Mount Airy Casino Resort: Casino Fun in the Forest
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.
The Pocono Mountains: A Wooded Escape from the City
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.
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