The Grove Park Inn Was Nice, But Allendale Is Better
Last week at this time, we were in Asheville, NC. Our “home” church had a leadership retreat at the Grove Park Inn. Joanna and I had heard great things about this hotel, but had never gone before. Needless to say, as soon as we got the invitation last fall, we accepted before anyone could rescind the offer.
Worshiping with 400 leaders from Grace Church, receiving great teaching, being prayed for by an elder, and being encouraged by so many friends and church members were definitely highlights of the retreat. Of course, the accommodations were incredible — so much so, that a friend challenged me to come up with a list of why Allendale is better than the Grove Park Inn (because we already know the 15 Reasons Allendale Is Better Than Where You Live).
Here you go, Chad Dawkins. I came up with 10 reasons for you.
- The size and cost of lodging. Yes, the room was really nice at Grove Park. But a king sized bed meant I barely could tell my wife was with me all night. And for what it would cost you to get a room for half a week at this hotel, you could rent a house in Allendale for an entire month.
- No climbing hills. In Allendale, the difference between the highest and lowest elevation is about 200 feet. I had more of a hike down to where my car was parked at Grove Park.
- Parking. Speaking of parking … I had to drive around this winding lot to look for a place to park on a cold night, finally settling on space down the previously-mentioned hill. In Allendale, you can pretty much park where you need to and want, including (as I’ve done several times) right in a median.
- Allendale was a popular topic. Everyone at the retreat asked about our family and our work in Allendale. No one asked us about our mission work at Grove Park. Logically, then, Allendale > Grove Park.
- Cost of breakfast. Meals were included in our stay, but I saw that room service eggs, bacon, and grits cost $16, plus gratuity. For the same price, my 3 kids and I could eat the same meal at O Taste & See, AJ’s, Hardee’s, or Flavor.
- For the directionally-challenged. Most of us got at least a little disoriented trying to find our way to our rooms (who ever heard of going down from the main floor to get to your room?). In Allendale, there are only three main roads, so it’s much easier to get around (or drive through) the county.
- Socializing. It was amazing to be with 400 leaders from our church. But with so many people in a limited amount of time, we could not fellowship with even half of the folks that we wanted to connect. Some people we never even saw. (You know it’s bad when you have to get on Facebook to figure out who is there.) But you can barely go anywhere in Allendale without running into someone you know, and you usually have plenty of time to catch up with them (because what else are you going to do?).
- Warmer weather. Really? Snow on the last morning? Ugh. Bitter cold winds. I’m ready for spring and summer in Allendale. But I’m not ready for the Allendale gnats.
- Newness. The Grove Park Inn is marketed as “historic.” But I like modernity, like how Allendale is the youngest county in the state. Because when you think of Allendale, you should think of being up-to-date and innovative.
- Home field advantage. As we were leaving Allendale on Thursday, I was stopped for speeding by a local police officer. Thankfully, I got off with a warning, probably due to my mention of “a church retreat” and the fact that my license says that I’m an Allendale resident. Do you think I would have had such fortune in Asheville? Doubtful.
Since I don’t want to make anyone feel bad, I do want to concede that I had a wonderful time at the retreat. It was a great time to Take a Rest. We have been to about a dozen Grace Church leadership retreats, and this was the best yet for me.
But my enjoyment and rest had more to do with the people of my church than with the accommodations. Logically.