It was New Year’s morning. Jim, my fiance, had gotten us a room at the Junipine resort outside of Sedona so that we could spend New Year’s Eve in a cottage by a creek and a crackling fire inside to cozy up to. We really love Flagstaff so we decided to drive up and have lunch and maybe head back to Phoenix after. We knew that a storm was coming but we figured we could beat it but we also both knew that it’s always been my fantasy to get snowed in and be forced to not have to do anything or be anywhere for at least a whole day. I grew up in Northern Arizona so I grew up with snow every year but once I was no longer a child I always had work or something that kept me from being able to enjoy the snow. My inner child (and very Aries self), fantasized about having an excuse to play in the snow. I grew to hate the snow after years of struggling to live in it and I just wanted to fall in love with it again. There’s a solemn reverence to a snowstorm. Everything is quiet and peaceful when sandwiched between the fluffs of clouds and snow.
We got to downtown Flagstaff around lunchtime and I was really craving the London Fog from Tourist Home and it did not disappoint, it was even better than I remembered it. The roads were covered in sleet by now so we decided to check the hotels to see if there were any available rooms at reasonable rates so we wouldn’t have to drive down the mountain in the storm. The hotel we last stayed at was busy checking in some guests so we looked down the street and saw this monumental hotel, The Weatherford, so we braved the sleet and ran inside. The moment we opened the door the lobby had three employees and the manager there that all greeted us in perfect unison, as though it was scripted for a cheesy Christmas movie. Two people were trimming the Christmas Tree, one was on a ladder, the manager turned to face us as he was overseeing the work, and another young woman was standing at the hostess podium to the restaurant, Charly’s. We inquired about available rooms and the manager introduced himself as Drew and took us to the front desk so he could go over the rates with us. We were most interested in having a room that had a view of downtown so Drew offered to give us a tour of the available rooms so that we could pick which one we wanted. I don’t think that has ever happened to me before. Drew took us to a King Room, room 39. It had an elegant, vintage feel to it. The room was spacious and the exposed brick and pipe on the wall behind the bed added a warm feel in cozy contrast to the snow falling much more heavily now, neatly framed in the windows facing downtown. Jim immediately said, “We’ll take it!” and we were told that we could bring in our luggage at 3:00pm once the room was finished being cleaned and prepared for guests as it was only about 1:30pm.
We spent the next hour and a half wandering around downtown Flagstaff as the snow continued to steadily come down in large, fluffy flakes. It was mesmerizing to look up and see nothing but grey clouds seemingly so close you could reach up and touch them and white flakes floating down towards your face like tiny, white feathers gently floating to the ground. There were so many families wandering around the streets and in the square and everyone seemed to be filled with a sense of wonder and peace. We passed little girls singing Christmas carols just because they were full of joy. If anyone or any group of people looked as though they were struggling to get a selfie or group photo, a passerby would cheerfully offer to take their picture. We met so many different people this way, most of them visiting from out-of-state or even from other countries. I was enamored with how much something so simple as a snow storm could unify so many different people who spoke different languages and would seemingly have not much in common. I had that warm Hallmark movie feeling again and I decided to just embrace it.
After checking in, Jim and I went back out into the snow to just run and explore and get more photos. We live in the desert and it’s a rare occurrence to be able to just play in a snowstorm with no concern over needing to be somewhere or be doing something. We took a break from the cold and had a lovely dinner at Charly’s and then went back out to take a few more pictures of the snow after dark. There were still so many Christmas lights up and Christmas trees lit up we had to capture the snow and the lights. The entire day and night felt like its own kind of present. Interesting that it seemed to make me feel more present. Nothing seemed to matter that day. Any worries or mental to-do lists vanished, like those things floated away on each snowflake and we felt lighter with each step.
That night the heat had stopped working in our room but Drew brought us up a small heater which kept the room quite warm all night. Everyone was very accommodating, making sure that all of our needs were met, even with the challenge of losing heat on an evening when maintenance was off and there was a snow storm outside. We were warned about the sounds the pipes make as well so the sounds didn’t really bother me since I was prepared for them. When you go to a historic hotel, you need to be prepared for sounds in general. The walls are usually thinner, or the windows aren’t as thick, there are creaks and any number of potential sounds. That’s all part of the experience you sign up for when spending time in older buildings. They have noises but with it’s quirks comes so much more character; you can almost feel the stories in the halls and rooms as you pass through and by them. The next morning, Drew was there and promptly offered to help JIm get the snow off of his truck. I can’t say enough positive things about our time at The Weatherford. The entire experience was magical because it was the culmination of so many perfect components, including an incredible hotel and staff. Definitely a dream came true that weekend.
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Adventures outside of our everyday life can help us discover more about ourselves as well as help us feel more connected to the world we are a part of.