As my dedicated blog and Facebook followers may know (we’re talking of literally tens-of-people), I got married last Saturday to Caroline Brooks Tigner Traugott, a woman known for her beauty, intelligence, learning, and Hellen-Keller-grade blindness (hence the possibility of our union).
Anyway, Caroline booked a couple of days at the Grove Park Inn Monday and Tuesday for our honeymoon. Sunday night, thanks to the generosity of Hank Weed, the owner of Chico Feo, Caroline and I stayed in the upstairs apartment, which boasts perhaps the best porch on Folly Beach, especially if, as former resident Charlie Neeley has noted, you’re into 4 am people watching. A couple of weeks earlier, I had traded Ashville musician Luke-Dogg a copy of one of my masterpieces, “Greetings from the Edge of America, Swim at Your Own Risk” for tickets to his show in Ashville.
So after a lovely Sunday evening of porch sitting and chatting with younger son Ned, we awakened to sunny skies and took off in Caroline’s Prius for the Grove Park Inn.
Caroline had booked rooms on the club level, and upon our arrival, the desk clerk congratulated us for being upgraded to the Penthouse Suite, where Mrs. Grove herself used to spend her summers. Not surprisingly it’s a huge corner suite of beautifully furnished rooms that feature panoramic views of mountains, sunsets, and Ashville’s skyline.
Soon after we unpacked, a lovely young woman brought in chocolate strawberries, a bottle of champagne, and a celebratory note addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. Traugott.”
So here’s what you get on the club level: breakfast, drinks, and dinner on the hall, access to the spa, and in-room performances by none other than the retro 70s Chippendales revue.
Frankly, I wasn’t too keen on going to the spa. When I think of spas, I think ancient Rome, frighteningly obese and hirsute Chris Christie types wrapped in towels and sweating like professional wrestlers. So I quickly wove my way through the men’s section to join Caroline in the co-ed pool area, which featured hot tubs with waterfalls and a cooling pool, and most importantly, a bar.
The views from the suite were so spectacular we hesitated to leave, but we had friends to see. First, on Tuesday night, Anna Williams, daughter of best friend Jake, and on Wednesday after checkout the mighty Cat Forester who gifted us two of her beautiful prints. We met her at Nine Mile, a killer Jamaican restaurant I highly recommend.
We killed time in an underground Brewery before meeting Luke-Dogg at 4 at the farmhouse, and as we sat there sipping on craft beers, the lights went out thanks to a lightning strike on a power station that wiped out all the traffic lights in Ashville. Once it was time to go, Caroline, undaunted, hopped behind the wheel of the Prius and negotiated the traffic-clogged thoroughfares and got us to the farmhouse in time.
Luke-Dogg met us there, introduced us to his housemate Leslie, and later transported us to the gig in his VW bus. He’s associated with at least two bands, “What It Is” and “Pleasure Chest,” who play at Chico Feo now and then. Interestingly, for “What It Is” he plays guitar but the drums for “Pleasure Chest.”
Move over, Stevie Wonder.
The venue, whose name I forgot was killer, and so was the music.
Here’s a snippet from Pleasure Chest from last night at Chico Feo. The cat on trumpet, Justin Stanton, also plays for the three-time Grammy winner instrumental jam fusion band Snarky Puppy.
And here’s a clip of Snarky Puppy:
Alas, like all good things, our honeymoon came to an end, which means, not alas, the beginning of a new life of love.