Is Milford Worth Visiting When Traveling in the Poconos?

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If you research a trip to Milford, Pennsylvania, you are likely to see words like “quaint”, “beautiful”, “peaceful”, and “historic”. It was even named one of the ten coolest small towns in Pennsylvania by Budget Travel magazine. However, after visiting Milford a few months ago, I can really only think of three reasons why you would want to visit the town:

Otherwise, if I’m being perfectly honest, I don’t see any reason to visit Milford, Pennsylvania.

A historical building in downtown Milford, Pennsylvania.
A historical building in downtown Milford.

Milford first became famous in the early 1900s when silent film director D.W. Griffith shot several films in the town, one starring local actress Mary Pickford. It continued to gain prominence as the home of Gifford Pinchot, the nation’s first head of the National Forest Service and a former governor of Pennsylvania, and as the home of several well-known science fiction writers.

If there is one site to see in the town it’s Gifford Pinchot’s home, Grey Towers. The imposing castle-esque structure stands atop a hill and is quite beautiful. Because I arrived close to closing time, I was only able to explore a bit of the beautifully manicured grounds, but I hope to visit again to see the home’s interior.

In the center of downtown, Hotel Fauchere (affiliate link) has hosted three presidents, but isn’t overly impressive from the outside (though it does have good reviews), and the dilapidated Milford Theater makes for an interesting photograph, but isn’t terribly interesting otherwise.

This isn’t to say that Milford isn’t nice. There are some great little shops, restaurants, and vistas. However, the rather small downtown area isn’t overly unique or in enough quantity to make Milford a shopping destination, and there are few other things to do in Mildford, PA.

The historic Milford Theater lies on a residential street in downtown Milford, Pennsylvania.
The historic Milford Theater lies on a residential street in downtown Milford.

Overall, while there’s nothing wrong with Milford, there just isn’t much worth stopping for. Should you find yourself in the area, the town of Stroudsburg, just south of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, has much more charm and strikes me as a better destination for tourists.

With so many great small towns in Pennsylvania, you won’t miss much if you bypass Milford.

See map below for other area attractions.

Great places to stay nearby

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Map of the Poconos"

More nearby places worth exploring

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13 thoughts on “Is Milford Worth Visiting When Traveling in the Poconos?”

  1. Mr. Cheney,

    You may think you’re demonstrating some sort of remarkable “independence” by trashing an entire community as a destination, but you are doing your readers a disservice. Many accomplished travel journalists–from Peter Greenberg, the CBS News Travel Editor, to John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, to Travel+Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Fodor’s and many other publications–have found much of interest in Milford and have shared it with your readers.

    I co-own the Hotel Fauchere, the landmark historic property and culinary destination you dismissed as “(not) overly impressive from the outside.” It is a classic, perfectly proportioned 19th century Italianate building that has been featured in architecture and design magazines around the world. Advising them how unremarkable a building is without offering a picture to allow your readers to make such a determination for themselves is, well, kind of cheap.

    Had you ventured inside, you would have found a permanent public exhibition of Hudson River School paintings, two restaurants and an immaculately restored historic property that is part of Relais & Chateaux, arguably the most celebrated collection of small boutique hotel/culinary destinations in the world. The Fauchere was founded in 1852 by Louis Fauchere, who was master chef at Delmonico’s in New York and run by his family for 124 years, until closing in 1976. Fauchere was an important culinary pioneer, as were the Delmonico brothers, which is why the state of PA put an historical marker right in front of the hotel noting this important history.

    Just down the block is the Pike County Historical Society’s Columns Museum, a great small-town historic museum, but with an amazing relic, the blood-stained flag that cushioned President Lincoln’s head moments after he was assassinated. That’s just one piece in the museum’s collection of Lincolnalia, which visitors from around the world come to see.

    About 80% of Milford is a National Historic District–with several individual listed buildings, like the Fauchere–and the architecture is spectacular, with work by Calvert Vaux, Richard Morris Hunt, Frederic Law Olmstead, Chester Aldrich and other greats of the American architectural tradition.

    Appreciation of art is subjective, of course, but it sounds like it isn’t very high on your list. Milford is a destination for collectors with a number of galleries that are part of a vibrant cultural community. Our Black Bear Film Festival, held every October, is an enormous attraction, headquartered at the theatre you dismiss as good only for a photograph. That theatre has live performances throughout the year, including nationally known talents, concerts, plays and comedians.

    For foodies, there is a lot more in Milford than just the Hotel Fauchere’s two restaurants (and our adjacent Patisserie/cafe); there are other fine dining destinations like the Waterwheel, The Fork and Peter’s, great restaurants like Apple Valley, the Dimmick, Black Bear Cafe and the Grotto. Fretta’s is an Italian salumeria that was in New York for 100 years before relocating to Milford; they make two dozen kinds of sausage on-site at their shop just a few steps from the Hotel Fauchere (as well as fresh mozzarella every day and other delights).

