Adventures in Nature / The Shining

I went on an amazing weekend adventure in the Poconos that can only be described as The Shining meets country bumpkin. Who knew that just a few hours from the city, I could be completely immersed in nature while also terrified inside a 70’s era wilderness lodge?

For Heather’s birthday, we needed to escape the hustle and bustle of NYC. After watching a six year old girl pee on the street (encouraged by her dad) a few weeks ago, we were starting to feel revolted by the summer city streets. I was becoming jaded by the need to wash my feet every time I walked into my apartment. Of course I had separation anxiety within the hour, but it was a needed escape nonetheless.  

The adventure began with an awesome white water rafting trip on the Lehigh River via Whitewater Challengers. What a blast! There are several dam releases throughout the summer which make rafting pretty exciting. I wasn’t expecting much until we hit the first set of rapids and a poor ten year old kid flew from his raft (don’t worry — he was picked up a few yards later!). We were accompanied in our raft by a motley crue, a family of three plus a friend that were both disturbing and comforting. Oh, to be fourteen again and cussed out by mom 24/7. Wait, is that normal?

We stayed in a giant, old lodge nestled in the Pocono Mountains called Pocono Manor, equipped with a swimming pool, movie theater, pub and all the modern amenities of 1972. I kept expecting to see the creepy twin girls from The Shining walking down every hall. It was quite an experience.

We couldn’t leave good old Pocono Manor without horseback riding, which was more terrifying for Heather that I had thought. After nearly “crapping her pants” (her words) for the first five minutes on Vegas, she calmed down and we had an uneventful ride through the wooded trails. Only later did I learn that my horse, Ace, was evidently obese, which explains why he kept stopping to snack on grass, and also 37 years old. Horses usually don’t live past 30. I would have had better luck with Murphy, the miniature donkey who writes a blog (

Upon returning to the city I had a new appreciation for the pee-covered sidewalks, but I had a great time in the mountains. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who needs a break from our favorite concrete jungle.

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