The Carsonville Hotel

We’re at the end of the season here in the Northeast–the motorcycle season, I mean. This is just a little something about a fun Pennsylvania ride.

Ride East down Powell’s Valley Road, a fairly generous piece of fertile land between two soft, old PA folded mountains. The valley used to be all farms, but now houses are growing like mushrooms in the fields. It’s so far away from almost anything, I wonder what the people—especially the ones in the windswept new McMansions—do for a living.

When you see the sign for “Carsonville” you’re almost there—and then, suddenly, you are. The road straight ahead drastically narrows. There’s a stop sign and a wide left hand sweep. If you go dashing around that left turn, up the mountain, you missed it. The worn building on your left  is the “hotel,” actually a restaurant and hunter/biker bar of ancient reputation.  It’s not really what’s inside that counts—although there are trophy elks’ heads and a sad and beautiful mounted cougar on display in the dining room. It’s the view from the backyard patio/party site, across the fields and farms, a patchwork which goes to the crumbling rock fences abutting state forest lands. At least, that’s what we like most about the place.

Other riders, large groups of HD/Victory/Gold Wing riders, the kind who come in large, loud packs, stop off, and chow down on burgers, fish sandwiches, crabcakes and huge plates of fries, washed down with a few beers/sodas, and socialize.   (The restaurant is said to cook a mean steak, but we’ve never had one.) We’re solitary rocket riders, on our favorite journey over the mountains, riding our black Hyabusa. We like to arrive early on Friday or Saturday or Sunday, as the place wakes up—11—11:30—12:00 ish—and sit, like Ferdinand the Bull, “just quietly” at an outside table while the staff and other bikers roll in.

“When do you open?”  Customer’s will ask Denis. He’s one of the owners’ sons, a man who lives just up the mountain and who often rides his own classic early 80’s Honda 650 to work.   This fine machine has only 82,000 miles on it and we always admire it because it reminds us of our own “thrilling days of yesteryear.”

“When I get here–it’s open,” says Denis, with a smile.

–Juliet Waldron

1 Comment

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One response to “The Carsonville Hotel

  1. Nice. Thanks for taking me along.

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