After sleeping through my alarm, and only 10 minutes to spare, I manage to check-in and head through U.S. customs with just enough time to stop for a coffee. Thank goodness for low traffic volumes at 6:00am. A seamless flight with a not so seamless touchdown lands us in Atlanta for the start of the mill tour.
Check-in, change and it’s off to dinner at South City Kitchen for some phenomenal southern cooking, which of course would not have been complete without some fried chicken, fried green tomatoes and a few bottles of wine. Sunday dawns with a delicious egg white omelet and fruit bowl, followed by a facial and body wrap at the hotel spa. A brief stop in the gift store sets me up with some overpriced shampoo and a stuffed animal for my daughter, then off to the outlet mall for some shopping.
Enter Barnsley Gardens. A beautiful resort complete with golf course, horseback riding and skeet shooting! No time to enjoy it today though, it’s off to dinner and bed for this weary traveler. Monday involves a trip into town to visit the first of many mills that we will visit this trip. A sneak peak at the Neocon contenders gets us all ramped up for the trip to Plant ‘X’ where we see the magic of Shaw Contract come to life. No pictures please!
Back to Barnsley for a change of clothes and dinner with some of Shaw’s top management (tonight is eggplant rotini, creme brulee and a delightful full bodied red). Bed time at last. Last day of the tour before departing for home starts with a fruit bowl and english muffin at a way too early 7:30am. Today we visit Shaw’s product testing facility and a tour of their very impressive recycling facility. Shaw is doing to counteract this waste by using it as energy. Again, no pictures here! They are very hush hush about their operations.
Return to Barnsley for the last time, with enough free time to get well and burnt poolside. Dinner is another 4 hour event as only the south can provide. Once the sun goes down, we grab flashlights and head into the resort ruins to hear about Barnsley history and tour the graveyard for extra fright factor. Back to the rooms for some wind-down time then off to bed. It’s going to be another long day of travel tomorrow, then back to reality. – Tracy Froland