Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Rewind Wednesday: Stonewall Resort and Greenbrier

Today was like taking one giant deep breath, then slowly exhaling. It's finally Thanksgiving Break. The past two months have been a rush. I have much to be thankful for this holiday, and I am deeply grateful for a chance to relax with family for a few days.

Last week was the first of the many times I will travel the Mountain State this year. That being said, these were already events that I had scheduled to participate in prior to October 9th. They just held greater significance for me now, because they became a part of my year representing the teachers of Wild, Wonderful, West Virginia.

Last Friday I traveled to the Stonewall Resort in Weston for the Instructional Materials Criteria Committee. It is located within the Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park in Lewis County. Although the location was peaceful, my mind was split thinking about my presentations for the West Virginia Reading Association (WVRA) conference that was less than a week away. I stayed up late every evening making sure I had everything ready, because the turnaround time I had to get everything together when I came home was, oh, a day-and-a-half.

Oh, Deer!

Old Sorrel, named after Stonewall Jackson's horse

Beautiful lake at Stonewall
Monday evening I returned home, for, as I said, a day-and-a-half. In between, I was honored by the McDonald's Family Foundation, which I will share in another post (stay tuned). Wednesday afternoon, it was back in the car with some fellow teachers to attend the WVRA Conference at The Greenbrier in White Sulfur Springs. It was originally built in 1858, and became known as The Greenbrier in 1910. Twenty six U.S. presidents have stayed here. The resort was an army hospital during World War II, and also interred foreign diplomats who were considered a threat to the U.S. during the war. There's also a bunker at The Greenbrier that was designated to house members of Congress in an emergency during the Cold War. It's positively stunning - larger than life. Here are some - some! - of the pictures I took while there.
Hotel Room Hallway 
Oh, Christmas Tree...

Main Lobby

Main Lobby

Entry Way

All decorated for Christmas

One of the many beautiful rooms
Chandelier from "Gone with the Wind"

Spring House

Night View

In addition to absorbing the surroundings :-), I also attended the conference and did two presentations, one on integrating "The Great Bridge Building Contest" (a children's book on the building of the Philippi Bridge) into the curriculum, and another on using Web 2.0 tools in reading and writing instruction. I was also honored to be recognized by the First Lady of West Virginia, Joanne Tomblin, during her remarks in the closing general session.

By the time we returned home Friday, I felt like I had accomplished a lot - and my body was paying for it. One thing that I have learned very quickly this year is that I have to, I must, take care of myself. As teachers, we naturally push ourselves to the limit - staying up late, gobbling our lunch in record time (and amazingly not choking)...and holding it to go to the bathroom on numerous occasions. I've been doing this for years, and now...well, it's either put on the breaks or crash.

That being said, I was recharged enough by Monday to interview Rhonda Foreman and Elaine Unnone, teachers at Martinsburg High School, for Be the Difference WV. You can view their episode by clicking on this link.

And's time to rest and give thanks. I have been blessed beyond measure this year, to the point where there is simply no way I can repay what I have received. So when you can't repay it, you pay it forward - and I intend to, in a multitude of ways.

Right after I breathe in, and breathe out.
One last picture!!!

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