The Land of Love: Where Kitschy Meets Marketing Genius

My husband reads our local newspaper every day as part of his two hour morning ritual and will sometimes leave articles on our kitchen counter for me to read that he thinks I should see, including the occasional obituary.

A few weeks ago I found this one, circled and with arrows pointing to the specific article of interest…

Why? Well, we need to go back to the summer of 2003 when my daughter spent her first of many summers at a sleep away camp in the Poconos and my son went to one in the Berkshires…2 states and 3 mountain ranges away…and, of course, his visiting day was the same day as hers.

Seriously, why should anything in life ever be simple? It’s so much more “interesting” to be challenged by these kind of logistics right?

Side note: Both camps had an “alternate” visiting day on Sunday, mostly for divorced parents who didn’t want to share the few hours with their children. And while I was divorced by the time my kids started going to camp, the alternate days for us were especially important because of the distance between the two camps. Why were they in 2 different states? Sigh…we’ll have to have a few cocktails one day to get to that story.

Anyway, for anyone that has ever tried to get a hotel during a camp visiting day weekend, you know the rates are usually at least double and, oh, there are 3 night minimum stays.

So call me crazy but…I didn’t need want to spend 3 nights in either location. I wanted to leave Tampa on Friday morning and return Sunday night.

And not spend thousands of dollars in the process.

Apparently, I was somewhat delusional.

Ok, wait, we’ve already determined I am crazy so I guess delusional isn’t much of a stretch.

The first year I literally spent months combing the internet for reasonable multi city airfare (arrive in Scranton…yes Scranton…on Friday and leave from Hartford…not as bad as Scranton but still…on Sunday) plus hotels with no minimums and a car rental that didn’t charge a ridiculous fee for dropping off in a different city than the one picking up.

Gotta love supply and demand economics!

Finally, I came across what was at the time a Sheraton about 30 minutes from my daughter’s camp through Orbitz that didn’t have any restrictions whatsoever and was very reasonably priced.

Only one room left…I didn’t even bother looking at the hotel’s website and grabbed it before it was gone as quickly as it had magically appeared. I’ve stayed in enough Sheratons, Holiday Inns, Hiltons and Marriotts off various highways and they are all pretty much the same.

Yeah, well, the hotel I reserved, Cove Haven on Lake Wallenpaupack in Lakeville, PA, clearly was the exception to that little rule.

Unbeknownst to me, I had reserved a suite at a place referred to as “The Land of Love”, one of the infamous Poconos resorts that was/is advertised incessantly on Northeast radio and television as a “blend of romance and recreation”, complete with…

silo-like rooms (meaning no windows)
round beds (uh…not at all practical for my 6’4″ husband)

mirrored ceilings (OMG)
glass enclosed individual indoor heated heart shaped pools (aka giant germ/disease tanks)
and, yes,  a seven-foot champagne glass whirlpool bath-for-two complete with celestial ceiling (I thought they were a myth..I was so wrong)

At the reception area, they advised us that “Betrothed Badminton” was starting in 10 minutes to be followed by “Cupid’s Archery” and then some name for the cocktail hour I have obviously blocked from my memory.

I had entered hell.

My then fiance now husband, Stan, was in heaven.

Honestly, I love the big guy but I have never known anyone more attracted to cheesy stuff like this than him. He actually proposed to me in the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel complete with an Elvis impersonator so Cove Haven had him written all over it. 

Me, not so much. Truth be told, not at all.

It was going to be the longest 16 hours of my life…8 of them hopefully sleeping…before leaving at 8 am the next morning for visiting day #1.

“What time would you like the photographer to come to your room to take the photos of the two of you in your champagne glass bath?” asked the front desk clerk.

“Not necessary,” I said.

“What do you mean?” said Stan, looking extremely surprised that I didn’t want a complete stranger in our room taking pictures of us  in a bathtub. “Come on babe, it’ll make for a great memory.”

“I’m good,” I said. I already had plenty of images from this place permanently seared on my brain and we hadn’t even left the reception area.

champagne-glass

FYI…searching for a photo of the champagne glass tub that was “free to use for commercial purposes” you will find some very interesting ones.  The one above was the least creepy one I could find.

Look, no disrespect to anyone who has stayed in one of these resorts and thought it was awesome. It just isn’t for me. But I will give Stan major props for making me laugh…A LOT…during our brief stay.

More importantly, I really do admire, Morris Wilkins, for taking a vision, no matter how kitschy, and making it come to life. A former electrician, he took over ownership of what was then called the Hotel Pocopaupack in 1958 and renamed it Cove Haven. For the next few years it was just another couples-only hotel until he came up with the idea for the heart-shaped tub, followed by the champagne glass one and both truly put the Poconos on the map as a modern honeymoon and romantic getaway destination.

Morris Wilkins

Despite several more years of visiting day weekends, we never returned to Coven Haven (please tell me you aren’t surprised).  I did, however, feel a bit nostalgic when I read that Mr. Wilkins had passed away a few weeks ago at the age of 90 and found the one photo I did allow to be taken while there. I wonder if they would want it for their marketing materials?

Then again, we probably have on way too much clothing for their needs.

That’s it for now…#BlackerOut!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

54 Comments

Filed under Call Me Crazy, Random Stuff, Travel

54 responses to “The Land of Love: Where Kitschy Meets Marketing Genius

  1. What can I say? You spared me from ever booking at a place with ‘Love’ in the name. Seems Stan feeds your sense of adventure. fun post as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We were victims of a Pocono honeymoon. What you described is SPOT ON. I was dying. Thanks for the reminder of how far we have come since then. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hollyjeantampa

    This is SO sweet!! LOL I am cracking up. I’m glad Stan is such a romantic. Love the throwback pic, BTW! It’s safe to say my life will be just alright if I never have to visit there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He definitely knows how to keep things interesting Holly. And I do feel a little bad for what I guess has turned into a not so favorable review for these resorts. They certainly fill a niche market…I just don’t think I am part of it 🙂

      Like

  4. Thanks for the laugh, Beth!

    Cheesy abounds in the Poconos — and I’ll never understand the appeal.