    The hiking, biking, river and other outdoor activities are magnificent; Pike County is the birthplace of the American conservation movement and today remains 95% forested. The village of Milford itself was one of the first “planned” communities in the U.S. when it was laid out in the 18th century. In the past 15 years, in an exceptional private/public partnership that has been studied by other communities and urban planning experts, more than $6 million has been spent on bluestone sidewalks, granite curbing, historic pedestrian lighting, landscaping and other improvements to the public spaces in Milford.

    I don’t know if you have an agenda, were in a strange and unobservant mood when you visited Milford, or you’re mixing Milford up with some other community, but what you wrote smeared an entire community, was a disservice to your readers and, quite frankly, discredits you as a reliable source of information about Pennsylvania destinations.

    • I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment, Sean. You are clearly very passionate about Milford as a travel destination. However, what I don’t appreciate is your negative comments questioning my integrity and the reliability of my site. As you said yourself, Milford has received a lot of positive press in the past, which is what drew me to visit the town. Unfortunately, I left underwhelmed, and, I would be doing a disservice to my readers to NOT give them my honest opinion.

      You also said that I “smeared an entire community”, but that’s entirely untrue. While I may have given an overall recommendation for people to bypass Milford, I did denote three types of people who would likely enjoy the town and noted the “great little shops, restaurants, and vistas.” I also have mentioned in other articles the great outdoor things to do in the Delaware Water Gap.

      I am sure that I will visit Milford again at some point in the future, and should I feel differently after my next visit, I have no problem writing another post about the town. However, until that time, I stand by my review as an honest assessment of my feelings after visiting Milford.

      • No ax to grind. Been there 3 times now, and I wouldn’t change a word of this. There are some people that would like enjoy the town, as noted in the piece, but I personally think it’s kind of overrated as a destination. Just my opinion, though.

  2. I went to visit Milford for the first time last August. It was a cute town, however, the day we were there, all the antique shops were closed. I can’t remember which day of the week it was, but we were very disappointed that we came on an “off” day for those shops. However, we had a wonderful lunch on the porch of Hotel Fauchere!!! We had our little dog with us, and the waiter not only took great care of my husband and I, but gave “Mickey” (our dog) a fresh bowl of water. I will return to Hotel Fauchere next time I am in Milford.

  3. I have been around the world, lived in the most undesireable towns, and villages in China to the most high-end cities. I was born in NY, and only knew America by movies and pictures, but never travelled out of NY unless I was lecturing in China over the last 10yrs.

    When I came to Milford in 2012, I knew I would move there. Now, in 2016, I established my cultural center, Gui Zhen Society, and preparing a life changing move to that small town. I am raising my son there and settign a life up for my wife. You see, each place has its own culture, lifestyle and traditions; they have their own ways and styles. I wouldn’t assume to know a place just by passing through it. I usually move tot he place of question, learn about the life there, its people and culture. Then I could some to some sort of idea. I did that when I moved to China, learned its culture more so than before, language and art, lifestyle and philosophy.

    Milford is a place that if you have a doubt, and know absolutely no one there, you would never actually “know” anythign about Milford. There would be no learning abotu it, only tourist sites, and there would be no idea whatsoever as to the life of Milford. Get to know people there, live there for a bit, and set aside misconceptions based on superficial observance.

    I learned about the real America in Milford. Many should do the same.

    • I’m just judging Milford on my personal opinion and from a tourist perspective. Not criticizing it at all as a place to live. The access to the Water Gap alone would make it a great place to live.

      • Jim Cheney, again I urge you to revisit Milford as I don’t believe you experienced some of its most attractive charms when you came here first and wrote your article. It’s nice that you appreciate Grey Towers, but you didn’t visit the Columns Museum and the blood-stained Lincoln flag, that draws visitors from around the world, or if you did you didn’t find it interesting enough to note. You make no mention of the many festivals we have, including the annual Black Bear Film Festival, the Milford Music Festival, Festival of Wood, Winter Lights Festival, Kindred Spirits Chamber Music Series, Music in the Park, A Taste of Milford, the monthly Art After Dark, the Girl’s Night Out event and other activities, or that 75% of the Borough is a National Historic District and you didn’t visit my business, the Hotel Fauchere, which is in a building that is individually listed on the National Register, has been recognized by the State of PA with an historic marker, is one of only two properties in Pennsylvania and only about 40 in the U.S. that are part of Relais & Chateaux and is one of the major attractions in the area. Your judgement of Milford does your readers a disservice and remains a very sore subject with those of us who have worked so hard to make Milford welcome and inviting to tourists. A quick check of TripAdvisor reviews for the Hotel Fauchere–of which there are hundreds–will give readers a better perspective on how tourists in Milford have enjoyed their visits.

      • Sean, I’d love to revisit Milford at some point. As I believe I’ve said in previous comments, I have no issue changing my mind should I feel differently after a future visit. I do know that many disagree with me, and I’m open to visiting again and trying to uncover why that is.

  4. You recommend Stroudsburg? Have you ever actually been there? Stroudsburg is one of the biggest crapholes in this area. It is filled with ghetto trash and is violent crime ridden. Good luck walking those streets at night without getting mugged.

  5. I lived in Milford for two years, in the center of town where we could walk to the Milford theater, and any of the attractions in the borough. I agree with Jim Cheney. Nothing special there.


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