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Cast & Blast at Pocono Manor

  • By
  • July 5, 2017
Pocono Manor Sports

Learn new skills at Pocono Manor


Trap Shooting and Fishing


When you meet Mike Possinger, you’ll understand why the Pocono Manor Resort & Spa  “Cast & Blast” package is so much fun.

Mike Possinger, Manor Sports’ Director, Pocono Manor Resort & Spa, teaches guests to trap shoot. All lessons are centered on gun safety.

Pocono Manor Resort & Spa’s consummate manager of Manor Sports delights in introducing folks to trap shooting and fishing. They happen to be two of Possinger’s specialties, but the package can be tailored to beginners or more experienced folks who want to fine-tune their skills.

Cast & Blast is one of an assortment of “Stay & Play” packages available at Pocono Manor, a historic inn located in Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania.

According to Possinger, the original plan was to offer Cast & Blast as a Father’s Day promotion but his idea soon evolved into an all-day event that’s perfect for families, couples, and groups.

“It took off,” Possinger said. “The opportunity is right here. You’re going to shoot right here and go a half-mile away and fish in another.”

Creating moments that result in smiles and laughter are among his goals and this year marks the first time Pocono Manor formally marketed this “Stay & Play” package to guests and non-guests. Overnight lodging, breakfast, three hours of fishing, and an Intro to Trapshooting rates start at $199 per night. A resort fee and tax are not included and reservations are required.

Pocono Manor Packages
I learned the essentials of trap shooting during my recent stay at Pocono Manor. Photo by Mike Possinger. 

Here’s what Kelly Shannon, Pocono Mountains Visitor Bureau PR and social media manager said via email about Pocono Manor’s contributions to the Pocono Mountains’ tourism industry.

“Pocono Manor Resort & Spa is a huge draw to visitors, positively contributing to the tourism in the Pocono Mountains. With so many catered packages and onsite activities like fishing, horseback riding, archery, biking, seasonal events, and in the winter even horse-drawn sleigh rides, snowmobiling, and ice skating, Pocono Manor has so much to offer for all tastes. The resort’s renowned golf course and its serene spa provide even more entertainment to guests. With so much to do, we find visitors returning to indulge in their other activities season-to-season.”

I recently sampled the trap shooting and fly fishing package during a two-day assignment sponsored by Pocono Manor Resort & Spa. Cast & Blast includes about an hour of trap shooting and two to three hours of fishing, but experienced anglers who want to spend more time on the water can fish at the on-site streams for hours.

Possinger is certified through the National Rifle Association (NRA) for shotgun and pistol handling and will devote as much time as needed to be sure participants are comfortable handling a gun. He provides full instruction, covering topics such as gun safety and proper ways to hold, aim and shoot and he’ll tailor a package to meet the needs of families, small groups or corporate clients. Prices will vary, depending on how much casting and blasting you want to do.

“It’s one of those things you don’t experience every day of your life in your own backyard, so we try to make everyone comfortable. People want to learn how to handle a gun,” Possinger said. 

Participants must be 12 years and older to participate in that particular package, but Possinger said he’ll be happy to “dream up all sorts of games and activities that will keep everyone happy.”

“If that’s all it takes to make them (people) smile, why not do it? I’ve been at Pocono Manor for a long time and I want you to have fun. I’m the ‘bartender” or ‘beauty salon’ out here.”

Possinger joined the Manor in the mid-1970s as a snow-maker when the manor’s ski program was in operation. Following college and years in politics, Possinger learned the Manor Sports director’s position was available.That was 12 years ago.

“I don’t complain about getting up in the morning and going to work. I go and it’s one of those things that happens when you find a once-in-a-lifetime job.”

Since then, he has catered to guests, including countless individuals with special needs and circumstances.

“Years ago, a guest (a lady) had a bucket list. She was terminally ill and in a wheelchair. I built a tripod and made it so I could set it across her wheelchair. I made a holder that set on her wheelchair and she could turn the tripod and just pull the trigger. She told me, ‘I can’t believe I’m doing this. Situations like that are very special to me.”

