The Virus Diary: Pandemic Getaway: Celebrating Independence

After getting a good night's sleep, I am ready to start my 4th of July.  This is a first for my family as we are usually at home with friends or at the shore with my family.  Also this is first for Skytop; their first real holiday.  (Yes, they had been open for Memorial Day, but things were really limited "back then" with restaurants only available for take-out.)

I got up "late" for me and got myself ready.  My son was awake too (he stayed out the latest of all of us the night before), but he takes a while to get dressed, so my husband and I went downstairs and hung on the porch and waited for him.  I knew breakfast was going to be a challenge because the resort can no longer offer a buffet, which was how they previously would have been able to handle a large breakfast crowd.

I knew there would be long lines to get in, so I was happy that my son didn't take too long and that when we went in, there really wasn't a line.  We were seated in the "back" room portion of the dining room.  (There is one more section even further back, but that was blocked off and I believe where they were storing some of the tables and chairs that they were currently unable to use.  Rachel wasn't working the morning shift, so Stephanie was our server.  She brought coffee and we had her leave the pot because we are a coffee loving family.  (Although I also had orange juice.)

Breakfast took a while.  There is a limited menu, but because of my allergies I had to order specific things and not something right off the menu.  With egg allergies, breakfast is a challenge.  While my son had the buttermilk pancakes and hubby had the South Porch Breakfast (choice of eggs and meat; breakfast potatoes and toast) I had some fruit, bacon and an English Muffin (because they were not 100% on the ingredients with the bread and bread turned out to be quite a premium as the weekend went on.)  Service was a little slow, but when you take into consideration all the people who were either coming in to get breakfast or picking up to breakfast, you realize how amazing the whole process was.  We left as soon as we were finished. (We are never ones to linger anyway.)  There was a very long line outside the dining room!  Glad we got up and got moving.

My son headed out to walk around the lake.  I decided to be lazy and hit the South Porch again and read, as did my husband.  However, after about 30 minutes I got thinking about the guided hike that naturalist Rick was leading so I went to reserve a spot for my son and myself.  (Afterwards I called my son who was still walking and told him to get back and put on the appropriate footwear for a moderately difficult hike.)

Everyone met a little before 10 in the Pine room and everyone was wearing masks.  We took shuttles up to Skytop Mountain (again all wearing masks).  The resort shuttles, like everything have been modified so that space is limited and social distancing is possible.  So instead of packing everyone in one shuttle, it took about 4 shuttles to get everyone there.  

The hike was specifically chosen for 2 reasons:  the path is wide so that social distancing is possible and Rick had knee surgery earlier in the year and is unable to do some of the more difficult hikes. (Like the waterfall ramble which I did with him and a large group in 2016...a challenge that I will NOT take again.)  Rick is very knowledgeable and interesting.  And the views!

It was 2 wonderful hours of exploring the area and learning more about the plant and wildlife that live there.  

Two hours of nature told me that I needed to relax know where.  However, after a short while my son decided he want to go to Indian Ladder Falls. He started out on his own and then I got to thinking I should join him, so...


Now we were both wiped out so when we returned to the Lodge, we went to the Market (formerly the Tea Room) where I purchased a chocolate shake for the boy and a sprint for me...and then it was time for more reading on the porch...

Until wanderlust got me again.  I headed down to the lake by the Inn.
It was still quite busy but I love looking out at and seeing the activity.  

Instead of taking the direct path back to the lodge, I took the "long" way around, taking Leavitt's Branch Road up to Skytop Lodge Road (which takes you to the front/north side of the lodge).  As I passed by the Streamside Lodge (which is like a mini-conference center) I could see lots of people (homeowners) with golf carts decorated for the holiday.  Shortly after I returned to the lodge, I saw the carts pass by the North Porch in a mini-parade.  Quite cool.  
If you look closely you can see the cats in the foreground as they drive by

After all this walking and enjoying the day, it was time to go upstair, enjoy a glass of wine in the room and get dressed for dinner.

My meal that evening was probably the best I had.  Rachel recommended the special of the evening, pan fried halibut with pineapple salsa and bamboo rice.  Even before she recommended it she had checked to make sure that it would be safe for me.    It was a no brainer.  I also enjoyed the avocado dill salad while my guys had the Caesar Salad (hubby) and cheese board (son) and filets.
Note that board is in the shape of Pennsylvania

It was a wonderful meal and we laughed a lot, which is definitely something that has been lacking in our lives recently.  I was offered a special dessert:  chocolate mousse with berries (which is usually part of the restaurant's Obsession of Chocolate dessert). Matched with a decaf cappuccino; it was heaven.  Definitely the best and most relaxed meal we'd all had in a long time.

After dinner I headed back to the porch, where once again I could listen to some music and relax.  Hubby returned to the room and son went wandering...they were still offering marshmallow roasting at the fire pit (although there were multiple ones so I don't know if you had to go to a specific place.)  Even after that delicious meal the kid has room for marshmallows!

I did decide to walk a bit just to check out what everyone was doing.  It was a beautiful evening; I've never seen so many people out on the South Lawn just enjoying.  As it got darker, I could see fireworks off in the distance.  (Skytop had theirs scheduled for Sunday, July 5th.)  I decided to head up to the observation deck.  It was a good decision.  Fireworks were all over the horizon.  It was such a great show that I called my son and told him to come up.

No fireworks photos, but not bad of the moon

I was probably up there for about 20 minutes or so watching.  My son did join me, but was engaged in conversation with some other teens/kids that were watching as well.  When the fireworks were over, I left by myself, letting my son have some peer interaction (while remaining somewhat socially distant).

I returned to the porch with my book (actually my Nook) and a glass of wine.  Although it wasn't a typical 4th of July; it was a really good day.


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