulysses S. Grant, President William H. Taft, Buffalo Bill, Thomas Edison, and John D. Rockefeller chose to spend the night under its roof. There are whispers saying it’s haunted…you know, the usual stories that often are along for the ride when it comes to historical buildings from the Victorian area.
The menu limited but interesting, there were Truffle Fries, a Cranberry + Goat Cheese Salad. Bob & I kept it simple, he enjoyed a Pulled Pork sandwich topped with Crispy Onions and I had a Burger with Fries. The service was good and social distancing and sanitary measures to protect against the spread of Covid-19 were apparent.
After lunch, we decided to go on a 45-minute scenic train ride along the Lehigh River. I grew up less than 10 miles from the beach so this trip to the countryside with all of the colors textures and mountain air gave me a level of joy that I didn’t realize I was missing!
The old diesel train is called the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway that takes you on a 45-70minute scenic ride where you can see the beautiful Lehigh River and surrounding bridges and mountains. The conductor shared some great historical info with us and the other (socially distanced) passengers. It was different and the scenery was beautiful. We found it to be a relaxing way to be entertained before returning to the center of town to walk through the shops.
The shops were small and eclectic. There was everything from antique shops, a General Store & holistic boutiques to a Jerky store that offered all types of dehydrated meats and I’m pretty sure there were crickets available for your snacking pleasure as well. No, thank you.
The town was clean, people were happy and polite and over-all made for a great day!
It was a quick getaway but so worth it! If there’s a place close to you where you get in nature before the temperatures get too chilly, I highly recommend powering up with your best “let’s be a tourist” buddy and go for it!