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“A GEM - fine food, charming, lovely setting, step back in time” Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
This is going to be lengthy. Its’ hard to restrict myself to just a few words about my great times at the Inn this past summer.
Part of our enjoyment when we travel is that we never know what we may end up doing, who we might meet, or how we will spend every moment. Oh, I’m a planner – I know our routes, where we will stay, where we will eat (most of the time), and have a basic itinerary to follow. But part of the joy of staying off the beaten path is for a little adventure. I rely on trip advisor for a lot of the information I use for planning.
This past summer I worked a 9-week job in the Preston Park area. That was between a return to trip Amsterdam & the Keukenhof Gardens and before we depart for a return trip to France (road trip in Alsace, a wedding in Versailles, road trip into Brittany – thru scenic towns into San Malo, Mont St. Michel, Giverny return to Paris) So for 9 weeks I was alone at a central location – visited for a week by my husband and for 2 nights by a daughter & son-in-law. I worked hard but on my days off I needed a real getaway.
I found The Inn at Starlight Lake online and arranged for a 90-minute massage. My plan was to sleep late in my room, run errands, do laundry, then get to the Inn for massage, cocktail, and nice dinner. I had no other expectations. The folks who go there with unrealistic expectations and without flexibility or a sense of adventure are the ones I think who are disappointed. THE PLACE IS A GEM.
The setting is beaucolic, the staff friendly (you’re not in the big city so treat them with a little friendliness and you’ll be rewarded), the cocktails perfect (consistently one of the best manhattans I’ve had outside of the ones I make myself @ home), and delicious food.
Firstly, the massage room is on the second floor, air conditioned, and serene. I purposefully arrived early each time to allow myself an opportunity to relax. I would go to the second floor landing to read or explore the room and hall of the antique shop. I use the latter term loosely in that it’s a bit like wandering into the storage room of an aunt’s house with finds of linens, frames, glassware, furniture, and something old tucked into each corners and nook. A rocker, a wooden baby’s highchair, a wooden sleigh with seat, lamps, doilies, milk bottles and more. Relax and explore. The massages were great. I returned nearly every week of my summer.
Ah, relaxed and now it’s cocktail time. The little bar is comfortable and charming. Although I still had my book with me, at the end of the bar I discovered 4 or 5 little vintage books of quotes, poetry, games, and easy quick things to read. I chatted with the bartender, I talked to others on the stools or seated at the tables. All it takes is to ask, “where are you from” and you’ve got a conversation started. Even the couples there for romantic getaways took occasion to join in conversations that sometimes ended up involving 6 or 7 people in the room. Or take that cocktail out to the front porch and sit a spell in a rocker. One week I observed a group of 10 or so who were reuniting there during a nearby camp parent’s visiting weekend. It was a great people watching experience. Or take that cocktail out to the dock to sit and watch boaters, kayakers, fishermen, or just stare at the lovely lake.
Time for dinner – one night when my husband visited, he was out on the dock photographing the fall of evening, so our waitress obliged me and went out to the porch to call him in when our table was ready. That moment is caught in my memory – how easy and gentle the whole experience was – he was out doing what he loved, I was in chatting or reading, and I heard her call “Walter, it’s time for dinner”. It was like we were visiting a relative. Just the experience I wanted.
Over the course of the summer I experienced in the dining room 1 breakfast, 2 lunches, and about 7 dinners. I was never disappointed. I ate on the enclosed porch most of the times, but was also in the larger dining room and in the bar at club chairs once (where the TV is to see some of the Olympics). Linen tablecloths and napkins, a view of the lake, and a menu with something for everyone. Although I loved the wild mushroom ravioli with the sautéed spinach, roasted red peppers, cream sauce and generous shavings of parmesan Sari pointed out to me that I really should try some other things on the menu. While my eye would always find the ravioli dish first on the menu, I am really glad I tried the wiener schnitzel, the turkey, the fish, the pasta night. The appetizer of smoked trout was so large and so good that a few days later my husband and I ventured into the local town and tracked down the supplier (a real character and an adventurous day) and bought enough to bring home for a dinner party. . Wine by the glass is perfect for the solo diner and as reasonable as the cocktail prices with a nice selection. Homemade pies, special coffees, after dinner liquors – sit back, relax and enjoy the experience.
