Tim MacMichael often falls asleep at night listening to soothing music from an app he installed on his phone. On May 25, Mother Nature provided the sleep-inducing background melodies Tim heard while he drifted off to sleep at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort Riverside Glamping. The inn is located in Shawnee on Delaware in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.
“They were great sleeping sounds,” Tim said on May 26 as he and his wife, Christine MacMichael, Warren, NJ, sipped coffee on the deck next to their bell tent.
Tim and Christine have been guests at historic Shawnee Inn probably four times, according to Tim, but when they received emails promoting Island and Riverside Glamping, Christine said, “That made me want to try it.”
“We heard the tree frogs, crickets, the water lapping in against the shoreline, and some woodpeckers and other birds chirping towards the morning,” Christine noted.
Rather than lug their tent and camping supplies to a camping site, they decided to focus on a more relaxing and convenient alternative known as glamping or boutique camping.
What is glamping?
It’s glamorous or luxurious camping that’s synonymous with resort-style services that are not associated with traditional camping. Shawnee Inn offered Tim and Christine the convenience and luxury of a room in the inn with the added pleasure of connecting to the outdoors.
Guests can choose from two boutique camping options: Shawnee Island Glamping, a secluded experience on a remote island in the middle of the Delaware River that’s only accessible by canoe and Shawnee Riverside Glamping on a semi-secluded tract of land on the north lawn of the resort that overlooks the scenic Delaware River. High-speed Wi-Fi, a queen-size day bed, electricity, coffee maker, refrigerator, lantern, fan, radio, and full access to resort amenities are standard comforts that enabled Tim and Christine to rough it in style.
Upon their arrival at the Riverside site, they found their queen-sized bed dressed with luxurious linens, an extraordinarily comfortable mattress, and white fluffy pillows.
Christine commented after a restful night’s sleep, “The bed, blankets, and pillows were so comfortable. Everything is so well done and luxurious. Glamping here is a lot easier and more convenient (than camping) and we love it.”
“We’d absolutely do it again,” Tim said. We just pack an overnight bag and that’s it.”
To reserve your bell tent at Shawnee Inn, visit shawneeinn.comor call 1-800-742-9633
An award-winning Spa destination offers self-discovery activities
Find your reprieve at The Lodge at Woodloch
Imagine a world-class Spa destination where you can leave your troubles behind.
“Some people need more room in their bodies, some people need more room in their mind. Some students simply need to relax and move at a different pace from everyday life.”
Kimberly Matthew, yoga instructor
Kimberly Matthew’s goal is to turn people on to the world of yoga.
Open level yoga
Matthew teaches beginner to intermediate Chakra Yoga, one of many self-discovery activities offered to guests at The Lodge at Woodloch, an award-winning luxury adult-only Spa destination in the lake region of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.
A perfect start to your day
Her morning Chakra Yoga class provides a perfect start to your day and is perhaps the first step on your personal journey to total mind-body revitalization. A large glass window overlooking a portion of the woodland retreat is in and of itself, sedative. Matthew’s class began with moments of meditation to prepare the mind and body for 50-minutes of beginner to intermediate yoga asanas designed to stimulate and balance your energy centers for physical, spiritual and mental wellness.
Focus is on the seven energy center of the body
“Chakra yoga focuses on the seven energy centers of the body,” Matthew said, but she also noted, “I think all styles of yoga help people connect with their bodies, their breath, and their energy body.”
Alleviate or eliminate lower back pain
Her personal journey with yoga began when she was experiencing acute sciatica. When different modalities failed to ease the pain, Matthew turned to yoga, which can alleviate or eliminate pain in the lower back and leg associated with sciatica.
Matthew chose teacher training to help other people out of their pain cycles. She completed her training and certification at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, MA, and has been teaching yoga for 18 years to students with dramatic brain injury and Parkinson’s to well, able-bodied people.
“I love to people watch and it helps everyone,” she said. “I even have a dear student who is 94- years-old, who flows through sun salutation and forward bends to grab her big toes. I tell her, ‘Lorraine, I want to be like you when I grow up.”
What are some of the benefits of yoga practice?
Matthew said, “Yoga brings on a sense of well-being by creating awareness, by opening soft tissue so joints move more freely…” and her goal for each class is “to connect with each student individually and give them exactly what they need.”
Students are encouraged to participate at a level that is right for them.
“If they have any pain or discomfort they need to back off and if they have to work at breathing, they need to ease out of the stretch a bit. Some people need more room in their bodies, some people need more room in their mind. Some students simply need to relax and move at a different pace from everyday life,” she said.
