The trip started out the way it always does (when RIR isn’t the same weekend), we headed to the waffle house. A few hours later, we were in Durham to play a round with Joe and break up the drive down to Myrtle. Umstead is a beautiful course, and the weather was great.
We cracked a few beers.
Chandler tried to Bubba his way out of the trees…
…and consoled himself with a drank.
After a nice dinner and evening with our hosts, we hit up Starbucks (for Ry), and Bojangles (for chicken biscuits).
At Legends in Myrtle, I got a Yuengling and FJ got me some see-gars for my bday.
I’d brought down two travel humidors, but ended up mostly smoking the diamond crowns my dad got me. They were quite delicious.
The course was a little more difficult than we’re used to…but we managed some pars anyway.
And Ry had an amazing birdy.
Why don’t I live in SC full time?
At the Kroger, we stocked up for the trip.
Winn-Dixie had to hang with the frat boys (which he managed quite well).
That evening, we headed across the parking lot to the pub (just a short stumble home).
Then we loaded up in a van for a hilarious ride to Masters. Bill B. was telling some funny stories about suppositories and mamawsans, which had us rolling. Especially since he sounds so much like FJ. CW and Ryry enjoyed a late night hot dog.
The next morning we hit the buffet to put down a fortifying base (as CW said).
Then it was time for another round.
The wind was up, and the course looked difficult.
CW and I played with Ronnie and Bill. It was great to play with different people this year. Our foursome had a blast.
CW was calling his shots.
There was a little weather, but nothing crazy. After the round, we headed to the beach for dinner at the Sea Captain.
We stopped at the pub for a complimentary drink, then lit some cigars. It was a calm pleasant time until the rest of the group got back from Masters. Things got a little crazy, and a lot of the older guys had really tied one on.
Then next morning we saw the beer truck and figured we’d drank Legends out of booze.
We played this round with the roommates. Winn-Dixie was coming off knee surgery, so we got a handicap cart which was very convenient since it was cart path only after an evening rain.
Kenny Powers was hitting the long ball.
Ryry found an ornamental pond.
I found just about all the sand on the dang course, and was often in over my head (both figuratively and literally).
But I managed my outs in style (notice the cigars puff at the end).
This was one of the more difficult courses I’ve played, and the greens were killer too.
After the round we did a little back slappin’.
And after a meal at the pub, we called it. We didn’t even see a lot of guys at dinner. I think they’d been out too late the night before. The next morning CW needed to put down even more base. Then I had a shower beer.
Ry and I played with FJ and Gill.
Gill had much fancier course brown than my Old Crow.
I was shooting pretty well, but we were still drinking for pars or better, and there was a lot of course left.
The group in front of us slowed down some, maybe because of Roland’s frosty crown.
Don had the cart girl, who was also a golf pro, take his shot.
CW and I both had the round of our lives. I shot a 93 (or 94), and broke 100 for the first time ever. Tom and I celebrated with some bird dog.
Don and I cheers’d with beer.
Since this was the last round of the trip, things got a little crazy.
I don’t really know how to caption most of these. Gary gave me a mask, Roland and I texted Tyler, Jeff was throwing them back, Gary and FJ were giving each other the business, Bob went for Ry’s nip, and everyone was having a great time. I really like these Wayne boys, and I’m glad they keep asking us back.
After the back slappery, Curtis made us some bbq chicken, ribs, grilled corn, and chicken bog. Everything was amazing.
Then Gary read out the winners and handed out the money. My best round ever won me low net for the day.
FJ won and then immediately blew $150 on bourbon shots for the group.
Bob and Tom, the two oldest guys on trip, wanted evidence that they were the last two standing at the bar.
I think this may have been the best trip yet. I really enjoyed being able to hang out with everyone on the trip. Usually, people go out in groups at night, but really stuck together as a big group more this time around. I met some guys that were first timers, which was pretty cool because it means we’re veterans of the trip now. It was also pretty great to finally break 100 on the trip and while playing with my dad. Thanks again to Gary for organizing the trip, and FJ for getting us invited. Thanks to Wendell for driving us down and back, and Joe for putting us up in Durham. Thanks to C-Dubb, Ry, and Winn-Dixie for fitting in so well. Gary, I really do look forward to it all year.
