So I know I did a little reflection on my first year of marriage, but I didn’t get to tell you guys exactly how we celebrated our one-year anniversary. We knew we wanted to do something special for it, so after talking for awhile, Matt suggested we go stay at the Paradise Inn up on Mount Rainier for the weekend of our anniversary. The last time we’d stayed there was back in 2004, so it’d been over 7 years since we’d been back.
We made our way up the mountain, which is a really long and windy trek up through the mountains. In fact, the Paradise is at 5,400 feet on Mount Rainier, so it’s pretty high up, and also the highest point that you can find lodging. The nice thing about the long and windy drive up is there are lots of great viewpoints along the way, which we stopped at to take photos. We listened to Cat Stevens and John Denver on our drive up, which fit in perfectly with all of the huge trees and beautiful view of the mountain.
We finally made it up the mountain and to the Paradise Inn. The Paradise was built in 1916, with extra guest rooms built in 1920. The lodge/great hall area, which is what you initially enter as you go to check in, has two stone fire places, plenty of seating, and has lots of furniture and exposed beams made from cedar logs… and yes, it’s a cozy as it sounds. What’s even cooler is that this German-born carpenter named Hans Fraehnkebuilt two long tables, a grandfather clock and piano from local materials during a winter stay at the lodge.
Anyway, we checked in on Friday, dropped our stuff in our room (which had an excellent view of the Tattoosh mountain range), and made our way outside to go on a little hike. The weather wasn’t perfect, a bit cloudy, so the views of the top of Mount Rainier were pretty non-existent, but the hike was still beautiful. The wildflowers were in full bloom, and the base of the mountain was stunning. We made our way up to Myrtle falls, which with the background of mountain, are equally stunning. And we got to see my favorite little guys, the marmots, chasing each other around in the distance! There was even one little guys sitting on a rock, just staring as us as Matt whistled at him. It was pretty awesome and cute.
After our hike, we went upstairs for tea and cookies, which I thought was a great little thing for them to offer guests. We relaxed for a bit and read before going down to the dining room. Yes, right next to the lodge/check-in area, there is a huge dining room that the inn serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in. The food isn’t to die for but it’s also nice to have a pleasant sit down dinner with a view of everything around you.
Our nights consisted of sitting down in the lodge, listening to this man play the piano nightly, and either reading or playing board games together. Usually board games earlier in the evening, then moving to the couches by one of the fireplaces to sit and read. What I love about the Paradise is how everyone relaxes, too. There is no cell phone reception, no wi-fi or internet access; hell, there aren’t any phones in any of the rooms. Being forced to disconnect and relax, I noticed how friendly people were and how much more likely you were to start a conversation with someone you’ve never met. I can’t even count the amount of people who stopped by our table as we played Ticket to Ride to ask us questions about the game or talk about how much they love it. When people aren’t staring at computer screens or their phones, and instead interact with those around them, it creates a really warm environment that is very difficult to find anymore.
Our Saturday consisted of having breakfast and then spending nearly 6 hours by the fire as there was a torrential downpour outside. I can’t say I really minded this one bit. I’ve been re-reading “The Shining”, which is kind of a hilarious choice considering the outside of the Paradise kind of resembles the outside of the Overlook in the movie, it was built a long time ago and has great history, and it is also closed for the fall/winter months, as they get a LOT of snow up there. So that was kind of funny, and at times creepy, especially when I looked at photos from many many years ago, plastered around the halls that led to our room.
Matt and I also exchanged cards during this time, and did cards-only (or so I thought). He also snuck on a new charm for my Pandora bracelet, trying to argue that it wasn’t a “gift” but that I just needed a new charm to represent our anniversary since I didn’t get one for our wedding. He’s a total sneakster and broke the rules, but I still love him nonetheless, haha.
We got up early Sunday and headed back home after getting some breakfast in the dining room. It was sad to leave, mainly because we both just enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere so much. I was happy to get home to our dogs and our house, but I would be lying if I said I was okay to come back to real life Monday morning. We made a promise to ourselves that we’d make a trip every year to the Paradise, as there is nothing better than relaxing in one of the most beautiful places in the world.