Beth Goldwater grew up summering in a recreational resort community in the Poconos.
She joined the children's swim team there and competed in pools at nearby resorts, most of which had been developed in the mid-20th century with modest, chalet-style homes around man-made lakes.
One resort, Buck Hill Falls, was older, grander, and more beautiful, Beth remembers. "Why don't we live here?" she wondered.
It had an Olympic-size pool and much more. There were rocky cliffs, running creeks, a dramatic waterfall, woodlands of rhododendron and hemlock, and splendid stone mansions set into the sides of the hills.
Sixteen years ago, Beth introduced her future husband, Geoff, to Buck Hill Falls. He, too, was awed. Last year, the couple, who married in 2002, purchased Breezewood, a home at the resort, where Beth now spends summers with their three children.
The Goldwaters are only the second owners of the stone and cedar-sided Arts and Crafts-style house, built in 1914.
Buck Hill Falls was established as a vacation retreat in 1901 by Philadelphia Quakers. Eventually, the resort would encompass 4,600 acres, with amenities including a pool, tennis courts, lawn-bowling greens, a 27-hole golf course, a day camp for owners' children, and social and cultural activities for the homeowners.
Beth, a singer and songwriter, recently performed at the Fairway Grille, the resort's restaurant.
Homes at Buck Hill Falls are called cottages, a misnomer in that some of the 300 dwellings have as many as nine bedrooms.
The Goldwaters' cottage has a guest suite and bath on the first floor; four bedrooms, a playroom, and two baths on the second floor; and a master suite on the third floor featuring a rustic bed made of white birch branches. Though the bed and most of the furniture were left by the previous owners, the leather couches in the living room are new.
"The old ones were a little too lived on," says Geoff, an insurance executive.
Beth made the coffee table from a varnished slab of sycamore. The porch deck is mahogany with a cedar railing.
The Goldwaters purchased screen curtains for exterior doors. The curtains are held closed with magnets. Their dog, Aspen, can come and go, and the children don't have to remember to close a screen door.
The porch was partially enclosed when the kitchen and dining area were expanded in the 1980s. The kitchen, updated in the 1990s, features cherry cabinetry and floors. The wine cooler is a Goldwater acquisition.
Floors in the living area are chestnut. Walls and ceilings are covered in cherry or pine or in wood- trimmed white beaverboard, a fiberboard sheeting.
Wall ornaments left behind by previous owners include an antelope head above the massive stone fireplace, antique paddles and skis, and derby and cowboy hats. Also left behind was a drawing of "Horace," a dapper gentleman with an unknown last name.
"He's the house mascot," Beth says. "It would be bad luck to get rid of him."
Landscapes and still life paintings were created by Beth's grandmother. She also painted the parrots on the card table hanging on the wall. It unfolds for board games.
The Goldwater children chose their sleeping quarters. Margot, 7, opted for the "rose room" covered in flowered fabric. Lucy, 8, chose the "emerald room," and Oscar, 11, has the "blue room," which comes with a bonus: a heated floor.
The family, whose full-time residence is in Wayne, use the cottage year-round. Buck Hill has an ice-skating pond and cross-country ski trails. Downhill skiing is a short drive away. And when the trees are bare, Beth says, you can see 20 miles to the Delaware Water Gap.
On the sloping lawn, Beth and Geoff installed a patio with a firepit near a striking circular steel-and-cypress sculpture by Jamie Burnes. The couple found the abstract piece in a gallery in Utah when they attended the Sundance Film Festival, where one of Beth's songs was being featured in a film.
The couple still have a sense of wonder about Buck Hill Falls. Though Geoff loved summers at the Jersey Shore growing up, he now says: "I think I won the lottery every time I'm here."