Here at Pocono Television Network we love to take you on great adventures across different parts of the Poconos on the grid and off the grid. Here in Pike County along the Delaware River is a very special property, that has history, is serene and the multi-generational family of owners have a great story to tell. This is Sylvania Tree Farm.
From way up high, Sylvania Tree Farm is a picturesque as the Poconos gets. The sparkling Delaware River, 1,200 acres of forests and fields, historic homes and the McKay family right in the middle of it all, right where their ancestors started it all nearly two centuries ago.
"It’s a family legacy, started back in 1848 right down there was the hotel, the Selden Manor House and train station," said John McKay of Sylvania Tree Farm.
Sylvania Tree Farm is in the village of Mast Hope, a stop along the railroad way back then and now, a somewhat secluded getaway from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
"It’s the customers who write in the guest books or tell me personally that what makes it special is it’s serenity, they have an opportunity to come to a place to decompress, explore nature. Have time away from everyday life, lines and traffic. It’s about that - that’s what makes it special here," said Jane McKay, John's wife.
For more than forty years, Jane and John McKay have restored and rebuilt this destination along the Delaware. Cabins, built tucked in the woods along Mast Hope Creek, bridges for your feet and your four tires to access it all and camping right along the banks of the river.
"It’s awesome, totally reminds me of being a kid myself, my brother and I would be down here doing the same thing. It’s amazing," said the McKays' son, Nick.
Meet the 7th and 8th generations of the family, Nick and wife Gina, and their boys. Carrying on a tradition of sharing this special place with other families who seek the same.
"I’m so grateful to Jane and John opening this up to other families so they can have the same experience as well. Who doesn’t want to see their kids enjoying this awesome river?," said Gina McKay.
"Plus we have 2 grandsons now to carry on the name and tradition, they love it. My children love it and they’re involved," added John McKay.
Nick and Gina took us for a ride throughout the property on the trails where you can be with nature in a place that’s held such importance over centuries and native peoples.
"On those trails, you’re walking on the grounds where the Lenape Indians walked. They were in the cliffs, they used this area for fishing and game and hit the Delaware River to head back to Easton in the winter months," added Jane.
The tree farm features flowers and veggies in the summer and blazing fall foliage in autumn and in winter, it’s tucked right next to Ski Big Bear and down the road from the Lodge at Woodloch.
Sylvania Tree Farm, stands on its own, however, just ask the McKays who’ve dedicated their lives to it through the years and for more to come.
"We lose track because we’re here. When you go away, you can’t wait to get back," explained John McKay.
"We’re so fortunate to live here and raise our boys here, we have this great responsibility to teach them about the tree farm, river and care for this land," said Gina McKay.
"I look forward to seeing where they’re going to take it. It’l be a new direction. That’s where the next generation brings to the table," added Jane McKay.
Future and past intertwined like the river and the land and the family who shares it with us all.