This isn’t the first travel post I planned on making this summer.
Earlier, Guy and I took the children down to Universal Studios and I was going to write about that.
But when I sat down to write the post, I couldn’t come up with anything that anyone who is reading this post doesn’t already know about taking a family trip to Orlando.
As a matter of fact, in a crazy coincidence we bumped into friends and their kids at a random gas station in Georgia on the way home.
Darcy said it best “We are hot, tired and broke.”
Yep. That’s Orlando.
So in the interest of not trying to waste anyone’s time, I decided to ditch that post.
But a couple of weekends later, Guy and I headed over to Chateau Elan just north of Atlanta.
And that’s what I am here to talk about today.
This was my first time at this resort but Guy had been there several years ago.
They have a spa, a couple of golf courses, a few restaurants, bikes for riding, tennis courts, a winery, and some out of commission equestrian facilities.
But first, the rooms… The rooms were nice, exactly what you’d expect for this type of resort. Included was all the standard stuff like bed, tv, chair, mini-fridge and a desk. The bathroom had a shower and a separate tub. The safe was in the closet. And as Forrest Gump once famously said, “And that’s all I have to say about that.”
Like I said, you expect nice rooms at a nice resort the same way I expect my kids to brush their teeth everyday. It’s not negotiable, It’s expected to be done without praise or reminding, and people usually only notice or comment when it’s NOT done.
* I will note that the tv’s there had the option for PPV Adult channel. And while I didn’t see too many children there and it was PPV, there was still what I would consider inappropriate images/ads on that channel that come up just through scrolling the channels so if you decide to take children, just be aware.
We got there on Saturday July 2.
It was a little more crowded than I’d expected but given that it was a holiday, I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t expect it to be busy.
At any rate by Monday the crowds had gone and there was just about the size crowd I would have expected.
What I didn’t expect, and had no reason to expect from my previous experiences, was that dogs are allowed in this resort.
I was told by one guest that they were allowed everywhere guests are allowed, but I didn’t follow up on that with the staff so I don’t know that that is actually true.
I have a hard time believing that dogs are allowed in the restaurants.
I didn’t see any dogs in any of the restaurants.
But I did see one by the pool.
I bumped into a lovely little pooch named Copper a couple of times over the course of my stay.
I still haven’t told Auggie that dogs are allowed.
I don’t think he’d understand why he got left behind.
Our first night we ate at the chophouse, Marc.
Guy is REALLY good at knowing what I like so when he suggested I get the beef short ribs, I happily went along.
And ladies, this is just another benefit of being with a man who pays attention and knows you well.
I don’t know how in the world I haven’t ever had beef short ribs.
I think the name makes me think of pork ribs.
And pork ribs make me think of messy sauce and eating with my hands.
And that is not something I’m willing to venture into unless its at home or a backyard BBQ where everyone else is walking around with sauce on their face too.
But I digress, I’ve never had beef short ribs until that night.
And they were soooo good, like seriously good.
So good in fact, I had them the next two nights.
That’s right, I ordered the same dish for three nights in a row.
I relented and agreed to go to dinner at Paddy’s on our fourth night.
That was a mistake.
Ribs aren’t on the menu there.
The next morning we had breakfast at the downstairs at the Versailles restaurant which only had a buffet on the weekends and menus for the weekdays.
Breakfast was good, but the star of the breakfast table was their grapefruit juice.
They serve pink grapefruit juice and was the best we’ve both had since we had our mind blown with the tastiest fresh grapefruit juice we’d ever had a few years ago in Mexico.
There’s just something about having coffee and grapefruit juice that I love.
Maybe its’ because I rarely have that combo at home and its reserved mostly for vacation.
Now that I think of it, that is it precisely. ( Bonus: Now that I realize this, I know how to upgrade my mornings. Fun little bit trivia-I even have a color group inspired by grapefruits. Here’s one of my patterns in those colors....
Then we grabbed some bikes and headed out towards the golf clubhouse.
Yours truly loves to bike and if bikes are around on vacation, I will find them. Just ask the crew from last year’s trek to Jekyll Island; ).
But North Georgia hills combined with July heat made for a challenging bike ride.
Those hills held up a cruel mirror as to my level of physical fitness.
But since the concierge at the front desk told us no one had ever taken the bikes to the clubhouse and come back on bikes, they’d always had to call for a shuttle to come and haul them back, I considered it a personal challenge to complete the ride.
Asthma attacks wouldn’t stop me.
Guy didn’t feel as compelled as I did but I was on a mission.
And complete it we did.
But not before Guy had us pull over under the guise of needing a break.
Well, it wasn’t a total misdirection, we were pretty hot and sweaty by this point.
