|Monogamous penguins: slightly unrelated, but feeling the marriage spirit!|
Wow. I can't believe we are engaged!!! 5 years and moving onto the next chapter!
|Thanks Winvian! ... Where it all took place|
Our engagement story is a true reflection of us, which is exactly the way I think it should be. We had booked a cottage at Winvian, a Connecticut resort spanning over 113 acres of blissful nature, as a quirky way to celebrate my milestone birthday. Eighteen uniquely designed, themed cottages comprise Winvian, and they are all incredible displays of creativity and architecture. Each cottage has a different theme: a treehouse (how Google led me here in the 1st place), a music cottage (apparently the track lighting on the ceiling is in the shape of a G-clef?!), a beaver lodge, a log cabin, a stable, a library, a secret society house, and more!
Ryan and I ended up staying at The Woodlands...and let me tell you, the pictures on the website (and the ones I took below) just do not do it justice. This place is absolutely incredible! It was a perfect location for Ryan and me because it is located almost equidistant from Boston and NYC. The first 3 hours we were there, we played around making video tours, taking phone pics of our cottage, and playing with all the gadgets and remotes. (Clearly, he was the only one who knew a proposal would be taking place that evening...) It seriously is like a grown person's Candyland!
Some of the Winvian highlights for us included:
- The smell upon entering the cottage. Real trees (that have been preserved w/ varnish) are found throughout the Woodlands cottage so the place actually smells like cedar!
- Remotes control the TV (hidden inside the foot of the bed), blinds, and sound system.
- Everything was gorgeous, but the jacuzzi tub and shower were AMAZING! Every cottage has a beautiful, yet different, tub and shower. I loved ours! The tub was a drop-down into the floor with a fantastic view of the waterfall (inside the cottage) and nature (outside the cottage). They offered a choice of bath salts and soaps as well!
- The shower! The pebblestone steam shower was amazing! We had so much fun playing when we first arrived that we had an impromptu 2-person dance party and even used the shower head as a microphone for Pebblestone Noraebang (the Korean word for karaoke)!
- Numerous places for individual and/or couple quiet time.
- His-and-her sinks made of REAL tree stumps!
- The fireplace was double-sided w/ views from the living area and the bed!
- Each cottage has its own pair of bikes (w/ cottage-named tags) that you can use to tour the grounds.
- Handwritten welcome and celebratory cards were waiting for us in our cottage.
- Turndown chocolate! (I am a sucker for turndown chocolate!)
- Speaking of the fireplace, we brought our own graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate and made our own s'mores. The most fun part about it was that we used sterilized root canal instruments to roast the marshmallows! We are dental nerds w/ NO shame.
- The staff were so pleasant and attentive the entire stay!!
- The restaurant, with their farm-to-table menus, was excellent! (Love that my kale was picked from their garden!)
...and finally, RYAN PROPOSED!!! Dinner was wonderful, and our conversation was our usual. The server requested that we move downstairs for the dessert course; given that the rest of the Winvian experience was different than anything I had ever experienced, I didn't think twice about it. There had been other people in the main dining room, and no one else was 'eating dessert' when we got downstairs...which I pointed out. But Ryan said something dismissive about them leaving early or something. Silver-covered serving trays were then brought out by the waiters. They took the tops off at the same time, and said "Enjoy your chocolate!"
---Now, I want to insert this part in right here. I love cute, edible gifts. I recently found a new chocolate store in NYC, Sugar and Plumm (their tag line is "Purveyors of Yumm!"); I even requested that the chocolatier make a certain type of chocolate shoe in a certain color for a gift last fall. So cute, shiny chocolate in various pantone colors is not a foreign concept to me. ---That being said, when the waiter took off the top, my "chocolate" looked like a perfect, shiny, chocolate box. I was impressed and thought it was really pretty. I was staring at it about to pick up my fork to poke it when Ryan grabbed the box and said "Open it!"...and then he opened it. There before me was this absolutely gorgeous, glistening ring! I felt like a complete idiot!! (But lucky for me, it is a very comfortable feeling!) I was laughing as I was processing what was actually taking place. Ryan then got down on one knee and proposed! Of course, I said YES!!
The staff came over and congratulated us, including the owner! The waiter who told us to 'enjoy our chocolate' said that he got engaged at Winvian years ago too. It was such a special moment! Ryan was even cracking jokes about my idiocy in truly thinking it was chocolate and questioning whether he is making a mistake! Ryan also gave me a sweet, crumpled card that he pulled out of his suit pocket because he "couldn't find anywhere else to put it." Plus as it turns out, he really wanted to honor the "unwritten rule" about NOT proposing on a birthday...and as last minute as he always is, he made it just in time - about 2 hours before my actual birthday! I really appreciate that too. :-) The whole moment was just PERFECT and so very us! See pics of our magical time at Winvian below...
|Gorgeous! Those are real trees preserved w/ varnish throughout the cottage!|
|A handwritten card, chilled bottle of wine, & snack plate waiting for us upon arrival!|
|View beyond the mini bar into the living area.|
|Not pictured here, but the TV rises from the foot of the bed via remote, and that is a stone waterfall behind the bed.|
|Living area view of the double-sided fireplace.|
|You can see the bedroom on the other side!|
|S'mores: See root canal instruments (we provided ourselves) still in sterilization bags.|
|Making s'mores...w/ root canal instruments!|
|Waterfall behind the bed + Views OF the tub...|
|View into the wilderness w/ remote-controlled blinds!|
|Neighbors nowhere in site from this cottage!|
|Waterfall view FROM the tub!|
|View FROM the tub!|
|The sinks are made from REAL tree stumps!|
|The pebblestone steam shower was ridiculous!|
|Pebblestone Noraebang/dance party! ... about 2 hrs before the proposal.|
The following day...also my birthday!
|The cottage bikes we rode the next morning to breakfast!|
|Because they look like fortune cookies. :-)|
|The Treehouse! ...how Google led me to Winvian.|
We were able to take tours of some of the other cottages and will definitely be going back! They all look absolutely amazing in person. Maybe the Treehouse will be next...or maybe the Library, or the Beaver Lodge, or the Music cottage. Still can't decide...