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April 19, 2014
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Breakfast in bed with Eric Ehrhardt, Ehrhardt's Waterfront Resort

Contributed photo

By Mary Greene

Way back in 1943, it was possible to find any number of cottages, inns and resorts fronting Lake Wallenpaupack in Hawley, PA. “Now,” says Eric Ehrhardt, “there are only two left.” His resort, Ehrhardt’s Waterfront Resort, is one. Ehrhardt’s is currently run by Eric and his brother, Craig. The resort has been in the Ehrhardt family for some 60 years, and Eric and his brothers were literally raised in the business.

“We all grew up right here,” says Eric. “We got to know the guests as friends that came up on different weeks.”
In 1943, George and Marjorie Ehrhardt purchased The Silver Birches Inn on Lake Wallenpaupack from Marjorie’s sister and brother-in-law, George and Rachel Singer. Up until that time, the property consisted of a 1904 farmhouse that had been built by George’s father. Its name came from the small woodland of white birches that surrounded the main building. That first year, the inn hosted 18 guests over the summer season, charging $15 a week and serving three square meals a day.

The couple slowly bought up parcels of land around the inn, some as scant as an eighth of an acre. (Today, the resort has 600 acres of lakefront property.) Their son, Jerry, married and began taking a hand in managing the business.

By 1966, the resort had grown into 21 rooms and cottages and 13 baths, as well as air conditioning. That year, a motel was added. Even though it had grown, the emphasis of Silver Birches remained on warm and welcoming hospitality. Visitors who came as newlyweds returned year after year, eventually bringing their own children and grandchildren.

This is still the case, says Eric. Guests enjoy the attentive hospitality of the staff, and they also come to greet other guests—old friends who come during the same weeks year after year. “The guests get to know each other. Vacations become like a reunion among friends,” says Eric. It is not uncommon for families to visit the resort over three and four generations, and “two years ago, we had our first fifth-generation family, who came with a little baby.”