canoeing on a river on a sunny day

Plan a Poconos Road Trip

There’s never been a better time to plan a Poconos road trip. A two-hour drive takes you from the heart of Manhattan to the scenic and serene setting of the Delaware Highlands. This day trip will allow you to get away but still maintain social distancing guidelines. But there’s no need to rush. Take your time. Enjoy the sights. Breathe deep. Stay safe.  Here’s a Poconos road trip itinerary that offers a taste of the charm, history and natural beauty that awaits.

Views That Thrill

Take I-87 out of the city. First stop is Harriman State Park just 30 miles to the north. Located in Rockland and Orange Counties, it’s the second largest state park in New York. Here you’ll find just about every outdoor activity. There are 31 lakes and reservoirs, 200 miles of hiking trails, two beaches and miles of picturesque roads with scenic vistas and vantage points to view the natural beauty. Seven Lakes Drive is among the most popular routes. The winding roadway spans 18 miles and affords pristine mountain and lake views.

Courtesy Harriman State Park Facebook
Courtesy Sullivan Catskills Facebook

Signs of the Times

Keep an eye out for a special tribute to the 50th anniversary of Woodstock.The  historic three-day music and art festival took place here in 1969. Sullivan Catskills Dove Trail features a collection of 50 doves, each uniquely painted by a professional artist. The works of art are located throughout region.

Stay on Track

Follow Route 17 to see some of the charming villages of the Hudson River Valley and Southern Catskills. Goshen, NY is an ideal example. Established in 1789, the town’s claim to fame is the oldest harness racing track in the U.S. The half-mile track opened in 1838 and is the oldest continuously operated horse racing rack in North America. Fittingly, Goshen is home to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. As you tour the town, there are two public art displays worthy of note. The Keys of Goshen features upright pianos painted by local artists and placed in locations throughout town. Also keep an eye out for Goshen’s Painted Trotters. The beautifully painted figures were created by a professional artist and line the streets downtown.

Courtesy Goshen Chamber of Commerce Facebook
Courtesy Orange County Land Trust Facebook

Nature is Calling

Spend some time in Middletown. First settled in the 1700s, the town is named for its location between the Hudson and Delaware Rivers. The area offers a variety of ways to explore its natural resources. Take a self-guided International Tree Tour on the campus of SUNY Orange County. The collection of non-native trees is highlighted by stories that offer insight into cultures and ecosystems around the world. The 60 acres of Hunter Farm Preserve boasts the Tadpole Nature Trail especially for children. Families can explore the trail, which runs just under a mile, and enjoy seven activity stations that explore nature. Nearby Highland Lakes State Park offers 3,000 acres of pristine wilderness. Fishing, hiking and horseback riding are among the most popular activities here. For quiet reflection, visit the National Carmelite Shrine. The sprawling 60-acre grounds provide trails, grottoes and gardens that inspire prayer, meditation and reflection.

A Bridge to the Past

Travel back in time with a stop at Bendo Covered Bridge in Monticello. Built in 1860, the structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge spans 48 feet and is constructed in a lattice truss design. It’s been a landmark here since 1913 when it was relocated from its original location in Livingston Manor.

History Happened Here

Take Route 178 to continue your Poconos road trip and visit the site of the famous Woodstock festival in Bethel, NY. The former farmer’s field boasts a historical marker and flag to signify the site’s importance. Nearby the Museum at Bethel Woods chronicles this groundbreaking time in American history through interactive displays, special exhibits and audio-visual presentations.

Get Your Feet Wet

Make your way along Route 52 to Route 97 and find yourself in the midst of the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River. The region is under the auspices of the National Park Service in order to protect and preserve an immense natural treasure. The area runs 73 miles along the course of the Delaware River. There are a multitude of spots for fishing, boating, sightseeing and hiking along this expanse of road. The Delaware River is the only major river on the East Coast left undammed and the section that runs through Sullivan County New York and the Delaware Highlands in Pennsylvania is the least developed. It’s known as one of the top fishing spots in the United States and offers an abundance of shad, trout, smallmouth bass and walleye.

Courtesy Upper Delaware Scenic Recreational River Facebook
Courtesy Welcome to Narrowsburg Facebook

Go Down to Town

Explore the quaint village of Narrowsburg, NY. Originally a lumber town, the hamlet is now home to a number of art galleries, shops and restaurants. Activity centers around the Delaware River, which runs through town. An observation deck on Main Street is the perfect spot to see Big Eddy. There are a few walking trails that offer an introduction to Narrowsburg’s history, culture and natural landmarks. The DeMauro Trail meanders through the historic Main Street area and down to the River Flats Trail. The Tusten Mountain Trail is a sometimes difficult three-mile hike that rewards visitors with a spectacular view of the Delaware River below. Fort Delaware is a re-creation of an early American settlement that once stood here. During operating hours, costumed interpreters demonstrate the life and times of the country’s earliest settlers.

Nourish Your Soul

Travel on Route 652 through the hamlet of Beach Lake and further on to Route 6 passing into the historic village of White Mills. The road here traverses the Lackawaxen River and follows the path of the former Delaware and Hudson Canal, still visible in spots. The Settlers Inn sits at the entrance to Hawley’s Main Street and is the final destination on your Poconos road trip. Our restored Tudor Manor offers exemplary lodging and dining. Order from the farm-to-table menu and enjoy exceptional meals that spotlight locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant serves dinner seven days a week with take-out and curbside service available. After a day spent reconnecting exploring the highways and byways, savor the flavors and cherish the moments of a day trip that transports you to another world.