Monday, April 25, 2011

Arkansas - Land of Adventure!

As if the butterflies of attending the first ever Garden2Blog event with P. Allen Smith weren't enough, Mother Nature decided to provide us with some of her best today. As some of the 20 garden bloggers attempted to make their way to Little Rock, planes were delayed, flights were canceled and little did we know that the day would end with some drama.

Personally, my flights from Ft. Wayne to Chicago to Little Rock were uneventful, other than a warning from the pilot on the way to Little Rock that we were expecting a rough flight at some point. I've flown in worse, but the text messages I was receiving let me know that others were having a much different experience.

Jenny Peterson, who was coming from Austin and was supposed to be my roommate tonight, ended up being stuck in Dallas. Laura Mathews, coming from Pennsylvania, was supposed to share a ride from the airport with me. Her flight was canceled and she finally arrived at the hotel around 9:00.

"We hope we all arrived safely at our destination."
~pilot on Laura Mathews' flight

I arrived at the Capital Hotel in downtown Little Rock around 4:30 and as I tweeted and checked in on Foursquare, "P. Allen Smith sure knows how to treat a girl."  The hotel is an historic one and is by far the nicest hotel I've stayed in. Oozing with class and charm, I could spend an entire day just exploring its halls and architecture and sipping delicious lemonade (provided fresh daily in the lobby) on the covered balcony on the second floor.

Second floor balcony

I got a personal tour of the kitchen and bakery by the Director of Rooms Division, Nick Bradley-Hole. Seeing the pristine kitchen and the staff in action was a treat. As he was showing me the wine cellar, Shirley Bovshow, from Garden World Report magically appeared. It was great to meet up with her and after the tour concluded, I joined her in her room for some catching up on our respective lives.


We met others in the lobby at 7:00 - Jean Ann van Krevelen, Mary Ellen Pyle, Melinda Jones, Mike Lieberman, Jackie D'Elia and Teresa O'Connor. The weather outside was pretty ominous and certainly captured everyone's attentions, but we went in the hotel's Capital Bar & Grill to get something to eat.

Under a tornado warning from the time I'd arrived, it was thundering and lightening at a pretty good rate outside and the rain was coming down in sheets. Lights were flickering and we no sooner got our food when the staff told us to leave everything, as we were being taken to shelter in the ballroom. The tornado sirens were wailing and the room filled up with guests, diners, and staff.

Front row: Robin Horton, Teresa O'Connor, me, Jean Ann van Krevelen
Back row: Shirley Bovshow, Jackie D'Elia, and Mike Lieberman

It was somewhat of a party atmosphere, if you can imagine that. We were perhaps in the room for half an hour when we were allowed to return to our previous activities. The meal was finished without incident and our dining party eventually grew to include others - Chris Sabbarese from Corona Tool, Robin Horton, Kerry Michaels, and Laura Mathews.

We spent the evening eating, drinking and generally being merry, talking about the weather, blogging, the event, and what shoes we were going to wear the next day. We're looking forward to another eventful two days - just not of the weather variety.


Theresa/LivingHomegrown said...

Well that sure is starting things off with a "bang"! I saw all the messages yesterday as you were all trying to arrive. Glad it ended on a good note.

Say hello to everyone one for me. You all promised to have a "drink in my honor"...and I am holding you to that!

Keep us posted on how it goes!

Erin @ The Impatient Gardener said...

Thanks for the post! I'm just dying to read all about the big G2B event. I hope everyone else makes it in safely today. What a lovely hotel. Now listen, Kylee, I want serious detail pictures of P. Diddy's house and gardens! Have fun and I hope the weather improves for today.

Shirley Bovshow "EdenMaker" said...

You captured the events of arrival day perfectly! Yes, it has been an adventure here in Arkansas.

I love your hotel photos! You forgot to mention the delicious lemonade that they serve at the Capital Hotel.
I've been reading Twitter and Facebook statuses and it looks like many of our friends made it to Arkansas safely.

Let's see what the day brings today....hopefully all good!

Shirley Bovshow

Terra said...

What a wild adventure you had, and the hotel is very charming and fancy!

Kylee Baumle said...

Theresa ~ Oh, it would be even that much more fun (funner!) if you WERE here! Consider the drink in your honor a done deal! :-)

Erin ~ I promise! Photos!

Shirley ~ It was SO fun spending catch-up time with you last night! More to come!

Actually, I did mention the lemonade. ;-)

Terra ~ Oh, this hotel is the BEST!! I just love it!

Louise Hartwig said...

On the phone you stated you felt just like "Pretty Woman" when you arrived at the hotel. They know one when they see one, of course I am your Mother.

Carol at said...

I was oh so anxious to hear about the event - certainly didn't expect anything like this. It will definitely rank as memorable.

Gail said...

You sure picked the weather to come visit! Arkansas has been a mess the last two weeks.

Enjoy, I love that hotel!

Kris said...

Hello Kylee-I too am from Ohio and I recently went to the spring tour at the Garden Home Retreat and loved it!
Your photos are amazing and I love reading the thoughts of someone else as they took in the same wonderful experience and the things that caught your eye. Do you use the Canon Powershot SX10IS for all your floral photography. They are magnificent! I'm wanting to upgrade my little camera and this is catching my interest. ~ Kris

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