Date of Trip: April 2012
We decided, last minute, to take off from work for spring break. We decided to visit the Poconos. It is within driving distance and it is shoulder season so finding a home rental is quite reasonable. I have great memories of my childhood summers spent in the Poconos so I had high hopes for a good time. Looking for a last minute, inexpensive vacation home is no easy feat, especially when you have picky family members. The hubby and preteen wanted to make sure we had good tv and internet. Hubby and I wanted a clean spacious home where we could bring our dog. I wanted a home where we wouldn’t have to drive or walk anywhere to have fun activities. We all wanted lakefront. I went to work pouring over vacation rental listings and emailing many of them with my picky list.
We got a great last minute deal on a LAKE FRONT rental home in the small community of Lake Ag-mar in White Haven, PA. The community itself was a small residential community. There were no big lake amenities like you would find at a large vacation community like Jack Frost or The Hideout. We wanted family time, rest, and relaxation though, so we wanted to stay away from the resort type places. Lake Ag-mar was perfect for us. The house had 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths, stocked kitchen, cable tv and internet, fireplace, pool table, tons of movies, nice deck with grill, dock with boats for us to use, and a HOT TUB!! The only thing we had to provide was bed linens and towels – which is quite the norm for rentals in the Poconos.
We spent most of our days playing out by the lake either near our dock or in our back yard. My three year old loved using his buckets and shovels to play in the shallows. He called it doing “dirty jobs”. What little boy doesn’t love dirty jobs? My preteen actually played with him most of the time, and nicely at that. This does not happen at home I can promise you. We took afternoon naps, relaxed in the hot tub, played ball, went boating and fishing, roasted marshmallows, and even vegged out in front of the tv sometimes. It was a great relaxing time. We cooked or grilled all of our meals. We kept to easy comfort foods and even frozen pizza! It was a great self contained vacation.
One day, we did venture out to view some local sites. We took a visit to view the Francis E. Walter Dam and also Boulder Field in nearby Hickory Run State Park. Both were great places to check out some great views. The kids had fun walking all over the “rocks” in Boulder Field. We definitely want to go back, maybe next time during the summer, to check out some other attractions that aren’t really feasible in the spring.
Now for some general info about White Haven / Lake Ag-mar. There is a small grocery store in town – as well as some pizza shops and restaurants. If you are looking for bigger chain stores (Walmart, Wegmans) you will have to go into Wilkes Barre – which was at least a 30 min ride – and watch driving around dusk – the deer are out ! If you are looking for wine/spirits/beer those store are also close. Just know that in PA wine and liquor is sold in one store and beer in another. It is not sold in the same store nor is it sold in the grocery store like in some other states.
You do need a fishing license in PA and they can be purchased on line – just do a google search. Little ones and teens under the age of 16 do not need a license. If you plan to fish at the dam, or other lakes/streams you may have to get a trout stamp on your license. There is a listing of what bodies of water require this on the website where you buy your license. There are water parks close by in Split Rock and Camel Beach. There are plenty of nature / state park areas. There are farms, raceways, a railroad, zoo, and a mine that are all close but most are open only in late spring and summer. There is plenty of skiing in the winter with Jack Frost very close.
I would recommend the Poconos as a great family vacation spot. It can be done on any budget and for many different vacation types.