The next morning we hit chick-fil-a, then starbucks (Ry), and then headed home.
We stopped at JR’s, and I got a few more Diamond Crowns.
I know I’ve left some good stuff out. The crazy Canadians for instance. I’ll add more as people remind me. If you want to see pictures from last year, search this blog for, “Myrtle”, or google, “bonvivantva myrtle.”
I’m happy that golf season is now in full swing, but I can’t wait for the Aggie’s Amateurs trip to Myrtle next year.by rsiv with no comments yet
If you’re tired of restaurant and baby posts, you’re in luck. We finally had a guys weekend in WV for an upland hunt. Due to certain other responsibilities, our usual fall hunt didn’t work out, so I thought a nice spring hunt would be nice. I did not expect a March blizzard.
It was a little dicey getting up there. The toll road was crazy, but my 4wd had it covered.
At the woods, the driveway had about 8 inches of accumulation.
RP made us some ghetto hot dogs (bread for a bun), and we had moon pies for dessert.
Then we settled into our sleeping bags (to avoid doing laundry), and called it.
The next morning was plenty cold, so there wasn’t much melt.
I grabbed a jazz cigarette, and a filling meal at the waffle house (on the left), and we headed to the shotgun range.
I put it in four wheel low, and we headed down a back road in the wildlife management area.
The snow came up to the bumper between the wheels, and at about the time we took this photo, we lost cell service. There were some tire tracks, but we never saw a soul.
But we made it.
We measured out 40 yards, and set up the patterning board.
We tried some different ammo, and a couple chokes. I’ll post the results of our patterning later on.
After patterning, we had a little fun throwing our own clays. The new thrower I got worked out great.
After about three hours, we warmed up, packed up, and headed out.
After shooting, the truck started right up and we got out of the snow no problem.
When we got back to the cabin, Dr. Bumpy was waiting for us. The rest of the guys arrived, and we rolled out to the Long Branch Saloon for dinner.
After dinner, I had a Kirkland Light (I would not recommend it), we started a fire, and enjoyed the 8 degree temp on the screened porch.
The next morning we did a little sledding on the first hole of Stoney Lick.
Then it was time to head to Quail Hollow Farm for some upland hunting. The weather wasn’t ideal, but Steve didn’t want us to go home empty handed.
After a warming up with some clays, we geared up for the hunt.
Steve turned the dogs loose, and we were off. It was a really beautiful day. The quail have flown better when its dry, but to their credit, there were plenty we missed.
Badger and Molly were great as always, but someone was misbehaving and got the leash…
Everyone took a bird or two, and Thom had some particularly nice shots.
After the hunt, we cracked some beers, pulled out the cigars, and put in a lip or two.
The dogs snuck a few spoils of the hunt while Thom and Steve cleaned the birds.
Steve’s son came and sold us some apples, apple sauce, hot sauce, apple butter, etc. We left prepared for a feast.
Back at the cabin, we toasted to Zeiby’s and ML’s first upland hunt, and dried out.
RP and Bumpy bacon wrapped the quail, and threw them on the grill.
The feast was delicious. Thanks again to the chefs. After some midnight toddies, I had to call it. Fortunately, I woke up to some freshly made crunk food the next morning.
Then RP made us some biscuits and gravy.
Bumpy blew an alternator, so we went into Berkeley Springs to try to replace it.
After some McD’s, we stopped at sheetz for some gas. I noticed some guys in a sedan wearing button-downs tucked into chinos. I looked them up and down while gassing up the truck, and gave them the, “you boys ain’t from around here” look. They bought it, which is hilarious, since neither am I. FJ is probably mortified, but the other Wayne boys would be proud.
