The Rex

Brian Linton sits at a picnic bench on the grounds of The Rex Hotel in Greentown, Pa. Linton and his wife, Joanna Linton, opened the boutique hotel that borders Promised Land State Park in July of 2021. Credit: Erin Blewett

They went looking for a rural getaway, a small cabin, perhaps, somewhere to shed the stress of living in crowded Philadelphia during a global pandemic, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

But Brian and Joanna Linton, cofounders of the outdoor brand United by Blue, didn’t leave their business acumen behind. That’s how the couple wound up buying an old, drive-up motel a decade or two past its prime in an area of the Poconos known as “Promised Land.”

“This is an area of the Poconos, up here at this elevation, that started to remind me of all the outdoor places I’ve loved,” Brian Linton said recently on his property there.

Brian Linton said The Rex, which opened in 2021, regularly books guests from Philly, Brooklyn and in-between. That doesn’t mean he and Joanna are simply sitting back to live the rural life now. Every old, seemingly empty bungalow or shuttered eatery near the motel gives them ideas. They recently bought an old, 10-acre campground nearby that they’ve transformed into “Camp Ferncrest.”

Known as Camp Wilson for decades, the campground had 67 sites, Linton said, many of them home to tarp-covered shacks. Linton said he cut the number of sites down to 32, to give campers more room. Some of the sites will have geodesic domes, tents and yurts to sleep in this summer.

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