Daily WordPress prompt: Exquisite
My husband and I had a two-part honeymoon. We had a late wedding (8 pm) and so we spent our wedding night close to the church we married in— what used to be the Opryland Hotel but what is now called Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. From there we ventured on to Pennsylvania and stayed several nights at one of the Poconos honeymoon resorts which was lovely and quite romantic. We took romantic strolls in the woods, rode bikes, rode paddle boats on the lake, went horseback riding, tried our hand at archery (which we had both taken as a PE course in college), were wined and dined with exquisite meals, and even played (and won!) a Newlywed game at our resort. We were the ONLY couple to get all questions correct for a perfect score. I was quite proud of us for that! And yes, we played this newlywed game up on a stage in front of a huge audience (on exhibit for all to see) where we were asked all kinds of embarrassing newlywed questions. I think this shy gal must have turned 50 shades of red. Our prize for being the winning couple was a trophy and a bottle of champagne. I am sad to say I learned a few years ago that the Poconos resort we stayed at has closed and sold and is no longer a honeymoon resort.
After several nights at the Poconos, we hit the road again and drove to Buffalo New York to Niagara Falls. It was always my ultimate honeymoon destination. I. Love. Niagara. Falls. All I can say is that it was the epitome of exquisiteness. I think what I was most surprised about with Niagara Falls was how up close and personal you could get with the falls. My mother and father had been to Niagara Falls in their younger days and told my husband and me to be sure and ride the Maid of the Mist boat ride (which takes you right up to the horseshoe falls) which I knew would take me probably closer to the falls than I ever cared to be. But I had no idea that there were so many different viewing vantage points via walking (below the falls, beside the falls, behind the falls, above the falls). All were quite majestic. I felt like I was in a fairy tale when I was there.
I loved everything about that place. The weather was gorgeous the week we were there. The skies were a beautiful azure blue and the sun shone golden and warm and made glittering sparkles on the water going over the falls. The weather was a much welcome break from the August heat and humidity of the Southeast that we were accustomed to. It seemed there was always a pleasant cool breeze flowing.
I loved the short hike from our hotel to the falls. I loved the bridge walk that took us right over the American falls (I often dream about that walk). I loved the curving winding hike through the woods that led us to the Bridal falls. I loved that green tinted water barreling over the Horseshoe falls. I loved the feel of the cool mist on my arms. I loved the colorful rainbows that seemed to be everywhere around the falls. Some people say the Canadian falls have the American falls beat. I might have to argue with that. I loved them both and thought each was beautiful in its own way. I loved venturing over to the Canadian side and seeing the lovely colorful landscaping there. What beautiful flowers! I loved sitting on the benches at night with my brand new husband, holding hands and watching other newlyweds sharing sweet kisses by the falls and learning why Niagara Falls is called the honeymoon capital of the world. I loved how much in love I felt with my new husband. I loved feeling even more awed by God, our creator, and the magnificent beauty he made for us to enjoy. I loved us donning rain ponchos and riding Maid of the Mist. I loved donning rain coats a second time and taking the tunnel tours that take you behind the falls. I loved standing at the brink of the falls and not being able to even fathom why anybody in their right mind would attempt to go over the falls in a barrel or a kayak or anything for that matter, and trying hard to understand how anyone ever survived such a feat. Only just a week after we were there, on August 18, 1985, a man went over the Horseshoe falls in a barrel and survived! He was the youngest person (age 22) to survive going over the falls in a barrel. And to think we missed that by one week!
But most of all, I loved the lights shining on the falls at night. The lights were turned off late each night (I believe at midnight if my memory serves me correctly) and that was a surreal experience to have those lights suddenly go out and find yourself standing in total darkness amidst that thundering roar of the falls. I read an article that the lights have recently been replaced with much brighter LED lights and there are more colors and more color combinations.
Part of me would love to go back and visit Niagara Falls, but the other part of me wants to protect my lovely honeymoon memories and all the memories I have of how exquisite that place was. I want to keep those perfect unspoiled memories right in my heart forever. I’ve learned that when you revisit places you love from your memory, that it’s often not as you remember it from before. I don’t want to lose those precious memories. I often dream of Niagara Falls and it is always just as beautiful, if not more so, in my dreams than it was in real life. It’s always a magical place in my dreams and I always awaken feeling so happy. I would like to see Niagara Falls in the winter. My son traveled there one winter while in college when part of the American Falls were frozen. He said it was really pretty but that a lot of the viewing areas were roped off and closed because the mist from the falls constantly freezes, making it quite hazardous for tourists. Yes, definitely exquisite… that’s how I would describe Niagara Falls.