I came home exhausted, but with a cooler full of birds. As always, I had a great time with the guys. It had been too long. Can’t wait for next time.by rsiv with no comments yet
When I joined my fraternity, it was just starting on my campus. We got a Charter about 10 years ago. Last weekend, we went back for the 10 year reunion.
The business school has changed a lot. I used to go to class on the top floor of a bank.
This view brings back so many memories I can’t even tell you.
After some fairly intense pregaming, we went to the gala.
Bobby Light did an excellent job as Master of Ceremony.
JD and Josh both gave really exceptional and heartfelt speeches.
The founding fathers that were present.
House of the Founding Fathers.
Singing the Conclave version of Country Roads.
Drunk dialing Varga (hope I don’t end up on standards).
Afterparty at Schooners.
Here’s to brother Chad…
Birthday shot of Jager for CW, very corridge time in corridge.
The next morning we awoke to a cold rainy day. Very Bad News (VA).
We had a fairwell brunch at The Warwick Restaurant. I got to see my old place.
Jes. Desperately needed, and delicious. I wish I had a pic of the group. We had a huge table in the back. I was sitting next to Moose, and we cracked each other up the whole time.
It was a really great weekend. I’m really optimistic about the state of the frat, and damn proud. I really had a lot of fun hanging out with all the guys, and meeting a bunch of the new ones. Can’t wait for the 20th.by rsiv with no comments yet
This past weekend my wife decided to have her baby shower. I got out of dodge. My dad told me that my parents had a joint shower, and something about watching Georgetown beat Kentucky during the party. I decided to be less progressive. On Friday, we took the day off for a Father-Son Dove hunt up in Remington VA. A year or so back we had a lot of success hunting this section of power line that the birds use as a flyway. We shot a round of clays, and then went over by the lines to find some dove.
We saw a few doves when we arrived, which we thought was a good sign. We were a little rusty on the clay course, but we shook it off.
Its an optical illusion.
We didn’t see a ton of dove, but there were enough to bring a few down. Everyone managed to bring one down, but RP dropped his over the fence of a power plant and into a retaining moat.
After the round of clays, a successful hunt, a little father-son bonding, cleaning a few doves, and the enjoyment of a beautiful fall evening in the great state of Virginia, we headed home. The next morning, WinnDixie made us a delicious breakfast.
We got some provisions, and headed down the long road to Richmond.
The next morning we grabbed some much needed Wawa and hit the course.
I had the opportunity to play with The Commodore.
A lot going on in the pic above, below, the official beer of Fall in ‘Merica.
After golf, we had some Plaza Time.
I had an amazing weekend with the best friends you could ask for (brothers really). Its the kind of weekend that really makes one feel lucky and blessed. I can’t wait to get together again soon.by rsiv with no comments yet
I recently gambled at The Greenbrier, and while in Aruba. The wife and I had a great time. I couldn’t help but notice that many people hung around the craps table, but didn’t know how to play. I thought I’d share my insight, as its my opinion that Craps is easy to learn, the most fun game at the casino, and has just about the best odds you’ll find. Let’s start by watching a quick cheezy video. Pause it when they get to the come bets, as the rest is really beyond the scope of this post.
As described in the video, in order to play basic craps, and enjoy the social aspect of winning together, all you really need to learn to do is bet the pass line, and then to get good odds, bet the pass line odds. The casino employees will be happy to help you, but you more you know going into the casino, the better. Its really better to learn before money is on the line, so once you’ve watched the above video and done a little research, try out this craps simulator:
Once you’ve played a few times and get the gist of the game, you’re ready for the casino. The best advice I can give you is to start with a table with a low minimum bet. In Vegas, you can find a $3 table minimum (or perhaps less). A table with a $5 table minimum is more common. If you’re able to find a $5 table, a $100 bank roll (the total you wager, or the total amount you buy in chips) should be sufficient for an evening of fun (and if you’re lucky, a little profit). This is especially true if you bet twice your pass line bet, on pass line odds. For example, you bet $5 on the pass line, and then $10 on the odds, for a total bet of $15 per roller. This is pretty easy to learn, and you can have a really fun time doing so. Once you learn a little more, play the way that suits you best.
