Our Engagement Story

I went back and forth on whether or not to write this out for a few reasons… 1: I haven’t written a blog post in over a year, almost two. I don’t even think I can call this “my blog” anymore. And 2: I’m not even sure how to put it into words because I’m pretty sure I blacked out for the entire thing. Alas, I shall try my best because I love reading engagement stories, so selfishly, I’d like to share mine. To get the full picture of how the day went down though, I have to take you back to February 2020…

Brian and I decided we wanted to go away for a romantic weekend for Valentine’s Day earlier this year. We researched tons of places and I finally had my heart set on Mohonk Mountain House. Sadly, V-Day fell on Presidents Day Weekend, and almost every single resort, including that one, was requiring guests to book at least two nights, which we just could not commit to. So we settled on an Inn located right across the water from New Hope. It was actually really beautiful, quiet, and romantic… however, Brian was deathly ill. The most sick I have ever seen him, ever. He spent the entirety of our trip in the room in bed, except for our “romantic dinner,” which he pulled himself together for. Actually, looking back on it we’re pretty positive he had the Corona Virus before we knew it was a thing. He was sick for weeks. But I’m getting off topic… since that weekend I have been dying to visit Mohonk Mountain House, which I haven’t been shy about dropping hints here and there. So the year pushed on, and as you know, all hell breaks loose, AND we bought a house. So it felt like getting engaged and making any big trips just were not going to be in the cards for us this year. Then, about two months ago, Brian told me he was taking me away for the weekend for my birthday, it’s going to be a surprise, and it was going to make our trip to Ireland “look like a trip to a truck stop.” A bold statement if I’ve ever heard one, especially since the only thing I knew about this trip was that it was a road trip. Where could we possibly be driving that could make Ireland look like trash? Over the next few weeks I went back and forth between obsessing over it, and trying desperately not to think about it. It’s really hard to genuinely surprise me, mostly because I usually dig things out of people and ruin it for myself, so I tried my hardest not to ask for any hints. I wanted to be surprised. One day Brian let it slip that the ride was only 2 and a half hours and the snoop in me took over. I googled directions to Mohonk.. and what do you know? It’s only a 2 and a half hour drive. I started telling all of my friends that I thought he was taking me to Mohonk and tried not to lose my shit for a couple weeks. One night we’re sitting in the kitchen and the topic of the trip came up and I let it slip that I felt like I knew where we were going. I didn’t want to tell him… because I didn’t want him to tell me if I was right or wrong, but he got me to say it and then he immediately LAUGHED IN MY FACE. I believe he said something like… “Are you serious? You think we’re going to Mohonk Mountain House?” *uncontrollable laughter* quickly followed by the sound of my dreams being violently shattered. Then he told Charlotte we were going somewhere in the Poconos, and she let that slip, which I was less than excited about. I had to give myself pep talks to be grateful that we got to go anywhere and that I should be thankful because Brian is not a planner and he’s literally planning an entire weekend getaway for me. Alas, the day comes and we pack up the car and hit the road.

I am not good with directions nor do I pay attention to much when I’m in the passenger seat so I just assumed we were on our way to PA and checked out. About 2 hours into our trip with not much time left to go I happen to look up and see an exit sign for Scranton and I thought to myself, son of a bitch we really are going to Pennsylvania. Quickly followed by another little internal pep talk; it’s ok, Rachel.. this weekend is still going to be amazing. Just enjoy yourself and go with it, trust the process, it’s ok. About 10 minutes later we pull off at an exit I don’t see the sign for but assume is Scranton and we’re driving through this really cute little town center with mountains on either side of us and I’m thinking to myself it’s really not so bad, when we come to a giant sign for Mohonk Mountain House and my exact words to Brian were “are you fucking kidding me???” He got me. He truly surprised me, and I was deliriously excited for the weekend ahead of us.

