Reporting Jay Lloyd
Fall is one of my favorite seasons to ramble through the nearby Pocono Mountains. The summer crowds are gone, skiers haven’t arrived, driving is a scenic pleasure and the region is alive with activity, from harvest festivals to a country hoe-down and rodeo. Popular ski areas are the backdrops for much of Pocono fall festivities. It’s a chance to showcase the mountains and entice visitors into winter rentals and season ski passes. So, let’s take the tour and see what’s happening. – Jay Lloyd
Shawnee Mountain crams a lot of fun into autumn with festivals that have withstood the test of time. The fall season kicks off to the sound of country music and the aroma of hay and horses. It’s rodeo time, spiced up with a chili cook-off. The dates are September 20th and 21st.
Next, October brings a lumberjack festival and a food truck roundup, followed in November by “Art on the Mountain.” Check dates, prices and the action here.
Located just north of Allentown, Blue Mountain is the closest Pocono ski area to watch changing foliage and spend a day outdoors, celebrating the season. September 27th and 28th launches a traditional Oktoberfest and Harvest festival, complete with an outdoor beer garden and the requisite polka bands. If you’ve never seen or done a polka, it’s not too late to learn – it’s the best aerobic workout on the planet, and it’s free!
Every weekend is an adventure at Camelback, with zipline thrills and tree-top obstacle courses taking autumn visitors on a variety of high flying escapades that can be as easy or as challenging as you want them to be. For those who prefer more grounded activities, take a mountain tour on a Segway — one of those side-by-side dual wheel scooters that require only a bit of balance. Check out prices and hours here.
Just a bit north of the Poconos in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania, chairlift rides to some of the most spectacular autumn vistas start at the Elk Mountain Fall Festival on October 11th and 12th. This fest is a free event that combines music, food, crafts, art and of course, those soaring lifts to the summit through a blaze of changing foliage. If you’ve ever dreamed of working at a ski resort and taking advantage of some free sliding and riding, the Elk Mountain Job Fair will be held on November 2nd, too.
A few thoughts: If you have a family or group planning to do a lot of Pennsylvania skiing this winter, the various fall festivals are a good chance to explore the region for homes that rent by the season or short-term. You’ll also find some of the deepest discounts on season passes and sales on ski equipment and clothing. Make a foliage weekend out of it, or just stay the day.