I spent my second day at Pocono Manor fly fishing in a stream on the property, along pristine “catch and release” water. The on-site stream is only available to registered Pocono Manor guests. A valid Pennsylvania fishing license is required for anyone who plans to take fish from the property.

Pocono Manor Sports
Anglers will find stocked and native trout in streams located on Pocono Manor’s property.

On July 20, 2017, Erin Caulfield, a Pocono Manor spokesperson announced Pocono Manor Resort & Spa has received certification from the Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA), the largest clay target shooting organization in the world. She also noted the resort has installed five state-of-the-art Pat-Trap machines.

Pocono Manor Resort & Spa is now the only resort in the Pocono region with the ability to host ATA-member only sanctioned registered shoots.

Caufield said Pocono Manor will host its second registered shoot on September 30, 2017. Participants are eligible for discounted overnight rates.

Save the date


Spend Oct. 14 outdoors at Pocono Manor’s Family Field Day with Dunkelberger’s Sports Outfitters. The day’s activities will include Instruction in shooting .22 rifles, airsoft rifles, shotguns, compound bows and crossbows, fishing, fly-fishing demos, children’s games, and a barbecue menu.  Visit for more information.

You can reach out to Possinger and find additional Cast & Blast information at 

To learn more about Pocono Manor, see my companion story 

Manor Sports is open Mon. to Sat., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.







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The Lodge at Woodloch: a decade of recipes

  • By
  • April 18, 2017


follow nature’s lead with seasonal recipes

Do you have a passion for nature?

You can cultivate your own well-being in much the same way you would improve or refine your garden using ingredients harvested from nature.

“NURTURE with NATURE: Seasonal Recipes for Body, Beauty and Healing,” a cookbook brought to you by The Lodge at Woodloch, is more than a collection of recipes.  It’s a “guidebook” that provides directives for anyone who seeks to discover or restore that delicate balance between living and thriving. NURTURE with NATURE is a culmination of a decade of guests’ favorite recipes.

Guests arrive at The Lodge at Woodloch, an award-winning spa destination located in the Lake region of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, knowing they will leave rejuvenated with their souls enlivened. During your stay, you will immediately understand why the lodge draws customers from near and far. Each moment of your visit is a celebration of life and come mealtime; after hiking, fly fishing, a painting or yoga class, or a spa treatment, a diverse array of dishes await you in the Tree Restaurant and Bar.

This recipe book is a celebration of the miracles of Mother Earth and her ability to provide our earth with a wide spectrum of seasonal foods, herbs and nutrients that enhance our well-being.

NURTURE with NATURE is a collaborative effort of The Lodge at Woodloch executive chef Josh Tomson and his team; Amanda Clabaugh, treatments’ manager, beverage recipes from Leslie Britt and Cindy Wasilewski, and Nathaniel Whitmore, master herbalist. Readers will find Pantry Clean-Up, Choosing Foods for the Season, a Food Rainbow, as well as more than 100 recipes. Much credit is also due to Andrea Killam, the photographer, and creative director, whose photos depict the calming environment at the lodge.

If you’ve never visited The Lodge at Woodloch, you are missing an opportunity to experience a world-renowned, adults-only spa resort destination and a culinary wonderland. The recipe book only scratches the surface of the locally-sourced, garden-to-table cuisine you will find.

As I perused the pages of NURTURE with NATURE, I made my list of must-have ingredients so I could begin to sample several of the recipes. Most of the ingredients are readily available at your local farmers’ market or in the organic herbs, fruits and vegetables sections of many grocery “superstores” or online. A few of the offerings are “crispy trout with wild leeks,” “oyster mushroom & homemade ricotta flatbread,” and “brown rice veggie burger.” You should also reap the benefits of the renewal beauty and healing recipes, which are also arranged according to the season. Try the spring “Calming Banana Mask” to soothe and smooth your winter-weary complexion and the “softening hand and foot scrub” before sandal weather is in full swing.

I’ve been a guest at The Lodge at Woodloch and Woodloch Pines, two properties owned and managed by the Kiesendahl family. Rest assured, you will be pampered by your hosts.

