Located just a little over two hours from the Bronx is the man-made Lake Wallenpaupack. Made in 1925 by the Pennsylvania Power & Light Company, it measures 13 miles in length and around 5,700 acres of surface water. Homes, resorts, a beach, and even a high school are situated along the lake, but the view from the water feels as though you’ve just discovered a hidden gem- since homeowners aren’t allowed to cut down vegetation to improve their view of the lake. There is even an island where boaters can stop and explore or BBQ for the day. On one end of the lake sits Silver Birches Resort– a lake resort made up of 13 historic structures that date back to the 1920s.
Myself and Bronxmama writer Martha had a chance to pay a visit to Silver Birches recently and experience the resort for ourselves. After a day tour of the lake and surrounding destinations a few months back, we were excited to get a more in depth take on the resort and enjoy all that it had to offer. We booked a two bedroom cottage and packed our bags for a fun two days.
Check in was at 3pm, but we learned that we’d be arriving on the last day of Wally Lake Fest- the lake’s annual celebration. So we decided to stop at a few of the destinations on the list of activities before our cottage was ready. There were boat tours, kayak demos, food specials, and more happening throughout the local lake town. Since we had two toddlers in tow, we headed over to the high school to walk around the vendors and let the girls indulge in popcorn and face painting while we perused the items for sale. After Gia and Cataleya were painted with princess tiaras and rainbows, we jumped back in the car and headed to check in.
Our cottage provided us two parking spaces in front- making it easy to unload our bags and get settled in. Our cottage was loft-like- a set of stairs led to a nice sized balcony with a table, plenty of chairs, and a grill. Open the door and we were in the kitchen, with our living room and dining space to the left. A TV hung above an electric fireplace, and our windows overlooked the balcony, which had a nice peekaboo view of the lake. Towards the back of our cottage were two bedrooms and a bathroom. The first bedroom had a queen sized bed while the second had a bunk bed- with the bottom bunk being queen size. Both rooms had a dresser and closet- plenty of space for those who stay for an extended time. The bathroom was clean and modern.
Before hitting the pool, we made lunch and enjoyed it on our balcony. The grills are charcoal- so be sure to bring your own charcoal if you plan to BBQ during your stay. After lunch, we changed into our bathing suits and went down to enjoy some pool time. The view from the pool is beautiful no matter what time of day you pass by. Float in the deep end or sit on the deck and enjoy the view of the boats on the lake.
Out on the Lake
After, we headed over to the rental office so that we could go out on a paddleboat- which are included in your stay. We were lead down to the dock where we climbed into our boat and joked about getting stuck in the middle of the lake with two toddlers. During our peddling, a family of ducks approached us and we soaked in the amazing view of the lake and the sun getting close to setting above us. We watched as jet skis, canoes, kayaks, and other boats passed by- and even watched some boats pull up to dock and dine at The Dock– the resort’s restaurant.
We returned to the pool until it was time for the nightly Sunset toast. Flutes of champagne awaited guests while the centrally located firepits burned under the orange sky. Guests sat around the Adirondack chairs to enjoy the moment. Some were couples on a romantic getaway, others were extended families with grandchildren in tow. Dogs staying in the pet friendly lodging- clearly enjoying their vacation with their owners. Gia headed up to the playground on the hill located just above the pool. As she asked me to push her higher, I realized the swing had the best view in the house- a picture perfect view of the pool and lake. It was then time to head back to the cottage for showers, a late dinner, and some wine for the moms.
We had bought smores ingredients with us, hoping to enjoy some marshmallow melting time down at one of the firepits. But we learned that we’d have to buy firewood for one of the other pits on the property, and by the time we were cleaned up and dinner was done, our sleepy toddlers barely got a bite of graham cracker in their mouth before they were passed out next to each other on the couch. Day 1 was a success.
We awoke the next morning to enjoy iced coffee on the deck while the girls played. I then headed over to The Dock on Wallenpaupack restaraunt where I met with the owner Justin to learn more about the history of the resort and all that it has to offer. After extensive renovations and going back to it’s former name, the resort has continued to be a yearly destination for returning families throughout the year. What I love about the resort is that it offers accommodations at many different price points and with different amenities, making it an option for all kinds of guests. From single rooms, to a bunk house, to cottages, to a house that sleeps 10. There is something for everyone at Silver Birches.
I also learned of the resort’s sister properties- The Settlers Inn and Ledges. Guests staying at any of the properties have access to amenities at each place by simply showing their room key. So after our meeting we decided to squeeze in a visit to both once we were done with lunch at a nearby diner called Muggs.
Ledges Boutique Hotel
Ledges is a boutique hotel located just a few minutes away- literally on the ledge of beautiful rock formations of Paupack High Falls. Their restaurant and wine bar Glass- which serves up tapas and drinks, seemed to be the perfect spot for mom and dad to enjoy a night away.
Settler’s Inn at Bingham Park
We then headed a few more minutes into town to explore the garden at The Settlers Inn. Simply pulling up to the bed and breakfast style inn blew us away. The beauty and charm of the hotel had us in awe before we even entered the doors. Pass by a cozy front sitting area and enter into a beautiful lobby area of old world charm.
After meeting John at the front desk we headed back to the garden area. Located off of a large back deck where guests can dine, the garden is a beautiful oasis of flowers and seating areas located throughout. Follow the path through the garden and end up at The Potting Shed, the cutest little gift shop. The kid in me felt like it was a visit to grandma’s secret garden as I reveled in the joy on our little one’s faces. Even deeper into the back of the inn is a path that leads to the Lackawaxen River. The girls enjoyed stepping down stairs made of stone and jumping across several large rocks that led to a small and quiet beach area on the river. A firepit surrounded by chairs was the only sign that this place had already been discovered, despite the fact that a road ran nearby on the other side of a layer of trees. The river was calm and we took a few moments to admire what nature had to offer.
While it was amazing to experience with our children, we both commented on how romantic the entire experience would be with our husbands. I did however, capture one of my favorite moments of the trip- standing under the bridal arch with Gia.
A Dip in the Lake
We then returned back to the resort to cool off in the pool. Unlike some lake resorts, there is no sandy beach area at Silver Birches (the power company puts restrictions on things like this). There is however a dock where guests can jump off and swim in the lake- but being that we had two 4-year olds with us, we knew they would want to stay at the pool. For guests looking for a beach-like experience, they can head over to the lake’s beach area- located at the Visitor’s Center just a few minutes away. I however couldn’t leave the lake without taking a dip so while the girls happily swam across the pool in their floaties near Martha, I headed down to the doc to enjoy a swim.
Ending Our Stay
We spent the rest of the evening poolside, watching the girls make friends with other guest’s children and even had the amazing memory of Gia finally learning to trust her life jacket and swim without holding on to the stairs or me. The perfect memory to close out summer 2016.
Returning to Silver Birches
While summer is ending, the possibilities of a good time at Silver Birches is definitely not. Fall on the lake is a whole other world to explore, and we can’t wait to be able to return to experience it. Whether it’s a couple’s retreat, a big family vacation, or just a few nights in one of the smaller lodgings, we will definitely be back. On October 1st there is Oktoberfest at the Hawley Silk Mill which is part of the town’s Hawley Harvest Hoedown. Another fun idea to check off the ol’ bucklist? I think so.
For more information about Silver Birches, visit www.silverbirchesresortpa.com.
We were invited to stay and experience Silver Birches to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions are our own.