For this post, I had scheduled a blog where I would discuss the conceptual end of art. A subject I am passionate about and an area that many new artist neglect. When I realized I would be blogging on the January 3rd, 2013, I realized there was another area that takes precedent. Kristen R. may understand; she was standing right next to me on the day in question.
Nine years ago, I stood at this exact point with my new husband, the love of my life. Matt and I, were slow movers, we dated for seven years before we made the leap into marriage. This anniversary really is our 16th year together. We now have our two crazy and beautiful daughters, a truly loving family unit.
On January 1st, we headed to my parents for a late Christmas celebration with my sister Nora and her husband Ken. (I am sure you will learn more about this amazing pair and the rest of my loving family as the year progresses.) My parents live 20 minutes from Harper’s Ferry, where Matt and I said our vows. As I thought about my post for today I decided we should head into Harper’s Ferry to visit our wedding and rehearsal site. We were married at a small country Methodist church. We had our rehearsal dinner at the Hill Top Hotel, a historic hotel, which looks over where the Potomac and the Shenandoah rivers meet. The hotel was quirky, beautiful in areas and rough in others. The train ran just below the hotel rumbling the foundation of this rustic structure. Some of the attendees loved this unusual destination wedding and others were questioning our sanity. Why West Virginia in January?
Matt and I were both climbers and we spent our evenings and weekends at the climbing gym training. We spent our vacations traveling to various climbing destinations and for many years our weekends at the New River Gorge in West Virginia. Many believe West Virginia is full of big woman with big hair, missing teeth and poor grammar. I am not denying the existence of the WV hillbilly but it is a gorgeous wild state. It is the site of my parents beautiful retirement home, our wedding destination, a place full of eclectic brilliant people and it is exploding with great big piles of steep, gritty sandstone. Where else would a proper climber girl get married? Did I mention that it was 70 degrees on our January wedding day?
Our quirky Hill Top Hotel was to be turned into a swanky spa. Matt and I thought what better evolution. We can spend our anniversaries at the Hill Top Spa! Fabulous! Well there was a battle of bureaucracy between the contractor and the city. The project was abandoned and the hotel left to ruin.
I planned to go and document the dilapidated structure but I was not expecting a fence surrounding the hotel. I thought like any good West Virginia ruin, I would just have full reign to trot around on disintegrating stairwells and termite-ridden floorboards. What the heck!
When I looked around I realized it was not the hotel that we loved but the land around it. It was the vista that I remember, the family and friends that traveled the country to show their support and love, and it was the commitment we made to grow together. So today, I use my post to remember the best day of my life, to honor a commitment and thank the man I love for always being there for me. It does not matter that our wedding site looks like the hotel from Psycho now and perhaps always did; it is what we have made together that matters. We have made a life full of love, full of family and we pass that on to our girls.