Discover the Poconos with Keely Beirne
So many young performers dream of having a career like Keely Beirne. A New Jersey native and powerhouse triple threat, Beirne has multiple Broadway and touring credits to her name. She has been seen in Broadway’s Frozen and Aladdin and across the country in Memphis, After Midnight, and Smokey Joe’s Cafe. Internationally, she toured with West Side Story. With so much experience on the road, Beirne seemed like a natural choice to help us plan a road trip set to her favorite Broadway cast album. Keep up with her travels on Instagram @keel_b.
Where do you live currently?
Beirne: Woodside, New York.
What show were you working on before the pandemic put Broadway on hold?
Beirne: Disney’s Frozen on Broadway. I find theatre in general to be a positive, transformative, and inclusive vessel for influence. Frozen was special because it was obviously geared toward a younger audience and it was very special to be a part of so many audience members’ first Broadway show.
You’ve been in so many shows. Which one has been your favorite?
Beirne: The closest to my heart would have to be West Side Story. I had the opportunity to play my dream role, Anita, all while traveling the world. We performed in 26 countries and it was the greatest experience of my life thus far.
If you were to take a road trip from Woodside today, where would you go and what album would be your travel soundtrack?
Beirne: Today, I’d go to the Poconos. When I would drive from my hometown in New Jersey to Penn State, I would always listen to In The Heights.
Why did you choose In The Heights?
Beirne: The album spans multiple genres and is super catchy, uplifting, and always puts me in a good mood. I pretty much have it memorized from start to finish at this point, so I sing along the whole time.
Any favorite songs?
Beirne: Paciencia y Fe.
Where would you stop along the way?
Beirne: You can stop off to view the Delaware Water Gap on the way to the Poconos. I’ve also gone tubing down the Water Gap in the summer. It’s so calm and amazing. I usually stop at Sheetz, which is the closest thing to a New Jersey Wawa. If you know, you know.
What’s your road trip snack from Sheetz?
Beirne: I usually get mac and cheese bites or tater tots. So unhealthy but so worth it!
Suggested Spots to Hit in the Poconos
The Delaware Water Gap is a beautiful road trip stop. The low, forested mountains are perfect for hikers and include a section of the Appalachian Trail. The river is a favorite for paddlers, swimmers, and anglers. Rent a canoe or take Beirne’s advice and go for a leisurely float downstream in an inner tube. The Old Mine Road is a scenic drive through the park. Considering some form of the Old Mine Road has been around since the 1600s, it’s no wonder there are plenty of historic landmarks to visit en route. The Van Campen Inn sheltered more than150 people from attack during the French and Indian War (1754-1763). Today, tours of the inn are available on Sundays throughout the summer.
Road trippers should stop at the Renegade Winery, one of many stops along the Poconos wine trail. The urban concept winery focuses on innovation and crafting quality wines in historic, downtown Stroudsburg, PA. They have conventional wines like cabernet franc, chardonnay, and merlot but their fruit wines are creative and bold in their own right. Adventurous drinkers can sip pineapple, strawberry, and even jalapeño wine.
For a brief break from the road, visit Cataract Park. There are lots of hiking trails throughout the park for all skill levels. The Cataract Park Trail is less than a mile long but can get a bit steep in places. The slightly more difficult terrain is worth the work because the waterfall at the end is a beautiful yet peaceful reward. The Red Trail also terminates at a lovely waterfall and is nearly 2 miles long. The wooded areas throughout the park create the perfect habitat for birdwatching and nature hikes.