Monday, December 30, 2013

New Years Eve

We have a full house here at Stevenson Ridge for the New Year. Our cottages are booked up—as they have been on New Years Eve for the past couple of years—so we have a lot of company to usher in 2014.

But that’s not all. We have a wedding in the lodge on New Year’s Eve. I can’t think of a better way to wrap up one year and usher in another. December 31 is certainly a popular evening for parties, and few parties are more fun than a wedding, so this promises to be a great night for everyone.

Once the lights dim and the sparklers stop fizzing and the bride and groom have begun their happily ever after, I’ll have just enough time to settle in with my family and my dog to watch the ball drop in New York City. With a champagne toast, I’ll welcome the New Year with the people in the world I love the most, happy that I’ve been able to play hostess to so many other people, too. Without our guests, we couldn’t do what we do.

Here’s to a happy New Year to everyone!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Decembers at the Ridge

One of my favorite things about December isn’t just that Christmas comes along but that we have such a wide variety of events here at Stevenson Ridge. We’ve hosted holiday parties, a “Roaring Twenties”-themed office party, the Next Generation of Business Leader's “Top Ten of the Next Gen” ceremony, a wine tasting for our January brides, a six-year-old’s birthday party, a handful of rehearsals dinners, and of course several weddings.

From a coordination perspective, every event poses its own sorts of challenges, which is great for us because nothing ever feels routine or boring. That makes every event fun for us in its own way.

Sometimes we have to coordinate a full catering staff. What an amazing ballet it is behind-the-scenes as our servers attend to guests and get food back and forth from the kitchen and clear tables. Chef David, like a maestro, conducts activity in the kitchen to keep everything—and everyone—cooking.

Sometimes we have to arrange a room in a special configuration or set out lanterns along the path to one of the back cabins or set up special decorations. Sometimes we even have special cleaning challenges (for instance, Chris assures me that feather boas molt worse than a flock of chickens!).

Gail had to give detailed attention to the unique centerpieces she built for the season: tall vases filled with cedar boughs and cranberries and water, wrapped in burlap and ribbon and set on silver platters, with pine cones and snow-like crystals sprinkled around the base.

It’s a lot of fun to watch our guests have so much fun. I’ve watched people sit around the piano in the Riddick House and sing Christmas Carols and “Amazing Grace” and “Auld Lang Syde.” I’ve sat with brides as they’ve sampled an array of good wines, not only enjoying the different varieties but learning about how they were created. I’ve watched some of Fredericksburg’s best and brightest young business leaders earn recognition for the important contributions they’ve made to our community. I’ve basked in the white lights of our towering Christmas tree in the chapel in the lodge and watched bride and grooms begin their new lives together.

This is what makes Decembers such a treat at Stevenson Ridge, and it’s what makes my job here so rewarding. I could not have asked for a more wonderful way to wrap up 2013!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Coal in your stocking?

As the old tradition goes, Santa brings presents to good boys and girls, but people who’ve been naughty get a lump of coal. However, some newly engaged girls have been delighted to get a lump of coal this year—when that coal has come in the form of a diamond ring!

According to another popular story, diamonds come from coal. The earth exerts extreme pressure on the coal, and extreme heat, over millions of years. As a result, the coal is transformed into crystal form: diamonds!

At least that’s the lesson a lot of us learn in science class. But according to new research, that old story is just a myth. If you want an explanation of how diamonds do form, you can check out this article from the Smithsonian Institute.

So, maybe a lump of coal isn’t such a good idea for Christmas after all—although I’m excited for anyone who got a diamond. Congratulations!

Photo Credit: Katelyn James Photography