Duryea resident Margaret Guarnieri first visited the Cove Haven couples resort in the Pocono Mountains 30 years ago.
She went again in 2014, and will make this Valentine’s Day — Tuesday — her third stay at the resort.
Guarnieri said she’s returning because the resort, which opened in 1958, offers a not-too-far trek — less than two hours away.
“It’s close to home, and I saw some good entertainment and had a really amazing dinner. It was just nice to get away,” Guarnieri, 53, said of her two other experiences at the resort.
Cove Haven, in Lakeville, is the flagship resort of Cove Haven Entertainment Resorts, a group that includes Pocono Palace in East Stroudsburg and Paradise Stream in Mount Pocono, which thrive on Valentine’s Day..
Pocono Palace is a one-stop resort with a private lake, while Paradise Stream is close to outside entertainment such as Mount Airy Casino’s games, events and dining options, as well as outlet shopping in Tannersville. Cove Haven is secluded, spacious and sits on the public Lake Wallenpaupack.
Kyle Kuczma, public relations coordinator for Cove Haven Entertainment Resorts, said the three properties attract a large number of visitors from out of state each year, while only about 1 percent of them hail from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area.
“When you get here, you feel like you’re completely somewhere else,” Kuczma said. “That’s definitely part of our appeal.”
So if you’re from the Wyoming Valley and you don’t want to run into your neighbor or boss on Valentine’s Day, the resort is a good option.
Kuczma said Cove Haven, Pocono Palace and Paradise Stream usually fill to capacity for Valentine’s Day, although all three still had openings as of Saturday.
Prices at Cove Haven range from $185 a night for a basic room to $329 a night for a “cove fantasy” stay, which includes a private indoor heated pool. Pocono Palace starts at $219 a night, and Paradise Stream begins at $254.
Couples who have reservations for February can take part in any of the three resorts’ 20 days of giveaways. Every day this month, one couple a day at each resort will win a free night’s stay. Each resort also hides a jewelry box on its property, and whoever finds the box will win a necklace worth an estimated $1,000.
Kuczma said the resorts’ appeal during February includes an expanded entertainment calendar — increased hours for magicians, hypnotists and tarot readers, for example — and a Chocolate Fantasy fondue dessert buffet. That’s on top of Cove Haven’s signature rooms, which give common hotel room amenities a romantic twist — such as the rooms that replace bath tubs with a 7-foot-tall champagne glass whirlpool.
During Guarnieri’s most recent visit to Cove Haven, the stay wasn’t perfect, she said, noting that she didn’t like how social the dinner hall had become. She said she prefers a meal for two instead of sitting at a table with couples she doesn’t know. But she said the food was a “very big thing when we were up there,” and the activities offered were so diverse that couples would never get bored.
“There was horseback riding, hiking; any kind of activity you wanted to do was at your fingertips at the facility,” said Guarnieri, who will stay at Cove Haven on Tuesday and Wednesday with her boyfriend. “Swimming pools, Jacuzzis; they’d tend to your needs as far as anything you wanted to do.”
Guarnieri’s boyfriend Mark Murphy, 54, said he most recently visited Cove Haven on Valentine’s Day in 2005. He said he enjoyed going for walks on the spacious campus, but his biggest plus ran counter to Guarnieri’s.
“My favorite was being sociable, you know, having drinks with people you don’t know,” Murphy said. “When we went there, the dinner was in a banquet hall with a round table that seated eight people. You got to talk to a bunch of different people, and the food was excellent.”
At least they agree on the dinner.