Monday, February 18, 2008

A Visit to Stonewall Resort

This weekend we stayed at Stonewall Resort, a lovely lakeside resort in North Central West Virginia. My husband had to attend a business retreat ("summit"), and I was able to go along.

Historical note: Stonewall Resort sits on Stonewall Jackson lake. Civil War General Stonewall Jackson grew up nearby, in Jackson's Mill.

We had a nice king room with a sofa and armoire and computer desk, and a lake view.

Views from our room Friday evening:

Friday night, we had dinner with the rest of his company people. There were supposed to be at least 2 or 3 other spouses but I was the only one there. Just me and the guys. We had a wonderful buffet dinner (the restaurant, Stillwaters, apparently always has a buffet and it was VERY good). We splurged on red meat by having a slice of the prime rib, which was excellent. Everything I had was wonderful. Salad, mushroom risotto, and penne pasta with sun dried tomatoes and pesto. We did manage to skip the dessert table at least. After dinner, the men went into a meeting and I went back to the room. Later, we went to the hotel bar for awhile with the rest of the group. There was one more spouse there but I never got a chance to meet her because it was crowded.

Saturday morning Dave had to leave at 7:00 for breakfast. I went to breakfast by myself later and had a leisurely meal while enjoying the Charleson newspaper left on our doorstep.

Afterward, I finished reading the paper out to the lobby, where I sat in this leather chair.

I went back to the room and then went out for a walk. There is a nice walking path around the lodge, except it doesn't go all the way around because there is a pool in the way in the back. That was kind of annoying. I walked around one side and saw a deer. Then walked around back. It was still pretty cool (30's) out but sunny. Then I went out front, where there are some beautiful large trees. I don't know what kind. I love trees.

This is my favorite tree. I really loved this tree.

After visiting the trees, I walked down the hill on the path which led to a little picnic area and a footbridge. In the distance you can kind of see the resort's cottages.

The bridge had steps leading down to a dock.

I sat there on the steps for awhile just enjoying the sun and the peacefulness. Watched some bluebirds. There was still frost on the rails of the wooden bridge but it was warm enough in the sun as long as I kept my hands in my coat pockets.

After awhile, I walked on around the other side of the lodge on the foot path.

At the end of the path was a bench, so I sat there.

Across the lake there were some deer having breakfast.

I also watched some grackles. I think that's a juvenile on the left. There was just one when I first heard them, and it was making soft chirping noises. I looked back up a little while later and noticed there were three of them.

I had to walk back the way I came.

I went back into the lodge and did a little shopping. Later, I joined Dave and his group for lunch at the restaurant. We took a little walk after, until he had to go back in. We also checked out the library just off the lobby. Very nice, with big comfy furniture and a fireplace and books you can borrow.

After Dave went back into his meetings, I went back to the room and tried to decide what to do. I didn't have a whole lot of options. There was a spa, but I wasn't sure I could get an appointment this late and couldn't decide what I wanted to do anyway, or if I wanted to spend the money. Even a manicure was $40 and it wasn't even the deluxe manicure. There was a pool but I didn't bring a suit. And a fitness center, but I didn't want to work out by myself. There were hiking trails down the road, but I didn't want to walk in the woods by myself.

I decided since it was so beautiful out I wanted to be outside, so I took a book and headed back out. I ended up back at the little park by the footbridge.

There was a picnic table and what I called a fire circle, with logs cut for chairs. I really felt drawn to the circle. All day I had been watching for a special rock to take home with me, or a feather of some kind. I thought maybe I would find something there. I sat there for awhile and meditated. I heard a crow in the distance and wanted him to come and visit me. I sat there visualizing him landing on one of the other seats. I did see the bluebird again but that was about it.

