One Week in The Poconos: A Family Vacation

Aaron and I spent a full week in Poconos Pines, PA, with his parents and grandparents; his aunt and uncle, brother, cousin, sister and her two kids (ages 5 months and 4 years) joined us throughout the week. This was my first time meeting his grandparents, aunt and uncle, and cousin, and it had been years since he’d seen them, as they live in different places on the East Coast than his parents (i.e. New Jersey, Maine, and Washington, DC). His parents, grandparents, and aunt and uncle rented the vacation home we stayed in, which had 3 floors and multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, for the second consecutive year. Aaron and I had our own room and shared a bathroom on the bottom floor for the latter half of the week when his aunt, uncle, and cousin arrived with their cute little doggie, Dottie (she’s actually named after Aaron’s grandma).

This week was about relaxing and hanging out with Aaron’s side of the family rather than sight-seeing; we spent quite a bit of our time at the house and in that immediate area, which felt really nice after our “fast travel” the week prior. It was a much needed time to slow down!

We mainly are composing this blog post to share photos from our time in The Poconos with family, but we did have a few experiences as a couple or solo that we’d like to share publicly as well.

Driving to The Poconos

Departing from Marcellus, NY!
Thank you, Pennsylvania!
Scranton makes me think of The Office, so I took a pic when we saw signs for it on the highway, of course!

Outdoor Excursions & Scenic Photography

This was our walking path toward the end of our initial walk around about 1/3 of Lake Naomi on the first day; it was humid and felt like an accomplishment! Luckily, the humidity dissipated for most of the rest of the week.
A scenic spot for us to turn around and walk back to the house

Our view of Lake Naomi just steps away from our vacation house rental; what a treat to have this so accessible to us for a whole week! Aaron’s grandfather, Ted, enjoyed fishing from the dock pretty much every day we were there.
“Beach” adjacent to our dock
Pretty creek imagery on an early evening walk I took around part of Lake Naomi while catching up with my mom over the phone
Here’s another moment I felt compelled to capture while on a solo walk. I love the reflection of the trees on the lake!
A mid-day walk with Tom and Joyce around another nearby lake that they had been to before and wanted to return to with us
Tom, Joyce, me, and Aaron

Cool idea, Joyce!
And we’re off!
The open water ahead as Aaron and I canoed together
We got lots of direct sun on this voyage, so we were both glad we wore our hats to protect our scalps!
Aaron’s photography can sometimes, like in this photo, be a work of art!
My arms felt tired early into our voyage and I was regretting wearing black due to the strong, direct sun beating down on us, but the periodic breeze felt good, and I kept focusing on the picturesque views ahead of and surrounding us. After all, it’s not every day we get free and convenient access to canoes and kayaks!
Aaron likes taking photos of ducks. I think he does a pretty good job of it!
Canoeing mission accomplished!
Aaron paddling his kayak when we took separate kayaks out onto the lake

Willard got to kayak for the first time in The Poconos!
Uncle Aaron taking Byron, our nephew, out onto the lake. He loved it (if you can’t tell by his facial expression), and they were best buds for the rest of the week!

Dining at the House

This was dinner on our first night with Aaron’s parents and grandparents, courtesy of Dottie, Aaron’s grandmother (it’s a special stuffed peppers dish that’s an Edwards family favorite, especially for Aaron’s sister, Sarah)!
Aaron cutting the London Broil on our night to cook
We made a Caprese salad and grilled zucchini and corn-on-the-cob, too!
Ted, Joyce, Tom, and Aaron
Lunch a la Aaron Edwards

Group Fitness Classes

I had a BLAST taking my first ever POUND group fitness class at Pocono Z Fitness in Mount Pocono with Danielle, the owner and primary instructor of the studio. Check out more details within my dedicated blog post to My Group Fitness Class Experiences During Our U.S. Travels
My first Zumba class while on our road trip was wonderful thanks to Naomi and one of her students, Madeline, at the Lake Naomi Club Fitness Center. This is also included in my fitness travel group exercise class experiences blog post!

I also took a Zumba class from another instructor at Lake Naomi Club on our last full day in The Poconos, but I did not document the experience with a photo. Check out the details of this experience in my separate blog post about fitness classes I took while on the road here.