Sometimes I’d end up chatting with other diners, sometimes I’d read, sometimes I had a dining partner. One night the historical society from Honesdale were having a dinner when I happened into the Inn (not a regularly scheduled massage/dinner night for me) and I met some folk who knew my beaches in DE (that conversation began when I commented on the woman’s starfish necklace), and I ran into a shop owner with whom I’d had a great conversation the week before during a special art tour. Sari asked, “your regular?” and fixed that manhattan. It was great – no pretentions, just fully relaxed with no regard for time, just pleasure.
I was at the Inn often enough and at such a variety of times of day, that I was able to overhear many conversations. At least twice I heard women talking their men into not staying at the Inn as they had originally planned. The women were looking at such minor details and therefore missed the entire experience. Instead of looking at the piano and thinking she could tickle the ivories with her childhood memorization of Fur Elise or Solfeggietto (both of which I heard played more than once by different folk), I overheard one woman talk about the random pile of sheet music as if it were clutter. Well, I had just enjoyed rooting through that clutter the week before and sight-reading an old cowboy song! My husband had joined me by singing the words (he remembered the song from his youth) and we enjoyed that moment. No one cared if my fingers were hesitant, my timing off and he sang off key. The piano and sheet music were there for our pleasure and we now have a memory.
I overheard another woman complaining about the one window on the dining porch that she couldn’t open and saying that maybe they ought not spend the night lest they discover other flaws. The Inn is like any other comfortable older house or home – windows sometimes get stuck! I don’t want perfection – go to a chain hotel if you need the sterility and a janitor/maintenance worker wandering about. For me, the Inn was all about the CHARM.
There are various art works (watercolor, wood, jewelry) to peruse and purchase, there’s a ping pong table, an enclosed library porch for reading or games, an indoor shuffleboard, outdoor playground equipment, kayaks, rowboats, books and magazines by the fireplace in the large main reception living room, lots to look at, lots to do. Or nothing to do. It all depends on your expectations and what you are open to.
Sari was always kind and friendly to me. She’s a business owner. She was appropriately consumed with her work when she needed to be (taking reservations, supervising her staff, assisting her staff when the number of clients warranted it – I saw her in all those capacities as an organized, capable woman) Most often, however, Sari was a relaxed and congenial hostess whether it be mixing a cocktail if the bartender was not there, refilling wine, suggesting a dessert, mingling with her local regulars, chatting with those who return annually for family respite, or orienting new city folk.
This is the lengthiest tripadvisor entry I have ever submitted but I think that’s because the experience for me was just what I needed. The Inn at Starlight Lake was an oasis for me – a step back in time on slow summer days. A place for me to relax, be carefree, do what I wanted when I wanted to, interact with others if I wanted or be alone if I wanted. Finding such a good masseuse was a perk I hadn’t anticipated but was thrilled to look forward to each visit.
The bottom line? I would go back. I would recommend it to others who are looking for charm, relaxation, and a friendly place.
“A step back in time when life was more simple” Sugarloaf PA June 2012, traveled with family
My cousin and I meet every year at the Inn. The surroundings are beautiful and peaceful. In the morning you wake to beautiful bird songs carried on a breeze and the rustle of trees. The Inn is clean and so comfortable. Sari welcomes us like family and we feel "at home". A very peaceful, trouble free home!
We had a massage which was the one of the very best I've experienced. The room is comfortable and clean. The bar homey and has a great selection of drinks.
The food is delicious, as is the service. It is a place to reflect, relax and disconnect from life's pressures.
We will continue to come to the Inn and soak in all the nature in the years to come.
“The Inn at Starlight Lake is an oasis of calm” Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
My wife, college-aged daughter and I spent a night at the Inn at Starlight Lake. It was very restful, very calm and very relaxing. It is a bit of a throwback, and not for everyone. If you need to be plugged in 24/7, this place is not for you. But if you are willing to unplug, unwind and listen to the wind, the trees and the lake, this is an outstanding place. The room was simple, but comfortable. The service was gracious and welcoming. The bar was pleasant, with nice tables, good conversation and a nice selection of reasonably priced wines and interesting beers. The restaurant was very good, and certainly the best of the limited choices in the area. Great place to turn off the iPhone, turn off the news feed and turn back to a simpler time. Thank you Sari and company!
