‘Honeymoon is over’: Photographer shares ‘heartbreaking’ look at abandoned Poconos resorts

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POCONO MOUNTAINS, Pa. — A photographer is sharing what he calls a “heartbreaking” look at some of the resorts that made the Poconos the “Honeymoon Capital of the World.”

Photographer Seph Lawless shared his photos of Penn Hills Resort, Buck Hill Inn, Summit Resort and Unity House with Fox 8 in Cleveland.

While the resorts became super popular starting back in the 1960s, Lawless says times have changed and “the honeymoon is over.” He said many of the most popular resorts in the area are now empty and abandoned.

**Click here for a YouTube video of the images**

See them below, along with descriptions from Lawless.

Penn Hills

“The Penn Hills Resort closed its doors in 2009, though it was already suffering for years before its demise…A walk inside is like walking into a time capsule back into the ‘70s, replete with shag carpeting and ceiling mirrors. Most rooms are equipped with heart-shaped beds, mattresses, and the aforementioned hot tubs. The pool is filled with murky, green water resembling something out of a horror movie.”

Buck Hill Inn

“The Buck Hill Inn could possibly be the most beautiful abandoned hotel I’ve ever seen. Built in 1929, at one time it boasted over 400 guest rooms of pure elegance. Buck Hill Falls is known for its natural beauty, each room with a great view of the Pocono mountains. The front entrance to the Buck Hill Inn is intimidating: an architectural marvel both hauntingly beautiful and inspiring.”

Summit Resort

“The Summit Resort, a couples and honeymoon escape located in Tannersville, closed in 2002…The sprawling site has several abandoned small cabins throughout the area that were built along the river. Each room is equipped with ‘1970s design layouts, from vintage fireplaces and lamps to dated phones and textiles.”

Unity House

“For a good part of the twentieth century, the Unity House provided relaxation, education, and entertainment to thousands of blue-collar Americans…It was forced to close its doors in 1998 from lack of patronage. As I walk around the sprawling site I encounter several decaying structures, which are all eerie remnants of the past. Today, the Unity House is a shell of its former self.”

Several of the photos will be included in Lawless’ next book, “Autopsy of America: The Death of a Nation,” which will be released worldwide in April 2017.

Lawless has previously shared his photos of an abandoned “Land of Oz” park, the lasting damage of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and a forgotten NASCAR track in North Carolina.


  • d bold

    most of the problem was when people think what they get for there dollars….why go to pa/poconos….when you can go on a cruise for the same or less and see beautiful places and be treated like royality……we lived in that area for 30 plus years…we loved it…..now we live in florida….summer all year long…close to cruise boats and so much to do from soup to nuts…..sorry to see those places go by the way side…but theres a new breed of people out there that want to see more…explore more n travel more…..good luck poconos pa…..always loved ya…always will and we will visit once a year…we have to…family n friends…lol…

  • Charlotte

    I think part of the demise was due to insurance companies getting smart. Every year or so both the Poconos and the Catskills suffered hotel fires right after closing for the season. It was always the oldest building and during the off season. a new building would be built just I time for the busy season. Insurance started investigating more in-depth, and remodels no longer occurred and hotels no longer were as attractive to tourists. Greedy owners didn’t want to use their money on updates and the vacation areas suffered. Why spend money on a run down resort when for the same money you can cruise, go to Disney etc

  • Sam I Am

    if someone was to take one of these over and remodel it would be praised for their work and commitment to the community, however if the person was Louis DeNaples everyone would be in an uproar

  • rev. greenbuds

    I am currently working with the bank to purchase and remodel a closed down resort in Paradise township. Our state of Pennsylvania will be legalizing recreational marijuana in 2 years. My resort will cater to individuals who are seeking a funfilled, peaceful environment while finding peace through the presence of God.

    • Jim Sanderson

      Good luck with that Buckaroo Bonzi! People around here, who aren’t particularly too bright will think your org. is a cult and will do what-ever their small minds think they should to shut you down!

  • john williams

    this is what happens when you charge your clients more than double for the value of what you are giving them, and eventually it catches up with you.

    • Sam I Am

      Then I guess the phone service, Internet service and cable service that we all are paying dearly for, is going to vanish too someday.
      Fat chance .

  • Timothy Tingley

    I wish Pennsylvania wasn’t such a narrow-minded police state. In Colorado, Washington, or Massachusetts these resorts could be turned into very profitable, tax revenue producing Cannabis spas/festival venues for jambands. Millions and billions of profits and tax revenue thrown away. Oh well, enjoy the rich culture of prisons, rehabs, and casinos.

    • duh

      There are buses and aircraft going to CO, WA, & MA every day. If you truly love the bud so much, what’s holding you back? I would rather have criminals in prison and people that want to clean themselves up in rehab than hundreds or thousands of stoned hippies on our roads after dope-fest lets out. Casinos, you can take them with you.

      • Timothy Tingley

        That’s why you live in a state that spends more on incarceration than education. Schools in Colorado have so much money they don’t know what to do with it. Here, our students suffer. Alcohol is much more dangerous and imperative for driving. You are an anachronism. You’re opinions are uninformed and out dated. The world is passing you by.

  • Jonathon

    This is so sad. The beautiful architecture is of no more. I weep while viewing these photos. Time in history that we can never recapture. I long for the days of Dirty Dancing. What a shame.

  • Bill

    Very sad the Poconos used to be the place but have you seen the ppl that moved to the Poconos they ruined everything

  • Mark Gano

    You have viewed a crime scene, committed by trespassers and vandals. I have only viewed one video clearly stating they had permission to be there. If this photographer had permission to be there it is not stated. Others have recorded evidence of their crime and should be prosecuted. The crime I see are the effects of over taxation and regulation.

    • duh

      Somebody takes the time and effort to put a book together that allows people to relive their past and perhaps inspire them for the future – and all you see are trespassers. To a carpenter everything looks like a nail.

  • Rurbanite

    Why isn’t our Hotelier-in-Chief racing to grab (pardon the reference) these honeys and turn them into luxury resorts for his billionaire friends? Probably because he and they couldn’t stand living near the common people he pretends to uphold. Probably because local contractors are too smart to risk getting stiffed for their work. Probably because he’d want to hire more undocumented immigrants to work at low wages in unsafe conditions. Hell, his own Secretary of Labor nominee admits to hiring an undocumented maid.

  • Writer Girl

    Very sad, but I never understood why the owners let places get so decrepit. Greed? If I had such iconic places and couldn’t sell them I’d drop my price and let a township or non-profit, buy it. These could have been turned into affordable apartments, offices, whatever. What good are they now? Just for a book, which I’m looking forward to.

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