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Trip Report Falling Rock at Nemacolin: Trip Report

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Hello friends! Pretty please forgive me-this trip was taken LAST fall. I actually wrote it immediately upon return so as to preserve as many fabulous details as possible but with the new house/life Im just now getting a chance to post it. Nonetheless, I hope it provides a fun way to pass some time and useful information for future guests.

If youd like to follow along with the pictures click here: http://tinyurl.com/naturegirlatnemacolin

Ok, lets begin!

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is basically 3,000 acres of a nature-lovers dream located in the Laurel highlands of southwestern Pennsylvania-right at the convergence of PA, WV, and OH. While there are many accomodations available on the property we stayed at Falling Rock, "Nemacolin's luxurious AAA Five Diamond boutique hotel." For years Ive wanted to visit and was so excited to stay for our 7th wedding anniversary!

We wanted a top floor, corner, king bed suite with a fireplace. Based on the extensive research you know we did (cuckoo) we knew this was the best room in the house! Even though we made our reservations in early June they were already booked for a 10/20 stay so we had to celebrate our anniversary a bit earlier. We stayed 10/1-10/4 and it was (mostly) amazing-lemmie tell you all about it!

Though the drive from Chadds Ford to Farmington was grey and rainy it was still beautiful as the trees began to burst with fantastic fall colors as we headed west. Wed scheduled a couples guided massage for our arrival and couldnt wait to learn how to massage each other ;) 5.5 hours later (and, naturally, running late) we arrived at Falling Rock. [picture 1]

"More than just a hotel, Falling Rock is the definition of an escape. Each guest at Falling Rock has access to 24-hour butler service. These professionally trained butlers provide incomparable attention to guest needs." To be honest, we were a little nervous about the whole butler thing. We like good and friendly service when we check in, have questions, etc but we typically prefer to just be left alone. The idea of a personal butler tending to our every need (like unpacking our clothes, running our bath, and drawing our curtains in the morning as we lay in bed) seemed a little...outside our comfort zone :) Just in case, I bought all new undies for the trip. Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, wed just arrived at the hotel:

There is no check in at Falling Rock-guests pull up to the door and are greeted by their butler who sets the gears in motion for an utterly amazing and pampering stay! We, however, pulled up to the door and were greeted by no one (chirp, chirp). We stepped out of our car, did the "we are new here, what do we do" neck cranes, searching for a welcoming face to ease us in. A few minutes later a car pulled behind us. A guy (butler, doorman, valet?) came out and took care of that guest as we stood looking. Not good not good. Acceptable at the Holiday Inn, maybe, but what a crappy way to start out our stay at Falling Rock.

We entered the lobby [pictures 2 & 3] and waited around to be helped and checked out the AAA Four Diamond Aqueous restaurant [picture 4]. Wed read that you are given a personal tour and the history behind Falling Rock (the name, its architecture, its location, etc) upon arrival. When we were finally greeted, however, our "tour" consisted of taking us to the elevator [pictures 5-7] telling us that its interior was created to mimic the inside of a jewlery box [picture 8] (neat), and as we walked to the room and through a private hallway to our room [pictures 9-12] that the triangular theme throughout the resort was "because the architect felt there were a lot of triangles in nature" which didnt exactly match what the hotels literature said (that the triangles mimicked "falling rocks," hence the hotel's name).

Perhaps it was because wed mentioned we had a spa appointment and our butler was just trying to rush but he basically dropped us off at the room and collected his tip. Whatever the reason, our arrival was stressful, uncomfortable, and very, very, very disappointing. Enough bad stuff-off to our massage! Falling Rock is set off on its own so in order to get to the other buildings on the property a free shuttle is offered. All the drivers were pretty cool but our favorite was Helen. Youll hear more about her later. The spa [picture 13] had a great ambiance and our massage was fabulous! We took turns on the table as Lena showed and explained how to give each other a great massage. I figured this experience would spare me from my hubby's lame 2 minute "rubs" and ensure me a lifetime of fantastic massages-maybe all he needed was a little know how, right? Wrong. I took lots of notes, he took none. He remembers nothing-its like the tutorial didnt even take place (laughing/rolling eyes)!

After our massage we returned to our kick ass room.

We entered to find a chilled bottle of wine and an anniversary card from the Falling Rock staff [pictures 14 & 15]! Along with a standard one from the owners there was also a personalized welcome note which laid out the itinerary (based on resverations for activities, etc, wed made) for our 3 night stay [pictures 16 & 17] so cute! The room was exactly as wed hoped-a large bedroom with lots of windows and access to the balcony [pictures 18-20] and a big gorgeous bathroom [pictures 21-23] with a huge soaking tub and a shower with so many knobs and sprayers you need a manual to operate (thats a good thing)! Through a hallway [picture 24] was the sitting area with a fireplace and another access to the balcony [pictures 25-27]. Our balcony [pictures 28 & 29] overlooked the golf course and the pool [pictures 30-32] and the back fountain which youll see pictures of later. I guess nows as good a time as any to mention the huge, super cool, and very bad ass tassle that hangs on the door handle. We figured out its used as the "do not disturb."

As your solo tour guide (my other half was already asleep) please allow me to share a glimpse of the triangles-a-plenty theme in the room [pictures 33-36].