NURTURE with NATURE was published in December 2016 and you can purchase a copy by following this link:

To see what’s on the schedule at The Lodge at Woodloch, click here.






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Woodloch: Family resort brings generations together

  • By
  • November 11, 2016
Woodloch Pines family resort

Woodloch Tradition: Excellence

An all-inclusive family resort 

Bright sunshine and mild temperatures set the stage for my extraordinary visit to Woodloch Pines, a 1,200-acre award-winning all-inclusive family resort in Hawley, Pennsylvania. This exceptional four-season destination is located in the Lakes Region of Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.

Woodloch Pines family resort
Expect to reap your share of outdoor fun year round.

A brief history (courtesy of Woodloch)

Before I go into details related to my visit, you should be aware that Woodloch Pines Resort has been family-owned and operated for more than 53 years, offering all-inclusive vacations to generations of families for decades. From the moment you arrive at Woodloch, you will experience the Kiesendahl family’s commitment to top-notch service.

The original 12-acre Woodloch featured a main lodge, annex and two cottages that accommodated up to 40 guests. As its popularity continued to grow, by 1961, the Kiesendahl family had doubled the size of the lakefront resort. In 1983, the resort had grown into 150 acres with nearly a mile of shoreline and 135 rooms. Fast forward to 2016 and you’ll find 160 guest rooms in four different categories and more than 300 acres that beckon you to explore. Most rooms can accommodate up to six people and offer a spectacular lake view from a private balcony.

Awards too numerous to mention

You can expect outstanding service at Woodloch Pines, a family-owned and managed resort. The Kiesendahl family continues to carry on the tradition of excellence and warm hospitality.

Woodloch is regarded as one of America’s “Best Inclusive Family Resorts” and voted Woodloch as the #1 Family Resort in America. To see a complete list of awards and accolades, click here.

A perfect day

I arrived at Woodloch Pines mid-week on a gorgeous mid-September afternoon. Fall hadn’t officially arrived and the leaves weren’t ablaze with color yet but I was delighted to have an opportunity to explore the property under brilliant sunshine and a moonlit evening sky. Here’s a moment I captured after dinner, while on my way back to my guestroom.

Woodloch Pines family resort
Dusk brought a dreamy sunset over Lake Teedyuskung. Lakeside is a popular spot for guests to gather.

A dedicated and loyal staff

DJ Luis is among the many caring and enthusiastic staff at Woodloch. He wears many hats, from a “captain” and tour guide of the scenic boat tour to a multi-talented in-house entertainer.

Listen and watch Luis as he reveals why he has an affinity for Woodloch.


Although I traveled solo to Woodloch, my suite could comfortably accommodate a family. Should you desire more or less space, Woodloch has 160 guest rooms and 70 guest homes to meet your needs. Busy travelers and families will particularly appreciate the well-stocked kitchen with plenty of space to prepare a meal.

Woodloch Pines family resort
A full-service kitchen offers the equipment you’ll need to dine in your guest room.  

Woodloch Pines family resort
Deluxe and spacious accommodations with a spectacular view of the lake from your bedroom window.

Woodloch Pines family resort
While the on-site activities will likely keep you busy day and night if you choose, you can surely find “down” time in your room. Sink into the comfortable furnishings, read a book or watch a movie on your flat screen television.  


