The Vacation, Part II by Leah Jean
|I think that I previously mentioned something about a trip to the resort area of Pinehurst. Guess I'd better finish my ramblings for all you golf affectionados who have been awaiting this story with "baited breath". [Hey, it was a classy joint so I'm attempting to do it justice with classy lingo.]
The whole trip was a bit of a learning experience for us ... again. Daryl and I were attempting to hob nob amongst the upper class again. [Ugh.] But this time we went to a resort area that was old. The last time we were at a hoity-toity place it was new and modern. [Remember the place with a landing strip behind the hotel for company jets???] It is always interesting to see how the other half lives.
Do you know, it is kind of funny but the little "town" of Pinehurst rather reminded me of Disney World. It was a rather quaint yet self-enclosed tourist area. It had its own stores, restaurants, and post office (a must for sending postcards and presents). Almost all the houses in the area were rather charming and old too with lots of gardens. There were minibuses to transport you free of charge (unless you tipped) to and from the golf courses, restaurants, spa, or to any other place where you could spend money. And everybody was very friendly and helpful. The people were so friendly though you kind of wondered whether they were all in search of big tips and sales ... or they all had to attend charm classes to work at this resort. The whole resort area was own by a corporation though so you figured they recruited only the best. And I think that one of the workers did mention to me that the corporation treated its employees well. A good place to work, meticulously groomed gardens, fresh air, and lovely forests? Hey, I could see why they recruited only the best. [The same could be said of Disney World. eh?] The really great thing is that we just happened to get this great parking spot right in front of our inn when we arrived and we never moved the car until we left! Talk about convenience! By the way, this was an old town that wasn't exactly built for cars so mainly you parked on the streets.
As to the golf courses, I only have one word ... wonderful! Daryl said that they probably grew something called "wire grass" on the fairways. It always bounced back after you stepped on it and it felt kind of stiff. So divots (holes made by golf swings) were few. The first course we played on was called the "Centennial"; it was opened on the 100th year of the resort. And you could easily see why the resort town was named "Pine---hurst" because that course (and the area in general) was surrounded by pine tree forests. The course was built through a protected habitat for some big woodpeckers so there is no fear of residences besmearching the area. I don't know if it was because we were playing around and through rolling hills covered with forests, luscious greens, several small bodies of water, and areas landscaped with gardens ... or maybe it was the freshness from the recent rains, but the place was just wonderful. Finally at the end of day 1, the sun come out to treat us with a beautiful sunset. But unfortunately, that meant the days got warmer after that. And with the high humidity around there? Oh well. Can't have everything perfect.
Pinehurst also offers 7 other courses for your driving and putting pleasure and they are all referred to be number generally. The Centennial that we first played on was #8. On day 2, Daryl played #2 which is the famous course upon which the golf greats have played. Needless to say, it also commands a hefty fee to play. They don't even allow golf carts on it so you have to have a caddy. One for each pair of golfers. Actually Daryl found the guy kind of annoying because he didn't seem to offer very good advice. But then Daryl is the type of golfer that carries one of those gadgets that will measure the distance from whince you are standing on the fairway, etc. to where the flag is flying over the sought after hole. That is so he will know the exact distance and exactly which club to apply to that distance. Oh, my gadget guru. :-) So do you think that just any caddy would stand a chance against such perfectionism? Daryl did tip him $50 though since the caddy only had Daryl to caddy for. These guys usually carry 2 bags and do this for a whole course! [I hope they get good healthy benefits thru the Pinehurst corporation.] Oh my aching back! The caddy did mention something about Daryl's bag being rather light though. [Daryl specifically brought his lighter bag with less junk in it just for this occassion.] :-) But it also helped Daryl's back when toting the bags between courses and car parked at the inn. [We actually left our clubs in the SUV since it was parked right in front of our inn and under a street lamp.
We played course #5 or 4 the day after that. We were told that #1 and 3 were for older duffers (shorter fairways?). And courses #6, 7, and 8 were the newer courses ... I think all enclosed in forests. You also payed a little more to play them. Courses #1 - 5 all were surrounded by houses, condos, etc. But they were still very nice looking courses. Again some serious hills with nice views of lakes, ponds, gardens, and nice houses.
The one problem though with going to resorts that cater to the well to do's is that you have to understand the tricky techniques of tipping. Who to tip, when to tip, how much to tip. Those were the big questions. It was almost kind of funny because Daryl's caddy on Course #2 did subtly mention a $100 tip he'd gotten once before. Hmmmmmm. I guess there is a law amongst the tourist tradesmen that you couldn't directly ask for a tip. But, fortunately, some directions on tipping were noted in our hotel literature as to who is already compensated and who isn't. At least we'd had some experience from a previous vacation. We started keeping 5, 10, and 20 dollar bills handy.
One thing nice about our trip being through an Acura advertising ... dare I say ... gimmick, is that we received a welcome basket in our room. It was quite nice with the obligatory small pieces of chocolate, cheese and crackers, and a very small bottle of champagne. Fortunately Daryl didn't hold the bottle facing himself when he opened it because we had both forgotten that champagne bottles are very compressed. Daryl was quite surprised when the cork careened fiercely off the bathroom wall next to him! And I was very glad there was a wall between him and me!
All in all, it was a good and memobrable vacation. That is, after we covered from the initial drive through Ernesto.
One of the more memorable things that we did was to go to a rather hoity-toity restaurant for finner. We dressed up and were prepared to be wined and dined with style. Uh, yeah. We were seated next to a table to have a large party. When the party arrived it didn't take us long to realize that it consisted of about 6 kids and 4 adults. The kids were noisy, uncouth, and bored. The parents (if they wanted to admit they were such) looked a little embaressed. Fortunately there was a band and a dance floor. Daryl mentioned that the band members looked like they had been around a long time and were used to about anything. So the sight of kids and adults turning rather inconsistently about the dance floor probably didn't phase them. Fortunately it was a very big dinning hall with a fairly large dance floor. Daryl and I got some peace and quiet for a short while anyway. The food was okay. Basically we weren't greatly impressed with that evening. Live and learn.