Summertime news

Hello all,

How have you fared during the dog days of summer? Or the depths of winter, depending on your hemisphere? Nora’s currently with family at the spa while I thought it was time to get a regular summer cold. (Forgot how little fun they are.)

But before either of those things happened, we had some time together at The Greenbrier.

Previously, the resort was such an oasis of cooler weather I’d taken to calling it Brigadoon.  Unfortunately the magical properties of Greenbrier weather were no match for the current US summer reality.  While we didn’t scorch, we had three solid days of rain along with late afternoons showers on two other days, so patio time was limited severely to a couple hours on arrival day and the last two days.  That was a bit sad since we’ve mainly stayed outside/eaten dinner on the patio every visit.

However, the space is big enough that we made our own fun.  And there was no thunder and lightning with the rain so Kat and Griffin spent hours at the pool each morning.

A couple days before we headed to the resort, JoAnne sent out a report of filming a Christmas movie at The Greenbrier (rumor is it will be titled Christmas at The Greenbrier). 

As we turned on the main drive, there were all the trappings of a traditional Christmas — set among the mid-summer begonias, coleus and hosta.

Just a small glimpse of decorations.

The main building was decked out for a traditional Christmas, including the ice rink that Greenbrier has November through January (we’re summer visitors, who knew???).  We think they are going to CGI the ice.  

Skating rink amid summer green.

Pause for a second and consider any bride who dreamed of getting married at The Greenbrier — in the summer — arriving to find it decked for Christmas.  Guests were not given a pre-arrival heads up. But plenty of creative families got their holiday card photos taken against the gorgeous Christmas in July set ups.

There was filming in the lobby on our first full day.  A couple of us went down to watch for a bit.  We didn’t recognize the actors so I’ve taken to checking IMBD for a cast list

The hero and heroine. We heard it was a second-chance love story.

The sound guys must be brilliant because they had to deal with a kid screeching in a stroller as his parents — not extras — walked through the lobby off set.  Then there was a family coming down the hall, with someone giving instructions that echoed around the tiled lobbby, followed by a yelped “Oh S#*T!” when he saw the crew.

We stayed for three takes.  And now we have something to watch in December. The staff didn’t know if it would be Hallmark or Lifetime, so once I know, I’ll share.

The holiday decorations made for lovely evenings, even when it was cloudy.
The evening the purple sky competed with Christmas.

On the whole, the Greenbrier stay isn’t one to lend itself to daily travelogues. Nora and JoAnne worked out every morning. I went for walks or the gym. Everyone had books to read. Nora got a little work done. Kayla instructed me and Sarah on Instagram looks. The usual.

Mainly it lends itself to photos.

The best way to recycle.

We had three wonderful sessions with Max at the glassblowing studio. He plans to move on from rural West Virginia this winter so we made the most of our glass time. 

Kayla, hot glass and Max.
I wish all my days included blowtorches.
Nora applying color to her glass.
Finished work

Sarah organized trips to the two escape rooms on the property. I declined because it felt too much like a dreaded game. 

First day, Alice in Wonderland escape room crew: Kat, Sarah, Nora and Kayla.
Second day, Bunker escape room crew: Kat, Nora and Sarah.

Though I get credit for playing hearts.

The dread deck.

JoAnne was Chief Griffin Companion while the gang escaped from rooms. She was prepared to chase and hide and play, but both times, he opted to deal with his mother’s absence by napping in place.

There was a puzzle. Not as bad as the cupcakes from March, but a hard one. Nora and JoAnne completed it the last day.

Bright colors, big square.

Kayla turned 20 while we were there.

Crowned after 2 decades.
Ice cream cake for DAYS.

There was ghostly activity to entertain everyone. The keys stopped working daily. Nora, Kayla, JoAnne and Kat saw presences in the card room. I did my morning work in there for most of the trip. One morning I heard someone go down the hall to the kitchen. As she came back, Nora said, “Oh, good. A real person.”

Sarah had it the worst as a ghostly presence kept invading her room at night.  She finished the trip sleeping in my room after our sensible Kat went into the room and reported whatever was in there wasn’t nice. Housekeeping confirmed there was something in that room that didn’t play well with others.

I slept extremely well. I think the fact I sleep in Wallis Simpson’s old room scares them all away.  

Ghosts are afraid of her too.

Nora and I filmed our regular July Facebook live on Saturday afternoon. It was our first one since October 2021 and we were due for a catchup. Really hope this link works: https://fb.watch/eLKJQfU5mf/

We all dressed up for a fabulous dinner at Prime 44 (the steakhouse down the hall).

From l: Sarah, Nora, JoAnne, Kayla, Laura and Kat

And in our final tradition, we’ve already booked our trip for 2023.

Nora may or may not have a spa trip update. Once she’s home, she stays put until NYC in October. In the meantime, I’ll head to the OBX to work by the ocean for a bit.

Hope the rest of your August is a good one. Here’s to cooler/warmer days in the weeks ahead!

Laura


Once Nora readjusted to East Coast time after Italy, she recorded an interview for the LifeExcellence with Brian Bartes podcast.

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