Everyone needs a Babymoon, a break before your baby comes and your entire life changes. For the better of course, but your life will seriously change. Thats what everyone tells me anyway. We wanted to take advantage of the nice weather. We needed a stay close to Philadelphia because my wife was 7 months pregnant. We had done the shore, Pocono’s, Jim Thorpe, and the Delaware Water Gap. But we were looking for something different, our own space, nature, and rustic luxury.
A cartoonist friend of mine, Chuck Dillon, was raving about this place called Ricketts Glen. He swore it was the most gorgeous place in all of Pennsylvania, and travel reviews online backed him up on it. We wanted a cabin that would not break the bank but give us our privacy. After numerous last minute searches, we had located two places. Sweet Valley Cottages was twenty minutes from the state park, and looked like it some small cabins on a man made lake. I talked with the lady for a good twenty minutes, but at the end dogs were not allowed. Deal breaker for us, we wanted Booboo with us. As I was on the phone with her Ricketts Glen Cabins got back with me, and yes, dogs were no problem, only $25 bucks extra. SOLD!
After a 3-hour drive from Philadelphia, we drove right past the cabins on accident and into the actual park. Lucky for us the ranger knew where the cabin was, right across from the Ricketts Glen Hotel. Two beautiful log cabins, with modern kitchens and bathrooms, large family rooms, multiple bedrooms, cool staircases, and fireplaces. The houses had landscaped gardens and were surrounded by woods. We found nature and luxury, everything we had wanted. The owner, Jeff Hynick, stopped by to make sure we were settled in. He gave us recommendations for which trail were safe for a pregnant woman to use, good running trails, and some local folklore. I cannot rave enough how great his cabins were and their hospitality. Ricketts Glens Cabins was exactly what we were looking for and we most definitely will be back.
We decided to check out the Ricketts Glenn Hotel, which was not a hotel at all, but a bar and restaurant. Their slogan “Conveniently located in the middle of nowhere!” could not be farther from the truth. The restaurant was had a nice bar up front and a large dining area in back, and it was packed. The food was delicious with huge portions, and a damn good beer list. If what they had on draft was not good enough, their bottle list is massive.
Next morning I took a running trail at the back of the cabin to a road. The word trail is generous; it was more bushwhacking, but great fun. I could see a hexagonal house that the locals call the Round House through the trees. According to Jeff the Wannamakers’ of Philadelphia fame have a mansion here, and this is part of their property. I ran down Hynick Road, hmm, same name as the owner of our house. When I asked him about this he told me his family has lived here for numerous generations. Crazy, to have your own road. Well I ran for 8 miles that day, in my marathon training, and it was hilly to say the least. But I finished, even if I did curse out every hill in the worse language I could summon.
After that we decided to explore the actual park. We drove to the visitor’s center, which had some nice displays of local wildlife and history. Back in the 1880s a hotel owner named Bruce Rickett owned all the land around there, 80,000 acres. He sold all the logging rights except 20,000 acres where the two rivers joined. There was an attempt to make it a National Park but after the Depression that fell through, and the land was sold to the state and made in to a state park in 1944.
We chose to do the 6-mile semi strenuous Falls Trail, with over 20 waterfalls on it. Even at 7 month pregnant Yvonne wanted to go for it, I was opposed but there is no turning her mind back when she makes a decision. There are two rivers that converge about half way down the mountain in a giant V. Then there is a trail across the top connecting them called the Highlands Trail. Of course we started at the wrong point, Glen Leigh, making it a 7 and a half-mile hike, oops, but we took our time. Plus it was all down hill for the first three miles. Not only was it down hill, but every hundred feet or so, there was a waterfall. Some deep falls, others little stair falls. Did I mention the weather; it was like 70 degrees, in late September. I could go into detail about all the falls, but describing them would be ludicrous when the pictures are way more interesting.
At the bottom of the V, where the falls combine, called Waters Meet, you cross a bridge to the other side. You can head down the mountain, or back up. We chose to head up the other river, up Ganogoa Glen. Again, just as many falls. I have never been to a park with more waterfalls. For a short hike you could do either trail and see big and small waterfalls, from 9 to 90 feet high. I can say that in my opinion, Ricketts Glenn is by far the most beautiful State Park in Pennsylvania, and I would have loved for it to be a National Park.
That night we drove to the grocery store and bought some steaks and supplies. The Mountain Grocery store was phenomenal though, huge beer selection, organic vegetables, and steaks, glorious steaks. Not the local butcher I was hoping for, but pretty damn good just the same. We stopped at a local bar that was a serious shit hole. It was an old mechanics garage with a ply wood bar and no windows. They had no idea what an IPA was, just mas market beers like Bud or Coors. Even with just 7 customers, you could not even see through the smoke.
We returned to our Cabin Home to grill out and relax by the large bonfire. The next day we rushed back for our baby classes, Lactation Night and all. But for a two-day babymoon, romantic weekend, or just a weekend get away, this is the best place to go from Philly.