Milford, Pennsylvania, is a great weekend getaway for romance, antiquing, hiking or just enjoying the galleries and shops in a lovely classic American small town.  It is exactly 75 miles from Manhattan to the only stoplight in downtown Milford.  Milford is located on Interstate 84, 45 miles east of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and 20 miles west of Middletown, New York.  Pictured above is the Community House, which houses the Pike County Public Library, and is located at the stoplight corner of Broad and Harford Streets.   Milford is in the heart of the Delaware River Highlands, the region along the upper Delaware River that is bordered by the Catskills to the north and the Pocono Mountains to the southwest.  The town is  35 miles north of the Delaware Water Gap and serves as the county seat of Pike County, Pennsylvania , which Atlantic magazine once called “the prettiest county seat in America ”.   If you look on a map at the spot where Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey meet, you’ll find Milford.

Driving into Milford's main drag, Broad Street, is like cruising into a Norman Rockwell painting.  The town is clean, well-landscaped with wide sidewalks, interesting shops and other attributes.  It was an early (1700's) "planned" community, laid out in a grid pattern with alleys, modeled after Philadelphia.  The town's population is around 1,100, but the county has a population of 60,000 (and is the fastest growing county in the northeast United States).   Most striking, however, is the extraordinary natural setting.  Milford is the north gate to the 70,000 acre Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and, in fact, about a third of Pike County's land area  is state or federal park or gameland.  Another third is comprised of private hunting clubs (like the 29,000 acre Blooming Grove Hunting and Fishing Club), summer camps and properties permanently protected by conservation easements.  Pike is the "greenest" county in the metropolitan New York City region, which is appropriate because Pike County is also the birthplace of the American conservation movement, launched by forester Gifford Pinchot in the 19th century.                  

Milford has great architecture .   The most important American architects of the 19 th century have examples of their work here, including Grey Towers ( www.pinchot.org/gt ), the Pinchot family home which was designed by Richard Morris Hunt and is now open to the public as a National Historic Site (after a $19 million renovation by the US Forest Service).   Calvert Vaux designed Milford's original post office, which is now a gallery.   Hunt & Hunt, the sons of Richard Morris Hunt, designed Forest Hall, right in the center of town, which was the summer school for Yale University ’s School of Forestry .   Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., designed part of our cemetery.   Other buildings include work by McKim, Mead & White, Chester Aldrich, Peter Bohlin, William Reue and stunning examples of 19 th century vernacular architecture, like the private residence on High Street pictured above.    All of the central commercial district and 80% of the entire community is part of a National Historic District.                   

The “other” Roebling bridge ( www.nps.gov/upde/roebaque.htm ) spans the Delaware River, linking Pike County with Sullivan County, New York.   Some have suggested it was the model John A. Roebling experimented with before engineering the Brooklyn Bridge, his much better known accomplishment.                                 

Pike County has an extraordinary history .   In the early part of the 20 th century, Milford was the location for many silent films, including those starring the Gish sisters, Lionel Barrymore, Pearl White, Francis X. Bushman, Mary Pickford and others.   D.W. Griffith directed two of his first films here.  Each October Milford hosts the annual Black Bear Film Festival ( www.blackbearfilm.com ), a terrific event celebrating independent film that is in part organized by the many industry professionals who live in the area.                 

The Pike County Historical Society's museum, The Columns, is right on Broad Street in Milford and was once called "one of the best small-town historical museums in the country" by the New York Times.  The Columns most famous relic is the "bloody Lincoln flag"; the flag that was hung as bunting on the Presidential Box at Ford's Theatre the night of the President's assassination.  It was used to cushion his head and the blood stains are still evident.                   

Presidents Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, Sarah Bernhardt, Ogden Nash, Robert Frost, Franz Liszt, Jr., Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie and scores of other persons of great accomplishment have spent time in Pike County, many of them staying at the recently-restored legendary Hotel Fauchere ( www.hotelfauchere.com ).   The Fauchere has a permanent exhibit of 19th century Hudson River School paintings that is open to the public.  Zane Grey lived and wrote in Pike County, on the Lackawaxen River; today his home is open to the public ( www.nps.gov/upde/zgmuseum.htm ).                                     

Pike County's natural environment is outstanding .   About one-third of Pike County is state or federal forest, park or gameland.   Another third is owned by private hunting clubs or Boy Scout, Y and other summer camps.   Milford itself is the north gate to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation area ( http://www.nps.gov/dewa ), a 70,000 acre national park which stretches from the Delaware Water Gap, in Stroudsburg , PA , north 35 miles to Milford , spanning both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey sides of the river.                    

The Milford fluviarchy (network of waterfalls) is one of the largest in the United States, since every stream flowing into the Delaware River must cut through the high escarpment on either side of the river.   These bluffs are, quite literally, the “high land” that gives this region its name, the Delaware River Highlands.   Several of the waterfalls are open to the public, including the stunning Raymondskill Falls , about five miles outside of Milford .                    

Pike County also has  a tremendous number of black bear, wild turkey, deer and other creatures of the forst as well as a large number of bald eagles (more than 100 nesting pairs).   One bald eagle, being studied by the Pike County-based Eagle Institute (www.eagleinstitute.org ) has made a nest right near the football field at the Delaware Valley High School.                  

The Delaware River Highlands is still largely forested with many large blocks of contiguous forestlands that support a healthy diversity of wildlife. The Delaware River and its many upland streams have exceptionally high quality waters, with excellent fisheries (which are one reason why we have so many bald eagles).                  

Milford has a number of attractive retail shops and galleries and about 25,000 square feet of antique retailing space, with a dozen shops (including several large multi-dealer shops).   There are great food markets, including Nellie’s Naturals, a full-service natural and organic grocery and Fretta’s, an Italian salumeria, which was in Little Italy in Manhattan for almost 100 years before moving to Milford .                   The selection of restaurants and B&B’s has grown dramatically in recent years, including the Hotel Fauchere, Muir House, River Rock Inn, Dimmick Inn, Le Gorille, the Waterwheel, Cliff Park, Mt. Haven, Bar Louis and others.                     

Ten minutes from Milford is the Peters Valley Craft Center ( www.pvcrafts.org ), which has resident artisans in blacksmithing, jewelry making, woodworking, fiber, ceramics and other fine craft disciplines.   Peters Valley provides studio space, housing and classes that attract both professionals and just average joes who always wanted to forge some steel.   Peters Valley also has a great retail store that sells its artists’ work.