It was 17 years ago that high school sweethearts, Scott and Christina Dietrich, found their dream property in the Poconos. While they were looking for something a bit smaller, the 425 acres of primitive forest in Jim Thorpe, PA, would soon become their retreat to get away from the day-to-day stresses. They also knew that their property - which is home to several stunning waterfalls - was special enough to share.
About five years ago, the Dietrichs launched their first Tentrr campsite: A Creek Runs Through It. They enhanced it over and over again, and within a year, they had added a second Tentrr site, Retreat on Bear Creek. A year after that came Bear Creek Falls Getaway and a fourth site, Bear Creek Hideaway in the Poconos, will open soon. Their property, Camp Dietrich on Bear Creek Falls, has become a popular camping destination that is accessible from New York City and the surrounding metro area.
“What we try to do is make the experience the best it can be,” says Scott. “We know that our natural resource - our property - is magical, but we want to make camping easy for everyone. It’s rustic, but it needs to be comfortable.” The Dietrichs have something called “Checkpoint Shed,” a place where campers can find loads of extra camping gear.
We recently sat down with the Dietrichs to learn a bit more about their backgrounds and their hosting experience.
Was camping a part of your childhood? Who first introduced you to camping?
Scott camped with his family in the Poconos and later with the boy scouts. Christina was introduced to camping through the girl scouts. When raising our four sons, camping became our standard vacation. We traveled throughout the country, first with a tent and then a pop-up trailer.
Can you tell us a little about Jim Thorpe, PA, and about the property where your Tentrr sites are located?
Nicknamed “Little Switzerland,” Jim Thorpe is rich in history and activities; it consistently garners high ratings in travel news and offers a great weekend escape for residents of Philadelphia (90 mins) and New York City (2 hrs). The area has endless outdoor activities - hiking, whitewater rafting, biking (over 40 miles of rails-to-trails bike paths), and 700+ acres of skirmish paintball. Campers can also enjoy a variety of local tours (coal mine tour, jail tour, trolley wine tour, train tour, sidecar tour, ghost tour, Packer mansion tour - Disney’s haunted mansion was fashioned after this home.) Wonderful restaurants and quaint shops line the streets of the quaint downtown. There are also two state parks close by, Lehigh Gorge State Park (which adjoins our property) and Hickory Run State Park.
Our campers can enjoy all that Jim Thorpe offers or just enjoy hanging out at the campsites. On our property, they can hike several miles of trails, soak in one of the many “swimming holes” and take in beautiful vistas. Along our creek, old-growth hemlocks can be found, and, starting in mid-June until early July, the mountain laurel and rhododendron add beautiful color to our forested acreage.
We are an approved forest steward and recently became enrolled in the US Forest “Family Forest Carbon Program." We are taking responsibility for protecting our environment to heart.
Now that you have multiple Tentrr sites on the property, are you seeing more groups visit the property?
From our many camping adventures, we understand and strive to offer comfortable, clean, and well-equipped campsites. The campsites are spread out, private, and are all along Bear Creek. “Camping made easy” is what we provide in a very natural way. Many of our guests have returned and also recommended us to friends and family. We are very proud when this word-of-mouth occurs!
When we started with Tentrr, as recent retirees, we hoped that sharing our property would be a popular choice for others, we wanted to share our appreciation of the outdoors. Now after several seasons, we can see it happening. Reservations for two or more sites is becoming more frequent. The majority of campers who reserve multiple sites are family groups.
What is one of your favorite camper stories?
Friendships have been made, and we too have great memories. Some of our campers are well experienced and for others, it is a first. One special memory I have is of a seven-year-old who was camping with his family. He had some major medical issues. He was adamant that he wanted to be a hunter and fisherman. He persistently tried fishing from one spot to the next. I asked him how it was going, and his face told me not well. I gave him a new fly to try and soon he had caught his first fish! I hope he catches many more in years to come.