Monthly Archives: March 2012
Standing in our beautiful lobby staring at the welcoming HELLO sign, I reflect back to the beginning. Red mud, steel beams, long days and late nights. We were just a framed structure waiting to come alive. Accompanied by timelines, deadlines, and everyday construction, all things crucial to get a hotel up and running, thoughts of how we are going to be successful as a long term stay brand in a struggling economy were streaming through my mind. Two and a half years later, our fundamentals of providing a place for our guests to settle in, have a routine and connect with the neighborhood allow us to keep it simple, fresh, friendly, real and local.
I still remember the feeling I got when I heard the sounds of the sliding front doors opening and our first guest saying, “I would like to check in please”. That’s when I knew we were going to be alright! One by one, some of the nicest people you will ever meet came to be part of our TownePlace Suites family. Whether they were here for a night or to stay for a while, they made themselves at home and we added them to our family tree.
We are different here! Our welcome is more meaningful and our goodbyes hurt. People live here, they visit other hotels. We see them every morning as they head off to work and we send them off with a hearty “see you when you get home”. And in the evenings, we welcome them back to a fresh room and a familiar face. We hear their stories, each more endearing than the last and share ours with them. We know each other and that is very different and very meaningful.
Maybe you are tired of the standard hotel rat race and you are looking for a place to put down some roots, your home away from home, even if it is temporary. Maybe you are ready for a place where you will be called by your name and are able to call the breakfast lady by hers. If we sound like what you are looking for, stop by, meet us and take a look at the place so many wonderful people are calling “home”. We look forward to welcoming you with a warm smile and a friendly “hello”. Those sliding doors are waiting to open for you.
Lazy 5 Ranch!
Don’t let the name fool you, there is nothing lazy about it. As I approached the entrance, my heart rate took an unexpected rise. Who knew that you could go to Mooresville to see the Watusi? But seriously, if you are up for an animal encounter that you will never forget, the Lazy 5 Ranch is your brand of adventure.
The pasture along NC Hwy 150 is just a teaser of what is in store for you once you enter the gate. Once you visit the store, pay the fee and buy some feed, the world of exotic animals is waiting for you. As I passed through the gates, my mind drifted back to Jurassic Park and for good reason. I was riding in the bed of a pick-up truck and was swiftly attacked by hungry critters. This ride is not for the faint of heart. Of course, you can ride inside your vehicle with the windows up, but what fun is that?
Lazy 5 Ranch (www.lazy5ranch.com) is privately owned and operated by Henry Hampton with no federal or state funds. It is home to over 750 animals from 6 continents. The animals can be viewed from a horse drawn wagon or from your own private vehicle while traveling along a 3 ½ mile safari ride.
This ride is one of those things that you will want to do over and over again. The first time through, fear will be part of the excitement, so you will miss a lot. I remember telling my wife to hit the gas on several occasions as I began to feel like a llama or an emu was about to join me in the truck bed. It is amazing how long necks are, not to mention the tongues. They recognize the bucket of food and they want some. Be prepared for an up-close and personal encounter with these animals. For the most part, they are free to roam and they do. Be prepared.
When you finish the safari ride, be sure to take the walking tour. I thoroughly enjoyed the walk and animals and birds. The diversity of the collection is excellent. Take your time and look closely, some critters are shy and spend their time hiding.
I really appreciate the purpose statement that Lazy 5 has on their website….
The purpose of the Lazy 5 Ranch is to educate while entertaining as well as provide an excellent environment for reproducing some of God’s most unique creatures and helping the recovery of several endangered species including the Grevy Zebra, Scimitar Horned Oryx and Ring-tailed Lemur. Hopefully, with your visit to the Lazy 5 Ranch, you have learned new things and had lots of fun. Come see us again soon. The animals will be waiting!
I can’t end with any better statement, so load up the kids and the grandparents and head over for a few hours of fun and adventure. Visit their website ahead of time and learn more about the ranch and what it has to offer before you come out to meet the animals. Mostly, be prepared for fun and excitement; there is plenty of both.