Bushkill has the distinction of being home to two of the Poconos’
most spectacular natural settings: the Delaware Water Gap National
Recreation Area and Bushkill Falls.
The former, essentially a 67,000-acre outdoor playground, has
three river beaches and more than 100 miles of hiking trails (includ-
ing some 27 miles of the famed Appalachian Trail). And, of course,
the actual Delaware Water Gap, a scenic notch running through
the mountainous topography courtesy of the Delaware River. It’s a
breathtaking site when viewed from any number of lookout points.
Bushkill Falls is a collection of eight cascades, including the
100-foot-high Main Falls. There are four walking trails of varying difficulty.
If you’re up for it, take the 2-mile Red Trail to Bridal Veil Falls — and
enjoy each of the seven other spills along the way. There’s also a
minigolf course, a maze, and paddleboats available for rent.
Jim Thorpe manages to be both hip and quaint at the same time.
It’s nestled in the foot of a valley, an easy 30-minute jaunt from
Lake Harmony, and offers an interesting array of eclectic shops,
restaurants, historical sights, and outdoor activities.
One unique option is the Bike Train. You start with a 25-mile
locomotive journey up the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway to the
village of White Haven, and finish with a panoramic bicycle ride back
down. There are several white-water rafting opportunities, too.
Jim Thorpe River Adventures presents various experiences, from
tame to (in my opinion) semi-treacherous trips.
For fans of history and architecture, a day strolling among the
impressive buildings can be just as exciting. Many were built back
when coal mining made the town, and it subsequently became a
haven for industrialists such as Asa Packer. His 1861 residence,
open for tours, is a wonderfully preserved Italianate villa.
Other notable sites include the said-to-be-haunted Old Jail
Museum and the Mauch Chunk Opera House, which dates to
1881. Oh, and in case you were wondering, famed Olympian Jim
Thorpe is indeed interred in the town that has held his name since
1954 (though, interestingly, he’s not believed to have ever visited
during his lifetime).
Shawnee on Delaware, in the foothills of Monroe County, has
several cultural diversions that make it stand out. One is the popular
Shawnee Playhouse, which provides year-round entertainment —
everything from concerts and Broadway-style musicals to children’s
shows — brought to life by local actors.
C.C. Worthington, the same businessman who founded the orig-
inal playhouse at the start of the 1900s, went on to build what would
become the iconic Shawnee Inn, where the late Arnold Palmer met
his future wife back in 1954 after a day on the links. Its golf course is
open to the public, along with various restaurants, such as the River
Room Gastropub (featuring its own handcrafted beer).
American history is the main course in Milford. Start with Grey
Towers National Historic Site, the ancestral home of conservationist
Gifford Pinchot, two-time Pennsylvania governor and first head
of the U.S. Forest Service. His dramatic, French chateau–style
retreat is open for guided tours and walking along its many trails.
Issue 1, 2017
ABOVE: Preface an elegant meal in the
Delmonico Room with a classic cocktail
at Bar Louis, also in the Hotel Fauchère.
BELOW: Whether you seek speed,
exercise, or relaxation, you’ll find it on
Lake Wallenpaupack.
Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau; Hotel Fauchère; mandritoiu/Deposit Photos
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LEFT: Bushkill Falls, aka the Niagara
of Pennsylvania, descends through
lush forest.
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