Last weekend.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been meaning to write a little bit about his wonderful weekend with Mrs Villain. Alas, the minor flooding in the Villainschloss caused your Maximum Leader to write less than he wanted while taking care of the situation.

So…

Last weekend your Maximum Leader and his loving wife, Mrs Villain, had a great visit to the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa. This visit was to celebrate your Maximum Leader’s 40th birthday and our anniversary. Let your Maximum Leader tell you that Nemacolin is one of his favorite places. The accomodations are great. The food is great. The people who work there are superlative. There are so many things to do there that you’ll never be bored. He cannot commend it to you all enough. If you can, you should visit.

So, your Maximum Leader and Mrs Villain arrived last Friday (mid-day). We settled into our room in the Chateau which was wonderful. (Mrs Villain booked rooms in the Lodge but thanks to a little Maximum Leaderly charm we got moved over to the Chateau.) Then we meandered over to the Shooting Academy.

Once we arrived at the Shooting Academy, we picked up our shotguns (Berretta 12 ga for your Maximum Leader and Berretta 20 ga for Mrs Villain) and went out and destroyed some clays. During a previous visit your Maximum Leader went after 100 clays and got 85 of them. He was hot that day. Alas, during this visit he was not as sharp. He did 50 clays this time and probably only got about 30. He had some real trouble at some of the stations. He didn’t hit one of the “mini” clays. (Which are, as the name suggests, about half the size of a regular clay and faster.) He also had trouble at the station with the “rabbits.” In case you do not know, when you shoot clays they are often released in a way that resembles the flight of an animal. Sometimes a pheasant, or pigeon, or even a rabbit. Your Maximum Leader had trouble picking up the rabbit as it skipped across his field of vision. It was disappointing. Perhaps it is a sign of age. Perhaps a sign of needing to check his eyeglass prescription.

After shooting clays we returned to the room and freshened up and dressed for dinner. We went to dinner at the one restaurant at the resort where we hadn’t eaten in our previous visits. We went to Aqueous. It is a steak and seafood place. We split a bowl of soup (a creamy mushroom soup that was a special that day) and some of their smoked salmon apetizer to get started. Then Mrs Villain had the Seasame Ahi Tuna (with shitake lo-mein, some tempura veggies, and yuzu). Your Maximum Leader had the New York Strip with a broiled lobster tail, with bearnase, aparagus, and their special Mac & Cheese.

Okay… Your Maximum Leader can absolutely hear Basil rolling his eyes from the midwest and declaring “Dear God! Mac & Cheese with dinner. What is Maxy now a four year old?” In his defence, your Maximum Leader wasn’t thinking of Mac & Cheese at first. But he remembered that during a previous visit he was told by a friend that the Mac & Cheese was fantastic and that if given the chance it should be gotten. Well… Your Maximum Leader can say for sure that this is the third best Mac & Cheese he’s ever had. The best is (of course) his own that he makes at the Villainschloss for the Villainettes upon request. The next best is the Mac & Cheese he’s had at both Nob Hill restaurants (the one in San Francisco and Las Vegas) The one at Aqueous was quite good. The chef used a mix of smoked cheeses that was very appetizing. So if you are dining at Aqueous, try the Mac & Cheese.

Oh yes… The view from our table across the golf course…
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Clicken to embiggen in all cases…

The next day Mrs Villain awoke and got a spa treatment. Your Maximum Leader, not being much for spa treatments, went out for a little walk. He spoke to the tennis pro for a bit (about baseball actually) while passing by the lovely grass courts. Then your Maximum Leader went back to the room and waited for Mrs Villain to return. Upon her return we both went for a walk. We walked up to the menagerie and saw lions, elk, mountain goats, hyenas, and bison among others. In fact while we were walking by two of the bears decided to “get jiggy with it.” Photographic evidence:
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The most interesting animal on the trip was the white Bison known as “Snowball.”
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After our walk we got an early lunch and then spent a little time by the pool. Then we took a little trip. Mrs Villain, knowing your Maximum Leader’s love of baseball took him away to Pittsburgh for the Pirates/Royals game at PNC park. Your Maximum Leader hadn’t seen a baseball game at PNC (although he had seen games at the old Three Rivers). We had great seats.
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And not only that! The Pirates won the game. (Woo hoo! Way to stick it to the American League!) It was a great experience. Your Maximum Leader was reminded of how great the Pirates fans are. They know their team. They know the game. They were a great group of people to mingle with.

