Five years ago (almost), my husband and I got engaged on New Year's Eve, kneeling in front of the tabernacle after the vigil Mass for the Solemnity of Mary.
The next day, we took a day trip to visit this historic old hotel that was (barely) in the process of restoration. It was an enjoyable day, and we loved imagining what this old grand hotel would have looked like in its heyday. In the early 1900s, it was called the "playground of the rich and famous", boasting Presidents and mobsters and the very wealthy among its clientele. The draw then was the sulfur springs, thought to have healing properties. It was once the place to be. Then, for a variety of reasons, it ceased being a hotel, was used for various other purposes, and eventually abandoned. It had physically started to fall apart before someone finally came along and started basic restoration.
Somewhere around 2005 or so, some people with a lot of money and influence finally got the ball rolling for a MAJOR restoration/renovation project for this hotel, and now it is a sight to see! Even though it is a bit of a drive for us, we enjoy visiting just to sit in the grand atrium and marvel at the beauty of the structure and the lavish furnishings. Indeed, no expense was spared in returning this marvel to its former glory.
Today, we had nothing planned at all (as is typical for us on Christmas Eve), so we decided to take a day trip to introduce Olivia to the historic hotel. For the season, they had erected a tree that (with the 12-foot stand) must have been about 50 feet tall. It had plenty of room to stand inside the dome of the atrium.
Olivia had a great time. She just ran and ran all around the place. There is a lot of space there.
We may just have to make this trip an annual tradition.
Merry Christmas, everyone!