Conference at Wild Dunes Resort

I have a confession: I have been away from my garden since Monday. (GASP!) Actually, it’s not as bad as you’d think. I am currently at a conference for my job at a beautiful five-star seaside resort – right here in the Lowcountry. Even though it’s an hour’s drive away, it’s still considered local; so I don’t get to stay overnight there. However, I am truly enjoying the luxurious service, food, and surroundings!

This is the annual conference for Region 3 of the National Council of University Research Administrators, or NCURA. (Yes, I’m a research administrator when I’m not playing in the dirt.) It is being held at the beautiful Wild Dunes Resort in Isle of Palms, SC, a barrier island filled with surf, sand, palmetto trees, and million-dollar homes. The resort sits on the far end of the island, private and secluded.

Much of the main drive through the resort is lined with oaks and palmetto trees.

Tree-lined drive at Wild Dunes Resort

Tree-lined drive at Wild Dunes Resort

I’m spending my days here at the Sweetgrass Pavilion conference center.

Sweetgrass Pavilion at Wild Dunes Resort

Sweetgrass Pavilion at Wild Dunes Resort

It’s nestled among palmetto trees that are full of blackbirds.

Blackbird in palmetto tree

Blackbird in palmetto tree

By the way, the palmetto tree is South Carolina’s state tree. (It’s on our state flag.) I love how they look against the early morning sky.

Palmetto trees

Palmetto trees

It was wonderful to spend some time with coworkers I don’t get to see on a daily basis as well as to reconnect with colleagues from other universities. In addition, the food was beyond delicious!

Every day, we had a continental breakfast that would put some full breakfasts to shame.

Breakfast buffet

Breakfast buffet

Yesterday, I ate my breakfast on the veranda (instead of the banquet room)…..

Breakfast

Breakfast of fruit, yogurt with granola, & lemon-poppyseed cake

….and listened to several songbirds serenade me from the nearby trees.

View from the veranda

View from the veranda

The lunches they served us were incredible! Monday was a buffet lunch, and I had the best beef brisket with sweet peppers and gravy! I also had a piece of fried chicken, a bit of macaroni and cheese, and wonderful creamy cole slaw. (The potato salad and collard greens were made with pork, so they were out for me.) For dessert, there were tarts of cinnamon apple or strawberries or key lime pie. I had the apple, and it was delicious. I wish I had remembered to take a picture.

Yesterday’s lunch was a sit-down, served affair. Because I couldn’t eat the she-crab soup, they gave me a vegetable soup that was fantastic! Made with a very heavy tomato base, the soup had pieces of zucchini, onions, celery, and tomatoes, cooked al-dente with a touch of crushed red pepper. I wish the cup had been bigger! (You can see the dessert of a biscuit with shaved strawberries and whipped cream behind the soup bowl.)

Vegetable soup for lunch

Vegetable soup for lunch

Lunch was a rolled boneless chicken breast with herbs, served over rice and roasted asparagus, carrots, and a medley of baby lima beans and okra. There was also a basket of whole wheat rolls on the table.

Main course at lunch

Main course at lunch

The conference ends before lunch today, so no more fancy meals. <sigh> Tomorrow, I’ll be back at work – and my normal routine. I must say, it sure has been nice to be waited on, pampered, and fed five-star-restaurant quality food while in the company of friends and colleagues – even if it was short-lived.

Oh, by the way….I did learn a thing or two. šŸ˜‰

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