Friday, October 5, 2007

Here we go

The first night of our trip we spent at "The Greenbrier". It may still be called a resort. Marilyn and I had not been there, together, for over 50 years, although I had attended several business meetings in the interim.
When we went, most guest arrived by train and were transported to the hotel by a horse drawn carriage. Now the guests either come by plane or auto. Many years ago it had a much stronger feeling of individual or family. Now, as at most large resort hotels, it has swung towards meetings and conventions. The staff is still courteous, polite and helpful, but there attention has to be divided between the individual and the group.
We had dinner in the Main Dinning Room, where Gentlemen are still required to be in coat and tie. The service is still good but not up to the highest standard. Our server had too many tables, assigned, and was changed in the middle of the meal, causing a major flaw. The dinner was very good but not exceptional. I ordered 3 "starters" for my dinner, while Marilyn had a salad and main course. My selection was a Romaine and Asparagus salad, followed by a Shrimp and Crab salad and finally Soft Shelled Crabs, two in number and quite small. Marilyn had the same Romaine Salad and Dover Sole. Her main course either was not heard or the order was lost in the kitchen, which put the dinner some what out of whack by the time it was corrected. For dessert we had an Apricot Pavlova, which as you probably know is a European tart. Dinner was pleasant but not out standing.
In the morning we returned to the Main Dinning room, now informal where I had an overwhelming Sportsman's platter; pan sauteed trout, roasted tomato, cheese grits and 4 slices of bacon. Very good and filling; enough to hold me till dinner.

That night in Richmond we were guest of the Kaine's, Tim and Anne. Virginia's first couple. Tim was a house mate of our son, Charles, at college and that was the connection. The Governor's Mansion is in a park in the middle of town along with the Capitol and another government building. Beautiful with lots of security.
The Mansion was designed by Thomas Jefferson and built shortly after his term. It is Federal in style and has a first floor set for entertaining and a second with living quarters for the Governor, his family and their guests. We were in the "Queens Room", a bedroom and bath redecorated for last summers visit of Queen Elizabeth. Even though the Queen had dinner at the Mansion she did not us the room or it's facilities.
Dinner was a family affair with 17 of us at a seated, served table in the main dining room. There was the Kaine family, including their 3 children, the youngest, age 12, showed up bare footed. 4 Hirschhorn's, Charles's sister, Joanne, with her husband and daughter and 5 other friend of Charles and Tim. We were served a composed salad of fresh tomato's and Mozzarella and then a
plate containing a very good baked and coated chicken breast, green beans wrapped in Virginia Ham and a excellent patty of Polenta, which brought on a great discussion of the difference between Polenta and Grits, excluding the country of origin. We had sent Graeter's Ice Cream, 6 chip flavors, for all, after all the whole trip was a Birthday celebration and the Mansions kitchen had made Marilyn's French Cracker Pie, after many phone calls and FAX's of receipt and instructions. Charles recognized it immediately and toasted his Mother as well as a loving tribute to his wife.
The next morning the anti room, off the main dining room, was set with an ample Breakfast Buffet and while Tim and I had breakfast he wrote out a full agenda for that day, Tuesday. We'll get to that in the next posting.

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