Golfers shouldn’t look up. I looked up.
I couldn’t help it when the shadow of an ominous wingspan darkened my ball on the fourth tee at Fernwood Resort. I was there to get away from the heat. Sure, it was warm here on the flat, but riding through tree shaded glades with cooling streams was more than tolerable, even as the hawk, hunting close to the ground was a bit distracting.
That’s Pocono golf where higher altitudes and glades provide welcome relief from humidity and sweat breaking heat. So, what do we find at Fernwood, a resort that traces its history for generations of Philadelphia area families to 1920? Here’s a guide. – Jay Lloyd
Fernwood Resort Golf
6148 Milford Rd. (route 209)
E. Stroudsburg, PA 18302
Mountain views, picturesque glades and varied terrain keep things interesting on this 18 hole, par 71 course. Under the hawk’s gaze on the challenging 4th hole, you’ll fire from the tee to an unseen high plateau. Then it’s a straight shot to the green. Looks easy. But the green has a fearsome pitch that requires some pinpoint accuracy. The longest hole is a tree framed 570 yard undulating fairway of downhill, uphill and flat lies. There are holes with valley shots and a handful of streams to ford. Course pro Scott Matthews told me, “Your aim is important.” I didn’t even know I had one, but this is truly the place to gain some confidence.
The 19th hole here is a friendly watering hole that serves up $2 draughts and some of the juiciest burgers in the Poconos. (More on that later.)
Golf Packages, including a 2 night midweek stay and 4 rounds of play start at $193. Check a variety of package plans at: www.fernwoodresortpoconos.com/innerBookPackage.
Fernwood offers accommodations in well appointed villas that are set in a backdrop of woods, ponds and fairways. They range from studios to twin bedrooms. All the villas have full kitchens for dining-in and entertaining. All the cookware and utensils you’ll need are provided, along with a micro wave, a stove and oven. There’s a comfortable living room with flat screen TV and plenty of closet space. The two bedroom villas have a separate bath for each bedroom and a Jacuzzi tub. There’s also a sleeping loft for the kids. Scan the rates at: www.fernwoodresortpoconos.com/inner.
Fernwood, located near the banks of the Delaware River offers up a buffet of water and land activities, geared to families and duffers taking a break from the course.
Set in a 14 acre glade with a fast flowing stream, Pocono Tree Ventures is a newly designed series of aerial obstacle courses that take you as high as 40 feet into the treetops for “Indiana Jones” exploits crossing swaying bridges and tightropes while propelling your way over picturesque terrain on a network of zip lines. The courses are graded for difficulty from easy to challenging. It gives anyone in reasonable physical condition a chance to find their own comfort zone. Harnesses are provided and hooked up by staff to prevent a fall. It brings back memories of childhood tree house fantasies.
Horse Back Riding
Snug in western saddles, visitors can enjoy the scenic Pocono trails from atop a trusty steed for a bit of quiet solitude. The stables are alongside the golf course pro shop.
The Delaware River is a cooling and eyefilling ribbon of water that invites canoe and kayak enthusiasts. Beginners and advanced paddlers can get on board with rental craft. Fernwood provides safety equipment and river maps. Just go and relax.
You know about snow tubing. This is tubing without snow. It uses astro turf-like material to provide the sliding power. Same thrill – no chill. The runs are expected to open this week.
Wintergreens Patio Grill at the golf course serves up a select menu that ranges from burgers and fine food to daily specials including very reasonably priced pasta dishes. There’s a full bar, weeknight theme parties and weekend entertainment. Dig into the menu at: www.fernwoodresortpoconos.com/inner.
One Fox Run Lane
E. Stroudsburg, PA 18302
A stately building with a pond, the Big A covers a lot of culinary ground. I swung from tender prime rib one night to a chicken parm the next. It’s a repeat visit kind of place. Rich, the bartender, is a hand gripping guy who flips a shaker with the best of them and presides over a dimly lit lounge, perfect for conversation. The menu skews to steaks, chops and that prime rib to Italian. There’s a side trip via an intriguing sauerbraten. How a classic German dish winds up on an Italian steakhouse menu, I forgot to ask. That’s for another time. Try it. You’ll like it.
Bush kill Falls, just a few miles from Fernwood, is a must visit scenic wonder and probably the coolest summer spot in Eastern Pennsylvania. If you have shopping in mind, The Crossings Outlet is nearby and so is the Shawnee Playhouse.
Fastest route is the Northeast Extension of the PA Turnpike to the Allentown exit. Take route 22 east to 33 north. Then follow route 209 north to Fernwood. For the scenic route (only a few minutes longer) stay on the Northeast extension to the Mahoning Valley exit and take 209 north to the resort.