When I visited the Pocono Mountains earlier this summer, the Shawnee Inn was by and far my favorite experience. We got a taste of the local food, enjoying “beer from here and food from near.” I love that mantra! When I heard they were unveiling a new camping experience, I signed right up and headed back to the mountains for their first weekend.
Saturday afternoon, Karen and I made the drive through rural Pennsylvania and finally landed at the impressive front lawn of the Shawnee Inn. After arriving we enjoyed dinner on their balcony overlooking the Delaware River. The weather was absolutely perfect. I appreciated this since last time I was in the Poconos it poured rain.
Just before the sun set we took a quick tour of the golf course. Along the way we got to see where they are building a “glamping” site (that’s glam camping, mom and dad), the garden that fuels their kitchen and an eaglet nest. Those eaglets were huge!
We took a moment to wander around and then zipped back in our little golf carts to the inn. While the Shawnee offers a variety of historic rooms for guests, we would be sleeping in tents on our own little island. And the first part of the experience was canoeing up the river to our island.
The ride is just long enough to take in the amazing landscapes but short enough to enjoy. I have never seen a river so clear. You can see straight to the bottom where long green strands of seaweed, rooted in the sandy riverbed, flow lazily and freshwater mussels shimmer black in the sunlight.
At our campsite, everything was already set up for us. I’m talking tents, sleeping bags, lanterns, campfire, s’mores supplies and a cooler full of the Shawnee’s local brew. Could you ask for anymore? We climbed up a steep embankment, picked out our tents like excited summer campers and pulled up around the fire.
Our group was a pretty good mix of Shawnee staff and guests, but there is something about a campfire that makes friends out of strangers. Before long we were swapping travel stories, laughing, debating the ethics of s’more roasting techniques (are you a burner?!) and covered in gooey marshmallow.
The next morning we rose nice and early. It’s so refreshing waking up with the sun to the sound of birds chirping and leaves rustling in the wind. The only way it could get any better? Just toss in the scent of a campfire breakfast.
Shawnee knows exactly how to deliver the fun and take the work out of camping.
After breakfast we took a walk around the island. Our group opted for the more adventurous route so we
bushwhacked made our way around the fairly untouched space. It felt exciting and uncharted even if our catered campsite was just a mile behind.
When the time finally came to leave our peaceful little island, we packed up our canoe and floated back down river in the sun. We headed into the brew pub for one last lunch before we hit the road.
The perfect weekend away from an otherwise busy summer, and I cannot wait to go back. We left feeling like we were saying goodbye to friends. I’m already thinking of a girls weekend for the future and want to give their glamping experience a try when it opens.
I’ve already shared my packing list for this trip, but I want to reiterate just how little you need to pack for a weekend camping. I promise you will be so caught up enjoying yourself you won’t care that you only have two shirts and a pair of sneakers on hand. Follow this packing list. I promise it’s enough (actually, it’s arguably more than you’ll need – I swear).
Have you been camping before? Where are your favorite spots?
I haven’t been camping since I was a little kid, and we only camped on my great aunt’s farm or on the beach, so this was a pretty exciting experience for me. Would you give a catered experience like this a try?