With trout season fast approaching, two Boiling Springs businesses see a village primed to become a destination for more than just those interested in the outdoors.
TCO Outdoors opened nearly a year ago in a building next to Children’s Lake that had been home to a fly shop of one sort or another since the early 1970s. Down the road, Mike Kennedy leads a group of investors who have new ideas for the landmark Allenberry Resort.
Both see potential in the quiet village.
“We’re really focused on becoming a destination. This area really has become a destination for people from Baltimore, Washington, et cetera. We really want to plug into that,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said three-quarters of the buildings on the property are “pretty much” done, and a couple of events have been scheduled within the next few months. The resort hopes to reopen by June, but it will more likely be June 7 or 14.
“We’re just sort of slowly easing into a couple little events between now and June, then we’ll have everything done and have a grand opening,” Kennedy said.
Allenberry will continue to be a destination for weddings, and the first of its popular mystery dinners will be held in April. The team is also coming together for the restaurant, and a spa will be located in the basement of Meadow Lodge.
The key to success will be drawing in corporate clients to take advantage of the property’s meeting rooms and programs for corporate retreats.
“That’s the big difference maker when it comes to resorts,” Kennedy said. “The weekends you get. What are you going to do during the week?”
Allenberry has partnered with Diakon Wilderness Center, also in Boiling Springs, to allow team building activities on its ropes course. Partnerships have also been developed with Carlisle Fish and Game for skeet shooting and with Carlisle Country Club to allow resort guests to golf.
Kennedy said meetings have been held with retired executives from Nemocolin, Hershey and other similar resorts.
“We’re going to that level of people that really know how to get the people here from Washington and Baltimore,” he said.
The fly fishing for which the area has become know hasn’t escaped the investors’ attention. Local fishers have access to the creek via a parking area along Criswell Drive, which runs behind the property, Kennedy said. Improvements for the stream have also been designed to combat the soil deposits and erosion that has filled in parts of the stream over the years to make it a less desirable habitat for fish.
“This area has been incredibly important in fly fishing in not just Pennsylvania but the United States for a number of years by virtue of the quality of the water and by the people who have lived here,” Wissmath said.
The area is well-known to fly fishermen who have read books by authors like Vince Marinaro, who wrote a number of books and has fished in the LeTort, Yellow Breeches and Big Spring, Wissmath said.
With the Appalachian Trail passing by next door, Wissmath said the shop is positioned to assist both local and thru-hikers. It will also be re-introducing boat rentals to Children’s Lake. Two boats modeled after those rented by visitors to the lake half a century ago have already been built.
“We just have to wait until we’ve got enough water — as us locals know — until we can build our dock,” Wissmath said.
Together, the improvements at these local business will add to what Boiling Springs already offers its visitors.
“It’s going to bring this whole area back to what it should be — a destination,” Kennedy said.