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Sunday, 07 February 2010

How To Ride Out A Winter Storm in Style

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Congress Hall
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We had a family getaway planned; it was going to snow at home, as well as at the getaway location (the veritable Congress Hall [we wrote about their sister motel, the Star, two years ago].); the room was prepaid.  So we kept our reservation. We arrived late Thursday evening and settled in to our cozy room on the fourth floor of the Victorian-era hotel, anticipating our view of the ocean the next morning.  We may have thought smugly, "What could possibly go wrong?"

So glad you asked.  The storm turned, not only straight for us, but also into the Storm of The Century, or some such thing.  

This delighted our daughter no end. And we weren't too upset.  We'd checked with the hotel staff to make sure they felt comfortable having us (they did), and we'd committed ourselves to riding out the storm, as had the other hotel-goers. There was no going back - the roads were unthinkable.  Luckily, we'd committed ourselves to one of the best places to be snowed in, possibly in the history of ever.

I'm going to take a few tips from our daughter, and a few tips from the hotel, to make this list, and likely I'll be back to blog about what we did before the storm later:

How to Weather The Weather in Style  
or, It's like camping!  But with Staff!

  1. Get outside and do something before the storm hits.  Safely, of course.  It will give you something to talk about later.
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    Congress Hall
  2. Be as prepared as possible.  The staff of Congress Hall stayed over on Friday night to make sure that everything was in good order Saturday morning.  This was a brilliant move that made everything else possible, and showed the kind of advance-planning that would make a boy-scout proud.
  3. Play games, all sorts.  Well, ok BINGO, with prizes filched from the hotel shop - but it was brilliant and helped break up the day.
  4. When things go awry, improvise.  No one expected two transformers to blow.  But they did, and we were on backup power from then on.  And there was still coffee.  And a buffet breakfast.  And for those who wished, bar service.  Lunch and dinner menus were hand-written and shortened to what was possible.  And hot soup was added in abundance.  Also, Victorian hotels are remarkably well insulated, and take to candlelight quite well.
  5. Have giant Victorian fireplaces.  These are good for both placing next to your piano player (you need one of the latter for Saturday night to get everyone singing) and for warming up the guests while they read and play chess and watch the five-year-old build a snow fort on the lawn.
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    Snow fort making 101
  6. Build Snow-forts, even while it's still snowing.  It's almost always true that cabin-fever kicks in about 30 seconds after one realizes that one is slightly bored.  Another truth is that the day after a storm is much, much colder than during.  And should a storm threaten to carry on for 24 hours, the only thing to do is get as much pink waterproof clothing as possible on, and sally forth.  Coming back in from time to time to get warm is also wise.
  7. Secure a reliable source of hot-chocolate.  There are any number of methods towards doing so.  Asking politely works well and tends toward repeated rewards.
  8. Catch up on your sleep.  Especially if the warmest place to be, aside from in front of the fireplace, is snuggled up with your new blue pig from the hotel shop. 
  9. Watch out the window. Big storms change a lot, and the landscape changes with them.  This is better than tv.  
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  10. Keep your sense of humor on.  Things are going to go wrong.  You will get snow in your socks.  You will also meet new people, and discover that riding out a storm with strangers is often a heck of a lot more fun than doing it at home.  Especially if the place you're staying is Congress Hall.



With our heartfelt thanks to all of the hotel staff, the managers, the guys who helped plow our car out Sunday morning, and the person who opened the store so I could get a blue pig for my daughter.  You were truly phenomenal.
Click on image for a larger version
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Click on image for a larger version
file-245
Click on image for a larger version
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Click on image for a larger version
file-241
Click on image for a larger version
file-243
Snow fort making 101
Posted in Acting like a child : All Ages : Americas : Dec.-Feb. : Young Child by Fran W. at 8:08 PMPermalink

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