After the boy woke up we got some dinner at the casual pubbish Tavern Behind the Green (get it?). We dined on nachos, salad, and burger by the giant aquarium [pictures 37-39]. After dinner we went exploring! Can I just tell you it felt like we had the entire property to ourselves it was so cool! We walked through the main hotel, strolled by some shops, and checked out some lifelike statues peppered around the property [pictures 40 & 41]. We spent a good chunk of time in the arcade which is always fun :) By this point it was getting late but we werent ready to go back to our room. We asked the concierge at the main hotel about the Nemcaolin putt putt. He made a call and a shuttle driver picked us up (Helen). Turns out putt putt was closed but they powered up the lights on the course and gave us free and unfettered access [pictures 42-43]. Now *thats* the kind of service indicative of Nemacolin!

After putt putt we waited at the shuttle stop but twas not a shuttle in sight. We began the long walk back to Falling Rock (well, "long walk" when its late and cold) unsure exactly which roads led where but still having a good time when we see the headlights of a shuttle approaching! Though not at an official shuttle stop we jumped around and flagged the driver down. The interior lights are blinking like a strobe light and I hear the music before the doors even open-guess who? HELEN! Carting around a bunch of middle-aged (intoxicated) partiers singing along to her shuttle radio! Soooo funny! As we boarded the crowd quieted down until Helen announced to them, "its ok, theyre cool-theyre here celebrating their anniversary" upon which they cheered, we kissed, and all was right in the world :)

When we arrived back at Falling Rock we passed the back fountain [picture 44 & 45] and headed to our room where we found cookies and a welcome home note [pictures 46] waiting for us! Also we could choose our breakfast for the next morning. Can I just tell you that their steel cut oats are *thee best* Ive ever had? Our bed was turned down with our robes laid out [picture 47] and our slippers just waiting to be stuffed with some cold feeties [picture 48]! Oh-and did I mention the pillow menu [picture 49]? "Falling Rock can provide the most beautiful sleep of your life with your choice from a 10-option pillow menu, 1200-thread count sheets and hand sewn chenille bedding." For our first night I chose the water pillow and hubby took the tri core pillow-both took us straight to dreamland :)

We woke early the next morning because wed made an appointment to do the ropes course at the adventure center [pictures 50 & 51]!!! It was freeeezing cold and verrry windy-bad combo for swinging around on ropes 50 ft in the air!! Note to shorties: minimum height requirement for this course is 5'2''. Im 5'3" and found it pretty difficult. The obstalces themselves didnt give me problems but reaching the ropes to begin each obstalce certainly did. Had I been a few inches taller it would have been much easier. Anyway, after the rope course you get to zipline to the ground which was a lot of fun! Kind of scary jumping off. As I sat on the ledge the guide kindly told me, "the longer you wait the harder it is to jump." I think he was just tired of waiting for me ;)

After the ropes course we walked around and checked out the animals on the property [pictures 52-64], the fall colors [picture 65], and headed back to the hotel [picture 66] to begin night two (which was basically the same as night one: ate at the tavern, walked around, played at the arcade, had cookies, ordered oats, and chose pillows-I buckwheat and he memory foam)!

We slept in the next morning before heading again to the adventure center to rent some bikes for the day. They charged us for one hour but said to keep the bikes for the whole day! We followed a bike trail around the golf course, through some densley wooded areas [pictures 67-68], and over to the antique car museum (guess who wanted to see that) [pictures 69-73]. We grabbed lunch and warmed up at The Gazebo! Next we rode alllll the way over [picture 74] to the wildlife academy [picture 75] to visit the animal nursery and the petting zoo! Oh my gosh the nursery was sooooo cuuute! There was A.J. the baby goat [picture 76] who acted just like a dog (came running when you called his name)! And who knew racoons were so darn adorable [pictures 77-79]? Then there was the huge bunny who let the racoon give him back scratches [picture 80]! And if you thought the racoon was cute check out Mr Skunk [pictures 81 & 82]! As we were busy meeting with the other animals [pictures 83-86] and got to know Bonzai the turtle [picture 87] A.J. saw fit to sneak into the home of one of his roommates and feast on his veggies [picture 88]! Bonzai wasnt having any of that and quikcly intercepted [picture 89 & 90]! After spending way more time than any adult has a right to in the Nemacolin animal nursery we headed out to the petting zoo [picture 91] where we could feed some of the bigger guys [pictures 92-102].

We spent the balance of the day meadering along the Nemacolin trails and just enjoying life :) After some obligatory arcade time Helen shuttled us back to our room. By now wed gotten to know her pretty well and she invited us out to a Fall Festival taking place the next day in her hometown of Confluence which happened to be on our way home! "Try the chinese tomorrow!" she shouted as we exited her chariot and headed up to our butler-drawn bath and our final nights stay at Falling Rock [pictures 103 & 104].

The next morning we departed Falling Rock [picture 105] with a receipt for our very own huge, super cool, very bad ass tassle, a recipe for the steel cut oats, and an overwhelming desire to return (despite some poor butler service). We headed home by way of Confluence, its delicious chinese food, and our favorite resident calling numbers in the bingo hall :)

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