Friday, May 29, 2009

Way Down South In An Art Lover's Paradise


Your faithful correspondent is reduced to using can hardly bring oneself to type the words...a hotel's business center computer. First my assistant quit, simply because I told her she was a moron for shopping at Hamrick's.

Hamrick's is a department store in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and it is the graveyard of style. Or an orgy of " festively" colored polyester, in colors mankind was never meant to see, let alone wear. In my few days here I have seen more women in polyester pants and baggy t-shirts than in a month in my beloved New York City.

As a final gesture, my assistant did something to my laptop. When I turn it on, all I get is a screensaver of a...well, you don't really need the details. Suffice to say it involves a donkey and some unusual equipment.

IN ANY EVENT, my stay has been otherwise delightful. My hostess is one of the finest in North Carolina. The only OTHER kink was that one of her other guests was (quelle domage) allergic to dogs! That meant that my darling Bucky and I had to stay elsewhere. At first I was terribly upset.

But the hotel she chose to put us up in (and this is NOT a paid blog post, I do not stoop to those) was simply marvelous, and quite New York-esque. It was called The Sundance Plaza Hotel, Spa and Wellness Center.

It seems that it had been recently bought and converted from a Ramada, and the new owner is an art-lover. So not only is the interior lavishly elegant, Southwestern style, there is art EVERYWHERE! Large iron sculptures, paintings, something wonderful to look at everywhere (except perhaps the janitor's closet, but I don't believe I was supposed to look in there). There is a luxurious day spa, where of course I treated myself to a manicure and pedicure. (I do hope my hostess is not upset when she receives the bill. But after all, she knows it is my business to look beautiful.) The staff could not have been more helpful in every way.

Outside, near the very large swimming pool, was a garden called The Sanctuary, and it truly was: winding paths, fenced off with some sort of natural straw-like material (sorry, dear readers, I don't do nature), and flowers everywhere. Not to mention stone benches and iron chairs in nooks perfect for contemplation.

One only wishes there had been time for contemplation, but one was far too busy meeting with the creme de la creme of WS's creative community.

On the first floor, there are a series of rooms that are actually small art galleries! At first, I was put in the Maya Angelou room, where there are paintings, poetry, and a biography of Ms. Angelou. However, during my first night there, I could not sleep. A creeping sense of non-specific guilt came over me, and I felt surrounded by self-righteousness. So I asked to be moved to another room, whose name escapes me. (This damned hotel computer will not let me use a search engine, because apparently every site in the world is not safe for children!) The room was filled with paintings and photographs, much more to my taste. I will edit this properly when I am back in my beloved Manhattan.

Now I am in Durham, North Carolina, staying with friends who are not allergic to my darling Bucky. His behavior has been exemplary, save for trying to bite Robert Moody, the music director of the Winston-Salem Symphony. Fortunately, their season is over, so any injuries Mr. Moody might have sustained will have healed by next season.

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

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