If you remember the Pennsylvania Poconos as an outdated collection of ski resorts and honeymoon havens, you're in for a pleasant surprise. I visited this region of rolling hills in the state's northwest corner for the grand opening of the Skytop Lodge Executive Conference Center. I found a great meeting resort, and a Poconos that had reinvented itself as a posh getaway for New Yorkers and Philadelphians. The area is just a two-hour drive from both cities.
Built as a luxury mountaintop retreat in 1928, the 125-room Lodge at Skytop is an impressive Dutch Colonial — style stone mansion. A 10-year plan, kicked off in 1998, added the Inn at Skytop and several cottages, giving the resort a total of 193 guest rooms. The newest addition to the 5,500-acre resort is the Executive Conference Center. Replicating the Dutch Colonial style of the main building, to which it is attached, the center accommodates up to 260 for meetings, and includes a 30-seat executive boardroom and 150-seat dining room/meeting room.
Rated by Golf Digest magazine as one of its “Best Places to Play,” Skytop's 18-hole golf course has long been a big draw for the resort. Other amenities include a new full-service spa, a fly-fishing school, skeet shooting, downhill and cross-country skiing, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a 75-acre lake, archery, and tennis.
Nick Jr. magazine has named Skytop Lodge one of America's top family-friendly resorts, and I couldn't agree more. There are lots of daily activities for kids, including kids-only banquets. My whole family enjoyed the 16-piece Swing Band that has played at the resort for decades, as well as other “old-world” touches, such as the afternoon teas and the nightly five-course meals in the grand dining room. We never even turned on the TV.