Road Trip Christmas Extravaganza

Just to forewarn you all, this post is full of over forty pictures of Christmas cheer. If you don’t like Christmas cheer, I wouldn’t put your boots on. Those are only made for walking. Promptly put those running shoes on and scoot on out of here. It’s not that I want you to leave, but you will be upset by all the Christmas cheer. If you choose to stay, you brave soul, you, then you have been warned.

Yesterday was a heck of a day. We took a road trip to see a Christmas extravaganza. It was supposed to go something like this: Aunt Bev arrives at promptly 10 AM. We all pile in the car and drive straight to Oglebay’s for their lovely Christmas display to enjoy all the delicious spirit of the season. We reach our destination around 11:30. We enjoy our day perusing the shops, touring the mansion, and then walk the lit gardens and drive through the Christmas lights.

Our day actually went like this: Aunt Bev got sick and was unable to attend. (Boo!) We decided to take our time getting ready and didn’t leave until 10:30. On our way, my mom decided to stop at Target so that she could take in her receipt from the night before with a coupon and still receive the sale price plus a gift card. We stopped at one location that for sure had to have a Target. It didn’t. We googled and found another Target on our way. We stopped there and had success. By the time we finally made it to Oglebay’s it was nearly 1:00. We cruised through the shops. We ate. We toured the mansion. We perused another shop. It was still only going on 4:00, an hour and a half before the lights would come on. We left Oglebay’s in favor or Cabela’s.

So now that you have the run down, let me tell you the full story.

It was a dark and stormy night. Oh wait, wrong story.

Our morning started out like something out of a bad comedy. Aunt Bev couldn’t go with us, we took too much time eating and getting ready, and ended up out the door late and forgetting things we wanted to grab. (Here’s looking at you and your cough drops, mother of mine.) My mom announced her need to go to Target on the way down, and since we were traveling a main highway with many stop offs that were littered with stores along the way, we thought it would be delightfully easy to find a Target. Our first try was at a place twenty minutes from home. It had everything. There was Wal-Mart and K-Mart and Ollies and a bunch of other stores I will never remember, but there sure as heck wasn’t a Target. I googled Target as we sat at a light and found out there were only two on our hour and a half trip along a main highway. Two? Since we were passing a dozen shopping complexes, at least, we were expecting more, but I digress. We did finally find our Target, and just in time because, over share, I had to pee.

Things went swimmingly, so we continued on our way, but by now it was just after noon and we still had thirty-two miles to go until we got to our destination. Yeah, folks, we weren’t making spiffy time.What made this even better was that we had entered West Virginia and were never welcomed. We were never told to get lost. Nothing. The exits just suddenly went from oh-my-gosh-a-high-number to one. And then we came upon a West Virginia Welcome Center, and it took two of us, but we realized that, much like Dorothy, we just weren’t in our home state anymore. About five miles past the welcome center, there was a welcome sign, but by that time the point was moot. Thanks, West Virginia.

And this is where the real fun started because, folks, people in West Virginia are just a little different. Probably not all of them, but it wasn’t looking too swell. We just didn’t know it yet, but we were about to spend the day finding that out. As my friend said to me on Twitter, if it doesn’t have a welcome sign, you may have entered the Twilight Zone. Go with it, but don’t trust it. I should have just listened to her.

When we did finally arrive at our destination, we were gloriously happy to be there, what with all the Christmas cheer we were about to endure. We had been at this location several years ago, but it was at night and just for the lights, so we never got to experience the stores and mansion that was there.

After motioning for a bunch of bad drivers and seemingly drunken people to get out of the way, we parked and made our way into the visitors center to find out where we were to go for the events we had wanted to partake in. And, much like I mentioned earlier with people in West Virginia being a little different, we were going to find out that nearly all the workers at Oglebay’s were that way. All but three either completely ignored us, were rude, ran us over in a store without saying excuse me, or stood around and talked to each other about private things and didn’t even acknowledge us. The other three were wonderful, but it ended there. However, I am getting ahead of myself.

At the visitors center, we were instructed by a very lovely, though over informative gentleman, about where to go for what event. While we were in there, we decided to check out the gift shop and gourmet candy store that was staring us in the face from our right side. This was easily the most Christmas induced, amazing, sparkling with Christmas Cheer store that I had ever been in. Everywhere you looked the place was brimming with Christmas cheer. You could nearly hear it tell you Merry Christmas, and if it could talk, then I’m sure it would have. There was reindeer pasta and snowman pasta, both which I would have bought if it wasn’t price gouged to the max. There were also peppermint and candy cane inspired trees and Santas there to greet you as you entered the store. It was purely Heaven, and I convinced myself for a whole ten minutes that I could move in there and live happily ever after. Then I remembered people would be coming in and out, tramping on my things and touching them and even taking them home with them, and I didn’t like that very much. So I just took pictures because they last longer.