Our Anniversary Dinner Outing

Aaron and I celebrated our 2-year wedding anniversary on September 13th, so we went out to a nice dinner, just the two of us, at Louie’s Prime Steakhouse in Lake Harmony, PA. We were excited to take part in the Small Plate Menu offerings, which feature high quality, value-price dishes from Tuesday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the bar area (which also has table seating available), though we actually only ended up ordering 1 dish off of this section of the menu (the appetizer plates were similarly priced). We arrived in the mid-part of the allotted timeframe established for the Small Plate Menu offerings, and we basically had the area to ourselves! We mostly reflected upon our travels thus far, including our time in The Poconos with family to this part of the week, and our lives together over the past couple of years. Thank you to our family (both sides!) for contributing towards treating us out for this awesome meal (we decided to use your gifts for our travels and anniversary toward this finer dining experience)!

Ahi Tuna Poke Salad
Beef Carpaccio
Petite (4-oz) Filet Minon with smashed potatoes, asparagus, and a cognac reduction!
Our dessert was a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake (it had the texture of a torte) with whipped cream, sauce drizzle, and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on the side. We enjoyed indulging in every bite of this decadent goodness, but we stopped ourselves from finishing it to enjoy more of it the next day and also share a few bites with Tom and Joyce. This paired perfectly with a cappuccino!
My handsome husband who cleans up nicely!


Family Dinner Out 

Ted and Dottie treated everyone who was there mid-week out to dinner, even though we were continuing to celebrate Ted’s 90th Birthday! I suppose that’s just what grandparents do (lovingly spoil their family members). 🙂



Family Hanging Out

Gone fishing!
Joyce and Donna, Aaron’s aunt and Joyce’s sister, chillen by the lake
Aaron’s younger sister, Sarah, and her two sons, Se-an and Byron, with Joyce and Tom
Byron opening his gift from Uncle Aaron and Aunt Elena (a mini, locally made soap from our travels in North Bend, OR)
An Edwards family favorite for Cocktail Hour, only available in certain U.S. states (Ted loved this time of day the most)! It’s a strawberry-flavored, sweet, bubbly sparkling wine.
Eben, Aaron’s older brother, hanging out by the lake
Happy 90th Birthday, Grandpa Ted! Byron was really excited to help him blow out his candles and, most importantly, eat cake! The candle was a production, as it was supposed to start playing music when the candles burned down enough, but it didn’t until after they had to be blown out, lest wax drippings would get on the cake. Once it stopped playing, it wouldn’t stop!

Miscellaneous + Noteworthy Stuff

If you’ve been reading my blog posts that address camping outdoors and stopping in places with no toilet options, this gift from my mother-in-law will make a lot of sense! Thanks, Joyce! 🙂
This pretty dragonfly landed on my coloring book, so I just had to carefully take a photo of it before it flew away!
Aaron and I had this gem of a workout room available to us on our bottom floor of the house. We worked out in here a couple of times, but with our own equipment. We had a good laugh at how old and outdated this equipment was; it smelled and looked very stale in this room, probably because it’s unlikely anyone who stays here actually utilizes it, besides us, of course!
Aaannnddd Aaron’s favorite piece of equipment in this room, which he actually did try to incorporate into our workout, which was not in the plan I had tried to execute, LOL. This was some 80’s or 90’s workout gadget, and who knows what it was intended to work?!
Taking in the lakeside view
Straight chillen
Aaron Edwards – Self-Portrait

Overall, it was a great week to stay in one place and hang out. We almost forgot that we were on a long-term travel journey, being in the midst of family for a vacation. Besides what is pictured and/or described above, other activities included watching tv, reading books, using tablets, blogging (for me), hanging out and chatting (often while doing the aforementioned), and grocery shopping. Aaron enjoyed a couple of outdoor runs around the lake while I was off taking fitness classes in the area (thank you, parents, for lending me your car so this would be more accessible for me)! I would like to mention that I always feel welcome around Aaron’s immediate family (your loving efforts to do this are and always have been noticed and appreciated), and I did around his extended family upon meeting and spending time with them on this trip as well. Aaron felt really fulfilled by seeing and spending time with his family in-person, which he doesn’t get to do very often. This time together was a great, final send-off from family before getting on a Greyhound bus to New York City to start a long, indefinite period of travel with (primarily) just the two of us; this was likely the last time we’ll see familiar faces for awhile, so we soaked up our last goodbyes with Mom and Dad especially.

Until next time, when we’ll be in NYC and Miami!
Elena 🙂