The night after John Chacko, a hardworking man about to realize his dream, purchased the Jimmy's Central Lanes bowling alley, a roiling flood ripped over the banks of the Susquehanna River and destroyed the site. As a solitary man standing amid the wreckage, it would have been easy to walk away, but that wasn't his style. Instead, he rolled up his sleeves, ripped down the walls, and pulled up the floors. Not even a nail could be salvaged, but his love for the alley was still fully intact.
Today, it's hard to believe Chacko's was once under water. New lanes run as far as the eye can see, marked by fluorescent purples and blues, and a Memory Lane Lounge offers respite with draft beer and flat-screen TVs. But Dan Chacko still remembers the deluge. Bowling-alley patrons can stop into his pro shop and pick his brain about that breathtaking flood, or they can seek his advice on bowling-related matters such as how to pick up a split or how to match your wardrobe to your bowling shoes.
Storied naturalist John James Audubon visited the Pocono Mountains in 1829 to document the lush upper Lehigh River area, which is populated by bluebirds and woodpeckers. Today, there's an added chirping to these woodlands of northeastern Pennsylvania: the slot machines at the AAA Four Diamond Mount Airy Casino Resort. The casino is tucked away into the brush, located about a two-hour drive from New York City and Philadelphia. It's possible to watch cards and chips trade hands on the 65,000-square-foot gaming floor and then go for a relaxing hike amid the quiet forests and cabins of the Poconos area.Table games such as blackjack, poker, and roulette make up the casino, just one of the many places to stay entertained in the palatial hotel complex. Comedians and musicians regularly make up the entertainment calendar at Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub, where a house DJ spins records over a 10,000-watt sound system in the late hours.Five different restaurants are on hand and satisfy a wide variety of appetites and budgets. Le Sorelle Cucina has a romantic vibe, a cozy Italian bistro that serves up classic dishes such as sicilian baked oysters and fillet alla gorgonzola. Betty's Diner, meanwhile, has the feel of old-fashioned America, as its dining room comes decked out in 1950s memorabilia and all of its delicious malts are eligible for political office. As the night winds down, you can retire to the comfort of the deluxe king or double-queen rooms, which feature pillow-top beds clad in goose-down duvets. Pocono—which translates to "stream between two mountains"—is speckled with hidden lakes and waterfalls. The Delaware State Forest features the Thunder Swamp Trail System, which meanders from lakefronts to mountain crests amid challenging, rocky terrain. Brook trout swim in the mountain streams, while deer, rabbits, and coyotes stalk through nearby groves in search of their cartoon counterparts. As the weather grows warmer, one of the best ways to take in the scenery is by portaging a canoe or kayak through the lowland bogs.About 40 minutes north, the town of Scranton is a living relic of the industrial revolution. Working steam engines puff away at the Steamtown National Historic Site. Starting in April, the Lackawanna Coal Mine will open up for visitors, who can descend 300 feet down into the 1860-era coal-mining shaft.Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, help is available. Call 1-800-GAMBLER or email email@example.com.
Inside Cinema Centers, moviegoers are enveloped in a state-of-the-art film-viewing environment to enjoy the latest Hollywood flicks. Bring a friend or frenemy to catch a new release, such as The Dilemma, a comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James, or The Green Hornet, a quirky take on the superhero genre starring Seth Rogen. Indulge eardrums with the mellifluous luxury of digital surround sound while Cinema Centers theaters’ stadium seating ensures clear sightlines and good angles for not throwing popcorn.
The towering willow that gave the Willowtree Inn its name still stands over the outdoor patio, where the institution's staff has been serving comfort-food classics for more than 25 years. Inside the kitchen, the cooks prepare offerings from an eclectic menu spanning everything from burgers to chicken marsala. For private events, they go above and beyond by recreating dishes from the hosts' family recipes. On Thursdays and Fridays, the tunes of live entertainment permeate the dining room.
Pocono Community Theater projects independent and art films across three screens. The unique selection of films allows audiences to catch flicks that are not widely shown at standard movie theaters or reviewed by Oscar statuettes. During the show, moviegoers can alternate between sipping on large sodas and munching on popcorn that's been popped in sunflower oil and topped with real butter. For coffee lovers, local arabica-bean brews from Electric Roasting Company are available for purchase at the theater's café. Along with showing films, the venue supports the arts community by providing artists with stages and an exhibition space to showcase their works and fold their laundry.
Determined to pursue a career in the culinary arts, executive chef Evan Kechely mastered his craft in the kitchens of restaurants, country clubs, assisted-living facilities, farmers' markets, and other venues, opting to learn by doing rather than attending culinary school. His experiences shaped his ingredient-driven and sustainable approach to meals, leading him to fill Leaf's menu with farm-to-plate options built from locally sourced meats and produce. Kechely has also learned that beer and food go together as well as camping and boy-scout repellant, and his staff is able to recommend a brew for any dish on the menu. In addition to pairing suds with the various dishes, staffers can suggest premium cigars that can enhance flavor profiles. The eatery's advanced ventilation system even allows visitors to indulge in a puff without disturbing neighboring patrons or forcing them to stare at failed smoke-ring attempts.
The Steel Pub’s interior draws its inspiration from the location’s former tenants—Bethlehem Steel—by incorporating decorative flourishes such as red- and white-striped walls, exposed duct work, and a horseshoe-shaped bar encased in corrugated steel. An industrial-style garage door crafted from steel and glass opens up to an outside patio where patrons can sip beers amid the otherworldly glow emitted from the nearby Bethlehem Steel blast furnace. A 40-foot window near the bar bestows guests with views of the pub’s other neighbor, The Steel Ice Center, whose hockey players and rogue ice sculptors choreograph a steady stream of activity on the sidewalk.
Out of sight, chefs compile 15 different handheld meals using locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. They infuse Stryker Farm bratwursts with Weyerbacher craft ale and blend beef chuck and brisket to serve as the base for burgers topped with fried shallots or wing sauce. To accompany these rib-sticking morsels, they slave over pots of homemade sides and starters such as french 5 onion soup and buffalo-chicken dip.