The Peace Corps is coming up on its 50th but Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort, on the banks of the Delaware River, just announced over 30 events that they are planning for 2011, including a flotilla down the Delaware where each vessel will represent one of the countries where PCVs have served. 

That flotilla is being organized by Ginny Kirkwood, who owns the Inn, and who was a PCV in Turkey 1964-66, and later CD in Thailand (1990-93). That Peace Corps connection for the Kirkwoods goes deeper, and lasts longer. Ginny niece, Carrie Hessler, married her college boyfriend, Central Michigan track star Steve Radelet at Shawnee Inn, and the two of them left the Delaware River for their honeymoon in Peace Corps Training for Western Samoa (1981-83). Now those two are home as well. Carrie is Deputy Director of the Peace Corps, and Steve is at the State Department. Yes, I know, but everyone is not perfect.

Shawnee Inn is one of the great resorts in the history of the Pocono Mountains. It was here where big band composer Fred Waring and his famous Pennsylvanians played in the 1940s-50s; it was here were Arnold Palmer, working as an assistant pro in the golf shop, met his wife, years before he was the famous Arnold Palmer. It was here where entertainers Jackie Gleason, Perry Como and Ed Sullivan all visited to play golf and perform.

Ginny and her husband, Charlie, worked as kids at the Inn, Ginny as a waitress; Charlie caddying in the summer months, and cleaning dishes in the kitchen over the winter. The  two went off to college, then Charlie to law school, and Ginny to the Peace Corps, and then they lived and worked for a dozen years in Asia before returning home to buy the Inn. They have owned the resort since 1977.

Among the many events planning for 2011 is one where couples who were married at Shawnee can return to renew their vows and stay overnight for $19.11–the cost of a night’s stay in the resort’s first year.

If you weren’t married at Shawnee, or you are not married, and even if you are not a Kirkwood (though God knows every second PCV seems to be a Kirkwood!) keep in touch and we’ll tell you what Ginny has planned for next summer, and how you can become involved with  celebrating the Shawnee Inn, and the Peace Corps.