Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Introducing.......Carolina's Masonboro Sugaree

Sunday was the big day! I retrieved our new addition - Sugar - from Carolina Kennels in Gastonia! After spending a few days in Raleigh with Parker, I drove from Raleigh to the Pennells and picked up Sugar for a lengthy ride home to Wilmington. She rode in the crate for a while, rode in my lap for a mile and then found her spot on the passenger side. The trick - crank up the bun warmer!

Her first night was touch and go. She did not appreciate being in the crate - at all. It was her first time in a new place without her brothers and sisters! We wondered if she was part howler monkey - she yelped and howled for about 10 minutes at a time. For the first few hours. She was up around 1pm and I took her out. She yelped and howled again - but fell asleep until just before six! Yay!
On Monday morning, she ate a great breakfast and met Mary Jo and played until she pooped out on Neal's shoe:

We played outside lots, came nose to nose with Shelby and met Susan, Joyce, Dad, Amy, Megan and Shelz! Cain't wait for you to meet her, too!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Grove Park Inn 2008

Greetings from Asheville, NC. Actually, greetings from Wilmington. We did make it home from our trip to the Grove Park Inn this afternoon and I thought I'd share some pix. We arrived at the GPI on Monday afternoon and spent a luxurious three nights and four days at the hotel, greens and spa.

We had dinner at the Sunset Terrace (the covered porch above) after we settled into our room. Neal had filet and I had the triggerfish. Then we donned our fancy spa robes and hit the mineral pools at the Spa.

The next morning we woke to fog:

By the end of breakfast, the fog began to clear:

And by the time we hit the links, the sun was in full shine:

On Tuesday morning, we played 18 holes at the Donald Ross-designed GPI Country Club. I did not do very well (I haven't practiced in months). But Neal did well. He parred a few holes and didn't lose a single ball. I lost four balls - but only one in the water. I also found a knack for hitting the cart paths.

I think this is the view from No. 3:

Here we are waiting for the group ahead of us:

We were entertained by their slow play all morning.

Here I am (below) posing on the rock at No. 17.
This rock has no significance other than it avoided my tee shot.

Here is Neal at No. 11.

The view from No. 18 will throw off anyone's tee shot.

Here is Neal posing with Donald Ross:

After golf, I jetted off to the Spa for a pedicure. I must say it was the BEST pedicure I've ever had. I was greeted with a glass of champagne and a box of chocolates. The pedicure included the conventional polish and massage, but I was also blessed by a mini hot stone massage and an incredibly comfortable recliner with soothing music in the dark. I felt like I was floating (and it wasn't the champagne). I never wanted to run again and instantly decided that after my next triathlon I might need to recuperate at the Inn.

On Tuesday night, we had dinner with Chris and Raleigh Battista in downtown Asheville. Here they are near (Raleigh did NOT want to go in) one of the GIANT fireplaces in the Grove Park Inn's Great Hall.

We went to Barley's Tap Room and we were treated to beefalo pizza slices and bluegrass. Plus, Raleigh is one of the most talented artists I've ever known. He drew an elaborate concert scene - complete with production lights, band, groupies and lyrics. He also drew a skateboarder playing basketball.

On Wednesday, Neal and I spent most of the day at the Spa. We had a continental breakfast at the Club Level lounge and I headed off to a massage. I chose to have hot stones, deep tissue and reflexology. It was AMAZING.

Neal and I had lunch and hung out at the mineral pools for the rest of the day. Above, I am a tthe outdoor 103-degree hot tub. He had a massage at 1pm and I lunched by the pool (a salad and GPI Chardonnay) and read parts of his book MISSING LINKS by Rick Reilly.

That evening we had dinner at the Club Level lounge. They served drinks and heavy appetizers from 5pm - 7:30pm and we took advantage of the buffalo wings! We went down to the Great Hall and scoped out the view of the sunset from one of the porches.

Here is Neal being silly.
We lit a fancy cigar from our last trip to the Turks & Caicos and watched the sun set.

Here we are trying to take pictures of ourselves in the dark. They said that the Grove Park is haunted and it seems that some of they ghost fairies were playing games with our pictures.

Here is one of the waterfalls at the Spa.

On Thursday morning, we decided to hit the Spa one last time before our departure. Here is Neal at the mineral waterfall massage pool.

Here I am by the outdoor fireplace:

Our view from the Spa. We had the place completely to ourselves for the first hour.

Our Farewell Picture from the Spaaahhhhhh.

Here's a video from our day on the course: