Thursday, May 22, 2008

The lifestyles of the rich

Last weekend, MKD and I finally were able to take our honeymoon to a very nice resort in PA. We got the honeymoon in before our year anniversary and can still be considered “newlyweds.” Buying a house and paying for our wedding in 2007 wiped out all our savings and it wasn’t until recently where we could spend large amounts of money again. At this luxury resort, spending loads of money is very easy.

A primary attraction to this resort for me was the Hardy Family Art Collection valued at almost 50 million dollars. Guests are surrounded by paintings, sculptures, Tiffany lamps, vintage transportation, etc. and can put their grimy prints on them if they wanted to. Anyone in a field related to archiving, preservation, or conservation would have a heart attack at how unprotected these works of art (some deemed 'priceless') are. Guests could flip through complete folios of the Audubon collection and used to have 24/7 access to these works. Each page is valued at $20,000 and there are about 200 pages per folio. Thankfully, the art curator has secured these in recent years, but guests can still view and handle them at their leisure with gloves and supervision. I thought about Center and how she would have a conniption fit at how works were displayed in direct sunlight, carelessly rifled through and handled, etc. I felt like I was in my own personal museum and hope that one day I too can invest a small fortune in art.

To extend this notion of being surrounded by very valuable art and antiques, MKD and I found ourselves at the Tavern on the last night of our vacation. There were four pool tables and were free to guests. But these were not just any pool tables. These were antiques and very nice with intricate inlay and an impressive lion base. I knew they were pretty old when the company name read, “Brunswick & Balke,” as the Brunswick Company has been just “Brunswick” since the 1960s. But I had no idea how old these tables really were until I was able to do some research and found this:

“In 1873, Moses Bensinger helped expand the Brunswick Company by joining forces with a competitor, Julius Balke's Great Western Billiard Manufactory. The new company was called the J.M. Brunswick & Balke Company, and it was incorporated with a capital stock of $275,000.”

Sure enough, I found this picture off an antique pool table website. This picture is the same table I was playing on:

So the table was from circa 1875 that guests can just willy-nilly play on and crap up with their spilled beverages and cigarette ashes. Again, heart attack.

All in all, it was an incredible experience that money can buy. I loved clay shooting with a 28-gauge shotgun (which I now would like to buy (much to MKD’s chagrin) to pursue this sport further), hour long massage, hour long facial, and dining at one of the most luxurious restaurants in the country with a grand tasting, personalized menu consisting of 13 courses and 4 waiters. These were all firsts for me and a glimpse into the lifestyles of the ridiculously rich and wealthy.

It was an amazing long weekend in which I was able to forget the stresses and responsibilities back home and horrors in the world. Everything a honeymoon vacation should be.
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