Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The morning after the champagne and strawberries the night before...

Tuesday morning.  Note to self: the combination of hot jacuzzi and champagne is not a wise one, especially when you have to get up for breakfast the next morning.

But get up we did, slightly miraculously.  And breakfast at Sir Sam's Inn is definitely worth the effort!  (Yes, Mom, even I ate breakfast!)  The buffet table is stocked with various juices, cereals, fruit, breads, muffins, and sweet rolls.  Plus you can choose from two or three hot breakfasts -- a different selection each morning.  Considering my woozy head, I decided to forego adventure and go with scrambled eggs this time 'round (unfortunately, however, I forgot to mention I prefer my eggs really really really well-done -- my only food disappointment the entire week, although my own fault).  And coffee, lots of coffee... and juice, lots of juice.

Breakfast accomplished, we went back to our room to decide which peaceful activity we might try that morning... and quickly fell into comas.  Yes, a good brisk nap was in order... and, fortunately did the trick.

Once that frenzy of activity was over, we obviously needed to replenish ourselves with lunch!  On to the patio for a wee bite.  I opted for a delicious vegetarian pizza on a phyllo pastry... splendid!  Don went for a burger that was so delicious, he was about 3/4 finished it before he realized it hadn't been cooked all the way through -- his only food disappointment the entire week, though our waiter said she'd take 1/2 off the bill (which, considering he'd eaten more than half, was a generous offer).

A little bit of wandering, and then it was time for my first massage!  We had booked a couple's massage, but one of the women was not able to make it, so we went back-to-back today, instead -- Don ever-so-virtuously going for a workout while I had my appointment.  Despite our pre-wedding massages the week before, and another one two weeks previous, this masseuse definitely had her work cut out for her!  My back and shoulders were in their typical "crunchy" formations, but she pummelled them into submission and left me feeling like very happy jelly.  I was sent forth with an order to drink lots and lots of water (oh, if she only knew!), and said a quick hello to Don in the waiting room.

A little less virtuously, I went to read my book during Don's appointment.  :-)  But it was a terrific book: "Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage" by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Yes, some might question it as appropriate reading material for a honeymoon, but... as I said in my wedding vows, if I'd listened to my brain in the first place, I wouldn't be here in my bliss-filled life with a man I adore.  And, as I read more and more of the book, I realized just how incredibly uber-appropriate reading this book was.  I'm sure Ms. Gilbert has heard far too many times "it's almost as if you wrote your book about me!" but... holy geez, it was like she'd written the book about me.  :-)

For your edification:

1) almost-40 highly creative (and, one might argue, slightly neurotic) woman attempting to come to grips with the concept of marriage;
1a) loves food and wine
1b) forever questioning herself and the world around her
1c) prone to meditation and searching
1d) much more forgiving of the world than of herself
2) has previously had to survive an unhappy marriage and soul-crushing divorce (OK, I had her beat there: two abusive marriages and soul-crushing divorces);
3) after banging her head one too many times on rock bottom, swears off men (temporarily, of course, let's not get crazy about it!) and takes soul-awakening inner and outer journeys that finally make her feel strong and alright about herself...
4) when suddenly, she meets and unexpectedly falls in love with a man 17 years her senior (mine's 18, but who's counting?)...
5) who has also had a soul-crushing marriage and divorce experience that left him shaken and shattered and disillusioned (albeit in Bali... slightly different than Barrie!)
6) so they live together in romantic bliss for several years, knowing they don't need government or religious sanction for theirs to be a sacred bond, a lifetime union...
7) when suddenly (OK, our tale doesn't involve homeland security, she's got me there!) they find themselves staring marriage in the face and
8) she needs to figure out a way to convince herself that that's alright.

Damn, I should have written a book, instead of dealing with months of fretting and loss of sleep before making peace with the concept -- I could have made money off my struggle and had Julia Roberts (with, perhaps, some extra padding) eventually portray me in a movie!  :-)

But, ahem... back to the honeymoon.

Don emerges from his massage a very happy, gloopy man.  We change into our bathing suits and inn-provided spa robes and pad down the hall for our first WaterSpa circuit.  Pure bliss!!!  The instructions on the wall suggest anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes for each station -- we stay at all of them until the jets turn themselves off, except for the air lounge, which we do twice because it's... just... that... good.  We must have stayed there about an hour and a half in total, and came out feeling even more relaxed, if that was possible.

Upstairs to wash the salt off, and then onto the deck for pre-dinner cocktails and murmurs of relaxed post-massage bliss.  Alas, the rain starts to come down a little heavily, so we retreat to the covered patio and watch the lake dance.

Don's still a little suspicious of the grape, so we opt to forego the bottle of wine with dinner -- I get their house red by the glass (as Air Canada and the Barrie Examiner know, you just don't pick a fight with Lyssy and win!) and he sticks with their local draught.  My appetizer is decadent blue cheese courgettes, followed by grilled local Walleye in a cajun-like seasoning, followed by raspberry creme brulee (who needs strawberries when you can have raspberry creme brulee?).  In a rare moment for someone who usually gets only a main course and still needs a doggie bag, I leave no crumb behind, no trace of creme or even brulee remains in the dish.  I vow to start exercising again in August, and send an extra birthday gift to our foster child in Nigeria.

The rainstorm continues with gusto, and we don't feel like being holed up in our room all night (and we sure as heck aren't getting back in that jacuzzi!), so we decide to sample the inn's supply of single malt.  My dear beloved picks out two from Islay: an 18-year Lagavulin and a 12-year Ardbeg.  The good news is, he prefers the Lagavulin and I prefer the Ardbeg, so nobody has to arm-wrestle.  The bad news is, we don't discover until checking our bill (several days later) just how fine our tastes are!  Ah well, you only get married once, right?   ;-)

We take our diamond-encrusted beverages out to the covered patio to watch the storm.  It appears that several others have had the same idea, and are are all cosily huddled at the side of the patio closest to the house, so the driving rain doesn't soak anyone.  We worm our way in to the gathering and discover that everyone on the patio is either on their honeymoon or anniversary!  Many of the anniversary couples were once here on their honeymoon, but keep returning -- we agree it's a brilliant idea.  It's a diverse group, ranging from a couple in their early twenties to... ugh, I hate guessing these things, but I'd say late sixties, most from Ontario but a couple from out west, and two from the States.  The next few hours of conversation covers everything from the weather to jobs to politics to children to geography to food to sports to US/Canada relations to how much better the world would be if this friendly patio crowd were in charge!  As people slowly tucker out and excuse themselves, we observe how this enjoyable visit with total strangers would not have happened, but for good old mother nature.

Once again, we night-owls are the last to leave the party.  Our friendly server, Margo, pops her head through the patio window to see if we'd like another diamond-encrusted single malt before the night is over?  She obviously doesn't know us very well... she brings us our thirds and joins us on the patio.  She, too, first came to Sir Sam's as a honeymooner, a moon or two ago.  Later, her family moved up to the region, and her daughter Katie (our server the night before) started working with the wait staff.  Several years ago, Katie convinced her mom to join her, and they've been working together here ever since -- except for Margo's anniversary weekend, when she becomes a guest once again.

We must mention that most of the staff here seem to have been working here for several years full-time, or are students who come back year after year.  In an industry that often struggles with staff itinerancy, this inn has obviously been treating its staff well, and inspires them to treat their guests even better!

The last drops licked from the bottom of our goblets, we bid good-night to Margo and head up to bed.

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