James and I recently took a kids-free trip to celebrate our wedding anniversary to Mt. Pocono, PA. We wanted somewhere within driving distance, somewhere low-key and relaxing, and a place we had never visited before. The goal of a trip was to just relax at the spa, eat and drink, and check out a few local places, so the activities listed below will reflect that (this isn’t a winter-themed Poconos travel guide).
Where to Eat in (and Around) Mount Pocono, PA
I’ll mention it more below, but we ate offsite for most of our meals due to limited options at the resort itself. Plus, it’s always fun trying new places in a few towns over while on vacation.
Bistecca by Il Mulino, Mt. Pocono
This upscale steakhouse is within Mt. Airy’s resort, and was on our must-try list. The service was excellent, the menu had a nice range of options, and the food was delicious. James got a Caesar salad (he said it was one of the best he’s ever had) and the pork chop, and I got the Crispy Chicken Al Mattone. Both our main dishes were excellent, and the sides were good too (but totally not needed as the portions are huge!) I got a baked potato, James got the creamed spinach, and then we split the carrots. We were too full for dessert, but the waitress brought us complimentary prosecco for our anniversary which was such a nice treat.
Barley Creek Brewing Company
There are quite a few breweries and wineries around Mt. Pocono, but we chose to visit Barley Creek Brewing Company. We had a few drinks at the bar before we had dinner. They have a decent selection of their own beers to choose from, as well as their in-house spirits. I’m a big fan of bar food (good, quality bar food of course), and their menu was right up my alley. I got the fried chicken pretzel sandwich which was mouth-watering and James got the bacon-guac burger. Good, friendly service and the place was huge (with indoor and outdoor seating).
In addition to the nice steakhouse dinner we had at the resort itself, we veered offsite to another highly-recommended steakhouse, the Frogtown Chophouse. They have an excellent drink menu and bartending service (as we got a drink before our reservations). We both got salads to start, some complimentary potato pancakes, and then steaks (I got the NY strip and James got the Delomonico). Everything was cooked perfectly – including the side of roasted veggies and potatoes. JAmes made fun of me for eating them all (“Who eat the vegetables?”), but they were THAT good that I had to. We also got a complimentary dessert for our anniversary, which was very sweet and thoughtful.
Fork Street Bistro & Bakery
For breakfast, we found a nearby bistro and bakery. The Fork Street Bistro is a super-cute family-owned offering breakfast, lunch, espresso drinks and baked goods prepared daily. The place is decorated so cute, with themed art throughout that features forks (due to the location of the bistro, which is on Fork Street), coffee (it’s a coffeeshop, after all), and cats (I don’t know the cat connection, but I love it). Everything we had was really good, with the standouts being the ice box oats and the potato pancake.
What to Do in (and Around) Mount Pocono, PA
Depending on your lifestyle and the season you’re visiting it, the list of things to do in Mount Pocono will vary. If you go during winter and you love winter sports, there’s tons of skiing and snowboarding, for example. Here’s what we did when we visited as a 30-something couple celebrating their anniversary in mid-September.
The Crossings Premium Outlets
This is your run-of-the-mill outlet shopping center, with a nice selection of stores ranging from clothing to books. There are a few places to eat (dine-in and fast food) and drink as well.
Woodland Trail, Mt. Pocono
We went on a little hike on the Woodland Trail which is walking distance from the Mt. Airy Resort. It’s a 45-minute round trip walk and not too difficult.
Mt. Airy Spa
Confession alert: I’ve ever had a massage or a facial. I’m not really into massages, but I’ve always wanted a facial. So for our anniversary I finally splurged and got one! I also got a pedicure, which was much needed. The Spa at Mt. Airy was clean and relaxing.
Mt. Airy Casino
If you’re into gambling, then the Casino at Mt. Airy is a no-brainer. We walked throughout the floor, but didn’t do any gambling ourselves.
Where to Stay in Mount Pocono, PA
We stayed at Mt. Airy, which is a casino and hotel in one with various restaurants attached. We chose it because of all the amenities included (like the spa) and all the ads we had seen on TV/radio. The building itself is well-maintained and up-to-date, and our room was great (we opted for the suite which had a ton of extra space). We’re not big gamblers, so the casino aspect wasn’t really attractive (to me at least).
While the rooms were great and the landscaping is beautiful, I did have a few qualms. The restaurants that are part of the resort are sub-par with the exception of the steakhouse (which I’ll get to below). The options are limited, overcrowded, and underwhelming — so I highly recommend going off-site for eating most of your meals.
The other qualm is that they are constantly checking your IDs if you are under the age of 65. The casino skews much older, so you stick out like a sore thumb if you’re young, and they check your IDs and stamp your hand each day (as you have to pass through the casino to get to your rooms/the restaurants). I’ve read that this is due to Pennsylvania’s strict laws on under-21 people being in casinos, but it was really annoying and disrupted the experience.