Upstate PA, Pocono Mountains & Valleys of the Susquehanna14 stops
Upstate PA, Pocono Mountains & Valleys of the Susquehanna
3 Days - 14 Stops
332 S Main St, Shenandoah, PA 17976
The Northeast section of Pennsylvania is filled with woods and wonderful hidden culinary treasures. This adventure begins by visiting the formerly bustling coal-mining town of Shenandoah. By 1920, it's said that Shenandoah was the most densely populated square-mile in the United States with nearly 30,000 residents. One of the best remnants of the area's heyday is Kowalonek's Kielbasa (1). Family-owned since 1911, this shop sells some of the best kielbasa around, and they will even make a cheese and sausage plate to go. Kowalonek's also sells pierogis (Shenandoah is the home of Mrs. T's), turkey kielbasa, an addictive must-try kielbasa dip, potato kishki (potato and onion filled into sausage casing,) and krakowska (a chunky smoked sausage from Krakow). It's the real deal here. The store owners and employees know a lot about the history of the town, too, so ask away.
Masser’s Farm Market
6148 PA-61, Paxinos, PA 17860
Onward to Masser's Farm Market (2) in the small town of Paxinos which, according to the historical marker, was named after a Swanee chief. Masser's started as a tomato stand but now is known for their smoked hams, pepperoni, ham hocks (pick up a few to take home for your split pea soup), smoked ring bologna, and jarred "soupies." "Soupie," a nickname for soppressata, is popular in the central part of the state. Lackawanna and Luzerne counties are home to numerous soupie contests. Two fire companies have yearly contests for the best homemade soppressata, and the most recent winners weren't even Italian! Masser's sells the Soupie Brothers brand, a Hazleton-based company that uses a generations-old recipe, as well as their own. Soupie Brothers also makes chorizo and prosciutto. The market also makes delicious pickles to perk up your charcuterie tray. For your favorite canine, make sure to pick up one of their smoked pig's ears or pig skins.
Wild for Salmon
521 Montour Blvd, Bloomsburg, PA 17815
About a thirty-minute drive northeast to the college town of Bloomsburg is Wild for Salmon (3). Around since 2004, the owners of this shop live in central Pennsylvania most of the year but spend summers on their fishing boat off the coast of Alaska. Steve and Jenn Kurian's wild caught seafood is first class. Favorites in the cured and/or smoked category include the Keta Salmon Ikura (fish roe), their smoked salmon dips, smoked coho bellies, and numerous different types of smoked seasoned sockeye. Some of their products are even available vacuum sealed in pouches for extended shelf life.
Paden Twin Bridges
Twin Bridges Ln, Orangeville, PA 17859
By now, your cooler is packed with goodies, and it's time for a wilderness break. The Paden Twin Bridges (4), two covered bridges originally built in 1884 that span Huntingdon Creek, are the only twin covered bridges in the United States. They're closed to traffic with a walking trail and picnic tables, making them a perfect place to snack out of the sun and wind. It's a gorgeous and serene place to relax a bit.
3726 PA-487, Stillwater, PA 17878
After your picnic, pack up the cooler again and take the short drive to check into your nighttime lodging at Vista Lodge (5). Each unit at the adorable, tiny house-style lodging near the town of Stillwater contains a mini fridge, small cooktop, lots of beautiful wooden features, and an outdoor seating area. It's a perfect stop for enjoying the scenery and nibbling your meaty snacks.
Sullivan County Museum & Antler Ridge Winery
458 Meylert Street, Laporte, PA 18626
37 Antler Ridge Ln, Ulster, PA 18850
After a restful night, drive north to the Sullivan County Historical Society and Museum (6), where you can visit an early 1900s Butcher Shop from a nearby town, which was taken apart and reassembled in the Barn. It's a great way to understand this very rural area and also break up the drive before you head up to the beautiful Antler Ridge Winery (7). The winery's large deck offers views of the mountains of Bradford County, and the wines have won state awards. However, one of the greatest perks at Antler Ridge is the kielbasa! The owner's grandfather owned a butcher store and the family continues to make his Polish recipes to this day. Guests can take their kielbasa to go, or they can sit and enjoy the scenery with a glass of wine and a kielbasa, cheese, and cracker plate.
142 Oakley Rd, Hop Bottom, PA 18824
The one-hour drive from Antler Ridge to Stepniak Beef (8) takes you through the sandstone and shale mountains of Bradford County into Susquehanna County to the town of Hop Bottom. Stepniak Beef is much like an old-time butcher shop, and their beef snack sticks, Cajun and Bourbon bacon, and soppressata are not to be missed.
Alpine Wurst and Meat House
1106 Texas Palmyra Hwy, Honesdale, PA 18431
Next up, the Alpine Wurst and Meat House (9). Founded in 1972, this restaurant, retail, and wholesale business focuses on classic German specialties and has three on-site smokehouses. They use minimal chemicals in their processing of bratwurst, knockwurst, kielbasa, and more. Assailer Rippchen, a German smoked and brined pork chop is also on the menu here. In early 2019, The Alpine Wurst and Meat House won a gold medal at an international sausage competition for their bauernwurst, a spicy German sausage. Events such as the Kale and Pinkelwurst Festival and the Fall Sclachfest are held in this area annually. Pinkel is a small finger-like sausage that contains bacon, grains, suet, lard, onions, and spices. Throughout Germany, people make winter trips for Kale and Pinkel. So, if you're in the area during the winter, check the website for the Kale and Pinkelwurst Festival.
Lodge at Woodlock
109 River Birch Lane, Wayne, PA 18428
After a filling dinner at The Alpine Wurst and Meat House, a relaxing night at the luxurious Lodge at Woodloch (10) in the Pocono Mountains is the perfect resting spot after a day of driving on the winding roads of rural Pennsylvania. The Pocono Mountains and surrounding area were a popular destination in the early 1800s for people from New York City looking to get out of the heat of the city in the summer. Lodge at Woodloch is a reminder of these special, rural retreats.
Plains Meat Market & WILD Meats
5 Hudson Rd, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18705
258 Wilkes-Barre Boulevard, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
After breakfast at the Lodge, drive on over to the Plains Meat Market (11), a family-owned corner market. People come from hours away for their kielbasa and hams, but make sure to pick of some Old Country Packers Horseradish (the beet horseradish is a personal favorite) made in the nearby town of Duryea to accompany your smoked and cured meats. The taste is fresh and bracing, and, as an added perk, it will clear out your sinuses. Also in Wilkes-Barre, WILD Meats (12) is a different kind of experience, and definitely worth a visit. The antelope summer sausage, wild boar jerky, and water buffalo snack sticks are a conversation-starting addition to any charcuterie tray.
Tarnowski’s Kielbasa & The Charcuterie
579 E Main St, Nanticoke, PA 18634
548 Main St, Stroudsburg, PA 18360
Two more stops of sausage and salami heaven before this cluster of stops winds up. Tarnowski's Kielbasa (13), in the town of Nanticoke, is a Kielbasa Fest winner year after year, and their Jalapeño sticks are said to be the best around. Historically, many migrants to this area worked in the once-active anthracite coal mines. While in Nanticoke, walk off the meat sticks with a walk through the weeds surrounding Concrete City, a deteriorating institutional living space for high-level employees of the coal mines who spoke English as their first language. The complex was abandoned in 1924. The last stop on this cluster takes the traveler back to more modern times at The Charcuterie (14) in Stroudsburg. Here, you can ease yourself back into city life in a beautiful bistro. Enjoy fig jam and green olive tapenade with your charcuterie before you hop onto I-80 to drive home or to the airport.