Payday Getaways: Milford, Pennsylvania

Peaceful drive includes historical hotel and resplendent mansion

Story and photos by Jessica Festa

Nov. 19, 2015

Milford, Pennsylvania, is just as adorable as the name leads you to believe. Native Americans first settled here in the 18th century, attracted by the area's lush natural features. Today, you’ll find woodland, bluffs, orchards and the Delaware River blending with Victorian homes, antique shops, local businesses, and bed and breakfasts. It’s the ultimate destination for a slow-paced Delaware River Valley road trip.

When payday rolls around and you’ve got extra cash to spare, use this guide for the ultimate weekend getaway in Milford, Pennsylvania.

Stay:

The Relais Châteaux property, Hotel Fauchère, seamlessly weaves simplicity with grandeur and history with modern luxuries. For many, Hotel Fauchere is an attraction in itself. Opened in 1852 by the head chef of Delmonico’s New York, Louis Fauchère, it has hosted notables like John F. Kennedy, Sarah Bernhardt, Robert Frost, Charlie Chaplin and even Babe Ruth during the Gilded Era. (You can see photos of important guests showcased on the walls.) Original features like mahogany banisters, marble entrances and historical paintings of local landscapes from the mid-19th century Hudson River School blend with Frette linens, Kiehl’s bath products, rain showers, and heated towel racks and floors.

Breakfast is included, but at least one meal at the downstairs Bar Louis is a must! The stylish gastropub features comfort food made in a farm-to-fork fashion. Start with a deviled farm egg topped with cayenne before moving on to a local Prime Time Beef burger with the works and a worthy splurge for truffle fries. Pair it all with a Shawnee Craft Beer brewed with local honey.

Thanks to a plethora of free hiking trails in the 70,000-acre Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Milford is a budget-friendly getaway. The Milford Knob is a great hike — reached via the 2.6-mile-roundtrip Milford Knob Trail that traverses the Raymondskill Ridge. The flat path becomes a steep incline, but eventually hikers are rewarded with a stunning aerial view of Milford and its surrounding mountains.

No trip to Milford would be complete without viewing Pennsylvania’s highest waterfall. Raymondskill Falls is a three-tiered cascade reaching about 150 feet, just slightly shorter than the famous Niagara.

No matter which hike you choose, a homemade chicken salad sandwich featuring cranberries, mayo, sour cream, salt, pepper, onions and avariety of herbs from Pâtisserie Fauchère makes for a great trail enhancement. Consider getting one to go before your journey.

Cycling is another worthwhile option while in the area. From Hotel Fauchère, you can walk to Action Bikes and Outdoor and get a half-day rental to explore the 32-mile McDade Recreational Trail. The landscape constantly changes with each section — one moment you catch Easternhemlock woodland, the next mountain laurel meadows. You can do the entire trailor choose a specific section to enjoy. 

If there’s time, continue riding or hit the road and drive to Grey Towers to tour the resplendent mansion and perfectly-manicured grounds and gardens. Grey Towers was once the home of the U.S. Forest Service’s first chief and the twice-elected Governor of Pennsylvania, Gifford Pinchot. While the entire property is inspiring, don’t miss the Finger Bowl! Picture an al fresco circular dining table-meets-pool where dinner guests would float dishes of food to each other.

Later if you’re feeling famished, make a trip to the Waterwheel Cafe, Bakery & Bar, situated in a 19th century water-powered grist mill. You can even see the 24-foot working waterwheel. The National Register of Historic Places listed eatery features like indoor and outdoor seating, an on-site bakery, a Blues Jam every Thursday night, and a menu fusing American, Mediterranean and Vietnamese cultures. Take a self-guided tour of the space before ordering the tempura soft-shell crab wrap with avocado and a slice of homemade chocolate ganache cake. Before driving home, book a session at Badea & Soul Day Spa, housed in a comfortable Victorian space. While most spas cost extra for specialty treatments, Badea’s menu showcases all offerings for about the same price, allowing you to easily go beyond the typical Swedish massage.

Our pick: An Aroma Hot Stone Massage incorporating volcanic stones for both curing and relaxing the body.

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