My brother Andy and his partner of 26 years, Art were legally married in Virginia this past weekend in a beautiful wedding in the Episcopal Church, attended by over 200 people.
In the next couple posts, I’m going to detail the fun weekend we had at the various events, leading up to the actual wedding. As there were approximately 35 people coming from out of town, Steve (DOS) and I, as well as Andy and Art stayed at the Hotel Roanoke, which served as the host hotel for the wedding weekend. Hotel Roanoke was a nice base close to the Church, rehearsal dinner, reception, as well as many local downtown restaurants.
Hotel Roanoke is a grand ole hotel, originally built for the railroad in the 1880’s. From Hotel Roanoke’s official website “about the Hotel page”, there is a nice description of the hotel and its history over the years. Today the hotel is a joint venture with Virginia Tech as part of its hospitality and conference program.
When we in our early teens, our family belonged to their “Sun and Swim Club” which allowed us indoor access to their year-round pool. I have fond memories of learning to swim here, and even having occasional swim races with my Dad. Today the original pool is no longer there as it was replaced by the huge Conference Center addition a few years ago.
There is now a nice outdoor pool area located near the back entrance of the hotel.
In recent years, our family has had many nice meals in the hotel’s Regency Room, from Mother’s Day, Easter, birthdays, and anniversaries the hotel is always a special treat to visit. Here are some pics from a couple years ago when we went as a family after Church for the Sunday buffet.
At Hotel Roanoke, the lobby, hallways, restaurants, elevators, and lounge in the main (original) building all feature beautiful woods and ambiance of a period long ago, but with the modern conveniences of today. Indeed the hotel lobby reminds me a bit of the Promenade Level on the original Queen Mary ship; now a floating hotel in Long Beach, California, with its old world grandeur, ambiance and charm.
The Pine Room (hotel lounge) actually served as officers quarters during World War 2, while today it is an elegant and masculine place to relax with a nice cocktail or brewski, which you’ll see at the end of this post.
Ok so enough of the hotel’s and our family’s background; it’s now August 2019 and time to checkin for the wedding weekend! DOS and I were already in Roanoke as we’ve been up here helping my parents for the last few weeks. We checked in on Thursday for 3 nights into a Parlor Suite, while Andy and Art checked into the top Governor Suite on Friday for two nights.
After checking in, Dos and I went shopping for items to stock the suite with; i.e. beer, wine, chips, flowers etc. Once we returned from shopping, we setup the room with our purchases, holding Andy and Art’s items for them until the next day. We then quickly showered and got ready for dinner for a night out at Frankie Rowlands Steakhouse!
Frankie’s (for short) is one of our favorite restaurants, and was a short walk from the hotel. We had dinner with Angie (Art’s daughter) and Drew who had just gotten in from Ohio, as well as Andy and Art. While Andy and Art weren’t checking in until the next day, they had several things to attend to for the nearby wedding, so they Ubered over and met us there. Drew always likes going to Frankie’s for their outstanding steaks and service, as do we as well, and it was good to see them both – Drew’s always a good drinking buddy! LOL!
After dinner, we walked the couple blocks back to Hotel Roanoke, via the attached skybridge over the railroad tracks.
While it was nearly 11pm, we met up with my cousins and others at the Pine Room, the hotel’s lounge. From the Hotel’s website, the Pine Room was once an Officer’s Club during World War 2, so there is a bit of history everywhere in the elegant Hotel Roanoke.
After having a couple drinks in the lounge with my cousins, and catching up with everybody, several of us then headed upstairs to our suite for an additional nightcap. After many people traveling, and our night out at Frankies beforehand, the drinks were really kicking in – LOL! So much so security made a complimentary stop at 12:30am requesting us to be a bit more quiet. No problem! (Damn those people next door in the connecting room LOL). We actually had the door propped open to the hall, so I’m sure the noise carried a bit; sorry! Anyway, we quieted down a bit, and as it was getting late, we called it a night soon after. It was a wonderful first night at Hotel Roanoke, seeing our cousins whom we hadn’t seen in years, and my sister and family. Tomorrow, there’s more to come including the 4pm rehearsal! It was really a great kickoff night for the wedding weekend! Happy pre-wedding brother Andy!