I knew it was going to be a good location when we say the sign for the Appalachian Trail. The Trail has always intrigued me and when I read Bill Bryson’s book, I laughed the whole way through it.
The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort is right in the prime location of the Delaware Water Gap – where the Delaware River cuts through the Pocono Mountains between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Most of the land around it has been turned into a national park – and for good reason – the scenery was breathtaking.
On our tour, we took the golf cart over the bridge to the golf island. But there’s a little more than golf. Shawnee also has its “Shawna Farms” organic gardens, where the produce makes it way to the restaurant tables. And although the residents were out looking for dinner, we saw the home of a bald eagle family high up in the tree, and my daughter brought home a feather we found on the ground.
Formerly on the island but moved due to previous flooding, Shawnee also has an apiary – honey bees – from which they gather honey for food, the spa and for their craft brewery.
What drew me in the most to Shawnee was the history. More than 100 years old, Shawnee has been a draw for more than a century for city folk to escape the heat and take in the healing air and waters of the Poconos. The resort has been in the process of adding historic photos all over the hotel and I had to stop and check out every one – Ed Sullivan, Arnold Palmer, Jackie Gleason. In its heyday, Shawnee drew a broad audience to the Shawnee Playhouse, where the first hour-long radio show took place.
My daughter tried it but my son really loved the driving range, which is complimentary for guests, and the chipping course, which was a perfect place to hone his burgeoning skills. He also spent a lot of time on the putting green, lining up his golf balls and creating a competition amongst them. And if you don’t have enough to do by heading to the river, golfing, volleyball, horseshoes or the driving range, you can go on day trips like canoeing or kayaking on the river (Shawnee also recently added stand-up paddleboarding) or a short drive to Bushkill Falls.
But you don’t have to go far for food and drink. Shawnee now has its own brewery, ShawneeCraft. They even use honey in one of their brews, Apiarus, which you can find at the Gem and Keystone Brewpub. Every morning, you can find a breakfast buffet at the River Room and for a casual lunch break, the Courtyard Bistro has the view.
The use of honey does not stop with the food or the drinks. I had a ShawneeCraft wrap and facial in the Shawnee Spa. A scrub first and then you’re coated with a paste that includes mud and beer. And if your appointment is after noon, the treatment comes with a complimentary taste of ShawneeCraft (I had to pass because it was before 10 a.m. but I did enjoy it at the Gem and Keystone).
The service at Shawnee also brings a past era to mind. My kids loved that Jesse and Brandon became familiar faces who took them on the tour, river exploration and s’mores by the campfire each night.
As if on cue, a deer and her two babies came out each night while we were by the bonfire. The kids saw big fish in the river and we saw many kinds of birds. Shawnee Inn truly is an escape and a place to relax and rejuvenate.
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