The past week was a bit of a whirlwind for me. I started off the week by flying to Moncton for a meeting of Leading Spas of Canada, and ended up driving to Pennsylvania where I stayed at The Lodge at Woodloch for a night, and then attended a wedding in the suburbs of Baltimore Maryland. Moncton is a lovely place; most noticeably, the people are incredibly friendly, but all in all there just isn't much there to write about. There is no doubt that the Maritimes enjoys it's share of rustic, natural beauty. I've experienced this on previous trips to Halifax and Newfoundland and wish I had more time to experience it on this trip, but my schedule was too tight. Certainly the controversy surrounding the modifications to the Petitcodiac River is interesting, and the tide is impressive, but as Canadians trying to compete in a global economy, I believe that we have to do more to develop and promote our natural wonders, and we have to work harder at being creatively inspired to create new attractions and reasons for coming to our great country. Canada is currently ranked as number 12 on the list of places to go in the world. We also need to attract capital to this country if we want to be known as something more than a resource based economy. At the other end of the spectrum was my one night stay at The Woodloch in Pennsylvania. This place is incredible, but then with $38 million, you can make incredible. Set on 75 acres of woodlot, this destination spa, the first one built in the U.S. in a good long time, is magnificent. The owners spent the better part of their careers consulting on the design of other spas, so they had no shortage of experience to draw on. If you are a spa addict, and you have reason to drive through Pennsylvania, you should check this place out. Be prepared for a hefty tab, and a minimum stay of 2 or 3 nights. I simply couldn't find anything wrong with this place, other than the fact that it was too perfect, but then it has only been opened for a year. I'm sure over time a bit of the sheen will come off and it will find it's own natural charm. Of course, Ste. Anne's Spa is still number one in my books (surprise). Our final stop was at the marriage of my oldest nephew, Ben, to his lovely bride, Laura. Ben worked as a waiter here at Ste. Anne's during his high school years and went on to study business at the University of King's College in Nova Scotia. Upon graduation, he joined a small New York based bank where he has advanced at a breakneck pace. It was in New York that he was introduced to his bride to be Laura Yaggy, a somewhat infamous New York designer. This wedding blew my mind. The rehearsal dinner, which was bigger and more lavish than most weddings I've attended was held in a well heeled "old boys" country club on the outskirts of Baltimore. The wedding was held in an absolutely charming little church in the Maryland countryside. The reception was held in a tent that must have been the size of a football field. The porta-potties were beyond lavish, complete with hand towels monogrammed with the bride and groom's initials. There was a ten piece band with incredible range, and food to die for. Again, every "t" was dotted, nothing was overlooked, but the expense and extravagance was beyond anything I have ever experienced. I'm not sure I understand why our species wants to celebrate our unions in this fashion. None-the-less, it was an absolutely wonderful time, I danced, (something I rarely do anymore, long ago realizing that rhythm and soul is something you can't learn) but what the heck, I was surrounded by bad dancers! My nephew and his new bride have left for a two week honeymoon in Europe and I wish them the very best as they embark on their new lives together. I'm sure in time they will become generous and renowned philanthropists!