    Gotta love Stan!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I always enjoy your blog Beth. What a wonderfully entertaining and funny story! And I’m with you and never wanting to stay at a place with mirrors on the ceiling! Seriously?!? LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hmmm will have to recommend this Cove Haven to my honeymooner clients… that is yes if they’re cheesy. Love how real you keep your writing. Honest and straight forward, not PC or sugar coated. That hilarious that Stan proposed to you at Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel lol…. Yes please send your picture in to Cove Haven marketing director 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am sure your clients will be just thrilled with you Camille! And no, I don’t sugar coat anything but do try to keep from being rude or offensive. As far as the picture is concerned, it doesn’t really tell enough of their story I’m afraid 🙂

      Like

  7. Bahahaha – I love your writing! I am now on the hunt for something as wonderfully cheesy in Australia. I think I will don my Akrubra with bobble corks for the photo opportunity. I reckon it would be a nice touch.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. carundle

    And to think I’ve missed out on this! But seriously, isn’t the point of sleep away camp for parents to have a vacation from their children (and vice versa)? They’ll be back soon enough, there’s no need for a parent’s day. What am I saying? If I were actually a parent, I’d be labelled a bad one.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I actually stopped going to see my daughter Carol after a few years. She didn’t care if I came except for missing out on any of the crap I would schlep from Tampa and by crap we are talking about Swedish Fish, chocolate chip cookies and whatever else was on the list on the one letter she wrote in the first 3 weeks. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Kristy Klenk

    What an adventure! Places like that can turn from romantic to awkward even with the love of your life. Glad you can look back on it with some humor 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Not sure why, but your post took me back in time to my teenage years, when a trip to the Catskills with a friend for our summer vacation created lasting memories. We were 17 and people thought we were 25. When I look at the pictures of us then, all dressed up in our lamé evening attire, I can see why. It was a summer of crazy experiences, meeting a wide array of interesting people, including hanging out with Neil Sedaka at the resort and creating memories that seem to have lasted a lifetime. I loved your story, as it is a testament to how some of the most unusual of life adventures, become our most precious memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great story, Beth. You are always entertaining. The camp my kids attended didn’t have parent visiting day. Yay!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. And I thought Intercourse, Pennsylvia, in Amish country was a good joke. As always, Beth, thank you for making me laugh! Next time you get the opportunity, you should get some high heels and take a picture in the glass tub: you could look like a pin-up girl! :-)?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Never gone to the Poconos & you’ve sealed the deal that I won’t…you make my bones ache from laughing, Beth!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Those Champagne Tubs are so 70’s lol. Good ha made you laugh alot in hell though ha ha. Greatly written as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hilarious! Love the throwbacks. Never been and never will.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Heehheee hoohoo lol ….you just made my day, Beth. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. OMG!!! I remember these champagne tubs being referenced in some comedy movie I watched a few years back.. I thought it was something made up for the movie hahaha!!! Well, now I know 🙂
    You and Stan are proof that opposites (at least opposite senses of humor?) definitely do attract! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Bonnie Dye

    I’ll probably be sorry I admitted this in public, but I actually won the Cupid’s Archery contest! Yep, coming of age in Ohio in the 70’s, a Pocono’s honeymoon was fairly common. Paul and I had dated for 7 years before we got married, so it was an easy little getaway before returning to normal life. Side note: You’d think after 7 years of dating the marriage might have lasted more than 5 years…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that you won the archery contest Bonnie! It was the only “sport” I excelled at when I went to camp. I even got a feather for “Most Improved” at the final campfire one year. Meanwhile, I dated my ex-husband for almost 7 years too but made it through 12 years of marriage. Even so, you would have thought we would have figured out any possible issues right?

      Like

  19. Allen J.Kovinsky

    Love the story.Mom and I stayed at a similar place in Chicago complete with swimming pool,champagne and porn movies.I think it was called the Sybaris.I think it was for our anniversary and either you kids paid for it or the Blatts.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Laughing like crazy! Our summer home was on Lake Fairview not far from Wallenpaupack growing up. I can tell you that local Poconoians (love that word!) thought the place was tragic too. I loved your post, you are the first person I have encountered who actually stayed there! Thanks for sharing – sending this off to my family members now!!! Happy Friday! from Carlyn in South Tampa

    Liked by 1 person

  21. This is great! I just love Stan’s attitude about it all. Hilarious!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. OMG.. freaken hilarious… and I’m with you.. there will NOT be anyone taking a pic of me IN my campaign hot tub.. no thank you… hilarious

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Vicky

    I’m still laughing. What a funny story! Thanks so much for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I’m going to guess that you wouldn’t be interested in the jungle room or the scarlet o’hara rooms they have near me in Niagara Falls. Lol love this post! I pass through PA a lot. I may have to go see this place myself.

    Like

  25. Haha! I love the so-called “typo” where you called it Coven Haven. I think Mr. Freud would have much to say about that. Great piece…thanks for sharing your experience. So now I can say I, too, have done it. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Funny post! And like how you bring in the theme of your blog title into the post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Ahahah what a great post, and I am like you I would not want to have a phtoto taken in a tub like that. Even though I would probably have laughed a lot too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  28. You can always have a laugh after the event. Thanks for sharing with us at #AnythingGoes

    Liked by 1 person

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