One last thing. I never put down money I’m uncomfortable losing. In fact, if I would mind leaving without the money, I don’t wager it. If you expect to leave with nothing, you’ll be happy to leave with something. Think of the money you wager as the cost of having a good time in the casino. If you can’t think this way, gambling probably isn’t for you. Gambling is definitely not a way to earn money. Its a pastime and recreation, and it has a cost. Every once in a while, you may make a little profit, but overall, you will likely end up down. If that doesn’t appeal to you, don’t gamble.by rsiv with no comments yet
I just got back from Aruba (feel free to check my post out here with more info and pictures), and I thought I’d do a quick post for all of you looking to buy cigars in Aruba. As a quick preface: There are many fake Cuban cigars everywhere. Aruba is no different. Be aware. I would only recommend buying from the vendors I’ve outlined below.
My first suggestion will require a quick (15 minute, $10 taxi ride) trip out of Oranjestad. Aruhiba Cigars is located next to the old Dutch windmill, near The Westin Resort. Our cab driver was aware of it, and got us there no problem (also, Aruhiba will call a cab for you when you’re ready to leave). Aruhiba grows tobacco on Aruba, and then rolls that tobacco into some very impressive cigars. Are they as good as top tier Cubans? Perhaps not, but while in Aruba, you’d be crazy not to try one. I did, and found it to be a very good cigar. Aruhiba does tours, but I was not able to go while in Aruba. Aruhiba has many offerings. I bought a few, but so far I’ve only tried the Aruhiba that comes in the blue tube. I highly recommend it. Aruhiba also sells Cubans, and they had a limited selection, but the best prices for authentic Cubans that I found while on Aruba. I bought a great Behike 56 from them. The store is perfectly humidified and temperature controlled. I had no problems with any of the sticks I bought at Aruhiba.
In you’re in Orangestad, you have two good options. The first is Casa Del Habano. If you’re unaware, Casa is the official retailer of Habanos S.A. You will only find well cared for authentic Cuban cigars at Casa, but the price will reflect this. The manager of the Aruba CDH was very friendly, and help steer me to some new sticks, as well as some old favorites. All the cigars I bought at CDH Aruba were excellent.
La Casa del Habano
Address: Oranjestad, Aruba
Phone:+297 583 8509
Finally, I also recommend Cigar Emporium. Cigar Emporium is in the Renaissance Mall, only about a 5 minute walk from Casa Del Habanos. The selection at Cigar Emporium is similar to CDH, but a few of the sticks I bought did not seem to be properly humidified. That said, I found a Trinidad Fundadores at Cigar Emporium that was one of the best cigars I’ve ever smoked. Since CE and CDH are so close, you’d be crazy not to visit both. At CE, I’d double check the condition of any cigars you purchase, and if possible, keep them in your own humidor a while before smoking them.
Address: Renaissance Mall, L.G. Smith Blvd 82, Oranjestad, Aruba
Phone:+297 582 5479
Hope you enjoyed my post. Please check out the rest of my blog, and if you’re in Aruba, how about some beach reads?by rsiv with no comments yet
Last week the wife and I went to Aruba. This was just about the last week my wife’s doctor cleared her to travel, so we picked Aruba for our last hurrah. We were looking for somewhere good this time of year (no hurricanes), all-inclusive (the wife isn’t as mobile now that shes in the third trimester), with great weather and beaches. Our travel agent steered us to Aruba.
Is there any better breakfast at 4:45 am?
Our first glimpse of Aruba, then below, the view from our room. We stayed at the Tamarijn in Aruba, an all-inclusive that only has oceanfront rooms.
First taste of Balashi, Aruba’s local brew.
After some ceviche for lunch, we went over to the Alhambra Casino area (read my gambling post/craps how to here). We stopped at Fusion, a cigar bar, which had great live music. I got a Partagas Serie P No. 2. Unfortunately, it wasn’t well humidified, so I had to keep fighting a pretty bad run in the Aruban wind. The wind is Aruba is constant. I lost a cigar cherry or two to it, but during the heat of the day, its a lifesaver.