 Woodloch: An all-inclusive resort with abundant amenities

  • 18-hole championship golf course and community at its sister properties, Woodloch Springs and an award-winning luxury destination spa The Lodge at Woodloch located within a two-mile radius.
  • Complimentary WiFi available in all accommodations
  • flat-screen television with cable and pay-per-view movies, refrigerator, iron and ironing board, coffee maker, hairdryer, and in-room safe in every room.
  • Pharmacopia toiletries
  • Microwaves and cribs available at an additional charge
  • All homes feature full kitchen with all cooking utensils and tools as well as an outdoor gas barbecue grill, at least one gas fireplace
  • One-and-a-half mile paved nature trail plus a three-mile natural terrain trail; bicycles available for use on trails
  • White sandy lakeside beach with swimming and a water slide.
  • Waterskiing for guests aged 13 and older, paddle and row boats, canoes, kayaks and sailboats
  • Indoor and outdoor pool; indoor Kids Splash Zone, outdoor kiddie pool
  • Bumper cars and boats, and go carts
  • Woodloch Forest – three-level indoor playground with four slides, tree house, and a separate single-level toddler play area.
  • Horseshoes, shuffleboard , and bocce ball court
  • Basketball gymnasium and outdoor basketball courts
  • Outdoor sand volleyball court
  • Four new tennis courts
  • Two nine-hole miniature golf courses
  • Toddler room, arts and crafts room, and The Bunker- a lounge and Nintendo Wii center
  • 28’ climbing wall
  • Seasonal snow-tubing
  • 1500 square foot exercise facility with state-of-the-art equipment

Follow this link to view a list of resort amenities available at an additional charge.

Dining and evening entertainment go hand-in-hand

The Lakeview Dining Room is a newly renovated space and gathering place for generations of families to dine comfortably. Upon your arrival at the dining room, members of the Kiesendahl family eagerly meet and greet their guests before dinner.

The dining room was nearly filled to capacity with a mix of ages from one to 85, and yet, the service was extraordinary.

Woodloch Pines family resort
Multi-generational guests in the Main Dining Room

Menus change daily and meals are offered at specific times throughout the day to allow guests to take full advantage of the activities planned. Here’s a sample menu from September 2016. Dining options and meal plans are available here.

Woodloch Pines family resort
A sample menu from September 2016


Now that you know what was on the menu during my visit, I’ll make your mouth water. After devouring the shrimp cocktail appetizer and salad, my server delivered an unspeakably moist and flavorful salmon served over black rice.

Woodloch Pines family resort
Succulent Shrimp served as an appetizer


Wondering where to dine at this family resort?

On-site you have a choice of the Woodloch Dining Room, The Country Store at The Inn, North Lodge Cafe, and the Lakeside Grille & Outdoor Poolside Bar (both open seasonally). Only a short distance from Woodloch Pines is The Market and the Clubhouse Grille Room at Woodloch Springs.

Meet Bradley Kiesendahl

Brad Kiesendahl in costume as “Spock.”

I had the pleasure to chat with Brad on a night when he was in costume as “Spock,” from “Star Trek.”

Why was he dressed as Mr. Spock? Please continue reading.

Throughout the evening, he served as the emcee but also took the time to check in at each dining table to be sure guests were beyond satisfied with their meals.


Ah…and then, as I was finishing my dinner, along came Woodloch’s social staff and theater cast also in costume, parading through the dining room. Characters make daily appearances at mealtime. The Lone Ranger and his horse were among the familiar characters who entertained adults and children alike. Do you recognize the monkey from movies and television?

Woodloch Pines family resort
Curious George in the spotlight as he paraded through the dining room.


Woodloch Pines family resort
Who’s your favorite superhero?

“The Wonderful World of Television”

Family and staff continue a tradition

Following dinner, I was invited to attend a Woodloch themed theater performance, “The Wonderful World of Television” – hence, the reason why TV land characters made their appearance during dinner.  A new, creative theme has been chosen every year since the mid-sixties. The family-oriented performance was a retrospective glance back at iconic television shows from the advent of television to many of our current hit series.

I was in awe of the talent, set design and dedication of the cast members who starred in the production. Most of the cast is part of the vast Woodloch family and staff.

Here’s a clip from the performance.

The cast of mostly in-house performers drew constant applause from the audience as they danced to and sang the theme songs from decades of television’s finest moments, with a backdrop of custom-designed sets. A small pyrotechnic display sparkled on the stage at the finale.

Before the closed, theater-goers were also treated to film clips of the notoriously funny Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Johnny Carson.

Take a moment and view some of the photos I took during the performance.


Early morning on the water

Early morning brought anglers to the shoreline to get their dose of Mother Nature as the mist on Lake Teedyuskung slowly dissipated, giving way to another day of bright, blue sky.

