Eagles Mere, Pa. "The Town That Time Forgot"

A Sullivan County oasis

Eagles Mere sits "high in the Endless Mountains," on the Allegheny Plateau at 2,126 feet. It's name means "Lake of the Eagles" and the 130-acre glacier-formed, natural spring-fed lake is the centerpiece of one of the most unique vacation spots in all of Pennsylvania. There are about 150 year-round Eagles Mere residents, but the summer months bring thousands of loyal visitors to Sullivan County.

If it looks like Eagles Mere is in the middle of nowhere, well, it is, and yet it's 2-3 hours from much of the Philadelphia area.
The lake was once called Lewis Lake, named for George Lewis, who purchased it along with over 10,000 acres of surrounding land in 1794. In 1804, Lewis started a glass factory using sand from the lake's beach and achieved early success, especially during the War of 1812, before broken glass from the trip down the mountain cut deeply into his profits.

Like Pocono Mountains resorts to the east, Eagles Mere morphed into a vacation destination for the wealthy seeking respite from the suffocating city in the summertime. At the helm in Eagles Mere beginning in 1885 was a group known as the Eagles Mere Syndicate and its general manager, Captain E.S. Chase. Read more about him in the photo (right).

To accommodate vacationers, a handful of grand hotels, including the Forest Inn, were built in the late 1800s to adorn Eagles Mere Lake.
Another of the grand hotels was the Hotel Raymond, which opened in 1887 and was destroyed by fire in 1941.
Across the street from the hotel (bottom left), Captain E.S. Chase laid out the first golf course, the six-hole Eagles Mere Golf Links, around 1898.
On the site today sits one of Eagles Mere's "cottages".
As golf gained popularity in the United States, talk of a need for a "proper" golf course led to the formation of the Eagles Mere Golf Club. Six holes, likely constructed by George Young, including the 2nd (pictured here), opened in 1913 on the former Avery Farm.
In 1915, Merion Cricket Club members brought their 25-year-old superintendent named William Flynn to Eagles Mere to expand the golf course to nine holes, which included the addition of the lovely dogleg-left par-4 6th hole pictured here.
Flynn later returned to expand the course to 18 holes, a job that spanned nearly 7 years due to the extensive tree and boulder clearing necessary to build holes like the downhill par-3 9th, which some say provides 40-mile views all the way to New York state. The full course opened in 1923.
One of the many charms of the golf course at Eagles Mere CC is the native wildlife.
The quaint Eagles Mere CC clubhouse is set to receive a facelift as part of the club's continuous goal of offering its members a first-class private club experience.
While Eagles Mere is a private club, access is available, including to those who stay at the Eagles Mere Inn, which dates to 1887. A stay in one of the inn's 17 rooms allows guests to enjoy the golf course and the private Eagles Mere Lake.
The lake is certainly the centerpiece, but the surrounding area is also loaded with some of the most enticing outdoor activities in the entire state, while indoor options include the popular Eagles Mere Air & Auto Museums.

The two-mile Laurel Path takes visitors completely around the lake. It's a wonderful, kid-friendly hike through wooded areas and over a wooden footbridge over 100 years old (above), while also providing glimpses of some of Eagles Mere's jaw-dropping cottages. A few of which have stepping stones leading down to the lake (left).

The surrounding area offers plenty more exceptional hiking, especially at Ricketts Glen State Park, including the Falls Trail. Among its 21 waterfalls is the 94-foot Ganoga Falls (above). The park also boasts a 600-foot beach on Lake Jean. Modern 2-3 bedroom cabins are among the camping options.
Early visitors to nearby Worlds End State Park noted that its location, at the junction of seven mountain ranges, made them feel as though they were at the end of the Earth. Today, the park offers excellent swimming, hiking and fishing.
Winding its way through Worlds End State Park is the Loyalsock Creek, which features arguably the best natural swimming spots in the state.

Those swimming holes are the perfect place to stop during one of the Sullivan County driving tours that are included in The Sullivan Review's annual Summer Tourist Guide. Other won't-want-to-miss spots include the covered bridges in Hillsgrove, where you'll also find Becky's Sunset Ice Cream (and mini golf), pictured below, and Forksville, which just so happens to be home to a cheesesteak place that rivals even South Philly's best: Big Mike's Steaks & Hoagies at the Forksville General Store.

The views at various points along your tour are as soothing as they come, especially from High Knob Overlook at sunset (below).

The Eagles Mere Historic Village welcomes both first-time and long-time visitors and includes The Sweet Shop (left), an ideal restaurant/ice cream shop combo, and the Eagles Mere Museum (below).

Visit eaglesmerecc.com, eaglesmereinn.com and visithistoriceaglesmere.com for more information.

Created By
Nate Oxman