The next morning we enjoyed breakfast by the ocean.
After drinking, eating, swiming, and relaxing all day (which is pretty much all we did all day everyday), we went to the Italian restaurant for dinner.
The pistachio gelato was very good.
After dinner, I lit an Aruhiba cigar. Its one of the only domestically made products on the island (Aruba is very small), and since Aruhiba is produced on such a small scale, I was pretty skeptical. (The two daytime pictures below are just to show the tube. This is the only Aruhiba I had, so its the only one I can really recommend.)
I was very pleasantly surprised. The Aruhiba had excellent draw and great flavor. I’d definitely recommend trying one out.
On the second day, we headed into Oranjestad (only about a 10 minute cab ride) to get some provisions. First, we stopped by the Cigar Emporium, and then headed to Casa Del Habano. Check out my review of cigar retailers in Aruba here.
After loading up on cigars, we stopped at a The Paddock on the water for some lunch. Then we headed back.
Back at the room, I picked out a Trinidad Reyes, and we hit the beach. It might be the perfect beach cigar. Great flavor, and a nice small size. Perfect for enjoying a drink or two.
After some more beach time, we went to the Asian restaurant.
After dinner, I had an H Upmann Connoisseur No. 1. I was a really big fan. I can’t say I’ve had an H Upmann I haven’t enjoyed.
The next day we tried the pizza place for lunch. It was really good, and the pizza with jalapenos I enjoyed was very spicy.
I pride myself on being able to enjoy just about any food, drink, etc. I like to think I’m pretty open minded, but I’ve never been able to enjoy Campari. I used to have a similar distaste for port, but that was eventually overcome. I decided to give Campari another shot, so I ordered a Negroni. It wasn’t my favorite cocktail of all time, but it was enjoyable.
After a great dinner at the Caribbean restaurant we went back to the casino, and I tried my first Juan López Selección No. 1. Again, it was a very nice cigar. So far, all the new cigars I’d tried this trip had been excellent. After winning some money at the casino, we walked around some, and then headed back to the lobby pool. A wedding had occurred that day, and the reception after-party was in full effect. I pressed my luck and ordered a Campari on the rocks, while the DJ (successfully) urged the wedding guests to jump in the pool fully clothed. We saw a cell phone drown, and it probably wasn’t the only casualty.
I realize this probably isn’t the most exciting vacation post, as all we did was chill. Hopefully the beauty of Aruba makes up for the lack of subject matter. The next day was more of the same, breakfast, lunch at the pizza place, delicious cigars, etc.
I think this was the night our luck finally ran out at the casino. After a four day streak, we left down for the first time. The good news is that I had an incredible cigar. The Trinidad Fundadores was easily one of the best cigars I’ve ever smoked. The start was unremarkable, but a delicious mix of cedar, vanilla, floral, and earthy flavors quickly started to build. I must have remarked to my wife how amazing the cigar was ten times. We lost at the tables that night, but had a great day.
The fifth day saw our first and only break in the beautiful weather. As soon as we got to breakfast the sky opened up. We got a brief window to walk back to the room, and then another downpour started. I made the most of the weather with a R&J short churchill (the managers’ fav at Casa Del Habanos), poured some HC7, and enjoyed some Ian Fleming on the kindle.
I enjoyed the cigar, but it wasn’t as good as the others on the trip. The rain was holding steady, so I went for a swim in the rain, and then the wife and I took an adventurous walk in the rain to the bar.
I tried to take a G&T roady when we left the bar, but it was pretty watered down during the rainy walk home. Just a few minutes later, the weather lifted, I lit a Trini Reyes, and we hit the beach.
Despite losing the night before, we went back to the casino. I lit up a Behike 56. Simply outstanding. If you haven’t tried a Behike, you haven’t lived. I believe this was my third ever, and it really does just blow you away. I couldn’t really say if it was better than the Trinidad Fundadores I enjoyed on the trip, but they were both exceptional among some really good sticks.
