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3300 River Road
Mount Bethel, PA 18343

(570) 897-6000

Christian retreat center for New Jersey and Pennsylvania marriage retreat, singles retreat, women's retreat and youth summer camp in Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania.

Tales of Tuscarora

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Tusca-Romance - Lloyd and Kathy Svendsen



The best Tales of Tuscarora are of life-shaping moments, warmed hearts, and hold a little piece of our history. Lloyd and Kathy Svendsen tell a story of a Tuscarora that encompasses all of these things.

Lloyd and Kathy met each other in Princeton, New Jersey during the early 1970's. Before they met, Kathy was in charge of summer youth recreation in their town and Lloyd and his brother attended a baseball game as chaperones.  Kathy initially turned down his offer for a date after the game, but soon after she changed her mind and the two were married on July 14, 1973.

Being married so young they didn't have the money for an exotic and luxurious honeymoon in Hawaii, but they were happy to stay local in the Poconos as long as they were together and alone on vacation for the very first time. As a member of the Bunker Hill Lutheran Brethren Church, Lloyd's family was familiar with the newly founded Tuscarora Inn and Conference Center. His grandmother would come up for six weeks in the summer time and his younger brother would attend bible camps. He suggested the unconventional honeymoon location and the two traveled to the Tuscarora grounds in their 1965 Plymouth Valiant.

They booked Cabin 21 which was frequently used by Lloyd's family and had a view of the pool (only one at the time.) They arrived to a celebratory greeting from their friends who had filled up their cabin with balloons. On their first morning they were even announced at breakfast and given a round of applause. They fondly remember sitting on the bed in their cabin opening wedding cards and being shocked at the generous $20 gifts!

This Tuscarora was much smaller; the grounds consisted of the cabins, the pool, and a smaller dining room. Nevertheless, Kathy and Lloyd both speak fondly of their time here, remembering especially how delicious their meals were - they were served Norwegian pancakes for breakfast, and meatballs and gravy for dinner. Lloyd says, "If it's possible though, the food has gotten even better."


In addition to the grounds, they were able to enjoy the surrounding area. One night they traveled to see a movie in a tiny theater in town. Only one film played at a time and they just headed in to see whatever was available.

We saw this movie, and we were so impressed with the movie. When we got done we were so surprised by how good it was! And it was of course the Sound of Music!
— Kathy Svendsen

Another day they visited a carnival nearby, making use of what was in the area to entertain themselves. Lloyd was determined to win Kathy a big teddy bear as a prize - and he lost $40 of their wedding money playing round after round! Kathy was able to talk the vendor into returning some of it since they were honeymooners.

The week went by quickly for them, venturing off the grounds during the day and returning for supper in the evenings. In the first few years after their honeymoon they returned to Tuscarora, spending weeks with family and with their church. After moving to Arizona a few years later, their connection faded.


This summer, their son Lance was invited to come help with the LOUD Summit organizing a Glow Run with his organization RunAnyway. When they found out where he was going, they were eager to revisit the grounds they had celebrated such a momentous occasion on, so they traveled with him to assist with the event.

Many things have changed on the grounds of Tuscarora since they last visited in the late 1970's. Lloyd and Kathy were shocked to be given a room in the "new" Riverside building - and to enjoy having air conditioning in their room. They were happy to see the growth and transformation that has happened in Tuscarora over the years, and were even happier to be able to share this special place with their son.

There are some things that haven't changed. Tuscarora is still a place that welcomes everyone onto our grounds and offers the highest quality in Christian hospitality. We offer a community of believers who are able to fellowship and enjoy refreshment and retreat whenever its needed most. It connects generations of people from honeymooners, to athletes, to young adults to worship together and experience God's blessings.

Now that they have relocated again to New Jersey, they are looking forward to making Tuscarora a part of their future, and the future of their growing family.