After threatening to start a blog to chronicle all of the photos I’ve taken on my abandoned travels, I’ve finally getting it together to do so – and to kick this off, I’m starting with my absolute favorite site I’ve visited to date: Penn Hills Resort.
Penn Hills Resort was a honeymoon destination for swinging couples in Analomink, PA. It was originally founded as a tavern in 1944, but slowly expanded into a large resort with over 100 rooms, booming as a destination “for lovers only” in the 1960s and 1970s. They took pride on being a place of “unbridled passion” and their New Year’s Eve party motto was, “No balloon goes unpopped.”
After the ’70s, the resort slowly started to tumble downhill, but still somehow ran until the owner died in 2009 (at 102 years of age!), closing two months after his death. There are still a few online reviews out there for patrons who visited in its final years, and it didn’t exactly sound like it held up.
After the owner’s death, it was discovered that the resort owed over $1 million in back taxes, and employees never received their final paychecks. After this news, on top of the already serious disrepair that existed, everyone decided to jump ship, abandoning the resort.
Penn Hills is located right off of Route 447, a major roadway in the Poconos. The resort’s iconic sign is seen visibly from the road – very hard to miss. I’ve spoken to people who live in the area, and they said they’ve driven by hundreds of time, never thinking what might lay past that signage. Does curiosity just die when you enter adulthood?
The resort was known for it’s heart shaped tubs, rotating-circular beds, floor-to-ceiling shag carpeting, and wedding bell-shaped swimming pool, amongst other questionable interior design choices. However, one of the most exciting pieces of historical artifacts in the resort were the light fixtures from the 1964 World’s Fair that dotted the grounds. I was fortunate enough to see these fixtures before they were sold earlier this year.
The biggest thrill for me, though, was discovering what used to be the entertainment office – now an explosion of paperwork. We found scheduled itinerary (which included a “Love Potion Drawing” and “the X-Rated Newley Wed Game”), hand drawn maps of the resort and a plethora of AMAZING 8x10s of prospective entertainment. I typically abide by the urban explorers’ rule of “leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photos,” but I couldn’t resist taking a few of these artifacts. I see it as helping clear out some of the trash.
The Poconos during its hey-day was one of the honeymoon destinations. Most of the other resorts in the area are either demolished or very heavily monitored by police, so I was grateful to be able to at least visit this one before its inevitable demise. I haven’t given up on the others just yet, though (Summit Resort, I’m looking at you!)