Now is the perfect time
And the feeling is just right
You can play all day and
dance into the night
At beautiful Mount Airy Lodge
All you have to bring
Is your love of everything…
Surely you remember the popular commercial which seemed to play day and night advertising the beautiful Mount Airy Lodge in the Pocono mountains.
This place is extra special to me because this is where my parents first got their start in America back in 1968 when they escaped Czechoslovakia. This article, from the Warren, PA Times-Mirror and Observer, dated Tuesday, January 14, 1969. speaks about their experience.
Mrs. Suzanne Martens (Czech) and Mr. Emil Wagner (Slovak) made sure we were taken care of and even fed us a grand feast on our first-ever Christmas in the United States of America.
Here are a couple of photographs from that evening… I do believe they are our first photographs or us in America as we were only here 2 days at this point!
Left to right, that’s my grandfather Gustav Hodza, my mother Anna and father Milan Hilmar and little me… My grandmother Marie in the center and my uncle Vlasta Hilmar on the right. The gentleman on the far right, I would love to identify….
Another dinner photograph, my mother Anna Hilmar, my father Milan, my aunt Helen and (little) me.
I found some old postcards, brochures and even some letters that were sent to my father while we were there.
Can you believe that I even located an old menu!
My uncle Vlasta (on left) was a chef there!
It’s incredible to think that this was almost 50 years ago, in fact 2018 will be 50 years since the wave of Czech immigrants flooded to America.
(Note: If you are a Czech descendant or have friends or family who emigrated here in 1968/69 and were a part of Mount Airy Lodge, I would LOVE to hear from you for a book we are working on about 50 years in America for Czechs. Please email me! )
Covering the rolling hills of Eastern Pennsylvania, the resorts nestled in the Poconos Mountains made this region the “Honeymoon Capital of the World.” And in the 60’s and 70’s the area boomed with couples and families during all four seasons of the year.
I was therefore so saddened to hear that Mount Airy Lodge exists no more and in it’s place stands a huge corporate-owned monster. (Mount Airy Casino)
In fact, most of the grand resorts of the time fell into disrepair and were either abandoned or bankrupted. So much rich tradition and history – definitely an end of an era…
You think kids want to come with their parents and take fox-trot lessons? Trips to Europe, that’s what the kids want. Twenty-two countries in three days. It feels like it’s all slipping away.
The above quote is from the movie Dirty Dancing and sums up how much the times (and our vacationing styles) have changed since then.
The entire area suffered too many tragedies to list in this post, but has inspired Zanna and Zynnia to do a book as well as a crowdfunding campaign, primarily about the Mount Airy Lodge and it’s history, especially in its heyday. Of special note is that the original owners were Czechs who built up the grandest resort of the Poconos from 8 little cottages. (How many immigrants can do that in this day and age?) They have also been researching the events that led to the downfall of the resort and the ultimate (tragic) suicide of Mr. Wagner who had helped so many people over the years. :(
Look at the campaign now at this link….
For now, here are some images for you to remember the beautiful lodge – and if you happened to be there, please do reach out and connect with us for the books – we’d love to hear and possibly share your story and photos!
Finally, I’m closing with a family favorite – a photo of little me with my mother at the front stone entry of Mount Airy Lodge and in front of one of their vehicles…
Ah, those were the days!
“All you have to bring
Is your love of everything
Beautiful Mount Airy Lodge…”
You can watch Zanna and Zynnia talking about the project by clicking on the image below…
Please make sure to “LIKE” our Mount Airy Lodge Facebook Page (where we have more photos and the old commercials with the famous Mount Airy Lodge jingle) and remember to reach out and connect with us for the books or just to let us know your memories or if you know anyone who was there between 1968 and 1972.
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