My suite offered a wonderful view of the lake. I awakened to an overwhelming desire to cast my fly line into Lake Teedysukung but as I walked towards the shoreline, I noticed the silhouette of one fisherman, Bob Gaines from Yardley, PA.  Bass and sunfish are plentiful and I watched intently as Bob caught and released one fish after another.

Woodloch Pines family resort
Bob Gaines, Yardley, PA, gets an early start to his morning fishing from a dock on Lake Teedyuskung at Woodloch Pines’ resort.

Woodloch Pines family resort
One of Bob Gaines’ many catches at Lake Teedyuskung.


Woodloch Pines family resort
Early-risers know the morning mist on the lake won’t last forever, so be sure to set your alarm for sunrise.

Scenic Boat Tour

A boat tour is a perfect way to see the gorgeous scenery that surrounds Woodloch Pines family resort. You’ll also catch a view of the property from a different perspective as you learn more about the Woodloch’s rich history.

After a full breakfast, I made my way to the Tea House boat dock, where I boarded Woodloch’s 10:30 a.m. tour boat. If you’re sticking to a tight schedule, guided tours run every 15 minutes, weather permitting.


family resort
The scenic boat tours allow guests the time to learn more about Woodloch’s rich history.


 A family barbecue and picnic on the lawn

Later that morning, I celebrated my final meal at the resort at a barbecue and picnic on the front lawn before leaving for an afternoon fly-fishing class at The Lodge at Woodloch, a sister property, and another award-winning, world-class spa destination.

The traditional weekly cookout brings guests together to mingle in an informal setting, while they have a choice of their favorite “picnic” food.

Woodloch Pines family resort
A barbecue held on the front lawn brought rave reviews from guests.

What’s happening at Woodloch Pines today?

The Edge is your source for up-to-date schedules of activities courtesy of the social staff. Their aim is truly to keep you happy and busy during your stay at Woodloch Pines Resort.

This link will take you directly to The Edge.

If you have additional questions regarding my adventure at Woodloch Pines, please message me or click on the chat icon on my landing page.

Many thanks to the management and staff at Woodloch for a warm welcome and the opportunity to stay and play.


Readers, please note: My trip to Woodloch Pines was sponsored but rest assured, I will only provide my heartfelt opinions about the destination.







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Fernwood Resort: Four seasons of family fun

  • By
  • July 15, 2016

Fernwood Resort: creating year-round family experiences

Gina Bertucci: Focus is on family at Fernwood

Activities=Quality Family Time 



Family fun…Have you taken the time to create lasting memories with your family?

Creating an experience that’s all-encompassing for families and guests of all ages is one of the challenges Gina Bertucci, Fernwood Resort co-owner, embraces.

Gina Bertucci
Gina Bertucci, co-owner, Fernwood Resort

With more than 18,000 member families, Fernwood Resort and the Villas at Tree Tops & Fairway®, 2157 River Rd, East Stroudsburg, PA, is part of RCI and is one of the largest vacation ownership properties in the Mid-Atlantic region with 650 beautifully-appointed villas.

“We have both timeshares and rentals so we’re a mixed-use property,” Bertucci explained.

Lodging options range from one-to-four bedrooms with accommodations for every taste, with a home-like feeling and amenities from simple and economical to deluxe and spacious.

When you’re ready to venture out onto the property, you’ll also see why Fernwood has received awards for being green.

According to Bertucci, “As a business, when we were looking at how to develop these pieces of property, what did we do?”

The Pocono TreeVentures and zipline courses are examples of the extraordinary measures Bertucci and her partners have taken to preserve the beauty and nature on the property.


The Matsui family receives instruction before beginning the Pocono TreeVentures course. Photo submitted by Fernwood Resort.


“We looked at ways to preserve this property. There’s a stream that goes through it, but really when you’re up in the trees, you really do appreciate the nature and the beauty of this region.”

