The weather and traffic gods were not nearly as kind to us on our return trip as they had been on our trip to Cleveland. Upon departure, we drove through snow for the majority of Ohio, with a windshield so iced over it was difficult to see. It became even more difficult when we finally reached some sunshine, yet our windshield washer fluid hadn't thawed out just yet. Needless to say, we pulled over for lunch STAT and hit up a car wash.
Our poor Floridian car!
We made it the rest of the way to Pinehurst without issue, in about eight hours. When we arrived we checked in to our suite at the Carolina Hotel, freshened up a bit and made our way downstairs to the Ryder Cup Lounge for our New Year's Eve dinner. The food was excellent and the server was very good, especially at taking care of Ellie. Ellie didn't love her grilled cheese much, but apparently she made a New Year's Resolution to try new things because at dinner she happily dined on some honeydew, a previously foreign fruit to her. (Anyone who knows Ellie knows that the mere IDEA of a new food showing up on her plate is enough to throw her into a fit of hysterics, so this was big). Naturally, she also enjoyed the french fries.
The exterior of the hotel and the rooms of our suite
New Year's Eve dinner!
After dinner we checked out the gingerbread house village in the lobby (Ellie loved the train running through it), and snapped some pictures of Ellie generally frolicking around the resort.
All of those houses are made of gingerbread/candy!
In the lobby
"Let's get this party started, guys!"
Back in our room, we posed for our picture we used to announce the coming of Plus One, and had some fun playing with our 2014 glasses. Then it was off to bed for the little one.
Ready to be a family of four in 2014!
Eric and I spent the rest of the evening lounging around, sipping champagne (for him) and sparkling grape juice (me) while watching the coverage from Times Square (and missing it) and eating take-out dessert from the Ryder Cup Lounge. Somehow, my pregnant-and-battling-a-cold self managed to make it till midnight, and we toasted our respective beverages while watching a split screen of the Times Square Ball Drop and the Acorn Drop in Raleigh. Oh, local television!
Brownie sundae for Eric and red velvet cake for me!
I don't think we're in Manhattan anymore, Dorothy.
I barely made it a minute past midnight before passing out, and it was just as well. Eric had a busy day of golf ahead, and Ellie and I had some fun in store, too!
On New Year's Day, Eric was up and at 'em at a reasonably early hour to go golfing, but I will share all the details of that tomorrow (or rather, he will). Meanwhile, Ellie and I had a very casual morning spent lounging in bed, watching the tail end of Wall-E and first few minutes of Up before heading down to the breakfast buffet.
She looks like she snuck out of her crib and hit up all the wild New Year's Eve parties without us knowing a thing about it....
The buffet was excellent and had everything you could possibly want for breakfast. In keeping up with her New Year's resolution, Ellie helped herself to some honeydew, blueberries, and my potatoes and bacon.
The only thing she really loved was the blueberries, and we made trip after trip to the buffet for "more berries, Mama?"
After breakfast we spent a little time roaming the property before heading back to the room to catch some of the Rose Parade before lunch and naptime.
Ellie relaxing on the veranda
Scoping out the spa
Eric returned from golf while Ellie napped, and we had lunch together before I ran off to the spa for a prenatal massage. I had plenty of time to relax by the pool before my massage, happily sipping my lemon-infused water and enjoying some peace and quiet. The massage itself was divine, and even included a small stuffed lamb for the new baby (Plus One's first gift!). After my massage I took my time in the locker room, showering, relaxing, just being. I didn't want it to end.
But, end it must, as I had to get back to the room to so we could load up the car and check out. Alas.
Before leaving the resort we snapped a few more pictures around the property.
Eric and Ellie in front of the hotel
Somebody get these two some sweet tea already, am I right?
After leaving the resort we went back to the golf course so Eric could take a few (non-iPhone) pictures, and we planned to play the putting course just like we did in St. Andrews, Scotland. However, Ellie was having none of that. I made the mistake of preventing her from being run over by a golf cart and that was about all the drama she could take and she fell apart. She wanted to golf, sure, but if you dared try to take a turn (or direct her in any way contrary to what she wanted to do) she lost it. So, we packed that up pretty quickly.
Ellie and the famous "Putter Boy" statue
My two golf enthusiasts
Oh yeah. She went there. And she went ALL IN.
Our plan after the golf course was to go to the "downtown" (an adorable little area with shops and restaurants) for dinner, and we did attempt that but our efforts were short-lived thanks to what I can only assume is early onset of the Terrible Twos. We ended up leaving a restaurant, having only gotten water, in favor of ordering pizza back at our hotel. Thanks a lot, ELLIE.
Actually, the rest of the evening was quite nice. We stayed in another hotel in Pinehurst for that night, and our suite was small but perfect for our needs and the Italian dinner we ordered in was tasty. We got Ellie to bed successfully and spent the rest of the night watching bad T.V. and reflecting on our great trip.
The next morning we went back to downtown Pinehurst to do a little shopping, then hit the road for our return to Jacksonville. The final leg of our trip didn't go as smoothly as we would've liked, as we ended up stuck in some bad traffic for quite a while that threw us completely off schedule. The traffic delay forced us to stop for dinner, which made us get to Jacksonville much later than we had hoped and thus, Ellie got to bed pretty late, too. But, we survived.
It really was a fabulous trip - both our time in Cleveland and our little extra stop on the way home. Pinehurst No. 2 was one of Eric's top golf courses he wanted to play (but again, he'll tell you more about that tomorrow), I loved the spa, and the resort/town were so charming. It was a delightful way to bid farewell to 2013 and kick off our new year in 2014!