Fast forward about a half hour; it’s about 3:30pm and we’re in our beautiful room settling in and enjoying the view when Brian suggests going for a hike. A hike? Say what now? There’s like 40 minutes left of sunlight and you want to go on a hike to the top of a mountain? I objected at first and he told me I was “being negative” so fine… off we go! To say we were not prepared for this hike was an understatement. I wasn’t really dressed for hiking, we didn’t bring any water with us, and Brian was so excited for what he had planned he speed walked the entire trail. All along the path were these little gazebos built into the side of the mountain, so we would stop and take a quick break and enjoy the view from each one. I would catch my breath, re-apply my Chapstick, blow my nose and we’d set off for the next stop. Finally we come to the top of the mountain only to find… a tower. To which Brian suggests we walk to the top. The view from the bottom was beautiful enough but I have to admit, despite the 6 story climb ahead of me, I did want to see the view from the very top, so we walked… and walked… and walked. By the time we reached the top of the tower I was dead. I couldn’t breathe, I was desperate for water, my nose was running like it had a leak, my legs felt useless. I leaned over the side of the tower and basically dry heaved I was so exhausted, LOL, all the while taking in the gorgeous view while the sun was getting ready to set. I turned around to see what Brian was doing since he wasn’t enjoying the view with me and he’s just standing there… awkwardly smiling. From this moment on it’s somewhat of a blur, but I do know his exact words were, “if I don’t do this now I will be thinking about it all weekend…” as he bent down on one knee and took a ring out of his coat pocket. Cue the shock. There was no long winded, drawn out, emotional speech. There was just “will you marry me?” To which I replied… “are you serious right now?” I put my hands over my face and tried to catch my breath. Brian sat there, on one knee, waiting for me to say something. I’m not sure I said “yes” right away, but I hugged and kissed him and told him I loved him. He started to put the ring on my finger and asked, “did you ever say yes? Is this a yes?” I think we both blacked out, honestly.

I always said I wanted some fancy photographer hidden in the bushes to capture the moment, but to be completely honest with you, I think the fact that it was just the two of us wrapped up in that moment is one of my favorite details about the whole thing. I was sure I wanted it documented from start to finish, but MY GOD, the added layer of stress that must add for the man who is about to propose. Especially since Brian did not have a concrete plan that weekend.. he was just going to carry the ring around “until the moment felt right.” Lucky for him that moment happened to be basically as soon as we got there. So we have a few selfies from the top of the tower immediately after he asked with our red, cold noses, and our watery eyes (from the wind…we didn’t both cry.. certainly not), but they’re the happiest pictures.

Anyway, after a few minutes of hugging and kissing, and acting like it was the wind that was making our eyes so watery, we began our hike back to the hotel before it got really dark. We made a few pit stops on the way and FaceTimed our parents, shared the news, then spent the rest of the weekend enjoying ourselves. I’m sure the fact that we were freshly engaged had a lot to do with how freaking incredible the weekend was, but I also think Mohonk Mountain House itself deserved some of the credit. I’ve never been somewhere so beautiful, so close to home. Despite the Covid restrictions, there was SO much to do and see. We hiked each day we were there, including the afternoon before we left. We went back up to the tower to get a picture of the view from the top… something we neglected to do on our first trip up there amidst all of the happy chaos. We had some of the most delicious meals we’ve ever had. They have a 5-course Brunch. BRUNCH! Do you need that much food for breakfast? No. But it’s included in our stay so we ate it anyway. I had the most relaxing massage of my life, enjoyed the outdoor hot tub with incredible views. We even got to sit down and watch some live music for the first time in almost a year. Honestly, there is nothing about Mohonk Mountain House I am not completely obsessed with. I’m dying to go back.

I’m happy to say I was genuinely surprised Brian proposed on this trip. You see, I thought the weekend at Mohonk was the surprise. We just bought a house, we started renovating it from top to bottom, we have a lot of expenses, I truly did not think a ring was even an option right now. I think I mentioned to a couple friends that I felt like he could propose that weekend, but I didn’t even want to get it in my head and set myself up for disappointment if it didn’t happen. So when he bent down on one knee and pulled a little blue box out of his jacket pocket, I nearly fell over. It really was the surprise of my life. And like I said, it’s hard to surprise me. In retrospect there were a few things that should have been a dead giveaway; one, he was cleaning and shining his boots right before we left. Which he claims he was going to do anyway because they were really dirty and needed a good cleaning, but to me it was suspicious. Also, he kept saying he might get a hair cut and shave off his goatee before our trip. He’s been growing that all out since March, so THAT also made me suspicious. There were a few other things but now that the dust has settled I can hardly remember what they were. As for wedding plans… we have none, yet. Once we’re settled into the new house within the next couple of months we can start that planning process, but for now, we’re soaking up every minute of the fun that comes with being engaged.