When Guy first asked if I'd marry him, my only hesitation was that we couldn't afford a wedding. I had dwindled down my own savings trying to start a business. I had gone back for an extra day at my "day job" so I could pay the bills and work on my relationship with money so I could get better at putting myself out there. My plan was to launch my podcast and work on building community for a while without pushing the money end.
Guy had come to the US from Germany with plans to start a business but then gave most of his savings to support family after tragedy hit, and it turns out this part of the world does not compensate artisan baking skills the way they should. He had connected with his affinity for plants when I gave him free reign of my garden and he told me not to move for at least 6 years because he had big plans for it.
Fortunately, my dad was there to help us out with the wedding, but we did not expect his support to take us beyond our wildest dreams!
A few weeks before the wedding, dad sent me a message on Facebook with a realty link for a property described as "Awe-inspiring 38 acre nature retreat in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area," and asked if he should set up an appointment to check it out.
I said, "Are you looking for a new place?"
And he said, "No, thinking about you guys and a place to have classes, retreats, etc..."
This place was stunning! It was like every dream we'd ever had rolled up and quadrupled. I could do wellness retreats and personal coaching and Guy could develop his garden design and plant photography, and use his business skills to run the place. My sister who's an accomplished crochet designer had been planning a crochet retreat and had lots of ideas for crafty events and her husband is a big outdoorsman who was excited to connect with the land.
I looked a little closer at the front and I said, "is that a garden railroad?" - and it was. Now you have to understand that my grandma Diana is an avid garden railroad enthusiast. My sister and I always liked the idea of having one, but would certainly never have gotten around to building one - let alone one as well landscaped as this. That was the clincher!
So we headed there after the kids got out of school with my dad and my sisters family. They did not lie, the more we saw the place, the more we were in awe. The thought and details that the owners had put into the place showed so much love. On the lower level of the house there was a B&B suite and a small apartment. Next to the house there was an event space that she held weddings in. It had an established wedding venue and our mom is a retired minister!
Funny thing was, I wanted nothing to do with planning my own wedding, since planning my first one caused a minor panic attack and we didn't have much time or money to put into it. We were very fortunate to have a rockstar crochet designer for a sister, a minister for a mom, a harp player for a dad and a master pastry chef as his former boss. I specifically avoided starting a "wedding" pinterest page until after the wedding was done and I started imagining what kind of rustic weddings we could have on the beautiful property.
The boy was pretty grumpy during the tour because he wanted to run and play, but had to stick close due to liability. I was surprised to find that he wrote a three page description of the place the next day at school. He even drew a picture of the labyrinth. Yes, there really is a labyrinth!
We went into escrow on our wedding day and were supposed to close on my 40th birthday. Because of the unique type of property and financing though, things took a long time to get settled. Time dragged on and we were afraid we would loose the place.
It finally went through though and got the keys after work on Tuesday!
It's still all so surreal. I had had my year planned out, but it looked nothing like this!
Once we sell our old house, we can get the business end going. As we get to know our new home, I am sure that great things will come out of it in the next few years!
You can follow our progress on our Quinn Mountain Retreat Center page on Facebook. Website to be updated soon!