Posted in: Campground Review, Exploring Pennsylvania, National Parks, Sightseeing

Timothy Lake South RV: Campground Review

Have you ever heard of East Stroudsburg in Pennsylvania? We hadn’t either! We stayed in Timothy Lake South RV Campground in East Stroudsburg, in the Poconos.

The campground offered quite a few pull-throughs and some back-ins. The back-in sites seemed mostly along the edges of the campground. Many of the pull-throughs were very long. We could have stayed hooked up to the truck it was so long. They were a little on the narrow side though. There were plenty of trees throughout the campground, so once the trees have all their leaves, I’m sure it will be quite shaded.

Click to enlarge

The campground had a laundry room and office/store. However, the store was closed for COVID. You could walk up to the check-in window to buy ice ($3/bag) and firewood. The campground had a sister site, Timothy Lake North, whose amenities you could also use (per the website, we did not go).

Laundry was $2.00 for washers (or $2.25 for super wash) and $1.75 for dryers. The laundry room was limited to 1 person at a time and you had to check out the key from the check-in window. Reservations were not accepted. They did not have quarters/change machine, although the machines were quarter run.

Our Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile were spotty around the campground and the mountain areas. We ended up paying for the campgrounds WiFi for the week to make sure we could connect for work and school. Even their internet was spotty at times. It was also not a very fast internet.

The campground was 12 minutes from Super Foodtown grocery store and 16 minutes from Price Chopper grocery store. There were several restaurants within a 20 minute drive. The Delaware Water Gap was also close (12 minutes to a close trail or 25-30 minutes to the hike we went on).

Getting There: I would take it slow on these roads. The roads are pretty narrow to fit two cars (especially one being a truck and RV) around some of the turns. The roads are hilly and twisty as well.

If you enjoy quiet with no electronics and lots of nature and hiking, you may enjoy this location. However, everything was closed in the campground (not including the laundry room) and there was just not a lot of things to do besides hiking (or kayaking if you had your own). We would not stay here again. If things were open, maybe it would have been a different experience.

SUMMARY OF CAMPGROUND:

Our rating: 2 out of 5 hitches

Cell Phone Reception: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile (all of our connections were slow/spotty depending on where we were in the park)

Laundry: Yes

Bathrooms/Showers: Yes

RV Sites: Pull-through and Back-in (grass)

Pop Up Tents/Gazebos/Outdoor Rugs On-Site: Yes

Amenities: picnic table/fire pit/grill at sites, playground, pool (closed for season while we were there), shuffleboard. (Paid for cable and WiFi)

Cabins: Yes

Tent Camping: No (sister site Timothy Lake North does)

Full Hook-ups: Yes

            Amps: 20/30/50

Pool: Yes

Food On-Site: No

Camp Store: Yes, closed due to COVID

WiFi: No free WiFi, Paid WiFi (a little slow, not what I would call high-speed internet)

Accepts Mail: No

Fishing: No

Posted in: Exploring Pennsylvania, Food

Alaska Pete’s

So our initial plan was to go on another hike (not part of the Park Service). We got to the trail and were told it closed at 4:00 (it’s 4:30). It worked out in the end, since this placed charged to hike. We were a little hungry, so we headed back into town and stopped at Alaska Pete’s for dinner. It was a large restaurant and we had seen a lot of signs in the area for it.

It had a fun interior and an interesting menu, although the prices were not cheap. (Milkshake $8.95. Cheeseburger $13.95. Hamburger $12.95. Chicken Sizzler $19.95. Side of Mac & Cheese $3.50. Water $10.) We ordered waters for everyone, but were told that they were not “allowed” to give out cups of water. We had to buy a bottle of water at $2.50 (soft drinks were $3.50). This is the first time we had heard of anything like this, but it’s not like you are going to eat your entire meal without a drink!

It had a neat name, an interesting interior, and a huge outdoor patio that had its own separate bar. The food was ok. They brought some toasted bread to the table while we waited for our food. The burgers were well done (not medium as ordered), the Mac & Cheese only tasted like Velveeta, and the chicken was plain on the sizzler plate. However, the fries were really tasty. The shake was good, although it did not look like what was advertised on the menu. We were full, but I would not go back there again. It was too expensive for what we got.

Posted in: Animal Sightings, Exploring Pennsylvania, Hiking, National Park, National Parks, Sightseeing

Delaware Water Gap & The Appalachian Trail

We’ve moved to Pennsylvania and although pretty, there were not many activities close to the campground except hiking.

For Mother’s Day, we headed to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area to go on a hike. The Delaware Water Gap is an elongated park, and we were hiking to Mount Minsi, which was towards the bottom of the park. The park had several hiking trails and a beach area.

I used our trail app and found the Mount Minsi via Appalachian Trail hike. It was supposed to be 5 miles, listed as moderate, and followed part of the Appalachian Trail. Ben has wanted to hike part of the Appalachian Trail for a while, so we wanted to take advantage of the fact that it was pretty close by (about a 30 minute drive). I looked at the pictures and thought it didn’t look too bad and it had great reviews. (Spoiler: I was wrong.)

The trail was a lot more crowded in on the way up than we expected. There was a small parking lot by the trailhead that was almost completely full. There was also a smaller lot a little up the hill, which was also full. I thought that on Mother’s Day, that it wouldn’t be that busy, but I was wrong. It still wasn’t super packed, but still had about 30 people pass us.

