Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2nd Anniversary at the Delware Water Gap

Its hard to believe that Aviva and I have been married for two years already, it feels very short and very long at the same time, both in a good way. Last year for our first anniversary, we did a couple of different things (all involved cooking and eating, of course) but the one I remember best was that we hit up Mac bar, spent the night at the Manhattan Club, and had breakfast at Normas. This year we decided to range a little farther a field, and spent the weekend hiking at the Delaware Water Gap ... it was awesome.

We stayed at an incredible, Zen-retreat like bed and breakfast called Santosha on the Ridge, on a hilltop in Shawnee, PA (see above and to the left). The place was tremendous, a beautiful wooden mountain house on a hillside within and overlooking the forest, with a gigantic, gorgeous deck and surrounded by gardens, ponds and a lush, green landscape. We arrived late Friday, went for a quick walk along the river and saw more fireflies than I have ever seen before. It was like there was a disco ball reflecting little specks of yellow everywhere your eye could see. When we got back at to the B & B, we sat in our private jacuzzi tub for a while and crashed, waking up to soft morning sun and beautiful green branches through the giant windows in our room (on the right). The proprietors, Leslie and Amy, made an incredible breakfast, yogurt, homemade granola and fresh fruit followed by homemade fruit biscuits and an amazing, savory bread pudding.

After breakfast we packed up, picked up some sandwiches at the general store in town, and drove over to Bushkill Falls, "The Niagara of Pennsylvania". While the falls were not niagara (not even close from the pix I have seen), and something was lost because of the commercialization of the area, they were still really beautiful (below is the top of Bushkill Falls) and the way the area was maintained, especially the network of wooden bridges and walkways, was really impressive. We spent about 2 hours there, and Aviva was phenomenally patient

with me as I took about 200 pictures :) Afterwards, we drove up the Gap, stopping at Hornbecks creek (a little, unmarked turnoff between mile markers 10 and 11) for a gorgeous, waterfall draped hike along the creek. Although blanketed in bugs - I think I must have gotten 3 dozen mosquito bites despite slathering my self with Cutter - we loved the secret feeling hike along this river, and spent about 2 or 3 hours there before getting back to the car and heading back to Santosha.

We showered up and hung out for about 2 hours, before going a truly unique dinner at Momentos pizza in East Stroudsburg. This place, a podunk looking pizzeria in a small strip-mall, was anything but - filled with just a couple of boothes and a few tables with typical red-and-white checkered tableclothes ... you wouldn't notice anything out of the ordinary about the restaurant until you saw the wall menu, with items like spinach gnocchi topped with a white-truffle reduction. At the very top of this was a tasting menu, which we chose and which resulted in a very good meal couched inside a fantastic dining experience.

As it turns out, one of the chefs used to work in NYC at a high-powered restaurant and recently left for some reason and was hanging out in this kitchen making stuff that is not normally made in a pizzeria. Overall our dinner was six courses, including the parmesan breadstick and lunch meat appetizer and the ice creamy desert, and while the food itself did not blow our mind, having a personal chef who explained each course as we ate it was great. But the best part was spending 2.5 hours sitting in a rickety booth, drinking wine we brought out of mis-matched wine glasses while sitting next to guys eating slices and stromboli while we ate spinach gnocchi with truffle sauce, chicken "Walker" and delicately sauteed shrimp with a yellow pepper reduction. It was a super fun evening and a truly unique dining experience. By the time we finished, paid - the chef had already left so we paid the guys making the normal pizza and when I paid, they looked t me incredulously and asked "Was it good? Was it worth it?" - and got back to the B & B we were beat, and crashed almost immediately.

Our final morning began with Aviva doing yoga on the deck with one of the proprietors (Leslie) and me photographing lichen by the pond. After another wonderful breakfast, we headed up to Dingmans falls for a short hike up to another gorgeous waterfall (above), then stopped in Milford for sandwiches and headed home - this time the ride was only about 2 hours. It was only about 2 days of time, but it was a wonderful break and a fabulous time. Plus, the waterfalls were amazing (below you can see bridesmaids falls)

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