Saturday, May 27, 2006
Breakfast and a Geocache
We woke up to the sound of birds chirping and it was actually pleasant. The birds in Pittsburgh should take a lesson. This morning is also spa morning! First, however, is breakfast. After we showered, we headed up to the main house for our morning meal. The dining room was very elegant. Guests each sit at tables of two or four, like a little café. Breakfast itself was served buffet style. I had coffee, sausage, eggs, and a cinnamon scone smothered in a lemon curd. Lydia talked me into trying the blueberry juice and it was yummy.
We had a few extra minutes before our spa appointment; therefore, and since it was on the way, we took an initial try at one of the area’s geocaches.
It’s a global treasure hunt for geeks. We didn’t find this cache right away, due to a mistake in the coordinates and a shortage of time. We vowed to return. Besides, we were off to the spa.
Afterwards, over lunch, Lydia asked me if I could do that more often, meaning could I have a spa treatment more often. I told her, “I could do that tomorrow.”
Being my first spa experience (though I have had massages before,) I had no preconceived ideas of what lay ahead. This, for me, is a perfect state of mind to be in, since it lets me observe without filtering or processing. I can simply absorb the experience. I would process it all later.
After we paid (and the credit card was approved—whew,) we were escorted to separate changing rooms where we stripped into our birthday suits and put on robes. Upon emerging, we were directed to our private Jacuzzi and slipped into the warm water. After a moment, someone turned a switch and the jets droned to life. After a tenderizing soak, the jets stopped and we took our queue to emerge, dry off, and enrobe for the next leg of the morning.
I followed Lydia upstairs to a waiting room, where she had been told to go following the whirlpool. While we waited, various staff members took turns walking by our room and, on occasion, calling out a name. “Kathy? Kathy?” Nope. No Kathys here. Then after a few minutes, “Brenda? Brenda?” Missed again. Lydia said she felt like she was loosing the name lottery.
Then, pay dirt. Both Lydia and I were called at the same time, but by two different people. We each went off to our separate treatments, a pedicure for Lydia and a manicure for me. I actually had a manicure before. A day or two before my wedding, I had my nails done for the first time. I also had my hair colored on that occasion, to knock down some of the grey. I was twenty-eight then. Now, I like my salt and pepper locks.
Turned out that my next stop was to Kim for a massage. But first, I was off to the waiting room for another round of name lottery. “Ryan? Ryan?” My blank look told the inquirer she had missed. I wondered how many waiting rooms there were. Was my masseuse, Kim, at another room asking Ryan if he was Grant?
After a few minutes, Kim arrived and called me to follow her to her room. She left me alone to disrobe and climb up onto the table under the cover. In a few minutes she returned and began the treatment. Kim impressed me with her caring, nurturing personality. This was evident in her hands and her voice.
I gotta tell you, massages are the best. I’ll have to see if I can find a place near work or home where I can indulge more frequently.
After the massage I was directed to a quiet waiting area, where I happened to meet up with Lydia again. We rested serenely and enjoyed another round of name lottery with two ladies who were waiting with us. Again we were each called at the same time and we separated to our individual facials.
The facial seemed to me to be a combination of washing and massage of the face. This was combined with oiling, heating, and massaging of my hands and feet. It was pleasant enough, but not as fully relaxing as a body massage. That brought our treatments to an end, so we headed to the change rooms, got dressed and headed out into the warm sunny day.
Art and Ice Cream
We had scoped out a Mexican restaurant the previous evening, so we made that our target for lunch. The service was almost nonexistent, but the food (when it finally arrived) was very good.
After lunch, in our post-spa serenity, we wandered around town mixing with the buzz of other tourists and locals. At some point, we made reservations for the next evening at a restaurant that had bee recommended to us, the Panorama Restaurant. That evening , however, we were all set for dinner at our Inn.
Our meandering took us into various shops and an artists’ co-op called “The Icehouse.” Inside were displays by local artists, of which there are quite a few given the small town’s size. One of the exhibits was of various quilts. Some were for sale, others for display, and still others were part of a silent auction to raise money for the local library.
From the Ice House we went for ice cream at the Creekside Creamery. Being a warm, sunny afternoon, the shop was very busy and the three older staffers were being run ragged by the crowd of patrons. I think, though, everyone was patient and understanding and we all eventually got our cold desserts.
I had a pina colada smoothie and Lydia had a cup of pistachio ice cream. Lydia—poor thing—had a headache, so we decided that our grueling day (wink, wink) had earned us a nap. After all, it was 4:00 p.m.
A Brick Bath
Two hours later, we woke refreshed, showered, and dressed for a special dinner. I felt so bad that I didn’t have much of an appetite for dinner, because the food was delicious. That Mexican lunch held me longer than I would have expected. The menu was:
The sun had set during dinner, but we still wanted to get a walk in before bed. We headed in a different direction down to the main drag. En route, we found the cache that had eluded us earlier, but we had no pen to write in the log (and there were some other things to see as part of the find that were printed on the description page, also not to hand,) but we were psyched to have “made the find.”