Since I might have spent more time that usual at the bars during the storms, I was feeling good, and decided that taking pictures of the Behike in the casino was a good idea. Fortunately, nobody noticed, and our luck returned. The wife with her double luck (baby in her belly) rolled her way into just about doubling our money from, at one point, being down to about 30% of that night’s bankroll.
I waved goodbye to the casino, thinking how crazy it was that I just had such an amazing cigar, and how great our luck had been.
The next morning, I poured some rum on a beautiful day, and lit up an H Upmann Mag 46. I love the draw on these, and the flavor is superb.
We decided to spend our last night at the Casino. Despite being up, we had had a lot of fun at the craps table, so figured, why not? Unfortnately, my cigar luck had run out. I lit up a Hoyo Epicure Especial, which just had an off flavor the whole time. It was a slightly sour note that just never left. Despite the disappointing cigar, the somehow pulled off another win at the tables.
On the day of our flight home, we got up early to get a little more beach time in.
Since it was our last day in Aruba, I lit my last cigar, and tried to finish the last of my rum.
While packing to leave, I discovered a cigar I had missed, so I lit it up. Notice my buddy in the background?
How about now?
We ordered some pizza for lunch, and saw that our favorite bartender, Edwin, was working. Without ordering, he made my wife some virgin banana daiquiris (her usual), and poured a balashi for me. After a couple refills, we told him we were leaving. He said we’d have to come back, and then fixed me a double Dewar’s on the rocks. This was definitely going to be the most tipsy I’d ever checked into a flight. After lunch, we got to the airport, and headed home. It was a fun and relaxing trip. If you’re looking to get away, enjoy some great weather, and just relax, definitely consider Aruba.by rsiv with no comments yet
If The Greenbrier was the milkshake of the babymoon, the Inn at Little Washington was the cherry. That metaphor might work for the aspect of time, but how can one sum up such an amazing and complex experience in one small aspect of a metaphor? After a beautiful drive though the country, we checked in. We were given an amazing suite.
There were many nice touches, and even a personalized note from the chef. After being thoroughly wowed, we dressed for tea.
Under normal circumstances, “best tea ever” might sound absurd, but we had just come from The Greenbrier.
After tea, we had a private tour of the inn and grounds. Chris was very informative and passionate. You could tell he loved the inn, and enjoyed telling its story. Not only did Chris give a good tour, he made sure we were having an amazing time throughout our stay.
After the tour (if you go, definitely enjoy the tour), we dressed for dinner. Before we were seated, I was given a boutonniere. After looking around the restaurant, I figured out that the boutonnieres are a subtle and classy way of making guests of the inn easily identifiable.
I won’t go into detail about the courses, but needless to say, dinner was superlative, and easily the best meal I have ever had. The marriage of hot and cold foie gras with sauternes gelee and spiced local peaches paired with a glass of Sauternes may have been my favorite, but the veal sweetbreads and lamb were also exquisite.
Best. Meal. Ever. For dessert, I ordered a glass of Madeira, but since they were out, they offered me a glass of Graham’s 40 year tawny port. It was incredible, and I even made it last until we had a cigar on our balcony. This might have been at least partially due to our exceptional sommelier, Jess, who’s hand was as heavy as his descriptions were vivid and enticing. When we were finished with our dessert, Chris offered to give us a tour of the kitchen. As you’ll see below, we were able to meet Chef O’Connell! He was very gracious and very funny.
After I’d finished my port, and my Trinidad Robusto T, it was time for bed. I’ve never had all my senses so overwhelmed. Its really impossible to put the experience into words. Fortunately, the experience had not yet come to an end. Breakfast was shockingly good the next morning. The wife had a parfait, and I had eggs benedict. Each of the four juices we were able to sample were amazing.
