The Poconos have become one of my favorite places to go since we have lived in New Jersey so I knew we had to go one last time before we head south. We decided to check out Mt. Pocono, a small resort community home to Camelback resort, Mt. Airy and Great Wolf Lodge a couple hours northwest of here. The drive out was breathtaking, with the leaves in full splendor.
Just as we were driving in to Mt. Pocono, a small thunderstorm rolled in and the sky turned the most stunning shade of red. I've never seen anything like it! It only lasted about five minutes so I didn't have a chance to get out and get any better pictures, but you get the idea.
Luckily my Gnocchi Ragu au Poivre at Bistecca was amazing, but I was really sad we couldn't play the Son's of Anarchy or Ghostbusters video gaming machines!
Since our evening got cut short, we went to sleep early and were up early for our hike to the top of Mt. Tammany at the Delaware Water Gap. josh had found the hike and said that everyone online said it was easy. I wasn't too concerned, but if you recall I fell in Soho a few days earlier and tore the tendons in my foot up into my ankle. I put on a brace and thought I would be okay. Even thought we got there pretty early, there was absolutely no parking and we had to end up walking about half a mile from our spot. It was such a gorgeous morning though it was totally okay.
It doesn't look too high, but our hike would take us to the very top of the mountain.
The trail didn't waste any time getting right into it. Straight up! My stupid ankle brace thing ended up digging right into the spot where the tendons had torn so I stopped a couple minutes in and just took it off!
The hike was a lot further than I thought, we were about 30 minutes in, having gone straight up the jagged rocky trail when we saw an elderly man that had obviously done this hike hundreds of times so we asked him how much further. He informed us that "we hadn't even started" I was thrilled! Haha. not only was my ankle hurting, I also was feeling somewhat nauseous for some reason. I have to say though, that the view from half way up was almost enough to make it worth it ;)
After a lot more straight up hiking we reached the top, absolutely stunning! And mostly I was excited for the trip down that took us on the backside of the mountain for a different view.
About half way down we came to this nice little waterfall. So pretty, and the yellow leaves made it even more beautiful.
I love trees that grow on rocks!
The creek running down the mountain.
After about 3 hours, we had made it! My ankle was sore, but I didn't damage it any further, and I didn't throw up! I really thought the view from our parking lot was almost as beautiful as the hike!
After that big hike, we needed some sustenance. We stopped at one of the first places we saw which was a breakfast all day country diner/BBQ joint called the Hickory Valley Farm Restaurant. The menu was amazing and we ate a lot of smoked meat and eggs! Delicious! We also picked up some Homemade Pumpkin Butter and Apple Butter made my Moon Shadows Farm, a local preserves company.
We went back to the hotel and showered up quickly and got back out to do some more exploring. We stopped at the Pocono Candle Shoppe, to look at candles, not really knowing what else the place held. Not only were there more candles than I had ever seen before but turns out it is a haunted house. Not like a Halloween haunted house, but actually haunted. Turns out that until 1901 a scientist by the name of William Redwood Fisher lived and worked in the house with his family. He had lost his father to Yellow Fever and dedicated his life to finding a cure for not only yellow fever but also Small Pox. He was a government funded scientist with a lab in the basement of the home where he experimented on many different types and sizes of monkeys that the government sent him. He sometimes had hundreds of Monkeys in the basement, most were small spider monkeys, but apparently he even acquired some chimpanzees and a gorilla. He did these experiments for years but never found the cure. After he died the basement was closed up, and until a few years ago, although the home was lived in, no one ever went into the basement. Everyone that lived in the house though did have some strange experiences hearing monkeys running around and screeching and even sometimes being poked or having their hair pulled. The current owner finally decided to go into the basement and found Fisher's lab just how he left it, with all of the old medical and testing equipment and the cages the monkeys were kept in. Creepy!
Anyway, you can now take a tour through the basement and learn the history of Dr. Fisher and his monkey experiments. It was very interesting and the story has been featured on a few Paranormal investigation shows.
On a lighter note, after the haunted house, we stopped at one of our favorite wineries, Franklin Hill (we had been to the actual vineyard another time we were out) for a tasting. This wine is so great and they had some new kinds we had to try and buy.
Somewhere that I was excited to go was The Peddler's Village, a HUGE antique mall (well, like a bunch of barns put together) with more antiques than I have ever seen in my life. We were just getting there as they were getting ready to close, but we made plans to come back in the morning. I did get two vintage NYC postcards and Josh got a Tina Turner shirt.
Just down the road was American Candle (apparently the Poconos are big into candles!) This was another massive building, like barns put together and each section was filled with different things. One was clothing, one was jewelry, one was collectable ornaments and one was candy. I wanted a lot of stuff but all we got was a bunch of candy that we did not need haha! All these bins were filled with every candy you could ever imagine.
It was getting late, and we had a long day, so we decided to stop at the Pocono Brewing Company for dinner. Be warned, the Pocono Brewing Company does not brew their own beer but they do have an awesome draft selection and some amazing sandwiches. They also have a kids game room so we tried our hand at doe darts, Big Buck Hunter and Skee Ball after dinner. I won as usual. And with that it was time for bed!
We slept in a bit on Sunday morning but were still out the door at a pretty decent time. We again didn't have much for plans but I really wanted to stop at the Pocono Farm Stand and Nursery. We had driven by it a couple times and I was sure they would have some sort of baking and apple cider. They did have more variations of pumpkins and gourds than I have ever seen before. Have you ever seen a Snake Squash? I have!
We quickly discovered they also have a petting zoo. We all know I love animals so we spent a good 20 minutes playing with and feeding all of these sweethearts.
Is this not the most beautiful arrangement of Mums you have ever seen?
They did have an adorable little indoor section with many different and locally made preserves, cheese and baking. We picked up some cheese spread, apple cider donuts and of course, delicious hot apple cider.
We then headed back to Peddler's Village and spent over an hour digging through the treasures. If we didn't have to move it all right away I would have bought so much stuff for our house!
One last stop! Josh never should have mentioned it but we were near Popcorn Buddha, my favorite flavored popcorn place. I bought an absolutely unnecessary amount of dill pickle popcorn that I am still eating a week and a half later! Totally worth it!
And that is it, our crazy packed trip to the Poconos. I will miss the area so much! I will leave you with this awesome car we passed on the way home.