Milford, PA Weekend

Mind the Delaware Water Gap in Milford

You could just come to Milford, Pennsylvania for the legendary hotel in its midst. Indeed, the celebrated Hotel Fauchère is a bona fide destination of its own accord: Opened in 1852 by Louis Fauchère when he was head chef of New York's famed Delmonico's restaurant, the Gilded Age resort counts Andrew Carnegie, Charlie Chaplin, and Mae West among its guests. It got a revamp in 2006, joined the Relais et Chateaux hotel collection two years later, and is now the cheapest R&C hotel within reach of New York. But there's more to Milford than the Fauchère (although its name is certainly associated with the best bakery, bar, and restaurant in town). Beyond its historic rooms is a charming Pike County village with great shopping, fabulous waterwalls, and one of the more interesting private estates in the Tri-State area. It all makes for an exceptionally well-rounded escape from New York City, with excellent cuisine and cocktails to conclude a day out.

What to Do

Photo by lb_philly

Grey Towers National Historic Site

151 Grey Towers Drive, Milford, PA; (570) 296-9630; www.greytowers.org; Grounds: Free; House Tours: $6

If you only visit one Milford attraction, make it this picturesque familial manse on the outskirts of town. The summer home of Gifford Pinchot, first Chief of the US Forest Service and two-time governor of Pennsylvania, dates from 1886 when it was built by his father (based on designs by Gilded Age architect Richard Morris Hunt). The grounds are utterly fascinating, and include an astonishing outdoor finger bowl used as a family dining area, a whimsical Bait House designed as a playroom for Gifford's son, and a turreted main house dedicated by JFK just two months before his assassination. House tours are offered from May to October only; the grounds are open year round.

Photo by magarell

Delaware Water Gap National Park

Various, Milford Area, PA; (570) 426-2452 ; www.nps.gov; Free

Milford is known for its fluviarchy, an arcane word used to describe a network of waterfalls, and scads of them course through the scenic Delaware Water Gap National Park immediately south of town. Some of the best chutes (like Raymondskill, pictured) are just a short drive away, and reached by easy hikes through wooded land. Load up on picnic supplies in town and break for lunch at George W. Child's Park, another impressive site with three falls and picnic areas off the western edge of the park.

Photo courtesy of Milford, PA Tourism Board

Broad Street

Broad Street and West High Street, Milford, PA

Several antique shops, bookstores, and art galleries now line Milford's historic main drag and browsing the local goods is a mandatory pastime. Bring decorative touches home from Upriver Home (pictured), the most urbane boutique in town, or pick up an antique print at the well-curated Books and Prints at Pear Alley; its book collection was picked over by President Clinton during one of Hillary's primary-nomination campaign stops.

Where to Eat and Drink

Photo courtesy of Patisserie Fauchère

Patisserie Fauchère

403 Broad Street, Milford; (570) 409-1246; www.patisseriefauchere.com

This incredible pastry shop is helmed by two recent New York refugees: Executive Pastry Chef Ben Youngquest (ex-Eleven Madison) and Head Baker Rachel Crampsey (ex-Amy's Bread). Together, they're baking some of the best croissants and petit-fours this side of France. Indulge your sweet tooth by the fire at the adjoining coffee shop or brown-bag some treats for a gourmet picnic by the falls.

Photo courtesy of Milford, PA Tourism Board

Fretta's Italian Food Specialties

223 Broad Street, Milford; (570) 296-7863; www.frettas.com

The oldest pork store in the country, Fretta's got its start in New York's Little Italy in 1906, but moved to Milford in 1998 at the hands of fourth-generation owner Joseph Fretta. It's an excellent spot to acquire picnic supplies, like home-made soppresatta, antipasti, and made-to-order panini and meatball parmigiana sandwiches. It also stocks proper hampers, should you have come without.

Photo courtesy of Waterwheel Cafe

Waterwheel Café

150 Water Street, Milford; (570) 296-2383; www.waterwheelcafe.com; Entrées from $15.95

The Vietnamese-American menu is just one of the surprises at this local favorite on the road to Grey Towers. It cooks up great breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and boasts an equally popular live-music scene, too. That said, the rusty, still-churning, three-story-high waterwheel that shares the building is as good a reason as any to visit. Part of a restored early-1800s grist mill on the list of National Register of Historic Places, it's free to explore and definitely worth a detour.

Photo by queenieinmanhattan

Delmonico Room

401 Broad Street, Milford; (570) 409-1212; www.hotelfauchere.com; Tasting Menu: $140 with wine pairings; $75 without

Milford's sole high-end restaurant is tucked behind the Hotel Fauchère's smart red-striped awnings. Despite its laurels (it was launched by the head chef of the celebrated Manhattan restaurant of the same name) it's actually a pretty low-frills eatery, with banquette-style seating, plank-wood floors, and framed European menus tacked up on Victorian gray-and-white wallpaper. Chef Christopher Bates's seasonal five-course Tasting Menu sources what's available at local Pennsylvania farms, while signature dishes, like a creamy Lobster à la Wenberg and a gut-busting Delmonico steak, are always available à la carte.

Photo by Jake Slagle

Bar Louis

401 Broad Street, Milford; (570) 409-1212; www.hotelfauchere.com

Chic bar snacks (local artisanal cheeses, a mean smoked-turkey club, a caviar-sprinkled sushi pizza), an impressive list of wines by the glass, and clever cocktails like Corpse Reviver #2 (mixing gin, Grand Marnier, absinthe, and Lillet) await at Bar Louis, the remarkably contemporary basement bar at Hotel Fauchère. Its informal atmosphere, abetted by a massive bar photograph of Andy Warhol and John Lennon, is a great alternative to the upstairs dining room. Frequent events draw locals and visitors alike.

Where to Stay

Photo by queenieinmanhattan

Hotel Fauchère

401 Broad Street, Milford; (570) 409-1212; www.hotelfauchere.com; From $275/night in high-season

A Milford destination in its own right, the Fauchère's refined status already makes it the best overnight in town, but there's great culinary history to recommend it too. The original owner, Louis Fauchère, trained at Delmonico's, and the hotel's eponymous dining room (see Where to Eat, above) pays homage to that era. The 16 rooms upstairs were renovated as recently as 2006 (when they doubled in size) and are unusually understated for a country inn of this ilk. Expect neutral tones, Frette linens, and large soaking tubs made of Pennsylvania marble, plus a fantastic continental breakfast the next morning based on pastries from the amazing Patisserie Fauchère.

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