In my ever evolving plan to learn more about this area, I went with a friend for lunch to Skytop Lodge, a Poconos resort that was created in 1925. The site and views are impressive to say the least and, since it is only a 35-minute drive from Lords Valley, I thought it would be a nice place to bring visitors (should I ever have them!!). However, we quickly learned that, unless you are a guest at the lodge, there is some suspicion as to why you would ever be there! The dining room was buffet only and really is set up for guests who are assigned tables. It reminds me of the Catskills in the 1950s and 1960s — have you ever seen Dirty Dancing? Anyway…we were directed to the Tap Room which is dark, paneled, and trying to look like an English pub I think. The menu looked tempting so we ordered what turned out to be a less than satisfactory lunch. It was worth the visit, though, because the drive is lovely, the lake on which Skytop sits is spectacular, and the building itself is somewhat like The Grove in Asheville so quite imposing. Just looking at the towering hemlocks was worth the drive. I enjoy places like this — imagining what it was like in the 1920s, how people got there on the winding mountain roads, how they dressed, what they did (hunting? fishing?), how they stood the heat and mosquitoes.
After lunch, we decided to explore the nearby town of Canadensis which was reported to have interesting shops. A very short drive (a mile or two) and we quickly identified several shops that we wanted to look at: a wonderful kitchen equipment store, a store that only carried Portuguese pottery and linens (some of which were made in China), and what looked to be a hardware store (pictured here). When I walked into Theo Price Lumber I saw someone making a copy of a key for a customer, shelves filled with paint supplies and other things you’d expect to see in a hardware store. However, this place was more than just that — antique lanterns hanging from the ceiling, room upon room of stuff, antiques, Vera Bradley (very unexpected!), old-fashioned children’s toys and games, quilts, fabric, African art, and a huge Christmas display. To say that I was surprised is an understatement.
Theo Price Lumber has been a family owned and run business for 90 years. According to its website, it started manufacturing wood products to support the local coal mining industry. It is still a retail lumber store and hardware store, and an amazing eclectic mix of primitive art, gourmet food, books, and almost anything you can think of. In spite of the 90+ degree heat, we soldiered on and explored every inch of the 2-story building. As we left, Warren (married to Theo Price’s granddaughter Mary Ann) said, “Come back the Sunday after Thanksgiving. We will be almost decorated for Christmas and we have a huge open house with many local artists.” Apparently the artists set up on the porch and sell their work while Warren and Mary Ann set up food and drink (no charge) in the store. It sounds just like the kind of place I’d like to visit for the holidays. As long as it doesn’t snow or ice (and the creek don’t rise) over that weekend, I will certainly be there. What a lovely unexpected find — my kind of exploration!