This is a wonderful little diddy written by a couple of our special guests. They really made it unique by adding their own individual perspectives. Thanks for sharing and we hope we continue to be part of your traditions!
August 31st 2014, my sister’s wedding date in Sedona, AZ, was a busy day, and as the maid of honor, I was tasked with multiple last-minute errands. The wedding was incredible and my family and I had a great time, but my boyfriend and I barely had a moment together. This was disappointing because it was our only chance to reunite after being separated for over a year. We had been living on opposite ends of Europe and were now facing a year of being even further apart. The past year had contributed to an emotionally taxing year for the both of us. Neither of us had been without our best friend for more than three weeks, and suddenly, we had this new reality to adapt to.
I decided to take him to Flagstaff after the wedding and surprise him with another stay at Arizona Mountain Cabin Inn. I had taken him there in May 2013, right before we separated. We had such a great stay at the Inn and really loved exploring Lake Mary, Marshall Lake, the Grand Canyon, and other parts of northern Arizona.
It was a pleasantly warm, late summer day in Sedona, and I had just finished helping load up our convoy of vehicles. We were a big group, as my girlfriend’s sister had just gotten married. All the family members and friends were heading back to Phoenix to catch their flights. Although they kept saying goodbye to me, I figured I would see them at my girlfriend’s house before they left, so I called out to them: “see you in a few hours.”
I hopped into the car with my girlfriend and we headed out of the hotel’s parking lot. I had been both dreading and looking forward to this drive back to Phoenix. In the chaos of the wedding, I hadn’t spent as much time with her as I had hoped. Generally I wouldn’t have thought twice about this. It was her sister’s wedding after all–but she was headed to Madrid for the year, while I had just moved back to Portland, OR. The prior year we had also done long distance, and while it was often very difficult, we both lived in Europe, so we were able to see each other once in awhile. This time it would be different, as Christmas would be the next time I saw her again. The drive back from Sedona was the de facto end of our time together; I returned to Portland less than 48 hours later, and she moved to Spain just a few days after I left.
Despite all this running through my mind, I immediately noticed when my girlfriend headed north on the freeway towards Flagstaff. Directions are a true nemesis of hers, so my instincts kicked in and I told her to turn around at the next exit.
I got on the freeway towards Flagstaff. It’s no secret that I am generally pretty bad with directions, so I was prepared for him to correct me. I knew we couldn’t check in to the Inn yet, so I told him we were going to Walnut Canyon. It truly is a gorgeous and special place, and, luckily, it was only about twenty minutes driving from the Inn. I wanted to keep our stay at the Inn a surprise, so after the hike, I suggested we go to see Lake Mary and Marshall Lake again to avoid the Labor Day rush back to Phoenix. He liked the idea, and I knew this would give me an excuse to drive towards the cabin.
Walnut Canyon was a wonderful surprise and I was so grateful to have the time together. After we finished the hike, she suggested we visit Marshall Lake, which we had stumbled upon during our prior stay at the AZ Mountain Cabin Inn. I remembered how serene the alpine wetland had been, with its waterfowl and view of the San Francisco Peaks, so I was happy to make one last stop before we headed back to Scottsdale.
Once we were driving on Lake Mary Road, I brought up memories of our stay at Arizona Mountain Inn. He became nostalgic and talked about how much he loved that trip, and how it was one of the best gifts he’s received. I saw my chance: “Remember when we went on that gorgeous walk around the cabin grounds? The people working there were so nice, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if we parked the car at the check-in and walked around again. Just for old times sake.”
While I had enjoyed our first stay at the Inn, I thought it she was making an odd proposition, given that the sun was setting, and, to the best of my knowledge, we were not guests. However, I was simply happy to spend time with her before she returned to Europe, so I agreed to go.
I made a left turn into the pathway that would lead us to the cabin. We parked and went inside, when I walked up to the girl at the front desk and said, “Checking in for Cabin 8, please!” The look on his face was priceless-a mix of surprise, happiness, and confusion, all at once.
I was completely dumbfounded and overcome with joy when she pulled the reservation out of her bag and announced our stay. After the chaos of the wedding, I was so excited to have some time to ourselves. I could tell she was just as happy as I was: not only did we have a great stay ahead of us, she had also surprised me! We spent the next 24 hours enjoying the cabin, the wooded property, and downtown Flagstaff. And, of course, we went to Marshall Lake.
Between both trips, we have made Flagstaff and Arizona Mountain Inn & Cabins somewhat of a tradition of ours. It has provided us with incredible memories to hold on to during the tough times, and for that, we are extremely grateful.