My journey started as a plan to check out a new mountain other than my favorite, Hunter Mountain.
I had heard and seen of Camelback Mountain and thought to check it out! Luckily, one of my best friends moved back to Long Island where he’s from and another guy came up for Christmas to see his family upstate.
Like most of my trips, my friends assume there is going to be some sort of spontaneity and this was no exception. I called them both to make the arrangements and not to my surprise, they were game.
This is where things got a little hectic.
I rented a car online knowing there was an up-charge for persons under 25 (I’m 23). I give the rent-a-car a call. To make the story short, I couldn’t rent a car because they only have “luxury” vehicles…whatever that means.
Fortunately, my boy Dennis in Long Island has a somewhat decent pickup truck and he was willing to drive.
That was until he was in-transit to pick me up…his truck broke down on the highway in Queens.
Dennis heard his repairs would cost him $2800.
He was out. And I needed a new plan.
New York is notorious for being THE central hub to get you pretty much anywhere you need to go. I booked myself a bus ride up to Monticello, NY where my guy Patchmaster Mike was staying during his family visit for the holidays.
I’ve never been to Monticello. Let’s start with that. I get off of the two and a half hour ride to a freezing wilderness. It’s a smaller-ish town with nothing but immaculate wooden houses, deer roaming free, and a few shops providing only what’s necessary to live out in such a serene place.
I love new places so I was digging it. Mike drives us up this massive hill to his parents monstrous house that basically, looked to me like, a decked out log cabin house with multiple split-levels and a two car garage on a cliff overlooking the town.
It was after 10pm so we kept quiet, headed down to the basement where I was retreating for the night and caught up.
Downstairs was a fully lit fireplace, a giant pool table, and an art studio turned wine cellar.
What a way to start vacation!
We grabbed a bottle, a decanter, a couple of pool sticks and got down to business. It was a blast catching up and seeing how we’ve both been doing work and entrepreneurial wise.
The next morning, Mike and I have a solid hour and a half drive to the mountain and we were starting to get hungry! I’m a huge fan of exploration and trying new things so when we passed this incredible tear-down of a diner in the middle of no-where, I had to stop by.
Inside this amazing establishment was one woman behind the counter, a bunch of regular folks that frequent just about everyday, and Eldred (the owner) in the back cooking.
Eldred has been the owner for the last 20 sum years or so and it was wonderful to meet her after having an amazing local breakfast that she put together with love for us.
My excitement is through the roof at this point! We come to an agreement to skip check-in at the hotel and head directly for the slopes.
Usually, I’m not one to stop after seeing a big sign with something mentioning the word “cheap,” but this day, I made out better than if I hadn’t have stopped.
Instead of heading to the resort and waiting in line for our gear and all, we stopped at one of the smaller, local ski rental shops. Honestly, we ended up spending the same money if we had just went directly to the resort but we saved on something much more important.
It was Mike’s first time on any sort of snow sporting equipment and it was showing. Thankfully, I’m a good salesman and got him to actually take the lift up instead of practicing on the baby slopes with the children and old women.
I firmly believe the best way to learn is as follows; hit the ground running as hard as possible and you will see results.
That is until Mike broke his ass falling down more times than I can count in one sitting!
He had fun though, I know he did.
The way I am when I’m out here is simple;
Go hard or go home.
I even had the chance to get in some night-time snowboarding which I was particularly excited for!
The next day turned out to be a doozy…
It was pouring rain until about 6pm and all hopes of snowboarding for me were out the window even though I knew that Mike was happier than I saw him all day the afternoon before.
Instead, we went out on an exploration and the first stop was this old-ish looking house with a haunted mansion tour decorated in the back with a candle shop outlooking the front canvas.
It peaked our interest so we went in! Never in my life have I seen such a store, let alone hear that the people of Pocono compete with their candle making abilities!
This store was filled with decorations for Halloween and Christmas, Native American trinkets, and of course, all the candles to your hearts desire.
I bought a nice green one to match the decor of my bedroom at home and met the owner, a nice woman who gave me the lowdown on the town and how each of the four candle shops have their own style and technique in producing their candles for sale.
Incredibly interesting I must say.