After that, we went to the glass store, where we were directed by an equally lovely woman about where the glass museum and mansion were, and how to inquire tickets for both. We decided to go through the glass store upstairs, before going downstairs to the glass museum. (That’s a lot of glass and, if you’re keeping track, a lot of things to break.) The glass pieces were both gorgeous and well priced, but still too rich for my blood of no money, plus, I didn’t need anything. I did spend the entire time in a half panic attack, because I allowed some of my spirits to go along for the ride since they often miss their families at this time of the year. (Yes, I do know how that sounds. Why do you ask?) I was so worried about one of them getting a little too set on the whole being dead thing and accidentally knock something over without realizing they could do it. Luckily, that didn’t happen. *Wipes brow* That could have also contributed to why I took pictures like the freaking tourist I was of every and anything, but didn’t take pictures in that store.

Once we got downstairs to the glass museum, we realized we had no interest in walking through what seemed to mimic the glass store upstairs and have to pay for it, leaving us with the decision to only walk through the mansion. (Which was the wrong one, but I’ll get to that story.) We began toward the mansion, now hungry and figuring that since the place was like a little store-lined village, with a visitors center and a mansion in between, that there would be somewhere to eat within all those buildings. Clearly our logic didn’t line up with Oglebay’s, which we found out the hard way.

Still, as we looked for a place to eat, we went into the next shop, which was a garden store and greenhouse, but also sold ornaments in the back. As soon as we entered, we saw this very Christmasy site laid upon the top of the staircase.

As soon as my knees cooperated and we reached the bottom of the stairs, a little old lady of about seventy-five was overheard saying the following. “You did want to come home with me! You did! Come on, Buddy! You’re coming home with me too!” I looked over to see her pulling two snowflake LED lawn ornaments out of a box just as happy as could be. Rock on, lady. You made my day, though the rest of the store was uneventful compared to that.

Armed with the knowledge (after asking) that the only place to eat was 3/4 of a mile down the road, because that made sense to someone, though I don’t know who, we decided we were simply too hungry to tour the mansion without eating first. We hopped in the car and headed for the lodge. This was one of the best and worst decisions of the day. The lodge was decorated to look like something out of a Christmas movie. If one decided to shoot there, they wouldn’t have had to redecorate one tiny little bit. There was a man upstairs singing Christmas carols just as happy and talented as a lovely lark, and I could have also moved into the room with the fireplace, because it’s how I’ve always envisioned a nice, mountain Christmas home to be. It gave me the warm and cuddlies. I was in complete bliss and felt like I was in a scrumptious Christmas movie, so I never wanted to leave. In fact, we were even talking about coming and staying for a weekend over Christmas next year, because look how incredible it is!

And then we ate there. Even this tree couldn’t make up for the horrible service we got.

We had gotten to The Glassworks Grill at an off time, and even though the compound seemed busy, there was really no one in the grill. Plus, it was a really small, intimate place, so we were pumped to get our food, since we were now hungry, hungry hippo hungry. As per the usual of what we had learned from the stores, the workers were standing around and talking and mostly ignoring us, but one young lady did come up and seat us, and our waitress came back pretty quickly to get our drinks, and then came back with our drinks and asked for our orders just as quickly. But that was it. After we ordered, she literally disappeared. The girl who seated us was taking orders from the surrounding tables, which we later found out were our waitresses’ tables, and she was only a bus girl. Note: Despite this, she had also seated us. There were many workers on duty despite there being very few people in the place, but they were all standing around in groups talking.

After forty minutes of not seeing our waitress at all, and because the place was so small that it’s not like we could have missed her, we flagged down the bus girl. After a talk with the bus girl, her getting us more drinks, and then her going to check on our food, our waitress suddenly appeared with the food and told us she had been back there the whole forty minutes trying to get the kitchen to hurry up. That might have worked for her if it made sense, our food was actually warm, and if we hadn’t overheard someone else saying she was just sitting in the back.

