This year, our annual fall Virginia Counselors Association conference got a facelift… we met at The Homestead Resort and Spa in Hot Springs, Virginia. My friend and I split a room for just one night of the conference to save money, but we have different plans for when the conference returns to The Homestead in 2015!
So let’s talk about our suite. And our star treatment. First off, there was free valet parking. Self-park wasn’t an option. The bell hop, Keswick, carried our luggage up to the 14th floor. What a name!
Our first session was interesting – dealing with subpoenas – the speaker said “quash” so many times that we could have made a game of it. We then went to a session on how to use yoga techniques in the classroom – calling them “brain breaks” or breathing/stretching exercises.
Our keynote was phenomenal. He’s famous in the School Counseling world – Trevor Romain. I use many of his materials in my lessons, but I had no idea what a engaging, motivational speaker he is. He has had so many experiences, working with orphans in the Congo, loving on children with cancer, and facing his own insecurities as a child. Listening to him was a roller coaster of emotions. One second, we’d be laughing, another, we’d be wiping away heavy tears. We spent most of the conference with our “Trev-dar” on.
This was our balcony. The fall leaves were stunning! Our suite connected a bedroom, parlor, bathroom, closet, and patio.
Of course we had to check out the spa, like ASAP, but had no time to enjoy it – yet – before heading back out to the conference!
At Sam Snead’s golf-themed pub, we had a sub-par (under par? not a hole-in-one? rough?) experience. The hostess was rude to me after THEY lost my reservation, and they initially refused to seat us in the then-empty restaurant. I showed them my phone record from calling them to no avail. Finally they just said, “just give them that little table behind the bar.” Still, I had a yummy, salty pot pie, Irish coffee, and a fancy brownie dessert.
Dinner was followed by a series of progressive networking receptions, 11 in all, that took place on the top six floors of the hotel. Cue Trev-Dar.
The next morning, I was up before dawn to take advantage of the fitness facilities – running on a nice treadmill overlooking the pool, drooling over the ballet barre, and swimming laps in the indoor heated pool, where steam rose off the water. This was followed by a quick catered breakfast, more sessions, and an awards banquet luncheon. We had plenty of time for more sessions, networking, and lots of adventures on the drive home. Then it was back home to unpack and repack before heading on a race weekend trip to my hometown for the Virginia Running Festival!