Everywhere you turn at Fernwood, there’s something for everyone. A few of the free on-site activities are swimming and weekly pool parties, summer family movie nights, picnics and BBQ nights. At an additional cost, try horseback riding at Bushkill Stables, Pocono TreeVentures Ropes and Zipline courses, Blue and White Lightning Tubing and Paintball. Visit Fernwood Resort’s website for prices and hours of operation.


Kento Matsui enjoys an afternoon of swimming at Fernwood Resort’s outdoor pool.



Discover the countryside surrounding Fernwood Resort. You can explore on foot or by horseback at Bushkill Riding Stables. Reserve your horse and saddle by clicking here

Approximately 15 years ago, Bertucci and other businesses affiliated with the Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau got together to answer the question, how can we continue to showcase the Poconos as a region to explore and enjoy, and at the same time, preserve its natural beauty?

The Fernwood partners, for example, utilized approximately 10 acres of gorgeous farmland for the TreeVentures and Zip Line courses.

“It’s beautiful and challenging and when you’re finished, you think I just did something and it’s great exercise. It’s about authenticity,” commented Bertucci. “And not everyone has had a chance to try horseback riding? For other people, it’s shopping at the Crossings (Premium Outlets), canoeing on the Delaware River, bike riding, seeing nearby Bushkill Falls or following a lovely natural walking path at the 77,000-acre at the Delaware Water Gap National Historic site.”


What’s our recommendation for off-site family engagement? 

Don’t leave the Poconos without a stop at Bushkill Falls, known as “The Niagara of Pennsylvania.” With each season the landscape changes, providing a unique experience each time you visit. We suggest you reserve a half-day for your adventure.


Preservation of our natural scenic wonders is top-priority for Gina Bertucci, Fernwood Resort, representatives from other businesses and resorts and members of the Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau. Visit Bushkill Falls but please follow the rules as shown above. Observe and appreciate but hands-off plants and wildlife.

Bushkill Falls is host to many family adventures, schools and group tours, weddings and is a fantastic photo op. I guarantee you will get your workout while on your trek up and down the steps leading to and from the basin. Grab a bite to eat at the snack bar and then stock-up on keepsakes and souvenirs at the gift shop.



When you need to cool off on a warm summer day, you will appreciate the cool mist of water from the cascading falls and the shady areas provided along the trail leading to the basin.

 Bushkill Falls is the “Niagara of Pennsylvania”

Why should you plan a trip to the Pocono Mountains’ region?

As the nights turn chillier and the leaves that adorn the trees of the Pocono Mountains fall to the ground and create a gentle blanket of vibrant shades of red, yellow and orange, celebrate fall by tuning into the sounds of freshly fallen leaves underfoot. Celebrate the four seasons in the Pocono Mountains.

“There’s something for everyone in the Pocono Mountains. It’s all here and that’s fortunate for us. Family time is part of the fabric of our lives. You remember those moments together.” Gina Bertucci, Fernwood Resort.
















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Meet “Garden Doug Z,” Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort lead gardener

  • By
  • July 5, 2016

Cultivating farm-to-table vegetables

Meet Shawnee Inn lead gardener

“Garden Doug Z” 

“Garden Doug Z,” also known as Doug Zimmer, cultivates many varieties of plants in his gardens at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort, Shawnee on Delaware, Pennsylvania.

His craft is to provide Shawnee Inn guests with the freshest farm-to-table produce and vegetables.

Zimmer is the lead gardener at Shawnee Inn, formerly Buckwood Inn, a historic inn with a well-established reputation for extraordinary customer service and lodging and championship golf courses. The Shawnee Inn guests know today is due in part to visionary Charles Campbell Worthington. According to Shawnee Inn history, Worthington was an engineer and inventor by trade, who never enjoyed urban living. Soon, after discovering the great outdoors at Shawnee on Delaware, he relocated to this quaint, small village in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania and “made his mark in the community.”  Current owners, Charles and Ginny Kirkwood and their family, are also advocates for sustainability and preserving natural resources.

Garden Doug Z is an experienced gardener and is highly-regarded for his vast knowledge of horticulture. He carries on the Shawnee tradition of “fresh food from the gardens on premises” and outsourcing, only as needed, from nearby farms.