When we finished eating, we took a walk around the grounds. Its crazy how lucky we got with the weather all week. We also seemed to be right on time all week. At The Greenbrier, we were on time for tea, meal, etc., and at The Inn, we arrived just before tea, then were right on time for the tour, which concluded in time for us to get dressed and make our reservation. When we got to the garden, Jenna (The Inn’s farmer in residence), gave us a wonderful impromptu tour. Again, perfect timing.
Below, you can see our balcony, which was right above the kitchen.
The Inn had really lived up to its expectations. I can’t wait for our next milestone, so we can come back.by rsiv with no comments yet
My wife’s company provides a stipend for employees to enjoy a babymoon (like a honeymoon but for expectant parents). Friday morning, we put the top down and headed to West by God Virginia. It was a beautiful sunny ride down, and since the drive was about 4 hours, I almost got too much color. We chose The Greenbrier because we hadn’t been in seven years, and its America’s great resort. Its absolutely beautiful, luxurious, delicious, comforting, and full of adventure (as you’ll see below). It really is a special place.
We enjoyed the decor, got settled, and then hit the pool for a late lunch and some mountain sunshine.
For dinner, we went to Draper’s. I went with some amazing chicken and waffles and the wife had a pot pie. Everything, including the service, was excellent.
This was our first trip to The Greenbrier since they added the casino. I was a little skeptical when I heard about the addition, but it was well done and enjoyable. After my first proper julep (though The Greenbrier insists on serving their julep with a full length plastic straw – they could at least cut it to proper length), we saddled up to the craps table. We just about doubled our money and decided to celebrate with some Blanton’s and a cigar.
We’d only been at The Greenbrier for ten hours, but we’d already had a great time. We couldn’t wait for more pool time, falconry, fly fishing, food, and more fun.
Day two started with Southern Eggs Benedict with fried green tomatoes and Virginia ham.
My wife and I have talked about trying out the sport of kings for a while. Since my wife can’t shoot, ride horses, etc., due to her pregnancy, we finally had a great reason to check it out.
The scale that the hawk is perched on was one of the most interesting parts of the demonstration. Only hungry birds will hunt, so their weight has to be monitored. We also found out that a Harris’ Hawk can be trained in only about 8 weeks.
Falconry consists of the handler walking around, trying to scare up prey, while the hawk perches above and watches. Hunting with larger birds can involved separate handlers and flushers.
When the hawk makes a kill, it shields its spoils and is very possessive. Its important for the handler to quickly offer meat to the hawk in order to get possession of the kill.
We had a great time and learned a lot about falconry. My favorite was the owl. Apparently, an owl could help me with my feral cat problem at home… The falcon definitely looked the coolest. After Falconry, we relaxed at the pool until tea time. This flowah was wiltin’, so I opted for iced tea.
After tea, we changed for dinner. It was great that The Greenbrier provided a garment brush since my shoes picked up a bunch of fuzz on the trip down. This was the night of our dinner in the main dining room, so we put on our best, took some pictures, and enjoyed some libations.
I’m surprised my wife didn’t get a dress code reminder card for wearing camo:
At dinner, I opted for a julep rather than a glass of fine. Then I ordered some lamb, which unbeknownst to me, came with mint jelly. It actually paired pretty well. The live jazz was also an unexpected but welcome accompaniment.
After dinner, we lost the previous night’s winnings and then some in record time at the craps table. With the table cold and it still early, we grabbed our kindles, poured some blanton’s, and picked out a cigar. The porch below provided an excellent location to enjoy the evening. It had cooled off, and was beautiful out.
The fountain below used to be outside of a restaurant at The Greenbrier that no longer exists. My family did a 12 course tasting menu with wine pairings there once. It was the first time my future wife and mother got tipsy around each other. It reminded us of that great time we had and we were glad its still there.
Day Three started with a Dorothy Draper omelet (Virginia ham, green peppers, shiitake, American cheese). We had a leisurely morning in the hotel, and then went down to the outfitters’ for our excursion.
