My friend Lisa and I escaped for a 1 night getaway last night. Lisa is about 11 months pregnant with her third child and since her other two kids are 1 and 3 years old, Lisa hasn't actually had a full night's sleep in about 3 years. This fact, in addition that this winter has been nothing but a parade of illnesses with her and her brood, and of course #3's impending arrival, the girl really needed one last getaway and a full night of uninterrupted sleep.
Lisa easily talked me into a fabulous retreat at the famous, and historic, Mount Washington Hotel. This amazing grand hotel was built over 100 years ago and has welcomed nobles, presidents, poets and many others from around the world. It's an amazing sight nestled at the foot of Mount Washington, the highest peak in northeastern United States. It's also known for it's hefty price tag, and although I may have often dreamed of staying as a guest in the grand hotel, I never thought I actually would. But Lisa found a great deal we just couldn't pass up that not only included a stay at the hotel but an hour massage in their new 25,000 sq ft spa. Sign me up!
The spa was fabulous! The best I've ever been to. Dinner in the main dining room was also nice (we skipped all real meals that day to justify dinner). We strolled it's marvelous halls, looking at all the old pictures of the hotel's rich past. We marveled at the photos of it's construction. It's the state's biggest wooden structure. Being over 100 years old, that woods pretty dry and we theorized on how quickly it would burn to the ground (Can you say 'tinderbox'? I know, I'm a bit twisted, donchaknow). In the evening we found an entire empty patio room and and claimed it for ourselves, ordered a platter of cookies, turned on Comedy Central on the big screen and played Yahtzee. Yeah I know, pathetic, but that's how we roll! We just enjoyed the peace; no screaming kids, no nagging husbands, no barking dogs, no nothing. We did absolutely nothing and it was everything we thought it could be.
By 11pm we were ready for bed. Lisa was downright giddy over the opportunity to sleep, uninterrupted! No kids, no dogs... just pure joyous, precious sleep, something she wouldn't see again for a loooong time with soon 3 all under 3. We even made sure the in-room alarm clock was OFF and volume turned all the way down just in case it mis-fired and still somehow sounded. I joked that maybe I should wake her up crying at some point so she didn't get too used to sound sleep, but realized she would probably kill me if I did. You just don't mess with very pregnant, sleep-deprived Momma. So off went the lights and we both settled into our own very cozy beds.
At 1:15 am, that tinderbox comment came back to haunt us.
I don't know if I heard the fire alarm first or the rapid-fire stream of cursing coming from Lisa. She was already dressed while I was still figuring out that my nightstand lamp wasn't a touch light. Slowly getting my wits about me, I pulled on some jeans and grabbed my jacket and amid ear-blasting alarms we made our way down the long hallway and down 3 flights of grand staircases. Kudos to the pregnant chick for keeping up! I was happy to see no signs of smoke, after all, the place is old and massive and I wasn't totally sure the best way to get out. We made it to the Great Hall where we were one of the first guests to make their way out the front door. It was dark out and no signs of flames. Oh, and cold, very cold.
After about an hour, and mind you not a single fire truck, we watched as a man dressed as a fireman, who must have, I don't know, dog-sledded to the hotel, got out a ladder and removed the cover off a smoke alarm in the grand hall, blew on it, wiped it down with his hand, replaced it and told everyone they could return to their rooms. WHAT?! We were blasted from our beds and sent out into the snow in the middle of the night for a dirty smoke alarm!!! We were finally going back to sleep around 3:30am. So much for that solid night's sleep.
On a side note, as we left our room we didn't bother to lock the door. The doors are probably original and the locks are horrible to work. They require the key to lock from the outside and one must shimmy, shake and wrestle it to get the lock to work. So in light of the possibility of the hotel actually being on fire, we didn't waste time trying to lock the door. However, when we returned to our room the door was locked. We watched as other guests who had left their rooms unlocked walked right into their rooms, but our door was locked tightly. (cue: Theme to Twilight Zone)
There's many ghost stories in this old hotel. Not sure if any of them messed with the damn smoke detectors!
And if that's not creepy enough, the TV show Ghost Hunters did an investigation at the Mt. Washington Hotel this time last year, in a room just above ours.