Stroudsburg, PA

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I’ve been to Stroudsburg PA plenty of times over the years.  I had few good friends who went to ESU, and have very fond memories of attending a few parties at my one buddy’s apartment above the Sherman Theater on main street.  I’ve driven through Stroudsburg more than I’ve actually been in town, especially when coming and going from the NYC metropolitan areas. In fact, normally when I’m traveling home from New York, a stop at Stroudsburg is a special treat, due to the fact that they have the only Wawa in NEPA.

The area around Stroudsburg is great for those of you, who like me, enjoy a good outdoor adventure.  I’ve written about an ill fated attempt to snowshoe Mt. Tammany in the winter, as well as a more successful trip up the same mountain a few summers ago, that I coupled with rappelling down a waterfall. The summer prior to that, I kayaked the Delaware and ended in Stroudsburg. So I’m not unfamiliar.  However, two weekends ago was the first time I really was able to explore what’s a very vibrant downtown, 100% worth a day, or weekend excursion.

One of my good friends works for nearby Sanofi Pasteur, so was put up in a Stroudsburg hotel a few weekends ago.  We both went to the UofS, so discussed him coming to Scranton for the night, but figured instead that we should maybe check out some new real estate instead.  A woman I work with had recently been to a cidery in Stroudsburg, and had good things to say, so I did a little bit more research and found another local cidery, a few local breweries, and a winery I thought would be fun for my buddy and I to try.  I headed there after work Friday evening, picked him up at his hotel, and parked downtown.

Stroudsburg has a great downtown.  Again, I’ve been here before.  None of this was exactly new.  I’ve been aware for some time that Stroudsburg has a very picturesque, and dare I say, almost Rockwellian looking main street, reminiscent of somewhere like Honesdale, or Bethlehem, which is a short drive away.  I was still somewhat taken aback by how lively, and vibrant it was at night.  I guess I was expecting something sleepier. Our first stop was Banter’s Hard Cider, which was just a block or so off the main drag.

Banter’s tiny tasting room.

Banter’s has a small tasting room, and in fact, we almost missed it when first walking by. It’s very new, and you could only fit a few people inside, but has a nice bar, and could accommodate a few parties, as long as only one is doing a tasting, and the others are hanging out at the few tables they have.  We did a flight of the ciders they had. I’m enjoying the number of cideries popping up in PA; they’re a nice alternative to beer every once in a while.  I’ll be honest, I’ve been to several cideries where I could not tell the difference between the various offerings. I like Banter’s because everything was unique. We tried a blueberry cider, a guest tap of lemon mead from Colony Meadery, and both ended up liking, and purchasing a pint, of “Courthouse Calypso”, a tropical infused cider (I got a small bottle to take home and whipped it out a party last weekend, two thumbs up from everyone who had some). Word to the wise: there was nothing here under 8%ABV. Banter’s is not messing around.

I need to get down to the Colony Meadery soon.

Stop #2 was the Rowan Asher Winery and Cidery, another tiny tasting room just about a half block from Banter’s.  They had only three ciders on tap, as well as a number of wines, local beers, and made cider-based cocktails. We ended up getting a glass of “Sweet Gypsy,” a pink, carbonated,tart cider. I got a 2nd round, while my friend got a bourbon/cider cocktail he loved.  Banter’s is probably more my scene, hangout wise, but Rowan Asher wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. It’s got a bit of a upscale, hipster vibe.

Rowan Ash essentially had a snug!

Our third stop was Barley Creek Brewing Company, which wasn’t a first for me, but somewhere I figured my buddy could try. Plus, I remember having a good meal here, and we were starving.  This is one of those local craft breweries that isn’t super trendy, but has been around far before craft beer was.  Barley Creek sort of reminds me of Lancaster Brewing Company. You’re not going to really find anything super out-there, beer wise, but everything’s going to be executed well, and find the kind of great food that helps give all brewery food a good rep.  I should add that I really did like their brown ale. And my buddy and I have been texting about dinner since we went. We had a chacuterie board, which is worth mentioning, because unlike so many other chacuterie boards, it was enough to actually sustain two full grown men. I also really like that they had sliced tomatoes hanging out. Tomatoes and cheese are natural friends, and I’m always going to enjoy a thin slice of tomato, some cheese, and grilled bread, more than I’m going to enjoy grilled bread, cheese, and a fig (or apple for that matter).

I hate the term food porn, but, it is.

The star of the show was their lamb sliders though. Lamb meat, feta, tzatziki-nothing Earth shattering, but again, executed really, really well.

We were planning on trying to visit Shawnee Craft Brewing, and Pocono Brewing Company as well, but after all that cider and beer, thought it best to park the car, and just stay downtown. We ended the night at Newberry’s Yard of Ale, a craft beer-centric bar right on Main Street. We had a few nice offerings from Funk, and Riverhorse, before calling it a night.

Spotted on Main Street.

Saturday morning, we got up and went out to find a good breakfast.  Downtown has plenty of options, and there also seemed to be a farmer’s market going on, that if I wasn’t with my buddy, I would’ve hit up. However, I had to get out of town for some dinner plans by 1ish, and we had one more stop we wanted to make. We had a quick brunch at the Beer House Cafe (keeping with the weekend’s themes). The Beer House Cafe is essentially a very, very nice bottle shop, that has a full functioning bar, and fully functioning breakfast cafe, which served the requisite eggs, sausage, and potatoes with a bit of a middle eastern twist.  I also got an excellent Mexican hot chocolate brownie to go-I’m starting to really love spice in my desserts.

The winery.

Our final stop on the tour was the Mountain View Winery, which has a Stroudsburg address, but is all country.  We did a tasting, then sat on their big deck for a bit just shooting the shit, and well, probably having one glass more than I wanted to during what was still the morning hours, which let’s face it, is a great start to Saturday. Mountain View allegedly has a distillery on the premises, but I didn’t see it, and was having too much fun just chilling on the deck to bother to ask. I know, I’m so good at this gathering of information to blog with thing.  I made my leave by 1, as I needed, but still managed a quick Wawa buffalo chicken hoagie on my way out.

Vineyard views.

There’s definitely much more to Main Street than what we accomplished. Garlic looks really good, and there was a winery on the corner next to Rowan Ash I wouldn’t mind checking out. A show at the Sherman Theater would be a great thing to base a trip to Stroudsburg around, and as mentioned prior, there’s tons to do outdoors, just outside the city limits, including the aforementioned Mt. Tammany, which is strenuous, but not overly long, and very rewarding view wise.  Also, Bushkill Falls, and all the amenities at Camelback Resort (both summer and winter fun).

The Pocono Mountains Visitor’s bureau has an excellent website on the area, as does “Visit Pocono,” a separate entity run by the Pocono Business Journal. 

 

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