Saturday, May 26, 2012

SANCTUARY ON CAMELBACK MOUNTAIN RESORT

"This is what one thirsts for, I realize, after the smallness of the day, of work, of intimacy - even of communication, one thirsts for the magnitude and universality of a night full of stars, pouring into one like a fresh tide." ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

Life on the road has virtually exempted me from even dreaming about a basic backyard getaway.  So, in order to recharge and let go of the daily demanding details, I often create spaces of rest.  Most of the time I find myself having to use a little imagination, particularly when I'm in the midst of a hectic event.

One recent trip led me to the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain in Paradise Valley, Arizona.  When I arrived, I was grateful that I didn't have to employ any "getaway" imagination here.  The setting did it all.  Like the name suggests, Camelback Sanctuary is a great resting pillow for any weary traveler.  Besides that, the property itself has phenomenal panoramic views of Paradise Valley and the Praying Monk silhouette that you can see at dusk.

The food at Camelback is exceptional as well.  Executive Chef and Food Network guest star Beau Macmillan has crafted a revolving seasonal menu that features farm fresh ingredients with an Asian spin.  Summer time food events include a series called "Lunch and Learn" - a pairing of guests with star chefs and wine makers.  In addition to the innovative food, the resort has a state-of-the-art spa.  In fact, Conde Nast Traveler readers rated Camelback Sanctuary as on of the top 100 resort spas in the U.S. mainland.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

MANUFACTURERS' GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB

I recently came across an interesting list of odd golf course names.  Some of them include names like Bayonet at Puppy Creek, Barren View, Cwmrhydneuadd and Murder Rock Golf and Country Club.  As a potential guest, you might think twice about teeing off at any of those places; but, at the very least they would probably peak your interest to find out the history behind the name.  On a recent visit to Manufacturers' Golf and Country Club in Ft. Washington, PA, I also wondered about this name.  While it did not make me feel like I was a character in a whodunit, it did make me curious.

 It turns out that this stunning 250-acre hilltop club which overlooks Sandy Run Creek was originally made up of textile manufacturing executives.  The name Manufacturer's Golf and Country Club simply adds to the mystique of this stately facility.  Golf Week ranks it within their "Next 100" classic courses.  The club itself looks more like a private mansion.  And, as you might expect, couples flock to book their weddings here to have a storybook beginning.

While I was at Manufacturers',  I had a great opportunity to work with GM, Mary Dwyer, Executive Chef Greg Lenhart and his amazing kitchen staff.  In one particular instance, I made a little comment about replacing their tired slicer.  I am not quite sure how the the dominoes fell after that, but GM Mary Dwyer took up the suggestion with a note of seriousness.  Some time later, Chef Lenhart sent me a very humorous letter asking me to be the Godfather to their brand spanking new 50 lb., 4 oz. slicer that they named Globe.  Of course, I accepted, feeling honored.  I think it is terrific when management is driven to take care of the staff.  It was great to be part of this team.