MONROE COUNTY, Pa. — Columbus Day weekend is usually one of the busiest times of the year in the Poconos. This year, despite the pandemic, Newswatch 16 found much of the same.
Olivia Kirlew and her family made the two-hour trek from New York City to Camelback Resort near Tannersville for the long weekend. She planned the trip for her six-year-old daughter's birthday.
"Due to COVID and everything, everything is shut down. So, we figured we'd come here because they have the indoor water park and it's open. So, we just decided we would bring her out here," Kirlew said.
About 200 rooms were booked for the weekend at Camelback, with many visitors coming from New York City and New Jersey.
"Friday, Saturday, Sunday, even today, we were basically filled in the hotel all weekend. The great part is everybody wants to be outside," Camelback Resort Managing Director Shawn Hauver said.
The resort is only selling 50% of its rooms to keep guests socially distanced.
"People want to be out of the city. They want to be out here in the rural area with mountain fresh air, doing hiking and mountain adventures, anything they can do to just be outside," Hauver said.
Just down the street from Camelback, Barley Creek Brewing Company was also a popular stop. General manager Rocco Baldassari said about 1,500 people stopped in to grab a bite to eat, which was more than in 2019.
"Friday, Saturday, you know, we see some record numbers up here in the Poconos. Very excited. Seeing a lot of travelers from out of state and a lot of locals getting out and about to local businesses," Baldassari said.
Camelback Resort said this trend is going to continue after the long weekend. The place is also booked solid for next weekend, too.