Not to to state obvious, but here at Escape Brooklyn we appreciate both ends of the travel perspective, from campy lowbrow to luxury highbrow. And though this property is mostly the latter, it’s rare to find someplace that combines both. But alas, we did! Just two hours from New York City in Port Jervis, this 1970’s summer camp turned luxury resort is called Cedar Lakes Estate. And right outside it’s swankiest (lakeside, Adirondack-style, $250 a night) cabin is a blob. How cool is that?
Though property hasn’t been a camp for many years, it’s campy character has stood the test of time. A long walk around the 500-acre property reveals countless bunkhouses, a rope course, tennis courts, and several lakes (all with paddleboat, canoes or kayaks.) Incredibly, the bunkhouses still in tact in their entirety; bunkbeds line the walls and are decorated with old camp-graffiti like “Stephan was here! ’79.” Exploring this place is a definite walk down memory lane. Because it the estate property is so large (it can sleep 30 people in the cabins and 400 in the bunks), it makes a perfect location for an event. Though it’s mainly used for weddings, they also host corporate events, or groups like Camp GoAway. Alongside the many lodging cottages and cabins, there’s also several event spaces scattered about.
Speaking of lodging, the bunkhouses aren’t what you rent out here. Instead, thirteen different luxury cabins are available. We immediately fell for the Sleepy Pines Cottages; they’re definitely the chic-est of all the choices–but don’t have kitchens, so you’ll have to plan your meals out. Instead of Sleepy Pines, we opted for the Bluebird Cottage, as it came equipped with a fireplace, a kitchen, and a patio for entertaining. There’s also the ultra-luxe Lakeside Cottage, with an incredible view of the lake and a dock just steps outside the door. Lastly, the Cabana Cottage is poolside with an outdoor kitchen and huge grill.
What to Do Around Cedar Lakes Estates: Pretend You’re a Kid at Camp, Go Tubing Down the Delaware River
Between the pool, the lake, grilling, bonfires, cozy cabins, and if you’re really lucky–the blob–it’s really easy to get sucked into Cedar Lakes Estates. Multiple lakes have boats for guest use including canoes, rowboats and paddleboats. (We’re willing to bet there’s kayaks laying around somewhere too–just ask.) During your stay, make a point to walk around the entire property and explore the many facets of this special place. We suggest spending one day at Cedar Lakes, then saving a second day to explore the area surrounding. See our below for dining recommendations that might help you decide where to visit.
For those looking for outdoor adventure, a lazy river tubing down the Delaware River might do the trick. In Barryville, Kittatinny Canoes offers lazy river trips. At the same location, they also offer zip lining, a fun way to take in the scenery. Downriver, and closer to Cedar Lakes, another branch offers white-water rafting. (They also offer kayaking and canoeing, but you can do that at Cedar Lakes.)
Where to Eat and Drink Around Port Jervis: Farms, Restaurants, Breweries, and Distilleries
For breakfast, we recommend heading to Rogowski Farm. The farm is in the black-dirt region of Pine Island, in the town of Warwick. Outdoor seating overlooks the fields; on the way out, pick up some fresh produce or baked goods from their farm store. For an easy lunch, Quaker Creek is a cute little polish deli in the same area. Half-deli, half-country store, their food counter serves grilled sausages, pierogis, sauerkraut and other polish delicacies. Their store is another great place to stock up on fresh food.
Perhaps our favorite memory from exploring the area was our visit to Westtown Brewery, just 20 minutes from Cedar Lakes Estate. It’s a farm brewery, crafting ales with hops from their hopyard and other local ingredients grown by neighboring farms. The tasting room is housed in a beautiful barn with huge doors that open up and overlook the hop yard. If your palette prefers wine or cider, we definitely recommend taking super-scenic County Route 1 from Cedar Lakes to Warwick Winery. Other nearby alcoholic endeavors include Blackdirt Distillery and Orange County Distillery.
For dinner, The Heron in Narrowsburg is our favorite in the Delaware Water Gap area. Though it’s about 40 minutes away, the trek is well worth it and is incredibly scenic (see: Hawk’s Nest.) Weather permitting, ask for a seat on their back patio which overlooks the Delaware River and is the perfect setting for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Finally, for something quick and easy, El Patron in Port Jervis serves solid, authentic Mexican food–and sometimes, alongside a Mariachi band.