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Delaware Water Gap

This wasn’t something that was on our list of things to do on its own.  But the region ranked up there and it was part of our circle tour of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.  Being in the tourism industry, I found it particularly fascinating from that aspect as it was once one of the greatest inland tourist destinations in the United States.

The Deerhead Inn, home of Jazz in the Poconos.

The Deerhead Inn, home of Jazz in the Poconos.

It is easy to see why it was so popular in the earlier 20th century for it is a place of incredible beauty and the small town is charming.  From here it is easy to see much of the Poconos in day trips.  The town didn’t have a railway station until 1903 though it did have excellent hotels for visitors during the Victorian era when it first became quite popular.

The Shawnee General Store is just one of the many charming places you'll encounter in the Delaware Water Gap region of the Poconos.

The Shawnee General Store is just one of the many charming places you’ll encounter in the Delaware Water Gap region of the Poconos.

Don’t expect grand hotels that you might find in the old Victorian spa town of Karlsbad (Karlovy Vary) in the Czech Republic.  This is still a fairly rural feeling place and it is hard to imagine the town with thousands of tourists in another century. Nearby in Minisink there is the Minisink Hotel which I believe is more of a pub and restaurant and has a great reputation – another reason to return!

Lots of history in the Delaware Water Gap including this structure which is one of the old inns and still operating in the area.

Lots of history in the Delaware Water Gap including this structure.  The area is home to an incredible amount of historic tourism infrastructure.

The Historic Castle Inn is located right in the heart of the small town and, while it isn’t operating as an inn these days, you should see it.  Built in 1906, it is now home to antiques and ice cream and a whole lot more.   The Deer Head Inn is the oldest continuously running jazz club in the United States and also offers accommodations.

The Minisink Hotel is one of the many places you pass while on the Delaware Water Gap trolley tour.

The Minisink Hotel is one of the many places you pass while on the Delaware Water Gap trolley tour.

Despite all this the borough of Delaware Water Gap has less than 1,000 residents.  So don’t expect a big town when you visit.  I would have loved to learn more about where these hotels once were and a bit more about the history of the area.  The first hotel dated to 1829 and was built by Antoine Dutot, the town’s founder.

Water Gap Trolley

So wanting to learn more we boarded the Water Gap Trolley which is conveniently located and includes a small gift shop, snacks and waiting area grounds.  We easily pulled our RV into the parking lot and bought our tickets.  The trolley tour was interesting and took you out to some of the scenic vistas for which the area is so well known.

The Delaware Water Gap trolley terminus where it is very comfortable to wait for the next tour.

The Delaware Water Gap trolley terminus where it is very comfortable to wait for the next tour.

Our tour guide gave us a lot of information about various celebrities who once lived in the area and plenty of history.  People seemed to enjoy the leisurely ride and information.  It is an easy way to relax and get an orientation to the area so I would suggest the trolley if you have the time.  There is an information center nearby off the I-80 expressway which we didn’t visit but would be a good place to collect information on the Poconos or anywhere else in Pennsylvania for that matter before starting out on your own tour of the area.

The views of the region aboard the trolley are incredible in the Delaware Water Gap.

The views of the region aboard the trolley are incredible in the Delaware Water Gap.

The Region and Camping

It is easy to base yourself in this area and visit some of the places we’ve visited on this trip.  Jim Thorpe, Split Rock and Lake Harmony, Milford and the US Highway 6 are all nearby.  If you’re camping, we can suggest the KOA at Delaware Water Gap quite well as this is where we stayed.  It is a great campground, has a pool and plenty of amenities to enjoy.  It was a charming natural environment that could easily serve as a base for exploring the region or you can just as easily have a leisurely time camping and doing as little or as much as you’d like.

This charming house is just one of the random sights you will find while touring the area.

This charming house is just one of the random sights you will find while touring the area.

RV Road Trip Note:

This is part of the series of blog posts on a fourteen day road trip from St. Petersburg, Florida to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania with stops along the way north and south with no real planned itinerary.  We did this trip in our 30 foot class A motorhome in late July/early August with two bicycles strapped to the back.  We headed to Delaware Water Gap area after visiting Split Rock and the Jim Thorpe area.

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