Once our food was at the table, you guessed it, the waitress disappeared again. We waited and waited and waited, but she never came back to get our check. To top it off, I can’t eat garlic. I ordered a chicken sandwich with pretzel bread. The pretzel bread was soaked in garlic, which was never mentioned on the menu and quite odd, and not only that, but whomever put the honey mustard on it must have thought dumping the whole bottle on there was a wise idea. And it’s not like we could get the waitress to see if she could help assist us in getting a new order. At one point, my mom even got up and stood, putting her coat on, in order to attempt to get the attention of one of the workers that was just standing around so we could get a check. Several looked our way, but none bothered to come over. Finally, we received help from the gorgeous and super friendly barkeep. If it wasn’t for him, we’d still be sitting there, I’m sure. Bottom line: Bad service and cold, bad, misrepresented food just don’t mix. Avoid this place if possible.

We left there and toured the gift shop in the lodge, which was really great and put me back into the Christmas spirit. It featured items such as these.

When we went to exit the lodge, the sign in the parking lot not only made my season, but became my new very favorite sign. And the lodge itself, in all its beautiful, woodsy glory did not make my season any less Christmasy. Honestly, I wanted to move there, to that lodge, and not think it was odd, but also not eat in their grille.

Next, we got in our car and drove back to the mansion to take out tour. We paid our admission, which seemed ever so cheap for such a beautiful, stunning place such as this.

Then we got inside and discovered that the house had suffered a great tragedy at the hands of the parks and recreation service of Wheeling. For whatever reason, and I’m not sure what reason would ever justify this, they decided to rip mostly everything original out of the house, put in some fake floors in some places, put up ugly wallpaper, put up a bunch of walls that were not original to the house, and renovate it so nothing was true to the mansion except for possibly the grand staircase. That’s unforgivable, but what they did next I’m pretty sure is some type of a cardinal sin. They took and bought every random old piece of furniture they could find, whether it went with the house, matched or not. Then they shoved this unmatching furniture into the rooms. And by shoved, I mean they would put three dressers in one room, some in the middle of the room, nothing actually fitting into the room and none of it matching. In the end, it looked like junk was just piled into most of the rooms for storage. Then they allowed local businesses to decorate the rooms, which might have been a good idea if some of them didn’t put giraffes and lions in the room, and others try and donate more furniture. There were even themed rooms, like a colonial room and a general store, and none of the rooms went with each other. It was just simply a way to get businesses to throw everything and anything into a room. But everything was behind glass, so you couldn’t actually walk into the room, just into a glass enclosure. It sounds confusing, and it was. Confusing and awful. Even the people in front of us told other people not to go into the house. I appreciate seeing an old house in all its glory, not as a tourist trap of poorly done work and decorating. There were a few rooms that were snazzy, but for the most part it looked like an antique or junk store threw up all over the place. If you have a weak stomach, you may want to cover your eyes for this part. I tried to only take pictures of the cute things, but trust me, it was awful.

Because the mansion wasn’t what we had expected it to be, which was, you know, an old mansion and not an antique store where nothing was for sale, we flew through it in less than a half an hour. With the size of it, we had expected to be in there for quite some time. We would have had it been the old mansion that was advertised.

We had only one shop left to go into and over two hours until the lights came on. We got in our car and drove over to the shop. It was actually a golf course and golf store and lounge that was turned into a Christmas store for the holiday season, but still held lots of amazing treasures and was far better than the mansion.

And even after seeing this “Bossy” snowman, as his tag said, I still went home empty-handed.

While in the store, we even had a Hart of Dixie moment. There was this “tree,” and I use the word loosely. It was all kinds of ragged. And then this very Hart of Dixie quote came to me, and it fit and stuck.

Wade: “You know who would love this tree?”

George: “Charlie Brown is a cartoon character, Wade.” (It’s okay, Wade. I’ve got your back. I love Peanuts too!)

Amen to that.

When we were done in the store, we still had a good hour and a half before the lights and nothing left to do. We couldn’t even come up with something to do for that long, since we had been there and seen it all. On our way in, we had passed Cabela’s and had always heard how amazing it is and wanted to go there. Since we are going Wednesday to a festival of lights and had mostly come to stroll around the village, we decided to head out to Cabela’s and spend our evening there. I took a ton of pictures, which will be my next post.

All in all, Oglebay’s is worth going to to stroll the shops, but don’t expect to be impressed by the service you get at The Glassworks Grille, the mansion, or the friendliness of the employees, as it is mostly non-existent. But do expect to feel like you’re in a wonderful Christmas movie.

One thought on “Road Trip Christmas Extravaganza

  1. I LOVED the pictures and your descriptions of everything. The odds of my ever getting to Oglebay’s are slim to none, so I truly appreciate your reliving your experience in this blog! I feel like I was there too!! Thanks!!! Well worth the wait!

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