Visit The Skytop Lodge, a surprisingly fun and very classy resort in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains whose restraint and dignity make time and tradition stand still.
This Old World resort has been attracting families since 1928 — just picture 5,500 acres of woodlands criss-crossed by 30 miles of hiking trails kept verdant by a 75-acre recreational lake. And it’s only 100 miles from New York or Philadelphia in the heart of the newly fashionable Pocono Mountains.
Although it began as a grand fieldstone clubhouse for the elite who no longer wanted to trek over to Mohonk Mountain House in the Catskills — or golf down in Pinehurst, North Carolina — or sail out to the Cloisters on Sea Island, Georgia — Skytop Lodge today is a beautifully-maintained relic of a bygone era anchored in a bio-diverse forest filled with unusual flora and fauna.
Skytop for Present Day Family Fun
The tweedy ground floor still hosts a giftshop and men’s bar, but you’ll have to navigate past the miniature golf course, ping pong tables and videogame arcade to reach them. A modern health spa and conference facilities to “keep up with the Jones’s” at other area resorts are pleasing traditional guests. And Skytop’s grand dining room, once very hushed and clouded by pipe smoke, now murmurs with the sounds of children on their “best Skytop behavior.”
Traditions abound: gentlemen are required to wear jackets in the main dining room and other family members are expected to “dress appropriately” as they say. On the flip side, tradition is nourished at places like the 50’s authentic-style counter restaurant, the Tea Room. Families can take advantage of regularly scheduled, tractor-drawn hayrides, and there’s a Grand March every Saturday night, just as it’s been for more than 80 years.
Comfy English-style family rooms and suites with plaid wools and pillow shams have varied bedding arrangements (some with pull-out sofas), flat screen TV’s with DVD players and WiFi and are available in the Main Lodge and in the Inn. Around the grounds are small, more isolated storybook cottages with porches, a small fridge and washer/dryer facilities, and TV/VCR. These are quieter and very well set up for young families.
The truth is, you won’t spend much time in your room — the daily array of fresh-baked cookies at High Tea (serving lemonade in the summer), cuddling by a grand fireplace, listening to a wildlife lecture, or playing chess in the library are just too much fun. Skytop offers staff babysitters year-round, and a supervised summer-only Camp in the Clouds (for ages 4-6 and 7-10), but what it epitomizes is a celebration of family, of generations playing with each other and enjoying the opportunity to step back in time to a kinder, gentler era.
Skytop Activities for All Ages Keep Families Happy
The resort takes full advantage of the beauty of its pristine wooded surroundings, offering a wide variety of outdoor recreation. If you’re not sure where to start, get in touch with their dedicated Family Concierge. We have a few suggestions, though, from recent visits.
Artfully tucked around grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmsted are a covered skating rink (fitted for basketball and volleyball in summer), a small private ski hill with two Poma lifts suitable for novices, a groomed sledding hill and a toboggan run. Everywhere, there are teeny wooden Warming Sheds where hot chocolate is replenished by the attentive staff.
In summer, families turn their attention to the Orvis Fishing School, 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, skeet-shooting fields, a domed indoor pool and an outdoor one and several swimming and boating lakes. The indoor Adventure Center has loads of fun activities all year round, including a Paintball play area open in summer.
Throughout the year, Skytop hosts special themed weekends that promise fun for both kids and adults. Weekends may be themed for the holidays, for example “Spooktacular” and the “Gingerbread Weekend,” or just themed for fun like the “One Sweet Weekend” dessert feast gorge and “Kids Cook in the Clouds.”
Additionally, the resort pays special attention to family reunion groups with rates discounted by 10% on multi-room bookings, 3 meals a day, and free recreation equipment available for those who want to try skating, downhill or cross-country skiing, sledding or snowshoeing, a complimentary cake, family photo, and tee-shirts for all.
No matter the season, Skytop offers wonderful year-round activities perfect for the whole family. Skytop’s semi-inclusive rates include accommodations and three meals/person daily. Most of the resort’s activities are also included (think archery, ice skating, access to hiking trails, indoor and outdoor pools), however others such as fishing and kayaking are at an additional cost.
Call for packages and holiday rates when minimum stays apply; children under 16 are charged an additional fee when sharing a room with two adults but those under 16 stay free.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.