Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pennsylvania Part 1: The Poconos

My boyfriend Matt spent his childhood and adolescence in Pittsburgh, and his entire immediate family still lives in the state of Pennsylvania. My only visit to Pittsburgh was an ill-fated Christmas trip in 2008, when a series of flight delays reduced my stay to 36 hours in a cold, cold, city. I've been looking forward to making another visit, and this summer I had my opportunity. I didn't just see Pittsburgh, I saw other parts of the Keystone State, which I will chronicle in three parts. Here is the first!

On Saturday July 31st, Matt and I flew via Dallas to Pittsburgh, arriving late that night. We picked up our rental car and headed to Matt's mom's in Squirrel Hill, where she and her husband were kind enough to put us up for the night and feed us breakfast before our early start Sunday morning.

We drove across much of the state to arrive in Buck Hill Falls, PA in time for a late lunch with Matt's dad and his wife at their home, which is also where we stayed. After lunch, we headed out for a brief hike to the falls that give the community its name.

Buck Hill Falls is a private resort community and while it's pretty much in the middle of nowhere it's also pretty lively. Our hosts live right on the golf course and just a short distance from the pool and tennis courts. The hike to falls was not a long one, and yet, in spite of all these hallmarks of civilization being so close at hand, at the falls I felt completely enveloped in nature. It's really nice that they live so close to such a great and isolated view.

We followed our hike with a dip in the pool, then cleaned ourselves up for dinner. Before dinner, we stopped by the Buck Hill Falls Library for the opening of an art show featuring a local artist. The city it is not, but I admire their ambition. Then we headed to Forks, a restaurant not to be confused with the town in Washington, where we had a very nice dinner, followed by dessert at our accommodations.

The next morning I was treated to a rare experience for a Southern Californian, berry picking. It's blueberry season and while a sign at Paupack Blueberry Farm suggested their next batch would be ready around August 9th, there were plenty of blueberries that were ripe for the picking. Matt, his dad, and I spent about 40 minutes gentling tugging the little blue beauts into our palms and then rewarded ourselves with some delicious blueberry ice cream.

The literal fruits of our labor.
They had baby goats!

To be honest, I don't even really like blueberries that much, but I really enjoyed picking them and the ice cream, and the pie that Mary-Kate (Matt's dad's wife) made later, were really tasty.

We followed our picking with a trip to just about the only tourist attractions (other than nature) in the area. Neighboring Buck Hill Falls is Mountainhome, home to Callie's Pretzel Factory and Callie's Candy Kitchen. They're novel, that's for sure, and they put out some decent pretzels and candy. At the former Matt and I shared a soft pretzel and I invested in some bagged hard pretzels (one bag jalapeƱo, one bag garlic). At the latter, nostalgia prompted me to purchase a bag of mint buttons, which my grandmother kept in a crystal candy dish when I was a child.

Pretzel sticks in progress.

After the candy shop, we met up with Mary-Kate for lunch at a local deli. I was pretty impressed with my grilled mozzarella and roasted red pepper sandwich. We followed lunch with another hike and a dip in the pool. Then we traveled to Tannersville for beers and a dinner's worth of appetizers at Barley Creek Brewing.

This took quite a bit of bravery for me.

All in all, we spent a really great couple of days in the Poconos and enjoyed our quality time with our hosts. But if I was going to see Steel City, we had to hit the road. After a breakfast of blueberry pie (don't judge me!) we began our five-ish hour journey back to Pittsburgh. Our time there will be the subject of my next entry!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you guys had fun. We'll have to do dinner soon so I can hear it from you in person.