History, Nature and Traditions Converge at Buck Hill Falls
In the second season of Amazon Prime’s Emmy Award-winning show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the eponymous Midge Maisel packs up her favorite summer fashions and, along with her family, heads to the mountains.
The retreat is a long-standing tradition for the Maisels and their 1950s contemporaries, who seek respite from city life in a fictitious lakeside enclave of amenity-laden cabins so pure and simple it might’ve been dreamed out of The Donna Reed Show.
The community overlooks a glittering lake, residents are cheerful and welcoming, and summers are full of boating, dining, and dreamy soirees.
Modern viewers are struck by the community-mindedness and tranquility, such a jarring contrast to today’s fast-paced world. Surely something so idyllic could only exist in a Hollywood producer’s head. As it turns out, that’s not the case.
One of the last remaining vestiges of genteel times, when family, nature, and history were at the forefront of life, Buck Hill Falls retains the charms of the 1950s oasis the Maisels so adored, but with a modern twist.
Tucked away in the Pocono Mountains, Buck Hill Falls, which sits on over 4,500 pristine acres, embodies the very essence of that retreat. Founded in 1901 by Philadelphia Quaker Samuel E. Griscom, Buck Hill is steeped in history, so it’s no wonder the community is so multi-generational, with families flocking back year after year. John Robbins, a New York resident who grew up in Malvern, is one such resident. His grandparents built a home in Buck Hill in the 1940s and ever since, his parents, siblings, nieces and nephews have all summered there.
Traditions are woven into the fabric of Buck Hill’s community and play integral roles in celebrations throughout the year. For many, 4th of July marks the beginning of summer. The weeklong revelry includes a dinner and dance, when folks get dressed up and enjoy one another’s company.
A fair number of Buck Hill residents are direct descendants of signers of the Declaration of Independence, making the holiday all the more significant. “Our forbearers were super patriotic and put a lot of time and energy into celebrating the country,” says Robbins.
On the morning of the 4th of July, one lucky individual plays Paul Revere, riding through town announcing, “The British are coming!” Robbins has had the honor on several occasions.
After the ride, Buck Hillers raise the American flag before a parade commences. Decked in red, white, and blue, with a smattering of bunting about, onlookers watch vintage cars, joined by Camp Clubbers dressed to the annual theme. “It culminates with a social hour when everyone brings lemonade, cookies, and breakfast goodies to the pool and we have a little reception,” says Robbins. Here, members of Buck Hill proudly don distinctive buttons inscribed with their first year at Buck Hill. “It’s like a badge of honor, being an older person who has been here for a long time,” explains Robbins.
Later in the day, lawn and pool games—egg toss, potato sack and three-legged races are among the fun—commence, followed by a community-wide picnic at Metzgars’ Farm. Capping the festivities is a big fireworks show.
Camp Club, which is for children ages 3 to 11 and Senior Camp (ages 11 – 15), are a great way for young Buck Hillers to establish lifelong friendships, spending the day doing quintessential summer activities like swimming, hiking, and arts and crafts. “That’s where you build the fabric of the community,” says Robbins of the relationships that develop there. It also gives parents a break to enjoy the many amenities—like 45 miles of meandering hiking trails, three awe-inspiring waterfalls, an Olympic-sized outdoor pool, 10 Har-Tru tennis courts, two lawn bowling greens, and a 27-hole golf course designed in part by the renowned Donald Ross.
“When our forbears designed Buck Hill, they wanted a tight community,” explains Robbins. “That’s reflected in the layout of the cottages, many in English and Swiss styles, with the amenities in the center. They were looking for simplicity, to get back to nature, and that was part of the ethos of coming to the Poconos and creating this lovely environment where you could be simpler, connect with friends, and could have time together in a meaningful way,” adds Robbins.
Though summer is the most popular time for residents to come, Buck Hill attracts visitors throughout the year, for hiking and leaf peeping in the fall, mountain biking and fishing in the spring, and skiing, skating, and holiday celebrations in the winter. Many Buck Hillers spend Thanksgiving and the week between Christmas and New Year’s there, too.
No matter the time of year, traditions are steadfast. Like the Quakers that founded the community, it is always open to newcomers. Buck Hill Falls offers a variety of rentals and residents and they, too, are welcomed into the fold and to partake in the traditions, as the founders would have wanted.
Buck Hill Falls
270 Golf Drive
Buck Hill Falls, PA 18323