Friday, October 30, 2009

Gesundheit - The Buildings

photo by Soozi

Before I describe our activities for the rest of the weekend, let me give you a little tour of the place.
It was nothing like we expected.

Gesundheit! consists of 317 acres, 6 main buildings, 2 tents, 1 lake, 1 river, several creeks, 1 treehouse, and several waterfalls. Here's Google Earth aerial view with the main buildings marked.

Scenery on the next post, but first, the buildings.
I'll put the pictures in order of what you would see as you come to the place.
(When you see no photo credit, the picture is mine.)
As you turn off the little 1-lane road, the first thing you see is . . .

The Abandoned Barn - this was derelict & really beautiful.
We took lots of pictures, especially on Sunday when the sun was shining & the sky was blue.

photo by Soozi

The 3-Story Workshop is next.
Although, I think more fun occurs here than work.
There's a woodworking shop, a performing arts studio (with the COSTUME CLOSET!),
and a conference room.

photo by Soozi

photo by Anne

photo by Anne

Then the road winds around to the parking lot . . .

. . . and you cross a footbridge requiring significant repair (soon to be completely rebuilt) to the main compound.

The Farmhouse - the main building is old, with additions tacked on. Here are the big kitchen, dining room, small sitting room, library, greenhouse & office upstairs.
Gobs & gobs of character here.

photo by Anne

Wildman doing some caulking in the dining room.

photo by Soozi

The main living quarters are housed in the coolest of all buildings, called
The Dacha - a large multi-level house with a kitchen, living rooms, bedrooms & bathrooms, all scattered and tucked up & around stairwells. Easy to get lost.

photo by Anne

photos by Anne

photo by Soozi

photo by Soozi

photo by Soozi

Our sleeping quarters

All the handrails were smooth logs . . .

. . . and the showers all had beautiful mosaic tilework.

photo by Anne

Those are the main buildings. The others are used for meeting space or dormitories:

Can't remember the name of this one, but it was a tiny little gnome's house used for a meeting room:

The Yurts - permanent floored tents with bunches of bunk beds:

photo by Anne - and no, it's really level

photo by Soozi

Another building used as a dormitory:

And one that I have no clue about:

photo by Soozi

A view of the farmhouse & Dacha:

photo by Anne

And the message that welcomes everyone who comes for a day or a month,
in a different language on all 4 sides:

photo by Soozi

Gesundheit Day 1 - Getting There

There were 3 of us taking pictures all weekend, so I'm going to pick & choose among them.
My co-workers have given me permission to do this.
After all, fame & fortune will no doubt follow them as a result.

We set off at 8:00 am on last Friday morning - 8 women, all with different bladder schedules,
on a 6 1/2 hour drive to the wilds of West Virginia.
Once we hit the interstate, we were oohing & aahing at the fall color,

photo by Anne

but it soon turned to driving rain that lasted until we got to the mountains.

I tried to get some pictures of the color, but I was in the middle of the monster van, so it was pretty futile.
Even so, I managed this one that turned out decently.

We made it halfway before we needed a potty break, stopping in Waynesboro.
The parents of one of our party live there, and we all made a beeline for their bathrooms.
All they could do was stare, speechless, at all of us while that was going on.
While we visited for a few minutes, we looked around us. Oh my!
I have a weakness for pretty trees, so bear with me:

And weren't we stupidly excited to see this sign?

photo by Anne

We got off I64 at the quaint little mountain town of Lewisburg.
We were running early, so we killed some time driving around the pretty little town (raining again) . . .

both photos by Anne

. . . looking at its unique atmosphere,

photo by Anne

. . . and noticing the unique shops.

Since we were getting close, we tried to morph ourselves into a Gesundheit frame of mind.
This is our boss,

photo by Anne

who drove the WHOLE WAY there & back. Thank you Soozi.

So, off the interstate, we meandered our way north on Route 219 on twisty turny roads until the turnoff to Gesundheit.
That turned out to be a 1-lane mountain road,

and no sooner had someone wondered what we should do if we met another car
(seriously, the words were still hovering over heads in one of those little balloons),
then we saw this coming our way.

A game of road chicken ensued. The bus won.

And we're here!

photo by Anne

And looky, it's new!

With all the comforts of home.

Just kidding. This is what we were looking for:

It was still rainy & drizzly, so I will save the pictures of the property for tomorrow, after the rain let up.

We were greeted by Wildman Adams (Patch's brother), his wife Elisa and daughter with hugs all around.
And wouldn't you know, none of us got a picture of our first meeting with them. Oops.

They had had a full-time land manager, but Wildman & Patch decided it would be better if family was on the land.
The Adams Family moved there about 2 months ago to stay on full-time.

And no, Patch wasn't there. We missed him by 3 days.
He was there earlier for a group of about 50 medical students doing an elective on humanistic medicine,
complete with lectures, workshops, presentations, and community work.
They had been there for a month and the last of them left just hours before we got there.
There was lots of scurrying to get beds changed and bathrooms cleaned for our arrival.

Look at the pile of laundry waiting to get done. Wildman refused any help with this. Huh?

There were still a few volunteers that stayed on, including one of the medical students.
When we arrived, they were cooking dinner, complete with clown noses. We all got more hugs,

and a thorough tour of the place, but I'll save those pics for the next post.

Here is a picture of us with the Adams Family. That's Wildman in the red shirt with his wife in front of him.

photo by ?

Before I continue, let me say that, even all the food was vegetarian (but not vegan, whew!), it was really really good.
We didn't miss the meat at all
(until the drive home. heh).

After the silly people with clown noses & big knives finished cooking, we all sat down to dinner.

Afterwards, we signed up for our chores for the weekend and went over to the big building to watch a documentary,
"The Real Patch Adams".
It cleared up some of the inaccuracies of the movie and expanded on Patch's work since the end of the movie.
All that information is in the links that I have on the last post, so I won't repeat them here.

After the video, it was time for fun & games. Fun & games is very important in the life of Gesundheit.
So, someone puts him/herself into a position of their choice.
Then their partner, with eyes closed, has to try to figure out the position and replicate it.
It involved lots of touching to figure it out, and they made me promise I wouldn't post the best of those pictures.
You would have learned a lot about all these people (if you know what I mean).
But it was pretty hilarious. Here's one of the tamer ones.

Wildman, Elisa, and everyone else there were incredibly welcoming, and we immediately felt like part of the family.
I don't think I can say I have ever been welcomed more warmly.

Tomorrow, we're put to work. After all, that's why we went.