Sunday, September 15, 2013
Tee time today at 9:00 so I have time for a workout and leisurely breakfast. The resort is beautiful at sunrise and appears to be pretty empty.
La Hacienda is open for breakfast and is right across the courtyard. When I arrive around 7:30 the place is totally empty of customers. The staff are buzzing around all over in preparation for the weekly Sunday Champagne Brunch. Maybe I should skip the morning tee time? They are very welcoming and friendly to me and tell me to “sit anywhere.” That garners a laugh from all of us since I have my complete choice of tables!
The breakfast buffet is included with my room and while it is not nearly the scale as Sunday Brunch is shaping up to be, it looks great. I start with a plate of fresh fruit and then move on to the omelet station. I feel like the chef is there just for me! He makes me an egg white omelet with spinach, mushrooms, green peppers, olives and tomatoes. Perfect.
When I check in at the Pro Shop I see that the course is nearly empty. Today I will play Mission Inn’s other course – Las Colinas. It is just as beautiful as El Conquistatdor. These courses are quite unusual for Florida. There are hills! I guess I should have figured that out from “Howey-in-the-Hills…” It is very rolling with lots of elevation changes. Reminds me of some courses we have played in Georgia or Tennessee. My game is pretty good and I finish the round satisfied with how I played. (No, I did not break 80).
Lunch in the empty clubhouse. I am beginning to feel as if this resort is catering strictly to me. A little strange, but kind of nice. I order the Watermelon, peach, pumpkin seed and Feta salad. It is refreshing and delicious!
On my way back to my room I pause to take a few resort photos.
The remainder of the afternoon is spent here:
I decided last minute to take advantage of a special deal they had on the Sports/Wellness massage. Good decision. My therapist was great and did a lot of stretching and pulling. I have been working out a LOT and playing a LOT of golf. Felt great.
Dinner tonight will be at El Conquistador – the “Fine Dining” venue. Having already been to Nicker’s restaurant twice, I figured I needed a change.
Once again, there is absolutely nobody in the place at 7:00pm (it is Sunday evening). I choose to sit at the bar for a class of Cava and get to chatting with the friendly bartender. I tell him all about Rich/Jack and their bike journey. He is fascinated. He calls over a busboy and tells him about their ride. The bus boy gets excited and tells me he rides his bike to work everyday – about a half mile! The bartender also tells me that his brother is an Executive Chef and they want to start a restaurant together in St. Pete. It will be called Driftwoods. I promise to watch for it.
When it is time for dinner, the hostess shows me into a different, more formal room. It is gorgeous – but empty! I laugh when I find out the the bartender will also be my server. He is great and knows I am a “foodie” so he spends extra time (hey, who else does he need to wait on?) to explain menu items.
I settle in on the Caprese Salad (this seems to be a theme for the trip) and the Double Cut Lamb Chops. A glass of Malbec completes the picture.
The salad is good, and the lamb chops are outstanding. Is it wrong to gnaw on the bones if you are the only one dining? I don’t even care.
It has been a great stay at Mission Inn. Next time, I will bring Rich to enjoy this serene setting. Tomorrow is a travel day (to Naples). Time to get some sleep.