Tales from the Poconos (Pokémon, Paddleboating, & Pretzels)

Okay, so this post isn’t just about playing Pokémon in the Poconos, but I figured “Poking through the Poconos” would be far too cutesy a title to choose, so here we are.

I’d never spent any significant amount of time in the Poconos prior to last summer. In fact, for the longest time in my head, I really thought the Poconos were more exotic- I somehow had them tangled up in my brain with some place in Florida- maybe the Keys? My brain refused to believe that the Poconos were in Pennsylvania. So, news flash, in case you didn’t know: the Poconos aren’t Key West.

Anyways, Tim’s grandparents have rented in the Poconos every summer for ages. They even rent in the same community each year, which bears a very 70s-looking flower as their logo.

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Things move at a slow pace in the Poconos. There’s no agenda for the day. You can linger over a cup of coffee in your rental on a lazy Saturday morning, or go down to the water or take a walk, but there’s no timeline for anything. Normally I’m a fast-paced, do ALL the things kind of person, so it’s a big deal for me to disconnect from the grind and slow it down a bit.

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Does it get any quainter?

Last year, we stayed in an adorable A-frame cottage. There wasn’t much around- any walk you took was just on some hilly roads surrounded by trees and other small cottages. It was pretty peaceful. Initially, as we explored, I just kept wondering, “What’s there to do in the Poconos?” But, that’s kind of the point. You’re just supposed to spend time with each other and enjoy nature (shocking, I know). My good people + good nature spot is usually the lake, but we rush around a lot there, too! Whether it’s to wineries, the #MCbarnsale, or farmers markets, we don’t spend a ton of time sitting around and hanging out. With Tim’s grandparents in the Poconos, we just talked, ate good food, and shared stories. It was a nice break from the norm.

The most active thing we did was a paddleboating adventure on one of the little manmade lakes. Long story short, boat was too long, we frontloaded it, jetskis kept waking us and filling us up with water, and I had to serve as ballast so we didn’t sink and Tim could pedal us home. High excitement for the Poconos!

In August of this year, we went back for another visit, and this was when we learned that the Poconos are, surprisingly enough, a hotspot for Pokémon Go! Every time we opened up the app in our hotel room, 6-8 pokémon would INSTANTLY appear. No joke! We caught them at breakfast, we caught them before bed, and in between, we’d go for walks with Tim’s grandma and catch tons of Clefairys. Yes, Tim’s 80 year old grandma is now a Pokeémon Go user! If you are in the Poconos and are eager to check out the Pokémon scene, I’ll forewarn you: despite all the great pokémon to catch, there is a tragic lack of pokéstops. You’ll need to head into one of the many small towns to stock up on pokéballs. Be careful or you’ll end up like me, losing out on a dope Ponyta because you caught too many Clefairys earlier in the day.

Another endearing aspect of the Poconos is that nothing you see is flashy or trying too hard. We played a quick round of mini golf one afternoon, and the course was kinda cute. A bit shabby, and there may have been bees inside some of the structures, but we were still happy to play there! It’s kitschy, it’s fun, and there’s a certain element of nostalgia to it.

Best of all, there are definitely some hidden gems in the region when it comes to food. If you’re ever in Honesdale, PA, be sure to check out The Alpine. It has a slightly kitschy vibe, with German memorabilia all over the walls and waitstaff in costumes, but the food is delicious and authentic. Our table of 11 shared one of the enormous pretzels and everyone got to try it TWICE as we kept passing it around. You’ve gotta order that epic, never-ending pretzel (I wish I had a photo). They’re also a pokéstop, and there’s a gym outside, so eating there is kind of a no-brainer. You can also buy their meats in the attached store if you like to cook your own wursts at home.

The final fun element of these jaunts to the Poconos is the simple fact that it’s a road trip! Blast some Twenty One Pilots, Joywave, and Chvrches, enjoy some snacks (no beef jerky, please), and you’re all set! Don’t forget to honk when you cross state lines.

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The open road!

I’m looking forward to poking around the Poconos more on future visits!

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