Anyway, this is where he proposed!!!
That’s right, he asked me to marry him!!
I said yes….(well technically panted “uh-huh” due to exhaustion).
So that’s why my review of this place is slightly biased.
Any day a girl gets a diamond is a good day.
And any place that a girl gets a diamond is a good place.
Pretty simple arithmetic.
He popped the question in front of the old equestrian facilities which made us wonder why they weren’t in use anymore as we tried to cool off in the shade, bring our heart rates back down to something resembling normal and had begun to speak in full sentences again.
They looked like they had once been quite nice.
Lucky for me, I have a very good friend who has had horses since she was a child and still rides.
I asked her and she said that she remembered those facilities and they had, in fact, been quite nice except that whomever planned them had not been the most keen on the details.
See, they are situated at the bottom of some hills.
So when it rained, the stalls got muddy as well as the arenas and no one wants to run the risk of injuring their horse in the mud.
I mean, I’m sure they will run the Belmont Stakes in the mud but notsomuch for a practice arena.
Mystery of the unused equestrian facility solved.
Next up: dinner and drinks.
Before heading to dinner, we stopped in Louis' House of Bourbon.
We went back to Versailles in the lower lobby for dinner.
This is where I went in for round two of the beef short ribs.
And it was just as good the second time around.
The next morning we drove down to Helen, GA.
We went tubing down the Chattahoochee.
And if I thought the resort was busy when we got there, I hadn’t seen anything yet.
Getting into the river on July 4 is as close as I ever hope to come to being herded like cattle.
Steady waves of people were moving into the water and anyone who knows me knows I hate being in massive crowds like that.
This was made worse by another tubing company herding their own hordes of people into the river.
Combined with low water making the river bed a little more difficult to navigate and overwhelming numbers of people, I was ready to ditch this plan about twenty minutes in.
But I had no where to go and was stuck.
In the end, I am glad I stayed because the cluster of floats did break up. And when it did, we were able to (mostly) float down the river, only having to get off of rocks a few times.
Also, Guy and I attached our floats together so that made it a little more difficult to navigate as well.
But there was no way I was gonna navigate that crowd alone.
But having that stick they sell you in the ticket office makes is SO much easier.
That stick is not a gimmick.
You need one.
It keeps you moving down the river, off of the banks and makes getting off of rocks a snap.
The river cuts through main street of Helen and we passed many onlookers from restaurants and back porches as we floated.
Two hours later…..
A little motion sick from all the spinning, I hopped out at the exit point. And once again we were herded like cattle onto the school bus that would take us back to the main office/parking lot/ obstacle course/zipline.
And no, I didn’t do any of those other activities.
So my only review of those activities is that everyone who was taking part looked like they were having fun.
Once we got back to our car, we drove into Helen, parked, hit up a local honey store, grabbed lunch, then went to the Pepper Palace where we got enough spice to last us until the end of time.
I want to back up just a bit and say what a pleasant surprise this honey store was.
I don’t even like honey.
Well, at least not until last year when someone introduced me to some truffle honey that is truly amazing.
But Guy loves the stuff.
They had honey combinations that blew my mind.
Stick with me here, they even had a key lime whipped honey which I had to taste.
While this sounds like an unnatural combo, I assure their combination works.
And works well.
I walked out with a jar of their Super Bee honey that has cinnamon, turmeric and honey.
I could literally see the slice of toast I’d put it on when I tasted this stuff.
I loved their honey so much that now I am having to reconsider my status as someone who “doesn’t like honey.”
Maybe what I don’t like are plastic bears filled with something claiming to be honey.
Back to the Chateau.
And dinner at Versailles.
And the beef short ribs.
This time Guy got the same thing and my third time was just as good as the first.
So good, I can't even remember what Guy ordered the rest of the time we were there.
Everything else just kind of faded away when those ribs showed up every night.
Tuesday, Guy played golf and I went to the spa where I had a massage.
Once I was done, I went to the desk to drop a couple of business cards for the girls there.
I had popped over on Saturday when we got there to get some decent shampoo.
I always forget something when I go away. Both of the ladies behind the desk loved my outfit (which were the palazzo pants with the Annalise top) so we got to chatting about my brand.
I told the girl I would drop business cards off when I came back on Tuesday while she was bookmarking my webpage.
I need a business card holder for my phone because as Guy as my witness, whenever I wear my prototypes out to test them, I ALWAYS get compliments and get asked where I got the pieces.
And I never have my business cards on me. It’s taken several times for this to happen for me to learn my lesson but I’m on it.
Afterwards we hung out at the pool until dinner.
Wednesday we check out and met good friends for lunch in Greenville on our way back home.
The perfect holiday weekend.