Here’s a quote from the Shawnee Inn history archives.

“The food served in the dining room came fresh from gardens on the premises and nearby farms, an on-site creamery provided fresh milk, cream and butter and drinking water of the purest quality was gravity-fed directly into each room,” according to Shawnee Inn history.

I met Zimmer in early June, while I was a glamping guest at Shawnee Inn. Upon meeting him, I asked my host, Kaitlyn O’Connor, Shawnee marketing coordinator, if I could interview him and snap some photos of Doug alongside his various gardens. Little did I know, he is also the lone gardener.

Zimmer quickly noted, “It’s really not hard to be the lead gardener when you’re the only gardener.”

Sure, he gets help from management when he needs it, but Zimmer added, “I’m pretty much on my own a lot of the times. Today, I needed help with tilling.”

Meet Garden Doug Z, (Doug Zimmer) lead gardener at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort. Zimmer cultivates the inn’s on-site herb and vegetable gardens. Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui, travel writer, journalist and photographer.

What is the origin of his nickname?

He said, “Some girls gave me the nickname Garden Doug Z.”

How many acres does he farm?

He’s not sure, but I can attest that rows of vegetables and herbs are methodically interspersed in several tracts of land that border the Shawnee golf course. One of his gardens is situated along the golf course, with a spectacular view of the Delaware River.

“I can tell you how I grew tomato plants 30 years ago but I really have a problem with people’s names and acres.”

Garden Doug Z at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort
Garden Doug Z is shown in the middle of one of the gardens he plants and methodically cultivates at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort, Shawnee on Delaware, PA.

Elephant garlic, onions, cabbage, tomatoes, and kale are among the varieties of vegetables he plants and cultivates each year.

All of his plants are grown from seed but he noted he is also blessed to have access to a greenhouse. “We don’t bring out the plants (from the greenhouse) until the weather settles down.”

Intrigued by herbs

As we moved to the herb garden that was brimming with healthy, nurtured plants, Zimmer graciously handed me a sample of his “Mountain Mint” crop that flourishes in his herb garden.

“The medicinal property of the mint is it’s an “antispasmodic,” he said.

As he pointed to the chamomile, he explained,

“I think I’m happy and sedate enough that I don’t need the chamomile, but I’m very intrigued by medicinal plants. There’s an actual sedative in that stuff and that’s pretty cool.”

His affinity for horticulture developed at a young age.

“I couldn’t eat an apple without planting the seeds,” he said.

Obsessed with gardening

Zimmer admits his gardening is a compulsion.

He quipped, “I had it so bad in years past when I put all of my tropical, succulents, and jade plants inside for the winter. I couldn’t sit in my living room. I couldn’t get into my spare bedroom. So, two years back, I said to myself, ‘Doug, this is a sickness and you’ve got to have a 12-step program.”

Zimmer is a generous soul

He’s also known for giving plants away and converting a lot of people who believe they have a “brown thumb.” His advice to those folks is “You’re just a beginner and you’re growing the wrong plants. I have some plants for you that are hard to kill unless you put them in the oven at 350 (degrees).”


Zimmer shares Shawnee Inn founder’s love for the outdoors and fresh produce and vegetables harvested on-site.


“You reap what you have sown”

Sustainability is widely practiced at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort and Zimmer’s goal is to utilize more seeds from his gardens and use natural compost materials to ensure the gardens are as organic as possible.

“We use composted leaves and mix some of the (ShawneeCraft) brewery stuff in there,” Zimmer said. “It’s definitely the compost that makes a difference.”

Taste trumps everything

While heirlooms are very fickle to grow, Zimmer plans to add other heirloom cultivars of tomatoes to his repertoire. Ultimately, taste is the deciding factor that trumps everything.

“If it tastes good, I’ll bend over backward to get that. I’m very proud of that. Through the years, it (the plant) has got to evolve.”

I met Doug Zimmer, also known as “Garden Doug Z,” while I was on assignment at Shawnee Inn for



Learn more about menus at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort here.










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