On to the main event of this posting,
This was probably the way fate was looking to take us during the day because coming into this winery as the first guests turned out to be the highlight of our entire trip.
It was a bit out of the way to get to this beautiful monstrosity of a winery which is perched up atop a nice landing of hills covered with, you guessed it, vines of grapes!
Stepping inside, it resembles heavily to a church with the large wooden beams and open air space but it was gorgeous and inviting.
Remember I mentioned being the first guests of the day?
It never hurts to be first or early to things and this is a perfect of example how that turned out to be positive!
The owner and his son happened to over hear Mike and I talking about how the wines and beers are made. Being such nice guys, the two thought it was cool to give us a personal tour which is not something they offer to just anyone!
Randy and his son Austin took us downstairs, through a tremendous staircase, and into their basement. They both describe to us how their wine and beer is produced, the time it takes, and exactly how much effort actually goes into their own product sold locally only.
After such a wonderful start to our time here, it was getting to the best part…
I chose the wines that I thought would be of interest to me based on what I like to drink but there were more than enough options for anyone who has a different palette.
The gal behind the bar, Cassie, was FANTASTIC! Super attentive, very organized, and knew how to work her crowd which are some qualities I tend to appreciate since I’m the best bartender I know.
Getting into some of the beers was a nice treat as well! Randy started out only as a winery and just recently,expanded to beer not so long ago.
According to him, the beer will soon be surpassing his wine sales which is not a total shock to me since these towns seem very beer-heavy.
If you know me or read any of my posts, you should already know at this point that I’m a talkative fellow and get along with just about anyone and you can bet I made some friends!
Mike and I met these two wonderful girls from Connecticut named Olivia and Angelica! Really cool having some people to share the experience while we were in town!
We found in particularly interesting that they had matching shirts on which apparently wasn’t planned out. Who knows!
Last but certainly not least was the owners wife, Linda. She was a wonderfully carried woman who was doing what I believe all business owners should do. Interact with their guests and say hello.
She gave us a little history lesson on how they started and if you were curious, be sure to check out the wineries story at the link here.
As a bit of comedic relief, it was obviously not my “Sunday best” dress day since I was rocking my sweats and workout attire but something I thought was super fun and cool was their mascot!
Each bottle of wine and beer features a different themed goat and it’s probably one of the best ways to incorporate some fun into a product.
My next question to them after seeing all these goats could only have been one thing, “Why don’t you all have a pet goat running around?” Their answer,
“That bugger would run around terrorizing everyone and eating our vineyard to shreds!”
After a very HEFTY and needed nap due to our day drinking, we took to the only “hip” area in this part of PA.
Mike and I were given a very nice recommendation from locals at the winery that Main Street in Stroudsburg is THE spot to go for meeting people, live music, food, and drink.
Our first stop was Renegade Winery on the corner and I have to say it was quite a fun time meeting people there. We stepped through their double doors just before it started to get busy which was nice because if there’s one thing I hate the most, it’s waiting to get a drink at the bar.
I do have to mention the prices for alcohol in this part of Pennsylvania are staggering. I mean DIRT CHEAP.
Looking around at the tables, usually parties are splitting one or two bottles. Not in Stroudsburg.
Every person had their own bottle of wine to crush! When the bottles sold are less than $20 per bottle, I can only imagine why.
Guess people in Stroudsburg really like to drink.
Last stop for the night was a dive-ish bar called,
More live music, more drinking, but this spot had a pool table and I got my ass handed to me by this big guy named Rob who had a goatee that came straight out of American Chopper.
Our trip was over after that night.
We packed our bags, checked out of the hotel and made it back onto the highway towards Monticello. I had a bus to catch.
No matter where I am, I always have to leave on a good note and it was faith that brought us into this magnificent diner.
It was a wood-worn diner covered in license plates. Walking in was incredibly casual and all the gals working the floor were nicer than my mom usually is when we have guests over.
Food was great and it made my ride back to New York a nice one!
That’s all folks!
Hope you enjoyed a little insight to my end of year trip with one of my best buds, Mister Patchmaster Mike!
Until next time,
“10/10 would recommend, Yancy……OUT!”