There are times when the heat immediately rises as you enter some of the legendary rooms at certain resorts in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. And the thermostat hasn’t even been turned on. You’ve heard about them. Or maybe you’ve been lucky enough to experience them. These are places where, as one of them, Pocono Palace, proclaims, the “couples love to play.” That’s right, it is “the intimate couples adventure resort, where it’s all about big-time excitement, hot romance and endless fun.”
There are the large circular king-size beds with mirrors behind and large circular mirror above and even the king-size Blush Bed “where fantasies become realities.” In golf terminology, we’re only just teeing off.
Places like Pocono Palace, along with Paradise Stream and Cove Haven, feature the legendary mirror-enhanced heart-shaped pools and heart-shaped whirlpools designed for, of course, two people, in rooms with such names as Garden of Eden Apple, Fantasy Apple and Diana’s Oasis. Add in some extra touches like private saunas, log-burning fireplaces just waiting to light up the atmosphere of that intimate glass or two of a fine merlot, and shower-steam baths for two. And don’t forget the Champagne Tower by Cleopatra, not that you’re ever likely to get the image of it out of your mind. According to their websites (the Tower is at all three resorts), the four-level suite asks you to imagine “a sensual soak in a 7-foot Champagne Glass Whirlpool Bath-for-Two, followed by ... a splash in your in-suite, heart-shaped pool and then ... a relaxing stretch beside a cozy log-burning fireplace or on a massage table ...”
As old Cleo herself might proclaim, who could asp for anything more.
Heaven knows there are times when couples need to giddy-up on their getaway and enjoy the delight of adult toys like the Tower. It’s when life’s day-to-day drudgery says, “How about a nice Hawaiian Punch?” — only what’s delivered isn’t any kind of fruit drink. When your combined and intertwined mojos have become a watching-paint-dry type of thing. When the little Rug Rat that’s dominating your existence again unleashes his or her daily version of “Crying Time” at bed time with an unending and unyielding lung power “highlighted” with a shrill capable of making the siren at the local firehouse jealous.
So what’s all this got to do with golf, you may logically wonder? I thought you’d never ask.
It seems our Pocono Perspective — the one not concentrating on the Blush Bed — was jogged back to light with the recent revelation that The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort, initially called the Buckwood Inn when completed in 1911, is announcing yearlong festivities to celebrate its 100th anniversary.
The Shawnee has always held a spot near and dear to my heart since this is the place where A.W. Tillinghast designed his first golf course. Quaker Ridge in Scarsdale, N.Y., one of Tillinghast’s masterpieces, is my favorite course because of both its toughness and fairness. It’s known as a low-key private club that doesn’t seek attention and has never hosted a major championship even though it’s highly respected. The Shawnee, on the other hand, has hosted one of the big ones — the 1938 PGA Championship. It was there that Sam Snead, then the resort’s touring pro, lost to Paul Runyon.
Shawnee was also a mecca for entertainment, and the entertainers and luminaries who golfed there made it their playground. In 1943, Fred Waring, the big-band leader of Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians, led a group that bought the place. An avid golfer, Waring decided to make the Shawnee home to the band and invited many of his celebrity friends to visit and play. Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Perry Como, Ed Sullivan, Eddie Fisher and even President Eisenhower sojourned to Shawnee. It’s also apropos that one of the ultimate areas for honeymooners hosted two of the all-time Honeymooners, Art Carney and Jackie Gleason.
For Gleason, it was “and away we go” with golf as he caught his love for the game there, which later in the mid-1960s led to his moving production of the now-classic television show to Miami Beach to make his home in year-round golfing weather.
Shawnee is also the place where Arnie met Winnie, which is another Poconos love story in and unto itself.
Comedian George Gobel, another visitor, is known for the line “Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?” But under Waring’s leadership, Shawnee was much more After Six than Buster Brown.
The same is true for golf throughout the Poconos. Tillinghast may have established the fairways for the future, but he’s far from the only name architect to add golfing majesty to the mountains.
Donald Ross designed two area courses. Along with Robert White, he created the 27-hole Buck Hill Falls Golf Course. The Inn at Pocono Manor also carries plenty of golfing stature as Ross designed the East Course while George Fazio designed the West Course. George also combined with his nephew, Tom, to create the private Paupack Hills Golf and Country Club, which hosted the LPGA Hall of Fame Championship in 1978. Jack Nicklaus put one of his signature courses at the private Great Beat Golf and Country Club.
The Poconos also have many other highly-rated and respected layouts. They include Hideaway Hills Golf Club and Jack Frost National (both public), and Country Club at Woodloch Springs (semi-private).
There’s even a nine-hole course at Pocono Palace that can also be played by guests of Cove Haven and Paradise Stream as well.
With those places in mind, maybe it’s time for me to get up and get away with my lady for a few days of personal, private sessions in Relationship Refresher 101. So excuse me if my mind wanders to something that’s seven feet tall.