I love to bang.
The rhythmic pounding on rock with rock hammers and chisels, in hopes of having water-clear, double terminated Herkimer Diamonds come spilling out onto the grey dust gives me just an incredible rush. Actually, they more like come flying out – looking perfectly faceted. Seeing the glittery rainbow sparkle peek out from the mazes of stone crevices makes every blow worthwhile. After a few hours, dust covers one from head to foot, and muscles scream for mercy, but clear zip-lock bags filled with gemstones keep us going until the very second the mine closes for the day.
Last weekend, after a long day of mining, I dragged my weary body – dusty and sore – to the Bellinger Rose Bed and Breakfast in Herkimer, NY. I did not have a particularly successful day finding diamonds, and there was nothing more I wanted than to settle into my room.
Except for being in the hospital after giving birth, I have never been away from my children overnight, so I was eager to check in with them. Herkimer is about an hour and a half away from my home and a gorgeously scenic ride, especially now, at the peak of autumn, but experience has taught me that I am way too tired to make the drive home after eight hours of banging. So this time, I booked a room.
The owner, Chris, was an absolute doll. She and her two adorable dogs, Ashley and Teddy, greeted me at the door and cheerfully showed off all the beautiful details of the inn, and once she showed me the hot tub/sauna area (clothing optional…) – my eyes glazed over. In my room, she had a fire roaring in the fireplace and champagne chilling. And in my bathroom, a jacuzzi claw-foot tub, and big, thick robes in the closet.
The instant she left my room, I headed for a glass of champagne and the jacuzzi.
“Do you have to share a bathroom, Mommy?” Daughter #3 asked as I called her from the tub. I assured her I didn’t and that I would take lots of pictures.
As I hung up after talking to all the girls and stressing that they behave while I was gone, I giggled at the luxury of being able to sit in the very bubbly hot water. For as long as I wanted.
After the soak in the jacuzzi, I sat by the fire to dry off a bit, then padded down the ornate hallway, down the spiral staircase, lined with gorgeous paintings and pictures to the hot tub/sauna area. The room was wonderful. There was an enormous flat screen TV in the room, but I kept all the lights off. Except for the blue and purple ones on the hot tub. The calming sound of the waterfall mixed with the churning water was all the noise I needed. Or wanted.
When I did finally turn in for the evening, my bed enveloped me and the crackling fire lulled me to sleep – much sooner than I wanted to.
In the morning (after another soak in the jacuzzi), I padded down to the dining room where Chris had my breakfast ready from the order I placed the night before (I am not a big breakfast eater, so I did not request anything much – although there was an extensive menu to select from). I had mountains of fresh fruit which competed with the heap of bacon I ordered. Icy cold cranberry juice and perfect brewed coffee finished it off. She had a full house and every single breakfast was beautifully presented on exquisite china. It was a truly delightful start to my day.
After breakfast, I took the opportunity for one last round in the sauna, one last dip in the hot tub and one last shower in the claw-foot tub. (Clearly there is no doubt I’m a true Pisces).
It was with heavy feet that I left the little slice of heaven I found at the inn, and went back to the dusty mine.
My second day of mining was about the same as the day before – a total dud. I’m not sure if I was simply too relaxed, or just dumb luck. However, the spectacular gem I have found in the Bellinger Rose made up for it.
I am already planning my next trip there – in the spring – the delicious decadence and complete luxury has me completely hooked. So Chris, make sure you have plenty of hot water for me!
I find myself sneaking back to that inn when I get stressed, and planting my tush back in that hot tub.
Mommy? Does my voice sound different?” Daughter #5, the 3-year old asked me last night in the car.
“I don’t think so, Sweetheart, why?”
“My voice sounds different. Listen.” She sang another few lines from the show “Jessie”. “See?” I could see her holding her throat and playing with the sounds her voice could make in the rear-view mirror.
“Ummm…” I shrugged, “your voice sounds beautiful to me,” I smiled at her over my shoulder. “Do you think you’re getting another cold?”
“No,” she sang some more. “Oooohhhh…. she finally said, “I know what it is.”
“Remember earlier when I asked you if I could have a Jolly Rancher candy and you said no because you said I could choke on it?” She kept her hand on her throat.
“Well, I was naughty and took one anyway.”
I drove on in silence waiting for her to finish her confession.
“And I ate it like this,” I watched as she pretended to hold a lollipop. “And then I got tired and put it in my mouth, like this.”
“And then…I swallowed it. Like this,” she gulped. “And I think there were little people inside the candy. And I think they came out inside my stomach and now they are making me talk funny. What do I do now, Mommy?”
And as the bubbles gently relaxed me in the hot tub in my mind, I smiled at her round little face framed with blonde curls, “Just go with the flow, Sweetheart. Just go with the flow.”