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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy New Year 2009! Gary Bowling's House of Art, & Trains!

New Year's Eve 2008-2009: Gary Bowling's House of Art, Bluefield

New Year's Eve was fun- for the first time in 6 years we left the Elkhorn Inn on New Year's Eve-
because there was finally someplace worth going to! Friends and family from Virginia, North Carolina, and Minnesota came in, and we all got duded up & went to Gary Bowling's House of Art in Bluefield, WV, the area's only professional art & music venue, for their BYOB Dinner-Dance. Gary Bowling and his friends have truly created a great creative space in Bluefield- a professional art display space with a great and eclectic selection of interesting artwork (much of the best, in my opinion, being Gary's 3-D installations), a professional music venue with a real dance floor, and a fun place for dining, exhibit openings, and special events.
I really have to hand it to him, as after 6+ years here here we'd both truly given up hope that there would Ever be place within several hours driving distance of the Inn worth going to.
The food was served downstairs, at tables situated amongst the art displays: a pleasant pasta buffet with Caesar Salad & desert cannolis, it wasn't exactly what I'd envisaged as a gala New Year's Eve dinner... but we broke out our wine, and had a nice meal. Then we went upstairs where The Emeralds, a very good oldies band, was starting to cook, and spread out the contents of our cooler along our festively decorated table: more wine, Bushmill's Irish Whiskey, Applekorn from Germany... The band played a great deal of fun dance music, mostly 60s & 70's, & everyone had a great time swing dancing, slow dancing, even line dancing, for hours. We took "smoke breaks" and wandered around looking at all the art work (Mel loved the "biggest Skateboard in the World"!), got make a few new friends, and congratulate Gary on pulling off a great party! I got to wear the beautiful hand-painted silk Ao Dai Dan had made for me in Vietnam, & so, even as fat as I am right now, I at least felt as pretty as possible! (The long, floaty Ao Dai tunic, slit up both sides to the waist and worn with slim plants, must be The most flattering outfit ever engineered!) Our niece Mel from Minnesota got to spin around the dance floor in a wonderful iridescent purple ball gown, and she truly was the belle of the ball!
Happily, when we finally had to do the long drive back to the Inn in the wee hours it was uneventful, with no traffic stops, little traffic, and no problems. A Very nice way to start off 2009! I wanted to soak in the hot tub in the wee hours of the new year, like Dan & I did last year, but everyone else was too pooped!

"Chef Dan" made a fine dinner of Poached Salmon on Pasta with Alfredo Sauce at the Elkhorn Inn the evening our friends arrived, and we served on our festive New Year's dining table, complete with our giant, 6' inflatable New Years Baby!

The night of Jan. 2 we finally saw our "first trains of the New Year": The Pokey stopped in front of the Inn for an hour! It was a beautiful railfan scene, the lights of the train softly illuminating the track and landscape ahead in a gentle rain, but but try as I might, I couldn't get a decent photo of her with our little point-&-shoot digital camera! AAAUGH! We really do need to get a Real camera- a digital SLR that I can take night shots with! The photos of "our" little train- the inflatable Santa Express- came out just fine, however! It's been so rainy, gray, & ucky lately that we've decided to leave up all our big, colorful inflatable decorations (see previous post) until the first Inn guests of the new year arrive this week!
And so begins 2009!

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