It wasn't a comfortable place to sit so I went over to the picnic table to read. After awhile I heard a loud cawing and the crow had flown to the tree behind me! I turned to watch him but didn't take the camera out for fear of scaring him off and sat there quietly. He looked at me briefly but wasn't really interested in me. He cawed to another crow in the distance a couple of times, and fluffed his feathers and then took off again. I was so glad he visited me. I decided to head back to the lodge and when I got back to the foot path I found a small downy feather! I have it in the "medicine bag" I carry in my purse, which also contains some specials rocks.

Native Americans believe that when an animal crosses our path, it has a message for us. They call it "animal medicine". ("medicine" referring to the healing aspects the animal brings to our consciousness, relating to the spirit rather than the physical body). We can learn the lesson they have for us by observing their habits and characteristics. All birds are considered messengers from the Great Spirit. Crows are supposed to be very spiritual. They can bring messages of change, creativity, intelligence, law/justice, spirituality, intuition, etc. I think maybe it represents spiritual change for me right now. I have been very interested in crows and have been wanting a crow feather for awhile. I actually had one a few years ago, but I left it outside because the cats were having so much fun playing with it. I wish I'd kept it now.

I also saw a bluebird and some grackles. Bluebirds can represent joy, happiness, love, contentment and confidence. I was feeling very happy and content both times I saw them. Grackles can represent overcoming excess and dealing with emotions. Maybe it was reminding me not to go too far with the food this weekend.

After I found the feather I also noticed the moon was showing up. I wonder if that means anything.

I was going to go back to the lodge but decided to visit my tree one more time. While I was there I noticed two crows up in another tree.

I watched them and took pictures. At first, I thought one was a juvenile. But then I realized it appeared to be courting the other one. It was preening and ruffling its feathers up. It moved closer to her. And it was making a noise I've never heard a crow make before. The male is the one on the right.

The only way I could think to describe the sounds was like a woodpecker, but not really. I confirmed that I was indeed witnessing courting:

During the breeding season, that in the south can extend from early spring into the fall, and may include two broods, American crow courtship can be rather vigorous. Males pursue females in flight and among the trees or on the ground where they often fluff their body feathers, spread their tail, and bows several times to their lady while uttering rattling call notes. They will then perch together, preen one another and touch bills

I went back to the room for awhile and eventually joined Dave for dinner. The group ate in a conference room. After eating, we sat in there for a long time talking with people. Some other folks started a poker game in there and we went on to the bar for one drink before turning in.

Sunday the meetings didn't last long and we were able to be home by early afternoon. It was a very nice trip and I would definitely recommend the resort. Although what I did while there sounds pretty boring, I enjoyed it so much. It was so relaxing and peaceful. The room was very quiet and comfortable. The weather was perfect for walking and enjoying the sunshine. It was a nice place to just sit and "be". I'm only sorry Dave had to work the whole time we were there.


  1. Two of my college friends and I are thinking about going there to rent a cabin to catch up as we have had way way too little girl time. Would you recommend it for that purpose?

  2. I would definitely recommend it. It is a little pricey, that is the only negative thing. But if it's in your price range, I would say you would love it.

    I have a friend who stayed in the cottages and said they are wonderful. They have a "girlfriend getaway" package that includes spa stuff, but I think it's a room rather than a cottage included in that.

    You can borrow bicycles for free and they have paddle boats, canoes and kayaks as well. You can rent a houseboat too, or a pontoon boat.

    And the spa is called the Mountain Laurel Spa. So it's a sign you should go!! :)

  3. Thanks, Ms. Jamie. We've decided to go to Oglebay instead as it works out better for the other two. Pricewise was about a wash. And we certainly want a cabin/cottage/something with walls.Since we only do this once every 20 years, we can go a bit higher on price than we normally do. :-)

    Perhaps this Laurel will wait till summer and get a getaway package for herself, complete with Spa! hehe

    Thanks for the recommendation.

  4. Oh I know you will have a good time at Oglebay. I've only been there once but have wanted to go back. My mom, sister, niece and I go away for mother's day every year. Maybe that's where we should go last year. Last year we stayed at Pipestem, which I also loved.