Your Pocono Mountains Getaway – Chic or Classic?
What’s your perfect getaway hotel? A chic, boutique-style hotel with a trendy cuisine-driven restaurant? Or maybe you prefer a classic country inn in the English Style Arts & Crafts design with a high-quality restaurant. Maybe you should consider an excursion to the quiet hamlet of Hawley in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains and check in to either Ledges Hotel or The Settlers Inn, both of which are members of the Historic Hotels of America as well as the prestigious Select Registry of Distinguished Inns of North America.
It was in 1980 that Grant and Jeanne Genzlinger purchased The Settlers Inn, a small-community hotel, and began the restoration that would produce one of the finest examples of English Arts & Crafts style lodging.
It is the artful simplicity of The Settlers Inn that is its charm. From the wonderful selection of homemade breads and desserts and a menu offering farm-to-table dining at its best, to the cane-woven dining chairs and wealth of handcrafted products and materials that adorn the Inn and its 23 beautifully appointed guestrooms, “authenticity” is the guiding principle. Simple pleasures at The Settlers Inn can be found in the alfresco dining on the Inn’s terrace, sipping a cocktail at a table set in the colorful herb gardens, or toasting marshmallows over a campfire at the Inn’s private spot on the picturesque Lackawaxen River.
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Since we visited the Inn during a colder time, we found our respite in front of the large fireplace sipping a glass of wine from the adjacent Chestnut Tavern, and in a leisurely game of Scrabble at the inn’s giant Scrabble board. Most of the inn’s rooms have fireplaces and Jacuzzi tubs, offering further opportunities to enjoy the simple pleasures of The Settlers Inn.
Dining at Settlers Inn is a treat. Chef Ben Sutter’s innovative menus, shaped by the seasons, offer a variety of selections often featuring products from local farms and purveyors, as well as the Inn’s fresh herb gardens. We thoroughly enjoyed two very popular dining events – Settlers’ Sunday Brunch, which offers an a la carte menu with creative cuisine such as the chef’s Crab Cakes Benedict or Pumpkin Waffles with Grand Marnier Syrup; and the Inn’s Jazz Supper Club, which offers a three-course prix fixe menu. A nice touch to a Saturday night dining experience is the piano player, creating a perfect atmosphere for dinner.
Offering a completely different vibe than The Settlers Inn, Ledges Hotel is
uniquely situated in the natural beauty of a river gorge falls and bluestone ledges. We didn’t even wait to register before we hurried outside and began snapping pictures of the icy falls and ledges from the hotel’s decks. The views are that alluring.
The contemporary-designed accommodations and common areas are artfully juxtaposed to the building’s historical origins with particular attention paid to the hand-crafted eco-conscious plan. Built in 1890, the Federal-style structure housed the John S. O’Connor Glass Factory. The building’s industrial past is evident throughout the hotel, but is especially pronounced in the Ledges’ restaurant Glass – wine. bar. kitchen. The walls of the bar area reveal the original brick, while original glass mold prints and displays incorporating the historical features of the O’Connor Glass Factory accent the decor of dining room areas.
The Glass menu offers a variety of small plates, tapas-style dishes ideal for sharing. To start our dining experience, we enjoyed a few tasty selections from the cheese board and charcuterie, followed by a warm sharing of French onion soup bites and a fresh Farm House Flatbread. The lounge features an all-American wine and beer list, while emphasizing American spirits in their finely crafted cocktails. They do a great job with the old classic Sazerac.
Ledges’ chic design and idyllic setting, together with Glass’ casual, innovative cuisine tends to draw a young, hip crowd, especially on Fridays for the live entertainment. Exciting dining and live entertainment on the outdoor decks,
like the Sunday Blues, Brews and Bar-B-Q, welcome patrons in warmer weather. We are already planning a return for a Sunday evening come this summer.
The Genzlingers’ commitment to historical preservation while creating ways to repurpose once abandoned buildings with a deep interest in community revitalization is evident not only in Ledges Hotel but also in the adjacent Hawley Silk Mill and Cocoon Coffee House. In 1880 the Bellemonte Silk Mill was built, thus beginning a long period of textile industry in Hawley. As the production of textiles shifted to overseas factories, Hawley’s silk mill experienced various tenants and eventually became unoccupied. In 2009 Grant and Jeanne Genzlinger took over the Castle (a name adapted from the structure’s exterior appearance), and began a new chapter in their careers as well as a promise of economic revitalization for Hawley.
When we talked with Grant Genzlinger about the community’s history, it became quickly evident that a major goal of his family’s role in the community is to repurpose buildings with a focus on serving community needs. This goal is clearly seen in what the Genzlingers have done with the Hawley Silk Mill, Ledges Hotel and the wonderful coffee shop, Cocoon, which is located in a small building next to the Silk Mill and which originally housed the cocoons which supplied the mill’s silk.
Today the Hawley Silk Mill houses a collection of shops and galleries; a satellite campus of Lackawanna College; a fitness center; a specialty foods market; and an intimate, concert venue – the Underground Theater – which often features musical performances arranged by Harmony Presents. This cozy-cool venue is often referred to as “The Boiler Room,” as its original purpose was to heat the silk mill. We attended a Harmony Presents performance of Nora Jane Struthers & the Party Line in “The Boiler Room” and loved the intimacy of the venue and the wonderful blend of bluesy/country/rock from the band.
Although you may be content to lounge around Ledges or the Settlers Inn for the day, the opportunities to get out and enjoy some of the area’s beauty are plentiful. After all Hawley is at the northern end of Lake Wallenpaupack, which offers numerous water sports like boating, kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. And the fact that Hawley is located in the Pocono Mountains means that there are numerous hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and biking opportunities. Planning activities is easy with the Delaware Highlands Vacation Guide, which can be downloaded free on either the Ledges or Settlers Inn websites.
Both Ledges and Settlers Inn offer a variety of Getaway Packages and Specials including dining options, skiing at Ski Great Bear, a day at Woodloch Lodge Spa, and numerous other choices. Check the websites for the seasonal offerings.
So whether you’re looking for a hip, chic hotel or a classic Arts & Crafts country inn to escape to, Ledges or The Settlers Inn in Hawley will prove a perfect choice. Or if you can’t decide which style getaway you like, choose a package which includes stays at both locations.
All photos courtesy of Jumping Rocks for Jeff and Stephanie Sylva
FTC Disclaimer: This article contains sponsored links from The Settlers Inn and Ledges Hotel. Opinions expressed herein belong to the authors.