We strolled through the state park and tried to imagine George Washington, more than two hundred fifty years ago, taking a bath in a tub made of coarse brick. Then again, as Lydia observed, “What was comfortable in 1748? Precious little.”
A little more walkies and talkies and we were (well, I was) ready to call it an night. Back in the Garden room, we threw on the A/C to cool off, got dressed for bed, and journalled the day’s activities.
A table at our B&B
Grant standing outside the Atasia Spa
Candle’s flame, close up, on our table.
Lydia by George Washington’s Bath
Sunday Farmer’s Market on the way into town.
Mean-looking geocaching spectator
We have reservations
The Panorama Restaurant
Lydia heads into the Star Theater
Old-time popcorn machine, fresh popcorn
Seats inside the Star Theater
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Breakfast and Towels
We had nowhere in particular to get to first thing. We slept in a little, skipped showers for the moment, and went up for breakfast. They cleaned our room while were at breakfast and, as a result we didn’t get clean towels. You see, the Inn had a program of taking used towels and replacing them with fresh ones only if they were left on the floor. They explained that this was done as part of an effort to spare the environment. A guest would show that they wanted to participate in the program by hanging towels they were going to use again on the rods.
Since we hadn’t showered by the time they cleaned our room and, therefore, the towels were still on the rods, we didn’t get fresh ones. That meant these towels, the ones from the previous morning, were to last us until the next morning. Looking back, I suppose we could have asked for fresh towels, but we didn’t.
Instead we headed down into town. On the way, we wandered through the farmer’s market. I helped a young fiddler finance his trip to some place that I forget, by throwing a couple of dollars into his violin case. Yes, I am quite the art patron. Lydia picked up some scented Shea butter—a very good moisturizer.
First item this morning was to find me some casual clothes (I know. I didn’t bring any casual clothes. What was I thinking?) I think we did well on our hunt:
Item two was to put together a picnic lunch. We scored some crackers, two kinds of cheese, iced teas, bananas, and chocolate for dessert. After our successful foraging, we headed back to the B&B to change.
Picnic Along the Potomac
We had planned to tackle some more geocaches today. One of them required solving a logic puzzle to get the correct coordinates. I love these puzzles. A few minutes later with solution in hand, we saddled up to the first cache called, “Spruce Pine Hollow.” This turned out to be a traditional hide of an ammo can in a log, which we knocked off in short order.
On the way from there to the next cache, we let our Garmin GPS 60cs unit route us through the back roads of Morgan County on the way to Hancock, Maryland. During this second cache, along the Potomac River, we decided to get a bit of a walk in and have our picnic lunch while some muggles disbursed. (“Muggles”: geocaching-speak for non-geocachers who are unaware of the game’s existence.)
We were back on the scent, but we had some trouble finding this one. We sat in some shade to rework the puzzle solution and confirm we had the right coordinates. After a little more searching, we discovered we had been sitting right on it a few minutes earlier. Some mean-looking red bugs observed us quietly as we extracted the small container and logged our find.
We were both pretty beat form the tromping and heat. It was 3:00 p.m. and I could have used a whirlpool soak and a massage right about then. Instead, we headed back to the B&B to get freshened up for dinner at the Panorama Restaurant.
Only about a five-minute drive from town, we parked across the highway from the restaurant at an overlook that gives the restaurant its name. The view from here has been judged one of the best in North America. It was very… well, panoramic. Not that I have seen every impressive overlook but, I would have imagined there are many more breath-taking spots, like the Grand Canyon and the mountains out west. But hey, I’m not the one calling this one of the best. Even if it isn’t “one of the best,” it is worth a look.
At the restaurant, the food itself was good with only a few glitches. I had the filet mignon. (I had asked for medium, but got almost well done.) Still, it was very tender and tasty, so I let it slide. Lydia had the Pork chop, which was about an inch thick.
The service was a little more casual and “diner-like” than the menu prices lead me to expect. However, we were cared for adequately.
Our third cache of the day was right in the overlook parking lot. The coordinates were dead on and Lydia nabbed it—a quick find.
A short drive later, we were back at the B&B so we could rest up before our movie.
And a Movie
After a rest and a show on T.V. about motor homes, we strolled down to the Star Theater to see “The Wild.” On the way, we stopped by the State Park (fountains and baths, etc.) once again, to wrap up the geocache from the first day by signing the log book and finding the answers to the puzzle, which were not needed to find the cache, as it turned out. Then, it was onward to our movie.
Our draw was more than the movie, however. (Though we had heard good things.) The theater itself was unique. The Star Theater has been open and screening movies since the 1920’s. That evening the adult admission was $3.50 each; the popcorn and apple cider added another $2.25, bringing the total for the both of us to less than $10.
The popcorn machine was from the 1940’s and still made a great batch. The seats were small and tightly spaced, but some had been removed and replaced with couches, which had to be reserved. There was even a stage platform in from of the screen. It was a cool experience and the movie was decent, too. On the way home, the evening air was a comfortable 68°. We took our time strolling back to the Inn to retire for the night.