10 Reasons to Drive to the Poconos This Summer

By Danya Henninger  |  July 15, 2014

Ever since a group of Quakers set up the first resorts in the early 1900s, people have been flocking to the Poconos. Equidistant from both New York City and Philadelphia, this mountain ridge next to the Delaware Water Gap is easily Pennsylvania’s most popular tourist destination. There’s skiing in the winter and gorgeous foliage in the fall, but the warm weather brings even more: sunny lakes, breezy strolls through historic downtowns and adventures in the rushing rapids and lush trails. 

Happily, the area also holds lots of culinary delights. From a pioneering craft brewery to a historic French dining room to an all-day pancake haven, here are 10 reasons to plan a drive to the Poconos this summer.

  • The Delmonico Room at the Hotel Fauchère

    Heard of Delmonico’s in NYC? In the late 19th century, chef Louis Fauchère worked for the French-speaking Swiss natives that opened that iconic steakhouse (the first in the U.S. to offer “à la carte” dining), and when he moved to this Poconos hotel in the 1920s, he named his restaurant after his compatriot friends. After 150 years, the elegant dining room is still a bastion of haute cuisine in the mountains of PA, with an on-site bakery, extensive wine collection, and weekend tasting menu.

    401 Broad St., Milford, PA; 570-409-1212

  • The Lodge at Woodloch

    If the 150-acre estate, private 15-acre lake and luxury spa aren’t enough to get you out to this woodland enclave, check out the new “chefs in residence” series. On select days, top toques will be guests at the hotel, offering special dinners, classes and demos. Nectar sommelier Scott Zoccolillo is hosting “Wine in the Woods” from July 22-23; Bar Rescue’s Tiffany Derry will bring Southern fare to the mountains on August 15-16 and Will’s Christopher Kearse is in the house September 19-20, among other well-known names.

    109 River Birch Ln., Hawley, PA; 570-685-8500

  • ShawneeCraft Brewing

    In the middle of the forests surrounding historic Shawnee Village is this young craft brewery, which embraces a philosophy of “true to nature” for all its beers. Tour the brewhouse on a Friday or Saturday afternoon, or visit the Gem and Keystone taphouse any day of the week to sample just-brewed suds along with local, farm-fresh pub fare.

    1 River Rd., Shawnee on Delaware, PA; 570-213-5151

  • Der Jaeger

    East German chef Sylvana Berghoff and her Polish husband Janusz took over a historic seven-gable mansion in the hills of Wayne County and turned it into a unique combination of antiques shop and BYO restaurant. There’s plenty of German-style food on the menu, but also a true outdoor BBQ pit serving summer favorites like ribs, pulled pork, chicken and chargrilled burgers.

    55 Purdytown Turnpike., Lake Ariel, PA; 570-226-8252

  • My Daughter’s Place

    The restaurant at bed and breakfast Brookview Manor is a good choice on any night of the week, with chef Marty Horowitz’ mixed Mediterranean menu served in a charming country-inn setting. Book a Murder Mystery weekend, however, and your meals will take on extra excitement, as you dine, breakfast and sip your way through the game, deciphering clues as you go. Alternately, give the gigantic specialty burgers a run for their money — a game that pits your eyes against your stomach.

    4534 Rte. 447, Canadensis, PA; 570-595-7050

  • Le Persil Bistro 

    Across from the historic Sherman Theater in quaint downtown Stroudsburg (pretty much the only “downtown” in the area) is this BYO serving classic French fare, the kind you wouldn’t expect to find in the mountains of PA. Chef Jorge Gardin does escargot, moules marinieres, steak frites and coq au vin with aplomb; dining reservations are recommended.

    517 Main St., Stroudsburg, PA; 570-476-4324

  • Compton’s Pancake House

    When a dude whose life philosophy is “Peace, Love, Pancakes” opens a restaurant, yeah, you want to eat breakfast there. Compton Ferreira has been serving various flapjack specials at his Poconos joint since 1996, accompanied by plenty of other diner-style specials like waffles, omelets and club sandwiches. For something new, try the Hawaiian stack, topped with pineapples and coconut, or the pancakes made with cheesecake.

    105 Park Ave., Stroudsburg, PA; 570-424-6909

  • Hotel Belvidere

    This landmark hotel has gone through over a dozen ownership changes in its 110-plus years, but this summer the restored and renovated property returns to its original name. The restaurant is classic throwback American — think broiled lobster, veal saltimbocca, grilled rack of lamb — and there’s also an on-site taproom for more casual fare. If you stay in one of the historic rooms, you’ll get a 10% discount on all meals.

    330 Main St., Hawley, PA; 570-226-2600

  • Pocono Whitewater Big Day Out

    For an adventure that will make you appreciate your meals even more, sign up for a daylong trip with this specialty tour group. Start with a mountain bike trek along the Lehigh Gorge Rail-Trail to a lunch spot with a view, then hike and whitewater raft back to the bonfire dinner, complete with frosty beverage. Other tours are also available.

    1519 State Rte. 903, Jim Thorpe, PA; 800-944-8392

  • Deer Head Inn

    Jazz aficionados will want to make a stop to catch some tunes here — it’s home to the oldest continuously running jazz club in the country. Live music fills the space every Thursday-Sunday, and there are special room-food-entertainment packages available. The main restaurant offers sandwiches or steaks, and there’s a weekend special breakfast full of classic eggs, omelets and pancakes.

    5 Main St., Delaware Water Gap, PA; 570-424-2000