All photos courtesy of NJ Family staff
Your crew might’ve made a splash at Aquatopia this summer, or taken on a mountain or two during ski season; but there’s tons of ghoulish fun to be had at Camelback before winter hits. Camelback’s Monster Mountain has it all this Halloween: jump scares, thrilling rides, ghostly activities and top-tier food.
Start at dusk with Kartrite’s Eerie Expeditions, on which the kids will come face-to-face with pirates, mummies, skeletons and more ghastly creatures (but don’t worry: it’s not too scary for young adventurers). Hit the Mountain Adventure Lodge to suit up in a harness, then walk over to the Lights Out Ziplines ($15/ride), where you can soar along all 1000 feet of a double barrel zip line 85 feet up in total darkness (save for faraway torch light and spooky passersby lurking below). Want to check it out before hitting the skies? Hang by the lodge where you’ll see (and hear!) daredevils zooming back to civilization out of the trees.
Once you’ve braved that high-up flight, follow the torch-lit pathway to The Monster Coaster ($15), the only ride of its kind in the country. Take a four-minute slow ride up the mountain (we were totally wowed by the stars–the sky is super clear in the Poconos!), and keep an eye out for glowing hologram specters along the way.
Once you reach the top, it’s all downhill from there in the best way. But seriously: brace yourself for this one. While it’s awesome that you can control the speed and brakes on this toboggan-like ride, it’s definitely terrifying! You truly can’t see much at all, and the track has some sharp twists and turns that made for a breathtaking–though scream-inducing–trip. Soar down the tracks through the forest in total darkness and say cheese: your pic will be taken, most likely taken mid-scream as our associate editor’s was. If you have little ones, it might be best to share a cart as long as you both fit.
After you’ve got your adrenaline fix, hop a lift over to Kartrite’s Haunted Houses ($15). This haunted walk-through, full to the brim with animatronics and special effects, is totally continuous but actually three themed houses in one: Kartrite’s Kurse, a monument full of zombified explorers and Egyptian relics; The Pit, which leads guests into an underground ghost town stocked with undead inhabitants and Pocono Point, a cursed plot trekked by an 18-foot wendigo and other local folk creatures. While the houses definitely have a few startling scares, it shouldn’t freak the kids too much: we found it much tamer than local scares like Brighton Asylum and 13th Hour.
Managed to get away without the kids? Sign up for a seat at the 18-and-over Camelback’s Big Seance ($20) with Jennifer Zuhowski, a natural-born healer and medium who will relay messages from spirits in an intimate candlelit 45-minute reading. There are only 10 spots for each of the two sessions (Saturdays only, 6 and 7:30 pm), so be proactive about claiming your spot if you’re interested.
After dark festivities run Thursdays through Sundays until October 28 from 6-10 pm (go Monday through Wednesday from October 29-31, too). Call ahead to reserve launch times for a zipline or coaster ride, and ask about height and weight requirements. Save big with a Bundle of Boo: hit the haunted house and either the zip line or coaster for $25, or do all three for $35.
This fall, the resort is also serving up some major flavor at two new restos on site: Kartrite Summit House, the highest mountain top eatery in the Poconos (make sure your phone's charged to snap pics of the killer view), and Berrelli’s, a family-style Italian spot that boasts a ski in-ski out lodge and an impressive wine list.
At Kartrites, you can expect lots of seafood (think lobster mac, seared scallops over roasted tomato risotto and miso-glazed salmon with bok choy), primo steaks (we loved the chimichurri hanger steak with parm fries!), inspired apps (like a perfectly creamy crab bisque with puff pastry crouton) and indulgent desserts (caramel bread pudding and amaretto cookies, anyone?)
At Berrelli’s, think Nonna staples like bruschetta, chicken parm, baked clams and cappellini margherita for dinner, and cannoli and tiramisu for dessert. Treat yourself to a trip downstairs to the wine bar, or a walk to the third-floor bar for a real-deal negroni.
Camelback Mountain Adventures is located at 243 Resort Drive in Tannersville, PA. Call 570-629-1663 or visit camelbackresort.com for more information.