I'm here at The Pilot Travel Center right off I-81 in Pittston, PA. Came down last night after spending most of the day at the Turning Stone Casino & Resort in Verona, NY. The Turning Stone is quite place I figured it would be at least similar to Foxwoods, it was but I think there are some things that distinguish this property from Connecticut.
When I first pulled into the driveway my first impression at looking at the neatly landscaped grounds was the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods or the Mountain View Grand in Whitefield sans all the Mountains this is New York. The entire property really is kept immaculate there are no cigarette butts in the parking areas, the grass is freshly cut, flowers abound and this all continues into the front door of the main hotel. I went in the left side which is the retail area which had various shops, Indian artifacts and a huge selection of tobacco products no shortage of inventory here. I continued on by now I've passed two restaurants a confectionary cafe and the food court. I'm comfortable making the statement every nationality of food group is represented in these areas. The prices appear to be most reasonable--at least better than Montreal or Foxwoods! I'm opting for the Philly Cheesesteak $7.95, I've been driving for about 5-6 hours and this tastes good. By now I'm looking for the gaming I see the entrances to the gaming areas (2) in the distances. Slot machines dominate the scene but the sounds are not overpowering as I've found them in other locations mainly Foxwoods and the Atlantic City Showboat Casino. I'm looking for the table games and the poker room. I find the table games almost right away spotting Blackjack, Caribbean Stud, Ultimate Texas Holdem, Three Card and some empty tables of casino war I didn't see Baccarat on this survey. At the end of the line I find two tables of craps which are both busy. This is just a quick survey but my initial impression is that the only venue where the chips are moving towards the players with any real frequency is the craps tables. So at this point I decide to find the poker room. And I did.
I think this was my only real disappointment of the day. I expected much more, especially inlight of the scale of this resort. Basically this room is a low ceiling version of the poker room at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. The layout is the same about 35 tables with 11-15 being used. The facial expressions, the dealers and the general atmosphere of this poker room I think is out of place for the Turning Stone Casino. I briefly consider a $100.00 cash game but decide against. I'm thinking too many locals vis a vis too many teams. So I decide to purchase a copy of the New York Times Newspaper and try to find a tall vanilla coke somewhere. I did get the newspaper and ended up finding a fascinating article about the closure of the paper mill in Augusta, Maine. It was about American Tissue this is the same company that shut down the mills in Berlin, Gorham. Its a story of economic devastation, loss of history and jobs and wreckage for the future. Its sad story but well written.
I never did find that vanilla coke. I was looking for a bar type of environment, a place to get a drink, listen to the music and relax as I considered whether bringing casino gambling into New Hampshire would be a quality idea. I did find a small place with comfortable seating it was like a well lit version of the Princess Lounge at the Mount Washington Hotel. When I was in the NH House after the session I used to like to go to B. Mae Dennies City Edition and the Capitol Grille across from the Statehouse, I was looking for a place like this. I didn't find anything like this at the Turning Stone Casino & Resort.
At this point a massive thunderstom is rolling in the rain is pouring down and the thunder in the background reminds me of artillery fire. The weather finally passes I'm walking past a sign stating that the Turning Stone Casino is now a stop on the PGA tour. I'm not a golf follower and as I'm walking back to my car are left wondering if having a PGA event in this area of New York is that significant. Like having a NASCAR event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
I'm at The Pilot just about fueled up and have programmed my Garmin GPS to the next area on my location the Sands Bethworks Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.