Three years ago I had nearly given up on Prince Charming, convinced I'd soon have to adopt a clowder of cats and take pride in being a spinster. Then Justin came along in his blue Mustang (so much more comfortable to ride upon than a white horse) and swept me off my feet. Now I couldn't imagine my life without him. Loving each other forever was a given, but I still wasn't expecting him to propose last week. Perhaps I was overwhelmed by all the new and stunning scenery I'd seen adventuring through Arizona, but I didn't even have an inkling until he pulled out the ring and got down on one knee.
We'd driven from Tucson to Flagstaff the day before. Going from dry desert and cacti to glistening snow and towering trees in a matter of hours was amazing. Even the temperature drop from 65 to 25 didn't cloud the trip. Unfortunately, due to the 26 inches of snow the day before that, the roads to the Grand Canyon were a bit too treacherous for us to attempt in our rental car.
So after a delicious meal at Sakura and a relaxing night at the Radisson Woodlands Hotel, we headed toward Sedona. Despite the eye candy the day before, I wasn't quite prepared for the view that surrounded us when we turned the corner to descend into Oak Creek Canyon. Even as I was feverishly snapping photos like the one to the right, I knew they wouldn't compare to actually being there. I've seen a few snow-covered mountains in my life, but never had I been encircled so completely by land so steep. It was just breathtaking.
As we kept driving, red rock began to jut through the snow. By the time we reached the bottom, the snow was nowhere to be seen. Again, I was struck by how quickly the scenery changed. Minutes later we were in Sedona.
We stopped first at Tlaquepaque, a beautiful Arts & Craft Village. We were both a bit crazed with hunger so we ate lunch at El Rincon before Justin let me run wild in all the art galleries. We then stopped by the Wild West Wine Co. and were enticed into a private Arizona wine tasting that came with two souvenir glasses. My favorite was the Kokopelli Winery's Chianti, so we bought a bottle of their Sweet Lucy that we enjoyed the next night, which was even tastier. After that, we explored Sedona and stopped at several scenic spots to take (sometimes mushy, as you can see) pictures.
The rock formations in Sedona are splendid! Just like clouds, they're so easy to see creatures and other objects in their shapes. While I was busy envisioning dragons and turtles and ancient cities, I happened to notice a building on the edge of a cliff that looked as if it were built before the rock wall that enveloped it, like it was crafted by God instead of human hands. Getting closer, we discovered it was the Chapel Of The Holy Cross so we joined in on the steady stream of quiet tourists for a closer look before heading to Camp Verde to check into our hotel.
Then off again we went to explore. We stumbled upon a new housing development overlooking the Verde Valley and daydreamed about what it would be like to live there. And eventually ended up in Old Town Cottonwood. Such a cute little town! Unfortunately, most of the stores were already closed for the night (including an Art Institute Glitter, OMG, that would have been dangerous to enter!), but we did get to check out Jim and Ellen's Rock-n-Shop, where we were greeted by very friendly owners and their adorable puppies. And lots of sparkly rocks! It made me want to pick up from my elementary school rock collection again. Then we walked down the street to Nic's Italian Steak & Crab House. My taste buds were extremely pleased with their lasagna and a Sangriatini. And also with the steak and shrimp scampi I was able to steal away from Justin's plate.
And then back into the car! I hadn't realized what a full day we had until I sat down to write it down and couldn't bear to leave anything out; I hope some of you have made it this far!
Anyway, when we got back to the hotel, Justin suggested we go stargaze from the courtyard. We'd been talking earlier in the week about how many more stars you're supposed to be able to see in the Arizona sky than back home, so I wasn't suspicious at all. It was so amazing and romantic. Then he turned to me, and the rest, is history! I was so giddy when it dawned on me what was happening that I'm afraid neither of us remember the exact words that were said - I'm pretty sure I said yes before the question was even fully out of his mouth. And then we had to rush into the hotel so I could see the ring sparkle in more than starlight. (Isn't it gorgeous?) And of course to call our families to share the good news. Mine didn't answer so I had to wait til morning to tell everyone else, lest the fear someone else leak it to them before I could.
So that was my day a week ago, Wednesday, December 9th. *breathes* More entries to come about the rest of our trip, hopefully. But for now, I leave you with what welcomed me back on my computer at work - an engagement desktop designed by the Photoshop Genius, Teresa! Thanks to my friends and family for all the sweet congratulations as Justin and I embark on a new adventure.