By Jeff & Stephanie Sylva

Falling leaves, a chill in the air, and shorter days—these are the first signs of the fast-approaching holiday season and its many celebrations and family gatherings. But with the holidays also comes the frenetic pace of shopping, planning and preparing for the bustling season. One remedy to prepare for the onslaught of the hectic days ahead—or to recover after the holidays—is to steal away to a quiet, romantic hideaway for some quality “alone time.” A perfect place to escape is The French Manor Inn and Spa, located in northern Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains in South Sterling, just a two hour’s drive from Manhattan.

Nestled atop Huckleberry Mountain, the enchanting stone chateau of The French Manor brings to mind the elegant manor houses of southern France. This is what mining magnate Joseph Hirshhorn had in mind in the 1930’s when he decided to build a “summer retreat” in the Pocono Mountains similar to his large manor house in France. Using natural lumber and fieldstone from local quarries, Hirshhorn’s craftsmen and artisans labored meticulously for nearly six years in creating this enchanting chateau.

After passing through various owners including Samuel H. Kress (of the Kress & Co. variety stores) and Bucknell University, the manor house was converted into a bed and breakfast in 1984 by Dan and Carolyn Balish. It was in 1990 that the current owners, the Logans, envisioned the French Manor as an opportunity to create a uniquely elegant inn. The transformation of the manor house to a full-service inn brought many changes and additions to the property, but never at the expense of the classic feel and true country flavor of the manor house.

Upon your first glimpse of The French Manor and its elegant Romanesque arched entranceway, the inn’s charm is immediately evident. Enter the Great Room to view two massive stone fireplaces and the beautiful woodwork of the high vaulted ceiling. Breakfast and dinners are served in this beautiful room, and weather permitting a terrace provides a tranquil spot for casual al fresco dining—and stunning views of the Pocono Mountains.

The upscale dining experience at The French Manor is a major component of the inn’s long-running status as an AAA Four-Diamond property which has been featured in Gourmet Magazine. A full gourmet breakfast is included in the regular room rate. And for dinners, Executive Chef Adam LaFave oversees an exceptional menu featuring both classic and nouvelle French cuisine. A knowledgeable staff complements the excellent cuisine providing diners with a memorable experience.

This luxurious haven offers guests 19 bedrooms in four buildings—14 of which are spacious suites. Of particular note are the Turret Suite, a two level suite with fireplace and beautiful mountain views, and the La Maisonneuve Suites all with fireplaces and jacuzzis in addition to their impressive views of the Poconos from a private balcony. In addition to the gourmet breakfast, room rates include afternoon tea, a complimentary cheese and fruit plate, a decanter of sherry, and daily turndown service.

Guests at the French Manor can find an oasis of relaxation at Le Spa Foret. The fitness room boasts state-of-the-art equipment for an invigorating workout, and the indoor salt swimming pool and hot tub are inviting and relaxing. The full array of green treatments offered at the spa provides a perfect chance to ease the stresses of a hectic holiday season. Opt for a romantic Relaxation Massage in the couples’ treatment room and fireplace.

A relaxing getaway to The French Manor can be further enhanced with one of the inn’s special packages. The Enchanted Evenings mid-week package, includes a bottle of chilled champagne, fresh flowers, and chocolates. Also included is a credit of $120 per couple, per night for use in the Dining Room, a full gourmet breakfast each morning, and more. The Couples Mountain Spa Retreat Package includes a $100 per person spa credit per day in addition to the regular amenities. Offered during December, the Christmas Tree Weekend Package includes a two-night stay with a $120 dinner credit one night, breakfast each morning, afternoon tea with Christmas cookies, and a complimentary Christmas tree (or wreath) for each couple to take home. Guests will be escorted (or given directions) to nearby Olsommer Tree Farm to pick out their tree and enjoy some hot chocolate by the bonfire. Midweek guests can add on a Christmas tree to their stay for $30.

For more information on The French Manor Inn & Spa, please visit

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