The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort
For more than 104 years, the historic Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort has been a landmark resort destination in Pennsylvania’s scenic Pocono Mountains, captivating visitors with its majestic landscapes and historic charm. Situated in the heart of the rolling foothills of one of Pennsylvania’s largest recreation areas — The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area — the ultimate getaway at The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort includes plenty of outdoor activities, including award-winning golfing, fly fishing, canoeing, river rafting, hiking, biking and more.
From weddings to family vacations and quiet getaways, the resort has been touted by Trip Advisor and received a Certificate of Excellence in 2015. Even after 104 years in business, The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort remains a go-to retreat, perfectly situated just 75 miles west of New York City and 100 miles from Philadelphia.
“We’re a leading resort and golf course on the banks of the wild and scenic Delaware River,” says Charles Kirkwood, co-owner of The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort alongside his wife, Virginia Kirkwood. “The resort is not far from New York City. We’re connected directly to the city by the George Washington Bridge via I-80, making Shawnee far enough away to escape urban life, but also very accessible.”
Building a 104-year tradition
The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort was established by prominent Big Apple businessman, C.C. Worthington, when the railroad first began to carve through the countryside of eastern Pennsylvania at the turn of the century. Worthington wanted to make his resort one of the finest, unique destinations in the East.
In 1911, Worthington commenced construction of the inn. He directed that walls of 12-inch iron-reinforced concrete be built and he even hired orchestras to play every afternoon. “Golf was a passion of his so he hired the famous A.W. Tillinghast — who went on to design many other famous golf courses around the U.S. — to design the 18-hole golf course at Shawnee,” says Kirkwood. “In its early years, Shawnee Inn served as a destination for businessmen. They would leave their wives and families at the resort and return for the weekends.”
Worthington spared no expense in the accommodations and luxuries at his inn. The food served in the dining room came fresh from on-premise gardens, nearby farms and an on-site creamery that provided fresh milk, cream and butter.
In 1912, Worthington invited a group of professional golfers to be his guests at the inn. “It is said that this meeting led to the formation of the present day PGA and the first PGA Championships,” reveals Kirkwood.
26 years later, in 1938, Shawnee Inn hosted the PGA Championships. “In this match, Sam Snead, Shawnee’s touring pro at the time, lost to Paul Runyon,” recounts Kirkwood, who grew up working as a caddy on the golf course. “Throughout the early years of the Inn, many professional golfers played the now-famous course.”
Kirkwood and his wife purchased the 103-room resort in 1977. “Our history is really in being a destination resort for people from the New York metropolitan area,” says Kirkwood. “The resort has been in this niche business ever since.”
“Since purchasing the resort, we moved our family here, including my five children and 17 grandchildren,” shares Kirkwood. “Most of them still live here and it’s a quaint, lovely little village.”
Amenities and activities
As members of the Philadelphia Section of the PGA, golf remains a huge part of the draw of the resort. In addition to the famous golf course, The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort also boasts a number of outdoor activities guests can enjoy such as canoeing, world famous fly fishing, hiking, biking and more. The historic inn offers a variety of accommodations, including separate cottages and luxury suites and a spa and salon, catering to travelers looking to relax and unwind. The beauty of the historic Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort’s setting makes it the perfect spot for weddings and other special events.
After hours, when guests are no longer enjoying the outdoors, the resort offers entertainment and numerous fine-to-casual-dining options. Guests can enjoy a cold, handcrafted ShawneeCraft Brews at The Gem and Keystone Brewpub, open for lunch and dinner.
For a more upscale setting, the River Room Gastro Pub utilizes locally sourced products at the peak of freshness, some of which are grown on premise at the Shawnee Island Farm. Locavores can enjoy grilled prosciutto-wrapped rainbow trout, spring pea risotto, beer-braised short rib tacos made with ShawneeCraft Brew’s own session porter ale, among many delectable seasonally inspired items.
The Shawnee Playhouse is the resort’s entertainment venue. The historic building is home to live, year-round professional theater, musicals, children’s plays, comedy shows and more. “The Shawnee Playhouse is located in the town square and my wife, Virginia, is the producer,” shares Kirkwood. “They put on about 200 shows a year, mainly off-Broadway, including Annie, South Pacific, Barefoot in the Park and a handful of original playwrights.”
Additionally, the Kirkwoods have purchased a small ski area, known as Shawnee Mountain, located 3 miles from the resort. In 2015, glamping (glamorous camping) was introduced at the resort and is a one-of-kind experience guests can enjoy. But no matter the attraction, whether guests come to sharpen their swing on the greens or enjoy a craft brew, The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort stands out as the preferred Pocono Mountains getaway with more than a century of memorable escapes.