When I and a couple friends started planning a trip to the Poconos (Pennsylvania) it was mainly for a change of setting since we could not travel in the way we would have liked this year (like so many others). We could not have imagined it would be the perfect weekend to get away from the noise in the world as well as experience a beautiful historic moment together as black women. We decided on a road trip that would be contained with just us and safe for social distancing activities. At approximately 239 miles from Alexandria, Va, the Poconos was the perfect road trip to enjoy a beautiful fall weekend with friends. Below I'm sharing the ways to safely enjoy this beautiful area of the country (even during a pandemic)!
The Poconos is the name for the area in the Poconos Mountains that is known for its resorts, lakes, and historic small towns. Since the intention of our trip was mostly to decompress from a very interesting year what the Poconos is known for and has to offer was specifically the vibe we needed!
Where to stay
For a short two day stay, I would recommend renting a vacation home in Pocono Summit. We were able to stay in a modest sun-drenched lakeside home (seriously the lake and beach area was a short walk across the street). We cooked our meals, enjoyed sitting and drinking tea near the fireplace as well as enjoying an early night by the home's fire pit. This area of the Poconos was near the highway (which was great for arriving when the sun was going down and not getting directionally disoriented) and close to parks, spas, and stores.
Things to Do
With the lake across the street from our rental, we spent one morning enjoying the unusually nice (around high 60s-low 70s) fall weather drinking our morning tea at the Pocono Summit Lake. There are several parks for hiking, kayaking, etc. and we spent Saturday walking trails at Tobyhanna State Park to view fall foliage, breathe without wearing masks, and enjoying the beautiful scenery. We stumbled upon open beaches, pockets of light between the trees on the water that were amazing, and enjoyed the leisure cardio. There are ample places to kayak or canoe on the still lakes as well as enjoy a picnic the open areas with beautiful views.
Since relaxation was our key word for the weekend, we indulged in a spa massage at a small in-town spa with extended hours since we arrived in the evening however, I would recommend trying a day pass at one of the gorgeous local lodges so you can enjoy a full spa experience.
Where to Eat
Since we cooked most of meals we didn't explore restaurants except for one hidden gem, Mi Casa, that is tucked away near a motel. The authentic Spanish cuisine was so filling after our hike. I definitely recommend trying their tamale!
How to Maximize Your Visit
Please be mindful of the state parks' hours and that some offices/restroom areas may be closed (for the season) when hiking, etc. and stay safe when encountering the open bodies of water. Keep your mask handy by wearing it on a chain in the event you encounter others on some of the narrower parts of the trails. Since this an area known for its beautiful parks there isn't necessarily best times to visit since with less people traveling there was not overcrowding in any of the areas we visited.
I highly recommend visiting and I plan to come back for an extended period since it's so easily accessible from the D.C. area.
Have you been to or are planning to visit the Poconos? Let me know below!