Since you might be thinking it… Your Maximum Leader has visited a number of ballparks. In his mind the ranking of the best ballparks goes something like this: 1) Wrigley; 2) Fenway; (both of these are highly ranked due to their history and atmosphere - if not the amenities of the park itself) 3) PNC Park; 4) Camden Yards; and finally 5) Nationals Park. (Okay… Your Maximum Leader admits that Nats Park only makes the top five because he is a fan and loves his team. If push came to shove he’d say that AT&T park is probably nicer… But Nationals Park is right up there.)

After the game there were fireworks fired off barges in the Ohio river. That was great. Then we drove back to the resort.

On Sunday after a wonderful breakfast we checked out and went to visit some of the local historical sites. This was your Maximum Leader’s fourth or fifth visit to Nemacolin; and he’d never stopped to see some of the very historical sites that are within 5 miles of the resort.

Robbo… Are you paying attention to this? Your Maximum Leader was thinking of you during these visits.

We first went to the grave of Maj-Gen Edward Braddock. We walked down the remains of Braddock’s road to the site were Braddock was buried by George Washington.
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Seen here with Mrs Villain’s gams:
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Then we walked up the hill to the current gravesite.
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Some details of the plaques on the monument:
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Here is a view from a distance away. You can see the current monument to the left of the photo. Your Maximum Leader is standing in the remains of Braddock’s road looking down the hill towards the site where Braddock was first buried. If you look carefully you can see the ruts of the road in the grass. Look to the bottom of the photo and you’ll see two wooden beams. These beams mark where the ruts were before they paved the path. If you follow them into the darkness you can pick up the roadway.
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(NB to all embiggening clickers: Sorry for the crappy quality of photos. We forgot the good camera and were reduced to using your Maximum Leader’s cell phone camera.)

After the Braddock grave site visit we drove on down the road to Fort Necessity. We looked through the visitor’s center and then walked out to the reconstruction of the fort itself.
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Your Maximum Leader was surprised during his visit. The fort was about as big as he’d always pictured it in his mind. He also remembers reading a letter of Washington’s describing the construction and size of the fort. What surprised him was the size of the meadow in which the fort was located. The US Park Service is has been kind enough to mark where the tree line was in 1754. In many cases the trees were a lot closer to the fort than he’d imagined. Thus, the meadow didn’t seem all that big. The Wiki article linked above says that the tree line was within 100 yards of the fort. This is a little tidbit that your Maximum Leader never remembers reading. He visualized that the tree line was well further than 100 yards from the fort. While the trees are now more than 100 yards from the fort, they weren’t in 1754. Now seeing the site your Maximum Leader has a better understanding of why Washington’s physical position in the fort was untenable (especially considering the rain and lack of supplies). Your Maximum Leader wouldn’t want to try and defend that position from attack…

Anyhoo…

After visiting Ft Necessity your Maximum Leader and Mrs Villain returned home. It was a wonderful trip. Again, if you happen to be looking for a great place to spend a nice weekend, you should give Nemacolin and the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania a try.

Carry on.

2 Comments »
Robbo said:

Oooooh…..

Poor Braddock. He wasn’t a bad general by European standards, but he didn’t have the faintest idea how to deal with bush warfare.

Casual readers may not realize he was first buried in the road in order that once the retreating army had left, the Indians wouldn’t find him, dig him up and scalp him. I always get the chills when I read about this.



I should have given a little background on the original gravesite and why they moved it.

Perhaps I just assumed that the general readership of this blog would know that chilling tidbit…

What was funny was that while I was taking these photos at Braddock’s grave I said aloud, “Damn! If only Robbo where here; then we could talk about the French and Indian War in the context of the larger world war.”

My wife rolled her eyes at me and probably thought, “There he goes again with his imaginary bloggy friends…”



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