After two weeks of honeymoon-ing, we’re home safe and sound in Dawson Creek. Read on for more on our adventures from the last two weeks!
Our honeymoon began in Toronto, where we stayed for a few days after the wedding. On December 31st we had brunch with our family and bridal party, and then rang in the New Year with friends at a masquerade-themed party at the Drake Hotel.
We took one day and drove to Niagara Falls, where we picked up our official honeymoon certificate. (Anne’s grandparents honeymooned there more than 50 years ago and have their honeymoon certificate framed on the wall. They also got a parking ticket. We didn’t get a parking ticket, but we did get a speeding ticket to remember our honeymoon by!) In Niagara Falls we wandered along the falls, took in the fun and silliness of Clifton Hill and tried our hand at the slot machines in the casino (we came away with $10.12 in winnings!)
On January 5th we flew to Calgary and then drove to Banff. We spent a week at The Fox Hotel and Suites, a cozy lodge in town, surrounded by mountains. The lodge was incredible, and was a beautiful place to ‘come home’ to after a busy day out in Banff. Banff has a lot of activities to offer in the winter, and we tried several: a ski lesson, a sleigh ride, and our favourite: dog sledding.
Anne had put on downhill skis exactly once, and it’s not a particularly pleasant memory. Coleman had a bit more experience but was willing to go back to the basics, so we took a beginner’s ski lesson at Sunshine Village. The morning of the lesson we woke up to snow, lots of snow. It had snowed heavily all night and as we drove in the pre-dawn still-falling snow to the hill, we wondered if the runs would even be open. Silly novices – of course they were! The fresh powder was awesome – made falling down painless! (Anne fell twice. Coleman didn’t fall at all.) We grabbed our rental equipment, and headed up the mountain. Up and up and up and up! We’d already driven what seemed like miles up the mountain. Then we took a twenty-minute gondola ride up. Then there were the lifts up to the runs! We started at the camp at the top of the gondola and met our instructor, Dan, who was great.
We were with another couple skiing for the first time, and we began on the bunny-hill. After learning to put our skis on, balance on one ski and stop, we headed up the lift to our first run. Looking back, Anne is grateful for the blowing snow that seriously limited visibility, because if she could have seen how long (and steep!) that run was, she might have taken the lift back down the mountain.But years of dance training paid off, and somehow she made it down in one piece! Coleman patiently made his way down behind Anne, making sure she didn’t get lost from the group. The next run down, Anne was significantly more excited and ready – Coleman blazed down ahead of her, and she made her way at a controlled and dignified pace (ie slowly). A few more runs, lunch at the ski lodge and we headed back to town, agreeing that we will try skiing again in the future!
Our favourite activity was actually our first: dog sledding. We went with Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours, and it was simply amazing. The dogs were friendly, well-cared for and very well trained. They obviously love what they do. The guides were warm, knowledgeable and very capable.
We had the opportunity to ride out in a sled, and then we drove the sled back (under the watchful care and eye of a guide). We wish we’d signed up for the longer tour! The views were incredible, but even more so was the interaction with the dogs. Snowy Owl places their retired dogs for adoption, and someone may be trying to convince someone else that a husky would be a good addition to the family…
On our last night in Banff we went for a romantic sleigh ride for two, in a one-horse open sleigh. Through the woods, out onto the marsh and back, cozy under a buffalo blanket, it was a great way to wrap up our time in Banff.
In addition to these activities, we had a few more things to do: shopping and browsing in the stores and art galleries in town, lounging by the fireplace in our cozy loft, soaking in the lodge’s hot spring-inspired grotto hot pool, and introducing Coleman to his first Beaver Tail!
After a week in the mountains we flew home to the foothills. Returning to Dawson Creek we discovered that the wonderful friend we’d left a key with, who had been gathering our mail and watering the plants, had tidied up the disaster we’d left behind. We are so grateful for the loving welcome we received coming home. On Sunday we were warmly welcomed back at church with much love and many hugs, and we are very thankful for the love and support we have received from the Dawson Creek society. It is good to be home, and to be married, in our home together. We loved our time away, but are both excited to be back here, serving where the Lord has called us, and to see what He has planned us!
Love and blessings, Coleman and Anne Grace
Ps: Stay tuned for the complete Honeymoon album on Flickr, and watch for Wedding photos coming soon!