SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP — Memorial Day may be a week away, but some tourist businesses in the Poconos are wasting no time getting ready for the holiday rush.
At one canoe shop, preparations include cleaning gear and making sure the boats stay afloat.
This week, places such as Shawnee River Trips and Chamberlain Canoes are getting ready for the Memorial Day weekend.
Owners of both businesses say Memorial Day is their official kickoff to the summer tourist season and they want to make sure everything is ready to make sure those tourists keep coming back.
Crews at Chamberlain Canoes near Delaware Water Gap are getting a jump on the holiday weekend rush by making sure their rafts are ready to go.
“We’re checking out our rafts, doing vehicle maintenance, canoe maintenance, basically, answering the phone, hoping that the reservations will come in,” said Chamberlain Canoes owner Brad Sweeney.
Sweeney says he’s been booking trips for the Memorial Day weekend since the beginning of May. He’s looking forward to the holiday because he says the weather will be nice.
“Memorial Day is the start of the summer, officially.”
Just down the road at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort, workers are busy cleaning their canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards, making them trip-ready which means making sure the boats aren’t leaking.
“It’s going to be definitely busy. It’s going to be our first hit of summer, and they we’re going to be open up full time,” said recreation director Brandon Hodakoski.
For the past three weekends, they’ve been taking guests on the Delaware River but with the Memorial Day weekend ahead, canoe and kayak trips will be daily and this year there will be a new area for guests to enter the Delaware River.
A new staircase is being built going to a new access point along the river. The new staircase is expected to be done by Wednesday. Normally the trips at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort are three hours long, but with this access point, those trips will be cut down to one hour each.
And from that access point, Shawnee river trips will also be offering newer trips this summer starting this weekend.
“We’re going to start doing some night paddles programs and camp fire paddles. We built a fire pit on one of our islands and taking our guests out there for a half hour or so, paddle around, go have s’mores, things of that nature,” Hodakoski added.
Hotel staff members say they’re almost booked to capacity for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.