Another activity we’d been wanting to try, and that pregnant women can do is fly fishing. Our instructor, Demian, taught us the basics of roll casting, and then quickly got us on a picturesque stream. It was a little colder than usual, rain was coming in, and it was overcast. It wasn’t the best season for fly fishing, but the conditions weren’t bad at all. It couldn’t have been more than fifteen minutes before I landed a fish. I was able to keep good tension on the barbless hook by stripping the line, and after a short fight, I netted my first fish on the fly ever. Just a short while after that, my wife hooked up. Demian was over with me still, and after setting the hook, she yelled, “Fish on!!!” Demian laughed, and hustled over to give her a hand. A few hours later, we’d caught 14 fish between us. I credit Demian’s teaching abilities and skill at his passion. HB initially struggled with keeping the rod bent and tension on the line, but he was able to show her how to successfully bring in a fish (and she landed plenty). He was quick to switch out flys that were not hitting, and deftly handled any snags we caused while figuring out the cast. We really can’t thank Demian enough (though the last thing I need is another expensive hobby).
I have a friend that offered to teach me fly fishing if I taught him sporting clays. Now that I know the basics and have landed a fish, I might have to take him up on his offer. The weather had held out, so we changed for dinner and went out to our sitting spot. I’d finished the book I brought, The Paris Wife, and decided to start on A Moveable Feast (to get both sides of the story).
I thought the picture above was an interesting juxtaposition of old and new. Not unlike The Greenbrier itself.
We’d had such a pleasant dinner at Draper’s we almost went back. Instead, we decided to give Cafe Carleton a try. My wife did the prix fixe option, and I order a charcuterie plate. Both were very good, as was the wine flight: No one expects the Spanish Libation. The food was spectacular, and our waitress, Jennifer W was a lot of fun and made great recommendations. After a decadent meal we played the rest of our comp’d slots and then played a few hands of roulette. Nothing hit, but I optimistically reflected that I’d rather be lucky on the trout stream than in the casino.
We ending the night by participating in an old Greenbrier tradition. I won’t explain it, as the text in the picture below should do so better than I could.
We decided not to mess with success, and went back to Draper’s for our last breakfast at The Greenbrier. I had the Springtime omelet: jumbo lump crab, asparagus, and brie. Our waitress on our last day was not rude, but was not particularly chipper either. Everyone has off days. However, our first waiter, Adrienne came over to greet us. He has noticed that we’d been there three days in a row. He was very friendly, and at least on that day, was a beacon of cheerfulness in a sea of frowns. Adrienne truly improved the quality of our stay.
Later that morning, my wife went to the spa for a prenatal massage and I took my kindle and coffee down to the pool. An elderly lady (lets say at least 75) was swimming lap after lap, and inspired me to swim a few. I got a little winded, but lets blame that on all the booze the night before.
After a short walk, we packed up and checked out. At reception I heard a gentleman say that he had been since the 4th of July and was staying until Labor Day. I was more than a little jealous. HB and I took one last look, and headed off to our next adventure. I don’t know how soon, but I know the three of us will be back.by rsiv with no comments yet
I chose to read Islands in the Stream while I was in Cuba because of Hemingway’s real life connection to Cuba, because we were able to visit Hemingway’s home in Cuba, and because most of the book takes place in Cuba. While was I was Cuba, I only got through the first section, which did not take place in Cuba, but it was an enjoyable Island read none the less. The book’s protagonist is perhaps the most autobiographical of any of Hemingway’s main characters. Its an interesting window into Hemingway’s later life. He does not even change the name of his home in Cuba in the book, and the main character frequents many of Hemingway’s favorite watering holes while not hunting Germans. If you’ve not read Hemingway before, I don’t suggest starting here. If you’re read some of his more popular works, this is a great read for the Hemingway fan. If you’re looking for a light summer read, this probably isn’t for you. If you don’t mind a dark story of love and loss, told in the manly context of fishing, fighting, drinking, carousing with prostitutes, and hunting Germans (but also snuggling cats), this book will put some hair on your chest.by rsiv with no comments yet