Cove Haven Resort in the Poconos is “the land of love”; all the signs will tell you that. But to be perfectly honest, I just didn’t get it. Here I was in the middle of nowhere; everything was moving way too slowly, and I kept thinking, “What a fool I was not to bring my laptop! And I should have at least three or four more books with me. What am I supposed to do here?”
I started to come around when I saw my husband in the tub. This is a man who very rarely just takes it easy. Yet there he was, up to his neck in bubbles, stretched out full length in the enormous champagne glass whirlpool in our suite. He was smiling, totally blissed out for nearly an hour.
At 4:15 a.m. the next morning, he decided to take a dip in our private pool, then a nice hot steam shower. He announced his plans to try the sauna downstairs later in the day. He got it; he was relaxing in an environment that was absolutely conducive to getting away from it all. It made me happy to see all thoughts of work, bills, and responsibilities fall away from him.
This is the Cove Haven effect. The resort was built in 1958, at a time when sex was still considered “naughty;” until 1989, this couples only facility demanded proof that the pair was actually married. No more, of course; singles, gay and straight, are invited to partake of the amenities, which include the first, and now the last, heart shaped Jacuzzis in the Poconos.
I appreciated the little touches provided to help make the guest’s stay special. There was a bottle of bubbly chilling in a wine bucket; a foil box full of chocolate truffles, and rose petals strewn everywhere, especially on the big round bed.
Cove Haven was once owned by Caesar’s, and our walls were bordered with Egyptian symbols (hello, Cleopatra). There were stars, which operated on rheostats, on the ceilings, and warming lights for the pool and the whirlpool. The one thing I found a bit distracting was the fact that there are mirrors nearly everywhere you look. Not so bad if you’re in your 20’s, which a lot of the patrons are. Nevertheless, the Champagne Tower, where we stayed, was quite deluxe, and I like the fact that everything is included in the price of the vacation package.
What draws people here? I had a chance to talk with two adorable young couples. Both men were recently out of the service; one had just returned from Iraq. Both had close cropped hair, and pretty brunette wives. Cove Haven is special to them, explained one of the young women, because “We came here for our honeymoon, and when my husband was on leave. We love our two year old, but it’s important for us to have time together.”
As a matter of fact, it was easy to start a conversation with anyone. It’s a very friendly place, largely because the staff is warm and congenial. I spoke with a middle age couple at the breakfast buffet. I asked what they like most, and the Mrs., a lady with sparkling eyes and even more sparkling diamonds, told me, “We love it here! We’ve been coming for years. We’re part of the Forever Lovers program; we’ve formed a group of ten couples, and we meet here on a regular basis. It’s wonderful to have these friends, and we always have a great time. We enjoy our kids and our grandkids, but it’s important to get away and re-connect, just the two of us.”
Our stay was a preview of the Month of Love, which lasts all of February. Since Valentine’s Day tends to get sold out quickly, it was necessary to extend Cupid’s influence so that those who don’t book a year in advance can still partake in the festivities. We attended a massage class, and received a little bottle of chocolate lubricant. We also enjoyed a cooking demonstration given by a couple of the house chefs. As far as the food is concerned, I’d recommend most the dessert buffet, with chocolate in many different forms (including fondue from a fountain), and a heaping bowl of tasty strawberries.
It’s easy to see why so many weddings, honeymoons, and anniversaries are celebrated here, and why New Year’s Eve is always sold out. The resort is open 24/7, and there are loads of activities according to the season, including snowboarding, boating on the lake, skating, swimming, and tennis.
For me, the greatest lure is the opportunity to step back in time, to just let go and enjoy the experience. Think Poconos before the casinos, think Dirty Dancing. Think bubble bath. Think escape.
The last time I saw the young couples, they were seated at big resort style table in the dining room, laughing and having fun. Then, one of the former soldiers got up and danced with his wife. They closed their eyes, held each other tight, and blocked out the rest of the world. They were beautiful together. My husband and I smiled at each other, and he squeezed my hand.
There is no doubt that young love is wonderful.
Old love is pretty great, too.
Cove Haven Resort
194 Lakeview Drive
Lakeview, Pa. 18438
Photo credit: John Warner
Michall Jeffers is an accomplished Cultural Journalist. She writes extensively, both in print and online. Her eponymous cable TV show is syndicated throughout the tri-state area, and features celebrity interviews, reviews, and commentary. www.michalljeffers.com