Monday, April 14, 2008
Retreat Night at the Hilton
Since I didn't use my free night at the Hilton last weekend, because I was at the poker tournament, I used it this past Saturday night. I checked into the Hilton Garden Inn in Ithaca, NY about 3:30. My room was at the end of the hall on the 6th floor. One wall of the hall was actually windows looking out on the city, with a window straight ahead. Go to that window and my door was on the left.
The view from my window was of the streets leading steeply up to the Cornell campus. The clock towers were quite amazing to see against the skyline in the twilight. I left the curtains open to watch the headlights coming down the hill most of the evening.
My goal was to have a retreat night - a chance to read, reflect, and just be alone with myself and my thoughts.
I had a gift certificate for a local bookstore - not a bigbox store. The kind of place where they hold weekly poetry readings on Saturday afternoons, and draw a pretty decent crowd. So I browsed the shelves while someone animatedly read their latest poem.
These local bookstores aren't like a B & N, where the hottest books are prominently displayed. I had to have help finding "A New Earth", the book so hyped by Oprah these days! Oprah, evidently, doesn't hold much sway in a crunchy granola bookstore in highbrow Ithaca.
I left with some treasures: A New Earth, Wicked, The Other Bolyn Girl, 2 sudoku books, and The Friday Night Knitting Club. Back at the hotel to drop off my books, and decide to head down to the pub for a salad. Which book to take? I choose The Friday Night Knitting Club because the print was biggest and I thought the restaurant might be a bit dark.
Once I opened the book, it was like meeting old friends. I ate, read, paid the bill, got a Starbuck's frappachino from the franchise attached to the hotel, and back upstairs. Then it was me and the knitters from New York.
One of the comments on the jacket back called this the "Steel Magnolias" of NYC, and it is, from the standpoint that we meet a group of diverse women who become friends through being patrons of a yarn shop in Manhattan. They are interesting and amazing characters. It is a story about life, friendship, growth, support, betrayal, and forgiveness. I was mesmerized.
I read until about 11:30, then slept so soundly in my lovely king sized bed. There were no rooms next to me, so it was really unusually quiet for a hotel. I loved room 642!
I was up at 7, for a quick breakfast downstairs (also a freebie - the last part of my poker win from last year's charity tournament) then back to the women and the yarn shop... Check out at the Hilton was noon on Sunday. I finished the book at 11:20 a.m.
The time at the Hilton was exactly what I wanted it to be. I urge every person who ever thinks wouldn't it be nice to hole up in a hotel for a night with a good book and just be alone to read, read, read, to do it. Do it!