Thursday, September 25, 2008

FOUND - Christmas 2006

Am at long last merging random blogs:

Monday, January 16, 2006

A Very Benbow Christmas

In lieu of one of those chinszy Christmas letter, I kept a chinszy Christmas journal over our Christmas holiday in Garberville at the Benbow Inn. I figured it might make up for missing any local festivities; plus, this way I won't be telling the same stories exactly 100 times, to the chagrin of everyone I know... So here you go:

A Very Benbow Christmas, December 2005:

As some of you know, Michael and I decided to escape to the Benbow Inn in Garberville for Christmas this year. Why we didn’t do this long ago is beyond me. I think we've discovered a rockin’ new Christmas tradition!

Michael and I left S.F. a little late on Christmas Eve, around 12:30, with me convinced we’d run into all kinds of traffic. Much to my surprise, there was NONE anywhere. I guess everyone left on Friday? Anyway, it was weird. We stopped only once, at the Safeway in Willets, to pick up sandwiches, crackers and cheese and what the hell, a bottle of white wine. Oh yeah, that’s right. You heard me.

So we hit the road once more, with the knowledge that we had only 65 more miles to go (and yay, empty bladders!). Incidentally, Willets is a great little hippie-burn-out town. It’s got skateboard stores and head shops and the town drunk is like, only 23 years old by the look of him – we saw him staggering towards the taco joint. It’s also very close to mountainous properties and lots of places that look like the hillbillies from Wrong Turn might lay in wait, stalking Eliza Dushku and other hip young twentysomethings. There were a lot of broken-sown vehicles with moss growing on them on the side of the road, which begs the question: why? Who leaves them there, and to what end? Just wondering…

More winding roads, and soon Michael commented, “I think we’ve entered the Shire!” Seriously, it’s beautiful up there past Leggett, with the lichen hanging off the trees and the mist-covered mountains…OH and the redwoods grew to enormous, Jurassic Park proportions. Truly amazing, this neck of the woods. Then we hit Garberville, on the Eel River , and the Benbow Inn – a full house for Christmas Eve, it looks like, and we made friends within minutes – an older couple who needed to use the guest registration spot we’d just parked in. I graciously offered to move – since I am nothing if not gracious (actually, I’m just amazed I was paying attention for once!) – and since then, they have become our wave-across-the-room pals. We also seem to have a SEATING ASSIGNMENT in the dining room. Either that, or we just happen to choose similar dining times as the somewhat creepy Pretty Barbie Family that has been eating at the table next to us. One of the girls is cute and smiles, but the other two kids seem to be a little stuck up. What a shocker.

OH I forgot to mention the ROOM!! Last year, when we went to the Benbow Inn for New Years’, we just got a sort of smallish room facing the front in the main building. It was no great shakes – nothing bad, but I made a mental note that next time I really ought to ask for something facing the river and garden in the back – there’s also a stone bridge and it’s very pretty right now – little lights for the holiday. So I signed us up for something called a terrace king suite, not really knowing what that was – all I knew was it was in the “historic” building, and that it was in lieu of a fireplace king suite, which were all taken. I had NO IDEA just how cool this room was gonna be. First of all, the main building is rather mission-style and the architecture is amazing and cozy and fabulous. The TERRACE rooms, though, are in a separate building. Our terrace overlooks the steps to the garden, the river and bridge – I’ll take a pic tomorrow before we go, but it won’t do it justice. We don’t hang out there, exactly, since it’s rainy, but it’s still pretty to look at. We’ve pretty much holed up in here for everything except meals. We watched “The Thin Man” and “A Christmas Story” last night (I had wine before dinner, followed by a martini, then a glass of cabernet…..huh WHAT? Did somebody say something?) after dinner. I remember watching part of “The Thin Man”, waking up in the middle of it, and thinking, I really want a cup of decaf. Heh! I felt a lot better after that.

So my tummy was a little sore this morning, and I really wanted breakfast at 10 a.m. – unlike most people with hangovers, food helps me feel better. So we had a giant brunch, then opened presents. Michael wrapped my gifts in special homemade “Lazy Sunday – Chronicles of Narnia Rap” wrapping paper (yes, Pam, he can send you the file of the pattern!!). I of course received my copy of “Serenity” – I think the outtakes was my favorite part, I laughed a lot at Nathan Fillion’s ad libs. The best part though, was….Michael and I both thought we were being very clever and got each other the same thing – the "Chronicles of Narnia"!! Yes, the books. Ugh. We should have seen it coming…

So this afternoon we watched “Serenity” and napped more. Getting ready for dinner now; I’m sure we’ll have a drink beforehand, but my stomach tells me not to overdo it again. Something about the holidays that sends me careening towards excess….

Dec. 26: Addendum:

I forgot to take pictures. But really, we did go there. And we ate a lot of excellent food. Last night, it was all about the special Christmas menu – cream of wild mushroom and tarragon soup, your basic green salad with a few candied pecans, PRIME RIB and at last, Yorkshire Pudding (very bready - it looked like a cinnamon roll! British friends -- is this correct??), and bread pudding for dessert which was a bit dry, but hey, not complaining. Some nice wine and man, I was out like a light at 10 p.m. – I must be getting old.

We made pals this morning over breakfast with our table neighbors from Arcata, Art and Julianna. We noticed Julianna last night in the lounge grooving (and by grooving, I mean listening to quietly – I’d hate to give you the wrong impression) to the jazz duet. Anyway, we hit the road today around 12:15. Saw a man walking along the road in Leytonville who looked just like Osama Bin Laden, disguised perhaps as a hippie. “The last place anyone would think of looking,” remarked Michael, adding as he squinted at the sign the man was semi-staggering past, “The…Fat Quail Quilt Shop!!” Clever indeed, Osama, but we’re onto you.

And that, in a nutshell, was our Very Benbow Christmas.


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