For the first weekend alone without children, ever, I decided to bring my husband to Nitro, WV for a relaxing time at the Mardi Gras Resort and Casino. My husband had suggested we head to Atlantic City, but I didn't want to drive that far, and figured a three hour trip rather than an eight hour one would give us more "fun-time." Haha! What a mistake!!!
I'm sure many of you in Roanoke have seen the commercials for Mardi Gras. It looks like a really nice place, and the reviews on Trip Advisor were glowing, so even though I thought it was a little expensive for West Virginia, I figured it would be well worth it. And, it was way less expensive than the Greenbriar! On our way up we stopped at Tamarack for lunch where they claim the food is from the Greenbriar. After a less than stellar-tasting meal, I was glad we hadn't bothered going to the Greenbriar.
The Mardi Gras is so new that even our GPS system couldn't find it. No matter how many variations of the address I punched in, Ms. GPS said the place didn't exist. When we got close to the resort I saw a car next to us that had fuzzy dice hanging from their rear-view mirror and thought they looked like "casino people" so directed my husband to "follow that car." We followed them and ended up in Walmart's parking lot. They did know the way to the nearby casino so I was right.
The place still has that new hotel smell and clean carpets. The room was just okay, but hardly what I would consider "resort-like." I could spend this entire post dissing the "resort" and the crappy casino but will instead spend time on the absolutely worst part of the rooms...no sound-proofing! It was the worst hotel room I have ever stayed in. I spent four days in Midtown Manhattan on the busiest block in NYC and experienced less noise and a more comfortable stay than in the isolation of Nitro, West Virginia.
At first we thought that children were left alone in the room above us while their parents went gambling. It sounded like the little elephants were jumping from bed to bed, running around (which I couldn't imagine how since the rooms were so small), stomping, dropping things, scraping the one chair around, etc. I figured they got into the mini-bar and drank all of the expensive energy drinks in there. The noise was non-stop from 9:00pm on. We went back to the room early figuring we could have some nice quiet alone time. Haha! Impossible with all the noise. Every time we'd settle down BOOM!!! the room would shake. What the hell??? At 1:00am we heard the "parents" get back announcing loudly they had sangria, merlot and beer to frenzied cheers. Apparently these were not parents and little kids after all. Once Lady Gaga kicked it up another notch and the stompings became even more unbearable we finally called the Front Desk. They said they were sending security up there. Well, the noise NEVER stopped, so either security joined the party, or never went up there.
At 6:00am I turned to my husband and said, "We are outta here!" I could not see paying all that money for the antithesis of what this weekend was supposed to be. He looked so relieved. The casino sucked too and I call "shenanigans" on the slot machines. One of the slots I was playing had 2 blue 7's pop up (a very nice payout) and then suddenly "malfunctioned" so the attendant had to reset the machine causing me to lose those two 7's. When I questioned him as to what the heck happened he said I pulled the lever too hard. Haha! Yeah, my arthritic right hand has super human strength. That as they say, was that...I wasn't giving them another penny. And for a Friday night the casino was empty. Yet they had only one $5.00 blackjack table open. Clue -- if no one is playing the $25.00 table, open up more lower ones. Couldn't get near it.
Anyway early Saturday morning I went downstairs to the front desk and told them to cancel that night's room. When they asked if everything was okay I unloaded on them. The woman told me there was a bachelorette party with 17 year olds above us, 6 girls and 4 guys! "Oh you should have seen how worn out the bride looked, and she's getting married today!" Never mind the bride, look how worn out I look with no sleep! They did drop $30.00 off the room but only because we had lodged a complaint the night before. $30.00 wasn't enough becuase actually there were two complaints the night before. The first time I called was because the television signal kept breaking up, tiling, freezing and fading to black. I felt like I was home. The front desk said that happens with satellite so she had to reset the system which took over 15:00. Now I really felt like I was home!
Oh, and when we had gotten back to the room on Friday night I went to put my cellphone in the drawer and discovered a case on top of the bible. I wondered what it could be and opened it. Lo and behold it was filled with jewelery! Who would bring that much jewelery to a resort and why wouldn't they put it in the safe??? I figure they might have been hung over since there were college graduation rings in there amongst other trinkets. Now, if I was one of those bachelorettes I probably would have said, "Score!!!!" but I'm not, so I headed down to the front desk with the pouch. Apparently the cleaning staff doesn't look in drawers either as evidenced by the plastic pieces of something I found, and the fact that the jewelery was still there after they cleaned. I turned it in and asked them if they would call the people who had my room before. They said they would put it in lost and found and wait for them to call. If it was me I would have called the previous guests as I'm sure they're quite upset at their loss. Oh well, I did what I could do and hope the hotel does the right thing. I know if I had left all my jewels (which I wouldn't bring to a room anyway) I would hope someone would turn them in.
By far the most interesting occurrence happened while I looked at our room window. There I saw what looked like a white deer. I took these snapshots so if anyone is familiar with deer let me know what you think of it. One of the other guests said it was a goat, but clearly it's not a goat.
When I saw the animal it reminded me of a spirit familiar of a Native American Indian. I don't know why but that was the vibe I received. Oh, and I do believe the room may have been haunted because of all the knocks I heard. I could tell the difference from the ones above and next to us. These were in the room and when I asked aloud, "Is there someone in here who wants to speak with me?" I kept getting a response. Unfortunately I did not have my digital recorder with me to conduct an evp session. The Indian presence was so prevalent that when I came home I GTSed American Indians and The Kanawha Valley and found this page. I was particularly fascinated about Mound Builders..."These burial mounds were monuments to the dead, and only important community or religious leaders were buried in the large mounds. Common people were buried in stone mounds that are often found on the hills and along the ridges overlooking the Kanawha Valley. The dead were sometimes cremated and their ashes were also buried in mounds." Hmmmm, like the hill right behind the hotel? But I digress.
I also saw a wild turkey, the first one I ever saw. My husband thought it was odd since turkeys usually don't travel alone. I wouldn't know.
Anyway we left early Saturday morning without trying out the pool, or jacuzzi, and headed back to Virginia. I was determined to salvage something out of this trip so suggested we check out a different city on the way home. Beckley was my choice. Haha! Bad choice. Not one person in Beckley could direct us to downtown. It was like it didn't exist. After about an hour, a visit to a smelly antique shop (the smell of it stuck in my hair) and eating a crappy cheesesteak sandwich at some dump, we gave up. All we saw were depressed areas, and spoke to people who we couldn't understand.
Although the first trip ever without children wasn't as "wonderful" as I had planned, we still had a lot of fun. It's good to laugh...and laugh we did. It's also good to take trips like this because every time we go out of town to a different southern city it makes us realize how much Roanoke and Salem have to offer.