Hangar where Frein nabbed has history with honeymooners
Decades before state police swarmed the airport at the defunct Birchwood Resort Thursday to capture suspected gunman Eric Frein, the air strip existed to welcome honeymooning couples to the Poconos.
“It was definitely catered for couples,” said Amy Leiser, executive director of the Monroe County Historical Association. “They really did promote the airport they had.”
No one but police could access the abandoned property Friday afternoon. But for years, the resort was a bustling vacation spot.
Leiser said the resort appeared in local phone books in 1953. Its last listing appears in 2007.
Flipping through a ’70s-era brochure for the former Birchwood Resort on Friday morning, Leiser said the resort offered “fly in” services for honeymooners.
Couples would fly into the airport in Allentown where a Birchwood Resort plane would fly them to the resort’s private air strip.
“It was quite a destination,” Leiser said. “It was a member of the Pocono Honeymoon Resort Association.”
According to the brochure, the resort offered couples-only, all-inclusive packages that included amenities such as private cabins, a night club, swimming, paddle boats and badminton.
“All sorts of things to keep people on site,” Leiser said.
Today, the nearly 300-acre resort property is for sale, listed at $3 million by ReMax of the Poconos. Listing agent Bobbie Smith said the property went on the market this year. While the agency has staged several showings, no one has made an offer to purchase it.
While ReMax would not name the owner of the property, online Monroe County property records list C. Castle LLC based in College Point, N.Y., as the owner. The records say the company purchased the property for $1 in 2011.
“There have been people who thought it would be a great location for senior citizen housing,” Smith said. “There have been those who have considered restoring it to what it used to be.”
Tannersville resident Joy Besecker lives down the road from the abandoned resort, but she remembers it as a fun place to work.
“I quit a month and a half before it closed,” Besecker said. She worked as a housekeeper, cleaning the rooms of happy couples enjoying the resort every day.
“It was a really nice resort,” she said. “It was always fun to work there.”
By the time Besecker left in 2001, the airport was no longer in use.
She recalled driving golf carts out to meet the occasional plane when she started the job 14 years earlier.
She lamented the once-beautiful resort’s condition — crumbling cabins, shattered windows and broken doors instead of the once-regal buildings that overlooked the property’s small lake and wetlands.
“I knew what it was like (then),” she said. “(Those were) the good old days.”