We have taken our first family vacation since my mother died in July. Our destination was Skytop, which should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me or reads this blog. It's been our go to vacation spot for many years and seasons. It feels like home, as most of the staff know us and we are treated as family. (I'd like to think we treat our gracious hosts with the same friendliness as we always receive.)
This trip was fun, but also bittersweet. As I know it, my maternal grandfather first came to Skytop in the early 1950s (I'm guessing the date) for some sort of work-related conference (no idea what that might have been.) During the summers, the family used to vacation at Cape Cod, but in the summer of 1954, my grandmother's mother was ill so there was no vacation. Sometime after her death in August of that year (or so I'm assuming), my grandfather brought his family here. It was closer to home than Massachusetts. And so it was a death that first brought my mother and her parents here. I can't help but see the parallels here, as my son is appropriately the same age as my mother was when her grandmother died.
While it is incredibly relaxing to be here (something I think we all desperately needed), it is also strange. We would always call my mom upon arrival and my son would always talk to her about what was going on. What was the same, what had changed. There was no call to make. (Although I must give props to my mother-in-law, who has been following our vacation with texts and photos.)
While much has (thankfully) stayed the same at Skytop, things have changed, not just since my family started coming here in 1954, but since our last vacation. The Windsor Dining Room has been remodeled. It was needed and there are some things I like about it (seems more open) and some that I don't. (Not a fan of the new chairs, but since I have 3 of the "old" chairs back in my house, how much can I complain?) My son is definitely NOT a fan of the decor, and he doesn't think my mom would be either. (The last time my parents stayed here was with us for New Years back in 2014-2015. They weren't happy with a much of the changes; even those that were necessary. But despite the complaints, I do know that my mom had a good time and had wished she could come back with us...I wish she could have.)
One thing that (supposedly) returned to Skytop (since the pandemic) was the elimination dance and the Grand March. (Which my mother could not understand had to stop due to the pandemic.) I was excited to hear of its return and was ready to participate. Someone on staff told me it wasn't going to be as I remembered and that person was right. The one time highlight on my Saturday evening was a mess. For some reason there was no live band for the event, which there always has. The band helps guide things along and that didn't happen at all.
There were (if I recall correctly) four staff members who were trying to entice people to dance with pre-recorded music (which was fine...although I am not a fan of cover/sound alike versions of songs such as "Don't Stop Believing" and "September"). There should have been a set list of songs that ran for 30 or so minutes before the elimination part was supposed to happen. There weren't that many people on the floor for the Elimination dance and I did manage to drag my son out (I swear he promised he would dance...no one else remembers this). We were eliminated right away. (You pick one of 4 posts and then a spinning wheel determines what number is eliminated. The spinner NEVER lands on 1...but it did! I'm NOT bitter...much.) The rest of the people on the dance floor (it wasn't necessarily couples) kept going and some actually paid attention to the directions. The winning couple actually split up to cover different posts (is that fair). After, there was an attempt at the Grand March, but even with 4 staff members, no one really lead, people weren't sure what they were doing and it just ended up in a muck of people screaming out the lyrics to "Sweet Caroline". (Which was never part of the Grand March but WAS the song that the band would finish the night with.) For me (an old lady), it was a big disappointment and maybe (sadly) it is time to call it a day. (Or maybe just do the Grand March a X time and have 2 staff members lead the march and 2 others direct? Of course I would be happy to take over.)
Times have changed; people have changed. I guess I'm showing my age, but I'm saddened by how some guests treat the staff and the resort. Maybe I'm an old lady, but I forced manners on my son and I've never been sorry for it. Please and thank you still go a long way, as does kindness. Treat people and things with care and respect. The outcome is rewarding. Show appreciation and you will be appreciated. (As well as being liked.)
It is because of the people who work as Skytop that the resort continues to be a place that I want to return to. People like Zoe, Ryan, Theo, Michael, Amazi, Robert, Rey... (and I know I've left people out...forgive me). They are great at what they do and they are also just wonderful human beings that I am happy to know. I may come for all the wonderful amenities that the resort has to offer (and I still have never been able to take advantage of all of them, but I will keep trying), but it is because of these people that I return time and time again.
Was I upset by the debacle of the Elimination Dance and Grand March? Yes, but that was only one facet of our stay. Our vacation was not a bust. We laughed; we talked (we gossiped). My son and I did some walking/hiking (both together and apart.) We relaxed. We enjoyed. And we remembered...something I know we will always do whenever we return to Skytop.