“Like staying at a friend's old cottage, but with much better food!” Apalachin, New York Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
Our room was in the Skylight Cottage. The room and bathroom are very basic, like staying at a friend's old cottage. An electric heater in the bedroom took a few hours to warm up the room. The bathroom was definitely a did-it-themselves job, but everything was functional. Lots of hot water!
We arrived early and had a delicious lunch. The bread and pastries are "housemade," as they say at the Starlight- yummy!
We were there to see some comedians. The show was great! Wish they had room to have a waiter take drink orders during the show, though. I think the comedians would have gotten even more laughs then.
Dinner before hand was really good but they could have used an extra wait person. Dessert was scrumptious but we weren't offered coffee or tea with it. We decided when the waitress was able to get back to us that we'd order after dinner drinks instead.
The lake is....rather small. Not what I was expecting. Not super scenic, but nice to relax and look at. The staff was super friendly and helpful.
One odd thing: I called ahead of time to inqire about what most people wear to dinner there (hard to tell from the website how "upscale" this place is) and the woman I spoke with said, "casual." I asked if that meant jeans and a nice top but she said most people don't wear jeans, mainly slacks and a nice top. Anyway, I stayed in the room and had my husband look out and see what everyone was wearing as they walked by-I wasn't going to wear dress pants if I could be more comfortable in my jeans. At least 90% of the guests wore jeans, even the older crowd! Maybe because it was comedy night? I wore jeans and a nice (nicer than I needed to based on what others were wearin) top.
I would say, go for a show but check out the rooms ahead of time. Maybe the rooms inside the main house are nicer. If you don't mind a basic, somewhat dumpy room ( in an almost charming way) then stay in the Skylight Cottage. No tv, no phone (which was nice) and VERY thin walls.
Might be a nice place to stay with young kids but it wasn't as romantic as we had hoped, mainly due to the fact that we could hear everything on the porch, sobI'm sure they could hear us :0
The main house has some games, a game room, books galore, bikes, etc...
The bar has a fair beer selection and lots of liquor choices. Wine list adequate.
We had a nice time once we accepted the accommodations for what they were. Again, great lunch and dinner and great staff!
I would go back for a show or meal but not sure if I'd stay overnight, at least not in the Skylight. I 'd have to see the other room options in person before staying again with my husband.
“A Peaceful Getaway” Scott Township, PA Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
This past weekend, my husband and I had a peaceful getaway at The Inn at Starlight Lake, in Starlight, PA (northeastern PA.) The Inn is off the beaten track and away from all the sights and sounds of everyday life. There isn't any traffic...no telephones ringing...just quiet. Occasionally you'll hear the sound of the wind, gently blowing across the beautiful lake that faces the Inn.
The Inn is beautifully decorated with antiques and the rooms are so pretty and cheerful. They have all the necessities, including your own private bathroom. If you'd like, there are also many activities you can take advantage of, like tennis, fishing, biking, hiking, and boating.
We prefer to have a quiet dinner, play pool in the activities room, and get caught up on our reading. (Our cellphones are turned off, and there aren't any phones in the rooms.)
The restaurant at the Inn is first-class. The dining rooms are surrounded by windows so that you can enjoy the stunning scenery. The food is excellent; there are several delicious entrees to choose from and the desserts are homemade by the pastry chef. They always feature new, interesting cocktails and have an adequate wine list. The atmosphere is casual, yet elegant. The "country" breakfasts that are included with the price of the room are tasty and satisfying.
The staff is cheerful and friendly, but not overbearing; they know when to leave you alone.
We've been at the Starlight Inn several times. It's a place where we love to return when we want to get away from it all. Since we're return guests, the Inn often sends us cards with special discounts, such as an overnight stay for half price. We always feel renewed and refreshed and we hate to leave. Before we leave the area, we always take a ride through the countryside. There you can see sprawling farms, picturesque barns, and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
If you'd like to slow down a bit in peaceful, charming surroundings, then this is the place for you!