Now, I know I already gave the spoiler that I was wrong about the trail difficulty. Our hike ended up being 5.6 miles (Ben’s tracker said 5.8 miles and I did accidentally pause the recorder at one point on mine, so somewhere in that range) with an elevation gain of 1086 feet. My theory was that people were too busy trying not to trip and fall that they didn’t take pictures of the hard parts for their reviews. 😉 The trail was mostly a loop, which we always like in a hike. It started as an out and back, then splits to the right and left. We ended up taking the right side of the path, which probably is the only reason we finished the hike. The left side was a lot more narrow, rockier and had more climbing (at least for my shorter legs) over rocks. Either way, you are climbing uphill and coming downhill on the way back.

Parts of the trail

There are bears in the area, so we did bring our bear spray. We did not see any though. We heard birds, but the only wildlife we saw were several millipedes along the trail. We looked them up when we got home and discovered they were the ironworm/American Giant Millipede.

The top of the trail has two lookouts, and I would recommend seeing both since you are already there. The first overlooks a neat rocky hillside and has a nice space to sit and take a break. The second lookout also has a few nice large rocks to overlook the Delaware River.

Views along the trail

I’m glad we did it, although we (especially the adults) were exhausted at the end. Ben and I were sore even the next day. Hikes like this one make me miss having a tub to soak our feet in!

DETAILS:*

  • TICKETS: Free, except for beach or river access. COVID Restrictions: Visitor Centers closed, masks required
  • HOURS: Most is open 24 hours, per website
  • PARKING: Yes, but some lots are small
  • BATHROOM: Not at trailhead. Visitor Centers are closed, although we did see a bathroom that was open on the other side of the Bushkill Meeting Center.
  • TIME RECOMMENDED: 1-4 hours
  • *Details correct at the time of posting, but please double check before you go.
Posted in: Exploring Pennsylvania, Food, Museums & Tours, National Park, National Parks, School, Sightseeing

Exploring Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philly was about a 1 1/4 hours from our campground (with using the toll roads). Almost everywhere is paid parking in the downtown area, and it was hard to find parking where the truck would fit. Our first parking spot was close to the Liberty Bell area, but was limited to 2 hours, so we had to rush through the area.

LIBERTY BELL:

We stopped at the Liberty Visitor Center for the Independence National Historical Park first and the boys got a Junior Ranger Program booklet. The NPS booth also had passport stamps available in a really nice display.

The Independence National Park Service was limiting the number of visitors allowed in the buildings due to COVID restrictions. They were not selling entrance tickets/reservations while we were there, but they were limiting the amount of people in the buildings, so there were some long lines. (*NOTE: The website states starting 5/6/21, they will be doing timed entrance tickets to Independence Hall.) Due to our parking meter, we had a very limited time of 2 hours. The line to see the Liberty Bell was 90 minutes, and the line for Independence Hall was 60 minutes. Luckily, you can view the Liberty Bell from outside the building through glass windows. You cannot see the crack from the windows, but you can at least still see the bell.

We walked to Independence Hall and talked to one of the employees to see what was offered, as it was a 60 minute wait. He told us that it was a 20 minute guided tour, but you wait about 60 minutes outside, then inside can be another 60 minute wait. He said he did not recommend it if we were short on time (or during the pandemic in general). He recommended walking around the outside of Independence Hall to be able to see the buildings, going to Second Bank and Carpenter’s Hall as they had no real lines.

Top left: Independence Hall. Rest: Second Bank

Second Bank currently houses portraits. Carpenter’s Hall has the history of the Carpenter’s Company, a trade guild that was founded in 1724. There are still current members of the Company today!

We drove around and saw the Chinatown and Italian districts. It really is a big city.

CHEESE STEAKS:

We wanted to experience an authentic cheesesteak while in Philadelphia. There are a lot of options to choose from. We first stopped at Campo’s Deli and tried a cheesesteak with cheese, onions, and mushrooms. We got a second one with peppers as well. We then drove to Pat’s King Of Steaks to try theirs. We got it with the Cheese Whiz and an order of fries. I think next time, I would order sliced cheese as well, as it wasn’t as cheesy as I thought it would be.

ROCKY STAIRS:

The Independence Visitor Center had a Rocky Balboa statue to pose next to. However, there was another (metal…brass?) statue near the famous steps that he ran up during training in the movie. The parking over there was packed and expensive $15 for the closest lot, so we ended up only driving by.

We really enjoyed spending time in Philadelphia and would like to explore it even more.

Final note: It was funny to compare the recommendations on what to see on a 2 hour window. The city Visitor booth recommended a variety of city and historic based items. The National Park Service booth was all historic sites. Both had good recommendations.

DETAILS Independence NHP:*

  • TICKETS: Free (except for Benjamin Franklin Museum, which is currently closed for COVID. National Constitution Center also charges a fee.) COVID Restrictions: masks required, limited items open, limited attendance (The website states starting 5/6/21, they will be doing timed entrance tickets to Independence Hall.)
  • HOURS: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Second Bank 10:00 am -5:00 pm, Carpenter’s Hall 10-4 select days
  • PARKING: Pay parking on street or nearby lots
  • BATHROOM: Yes, Visitors Center
  • TIME RECOMMENDED: 2-5 hours
  • *Details correct at the time of posting, but please double check before you go.