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Fishberry Jam & Kindereggs

Relatively speaking, I was a child of privilege.  Not in the sense of having things, but in being exposed to ideas and experiences.  Education was paramount in my home.  Whether it was what I was learning in the best schools available, or what I was learning organically in the world; In the words of Auntie Mame, "Knowledge is power".

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Growing up in a nice neighborhood, and attending very good schools, the parents of many of my classmates dressed well, lived in large traditional houses and drove expensive cars, Mercedes seemingly the automaker of choice.  My family also dressed reasonably well, though perhaps not as conservatively.  Our house was of average size, but modern and unusual by community standards.  My father's preferred car of choice was a Volkswagen Beetle.  Powder blue, temperamental and rather beat up looking.  I used to bemoan all of these things:  "Why can't you dress like other parents?  Why is our house so weird?  Why can't you drive a nice car?"  And my parents tried to express to me the idea of priorities.  And that their priorities were not accumulating a lot of things, or living in an expensive house, or driving a flashy car.  Their priorities were accumulating knowledge, education, travel, exploring and experiencing new places and things.  The money they had, the money they made, was spent going places and enjoying those places to the fullest.

One of the places we went fairly regularly was The Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia.  We often visited for either Easter or Christmas.  As a young girl, The Homestead was magical.  It was enormous and expansive, surrounded by greenery and rolling hills.  Everything was beautiful and elegant.  There were little seating areas throughout the hotel, where one could read or play backgammon.  The swimming pool, the ice skating rink, even the child's playroom was the best one could imagine.  Dinner was always a formal affair.  At dinner, I remember sitting very nicely while my parents danced together on the dance floor, and then being embarrassed when my Dad asked me to dance as well.  When I remember special moments from my childhood, I remember The Homestead.

This photo was taken of me at The Homestead when I was probably around 9 years old.  While I was posing in front of the massive gingerbread house you see behind me, most of the night I remember being stationed at a nearby buffet table which served an expanse of smoked salmon and fishberry jam.


Recently, my family, consisting of my husband, son and myself ventured out on our own special adventure.  I wanted to go somewhere that was an experience, in and of itself. Not a hotel in a city, with expected tourist stops and shopping.  After a bit of research, I found this castle, Burghotel Auf Schönburg.  We just returned from the sweetest of getaways and like The Homestead of my youth, it was nothing less than magical.  I think as my brain and heart digest it a bit more I may make another post giving a bit more detail but for now, everything from the architecture to the gardens and countryside, the service and amazing food was beyond what any mortal might expect in life.  My son fell in love with The Castle and started asking to return as soon as we got in the car to return home.

I hope when he is older he will look back and remember all of the details that made it special in his own mind, whether it be a buffet of salmon and caviar, or an icecream dessert festooned with sparklers, gummy bears and kindereggs.


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