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What an amazing weekend with our dance family!  In fact, we had so much fun that we will be going back again later this year!  Just in case you were wondering what all the excitement has been about since our return, here’s a snapshot of our dance family exclusive weekend on the historic and beautiful Jekyll Island, GA…

As soon as we arrived at the beautiful Crane Cottage, we were swept away by the beauty and size of our very own private mansion! The smiles grew and grew as we toasted champagne to the magical weekend that was to come, and then we all retired to our rooms to get ready for our Gatsby Fete that was planned for the night. We started the evening by taking pictures in front of our luxurious weekend home with a postcard perfect sunset over the river.  After we struck a pose, all our dapper gents and lovely ladies gathered in the private, formal dining room for a 3-course dinner with wine. Everyone was having great conversation, and laughter was not in short supply!

Once we finished dining, it was time to DANCE! As we walked into the main hall, the Jekyll Island Big Band, donning tuxedos and dressed to the nines, began playing all of our favorite big band hits. We danced to their smooth tunes for 3 hours straight…but the night was still young! After the band wrapped up, we kicked off our dancing shoes and gathered around the fireplace. We sang along to some American favorites while Jim strummed the guitar and Blaise played along with his blues harmonica…Blake even jumped in on the drums! The merry making drew to a close in the wee morning hours, with visions of the next day’s festivities dancing in our heads.

Saturday morning started out with breakfast in the Crane library. The floor to ceiling french doors looking out onto the manicured English garden wide open and the warm sea breeze blowing in. We were all in need of good coffee and high spirits for our next adventure…a friendly croquet tournament on the front lawn of the Jekyll Island Inn.  Dressed in our best whites, we were greeted to the green by a few of the professionals from the Jekyll Island Croquet Club. They were very nice and patient with us as we learned the art of the game and got into the competitive spirit for our tournament.  So competitive, in fact, that the referees comment many times on how some of us would have been politely asked to leave the court at a sanctioned event!  Can you guess who the friendly hacklers of our group are?!? It was neck and neck and at the end there was a tie between two teams; Jim and Blake vs. Joy and James…both teams played a great game with the rest of us standing on the sidelines cheering them on, but it was Blake and Jim who took home the prize!

After our croquet tourney, we headed back to the cottage where luncheon was being served in the sunny courtyard next to the calming sounds of a running fountain. The afternoon provided everyone some free time to explore more of the grounds or to take a well deserved nap!  Some went shopping at the various artisan shops lined up under the broad shade of the oaks, others retired to their rooms for a rest, and some went on one of the many history tours offered by the Jekyll Island Historic Society.

As the afternoon turned into evening, and with the wide glass doors swung open allowing the cool air from the river to fill the main hall with the sweet scent of early spring, we revelled in the fellowship of a lavish shared meal and danced another night away to the sounds of the Jekyll Island Big Band. Then, late into the night, we all came together singing songs with Blaise, Jim, and Blake carrying the tune with their instruments. It was also discovered, next to a warm fire and with disco lights swirling above us, that quite a few members of our dance family are talented karaoke performers…

We awoke to a foggy Sunday morning which quickly turned into a beautiful sunny day.  We had a little bit of time before our courtyard brunch, so we decided to go as a group to see the quaint Faith Chapel. We were all blown away by the beauty of the stained glass as you walk in; one of which was personally designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany himself. Then, it was BRUNCH TIME! We had mimosas and a personalized brunch to top off all of the wonderful meals we had shared over the weekend. Afterwards, Lacey DJed a special farewell dance party to send us off on a high note! When all was said and done it was time to pack up our things and leave our beautiful mansion and head back to the real world. As they say, all good things must come to an end…and though many of us didn’t want to leave (some tears were shed), we were already looking forward to the next adventure with our dance family!

We asked those who went with us about their experience on the trip…this is what they had to say!

What was your favorite thing about the Jekyll Island dance escape (besides the dancing, of course)?

“The feeling of comradery among the group. This was very apparent during the croquet match. We got to play with almost everyone else and had a great time. Sunday most of us went to the chapel to see the stained-glass windows. The woman in charge could not believe the size of the group waiting for her to open the chapel up. A small group of us went to the shops and had fun sharing our findings.” Joy

What did you think about the food during the trip (given your dietary restrictions)?

The food was amazing! And our every need was taken care of either without even asking, for example allergies addressed in the kitchen at the same time as everyone else’s food, or on the spot if there was a last-minute request. The only possible issue was the sheer amount of food. Certainly, nobody went hungry!!” Blaise and Donna

What did you think about the accommodations at the Crane Cottage?

“We absolutely loved Crane Cottage.  Our room was spacious and had a wonderful balcony which overlooked the water. It also had a beautiful courtyard, side garden, and many places to sit and enjoy the views or solitude. We have stayed at Cherokee Cottage and it was nice, but Crane Cottage had so much more to offer. I did, however, miss the front porch and rocking chairs of Cherokee but managed to find some rocking chairs in the courtyard at Crane.” Jim and Darlene

How did you feel about joining our International Ballroom dance family while attending our Dance Escape to Jekyll Island?

“My first reaction was excitement and I was ready to go.  After I told Lacey & Andrey yes, I was then thinking maybe I would feel like an outsider, did they just need to fill a spot?    I second guessed my decision to attend (my home studio is in Greenville and I only dance occasionally with International Ballroom) and was a little apprehensive.   When I arrived, I was greeted with open arms – and a glass of champagne.   Everyone was so welcoming and stopped to talk with me.  It really was a dance family, just like my home dance studio.   All of my doubts went out the window.  It was a fabulous adventure.  Our home (Crane Cottage) on Jekyll Island was beautiful, the weather was 88 and sunny, the staff treated us all like royalty, and Lacey made me feel like I was one of the group.   Lacey’s attention to detail was thoughtful and truly made it special.   I loved the down time just talking and singing with the group, and loved dancing every day.   The International Ballroom instructors treated me like a princess and I was able to relax and do my favorite thing… dance!    I feel like I have a whole new group of friends -it was worth every dime and I would do it again in a heartbeat.   I plan to keep in touch with all of the dancers and hope to meet again on the dance floor (where ever that may be).   I highly recommend the trip!” Michelle