We came to the end of the winding dirt road and saw a wooden sign tacked to a tree that read, “Chetsville.” We looked at each other and thought hmm, this is how horror stories happen. Dark road in the woods, following a path some guy at the ski lodge told us about.
Soon enough we saw some brightly colored lights and cars parked outside of a building. We were a little skeptical of the men dressed in camouflage sitting on the deck, but we decided to go inside. We were hungry.
Families mingled over sandwiches in their ski clothes and friends caught up with beers at the bar. Christmas lights decorated the room, and we all breathed a sigh of relief as we sat at the bar.
Leon, with a big smile on his face, walked over and started joking with us as he took our orders. Shelly wanted a fun, hot après ski drink, so he whipped up something from memory using what looked like a Christmas mug from his pantry. He shortly named it after her.
We noshed on Chet’s Place’s homemade Philly cheesesteaks and roast beef reubens, cheese fries, and freshly fried onion rings as we laughed about our first time skiing with Leon and some of the locals.
That was Day 2 of our winter escape to the Pocono Mountains on President’s Day weekend.
Shelly, Kristie and I wanted a Galentines weekend away from the city to relax and explore somewhere new.
We stayed at Silver Birches, a resort right on Lake Wallenpaupack (I still don’t really know how to pronounce that!).
We had a top floor two-bedroom junior suite in the main house, which was the perfect size for all three of us.
Watching the sunset over the frozen lake from our room and indulging in the steamy walk-in shower and giant bathtub were luxurious.
Here’s what else we explored in Hawley, PA, a city of around 1200 right in the Pocono Mountains.
The Silk Mill
Hawley is known for the Bellemonte Silk Mill built in the 1880s, a major staple in the culture and heritage of the area’s manufacturing industry. The building now includes boutique shops, galleries, a nice grocery store, and more.
We met Mary as we wandered in, who was selling soaps and scrubs near the lobby.
She gave us the lowdown of what to explore while in Hawley for people around our age. She told us about some local Mexican and Thai restaurants, and how her daughter once interned in D.C. for a summer.
Mary’s first recommendation was to check out Glass, the wine bar at the Ledges Hotel next door. She told us to look out for the small waterfall, which used to be huge and was part of the silk making.
The restaurant is named “Glass” because the building was originally built in 1890 for the John S. O’Connor Glass Factory.
While there, we enjoyed the trendy ambiance and shared some rose and chardonnay, as well as a hot cheese plate.
The gooey cheese and sweet nuts were a perfect balance of sweet and savory; but the bread was a little burnt. The wines, however, were just what we needed. We had a great time and the place was crowded from the time we arrived to when we left.
Ravyn & Robyn
We continued on to dinner at Ravyn & Robyn in downtown Hawley. Influenced by the rich landscapes of Tuscany, we couldn’t pass up a chance to immerse ourselves in Italy. I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest pasta eater, but this place honestly had some of the best Italian food any of us had ever had. So good, in fact, that I didn’t even take any pictures!
My white pizza with sausage and the pasta dishes were all homemade. You could tell by how light the crust and noodles were, and how rich the sauces and cheeses tasted. They were out of their freshly-made tiramisu, unfortunately, but our cappuccinos ended the meal perfectly. The owner brought us out some limoncello to compensate.
Before heading home we stopped at the Cocoon Coffeehouse, which is where they kept the silk worms to use in the Silk Mill back in the day. Now, it’s a trendy coffee shop with latte flavors like Irish cream and marshmallow.
They sold a coffee called Electric Moose, a Pennsylvanian brand also found in the Keurig cups in our room at Silver Birches. Our warm breakfast sandwiches on thick, multigrain bread were hearty enough for the five hour drive home.
While I’ve been to the Pocono Mountains before, I’ve never been immersed in one of the smaller towns.
As people like the owners at Silver Birches, our bartender Leon and the entrepreneur Mary showed us, the locals in the Pocono Mountains are proud of their home and never hesitate to make you feel a part of the community. Hawley’s history as a manufacturing hub is shown by the refurbished businesses built into the historic buildings that once ran the region. And still do today, within the tourism and business spaces.
I can’t wait to explore and learn more about Pennsylvania. This was just a small piece of the various cultures and experiences to be had there.
Have you escaped to Pennsylvania during the wintertime before?
Travelaine partnered with Silver Birches for this article. While this review was written independently, we were hosted by the company.