In addition to Chakra Yoga, Matthew also teaches several styles of meditation from labyrinth walking to mala meditation and meditation 101.
Executive chef Adam LaFave’s menus feature French cuisine with a twist.
LaFave recently launched his spring-summer menu and two of his favorite courses on his new menu happen to both be appetizers.
“The French Manor is an atmosphere where you can come in and enjoy the food. Even when you’re coming up the driveway, it feels like you’re in another world. ” Adam LaFave
“The first one is a foie gras torchon rolled in crushed pistachios, with Brulee peaches and a sweet wine gelee finished with a shallot jam. The second is escargot with beef bone marrow, roasted garlic brioche crostini, grilled oyster mushroom, parsley, lemon powder, onion marmalade and finished with a fig and port wine reduction,” said LaFave.
If your mouth is watering at the thought of decadent French cuisine, read on.
Anyone with a hankering for succulent beef will delight in Chef LaFave’s aged NY strip steak rubbed with a black trumpet mushroom powder and accompanied by a crispy potato rose, sautéed Swiss chard and finished with maître d’ butter as an entree. A roasted Cornish game hen dish accompanied by mushrooms, Boursin Polenta and Glace de Poulet is another addition to the menu.
What’s his first step when he’s planning a new menu?
Months before, he said, “The first thing I think of when I create a dish is to highlight. If I use halibut, I think about what works well with halibut. I love truffle risotto and I think that compliments the dish. The richness from the risotto and the mushrooms cut well with the little bit of acidity from the Blood Orange Beurre Blanc.”
“Experimenting is definitely fun. I get smaller amounts of ingredients and experiment with them. If I like how it goes together, I’ll feature it.”
LaFave crafted his French cuisine inspired spring-summer menu with lighter flavors and seasonal vegetables and whenever possible, he supports local growers.
“Currently, we are buying oyster mushrooms from a local grower,” LaFave explained.
Herbs grown on the premises will be cut daily and used to flavor and accentuate his dishes.
LaFave began his career at The French Manor as a dishwasher when he was 16-years-old. After two years, he was allowed to do kitchen prep work and soon realized his affinity for the culinary arts.
“I worked with the chef for a while and I went to Marywood University for criminal justice,” he said. “I worked here cooking full time for a year and enrolled in Johnson & Wales culinary arts program in Providence, RI.”
After graduation, he was a chef at several local restaurants before finding his way back to The French Manor. One of the things he loves most about his work at the manor is the laid-back atmosphere.
“It’s not as fast-paced as some restaurants, so there’s more time for making sure the plate looks really appealing and adding more components. We don’t have to hurry to get the food out. I like the artistic side and that’s a lot of fun for me.”
If you’re in a quandary about what to order, chances are the staff has sampled each item and is eager to answer any questions about ingredients used. Feel free to ask your server for his recommendations.
“The staff will come in two hours earlier than they regularly do to go over the new menu. I explain everything and go back and cook one or two of each dishes so they can try them,” LaFave said.
Even the least adventurous diner will find a palate-pleasing selection because there’s literally something for everyone: meat, poultry, fish, seafood and vegan and vegetarian dishes. Be sure to let the staff know if you have food allergies or restrictions and LaFave said he’ll come up with a dish based on your dietary needs.
“After you get to the point where you know how to make food taste great, then it’s really fun to experiment and you can do different plating designs to enhance the appearance. We try to find a balance. I try to accommodate everyone.”
Breakfast and dinner are served daily in the historic dining room and Hanna’s Cafe. Visit thefrenchmanor.com/dining for more information.
The French Manor Inn and Spa is an enchanting full-service, family-owned inn modeled after a chateau in the north of France.
I enjoyed a memorable overnight stay at the inn two months ago and had an opportunity to experience a full course meal prepared by Chef Adam.
On a late winter evening in February, I was seated in a comfortable upholstered chair listening to Frank Sinatra tunes by the fireplace as my server delivered each course of this outrageously delicious meal to me.
Sliced strawberry with feta cheese, candied orange, micro greens, and finished with a 30-year aged balsamic vinegar
red beet salad with feta, candied pecans, orange supreme, pickled shallots, candied orange slice, and spring mixed tossed in a ginger-citrus vinaigrette
pan seared halibut accompanied with truffle risotto, sautéed black trumpet mushrooms, and shaved truffles finished with a blood orange Beurre blanc
I recommend this destination based on my experience and not because my visit was comped. My opinions are my own.