January 3rd, 2009. Josh and I drove up to Flagstaff from Phoenix with the dogs in tow. We left at 12:30 and arrived around 3 pm, just in time to check into our hotel. We quickly changed into our “snow clothes” and headed out in search of a park with lots of open space and snow for the dogs to romp in. We found some empty baseball fields with a large, vacant fenced dog park across the street. The dogs had a great time jumping and running in both areas. Ollie acted as if he had always been around snow and loved every second of it. Maya was excited to play in the stuff she had missed so much, and for just a second I’m pretty sure I saw her as a puppy again. We took lots of photos, enjoyed the crisp weather, our dogs excitement, and our time together in the quiet beauty of the fields.
Afterwards we drove to downtown Flagstaff where there are lots of cute boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, vintage hotels, and Mom & Pop stores. We parked and took the dogs on about an hour long walk, browsing store windows and checking out menus for dinner later that night. When we finally settled on a menu and the dogs were exhausted from their snow treks, we headed back to the hotel to get ready and get the dogs settled in.
The day had been perfect, and I was tired, and for a second considered suggesting ordering a pizza in the hotel. My better judgment told me to go out and enjoy the night in the town we love so much (maybe because it reminds us a bit of Blacksburg?). The day had been so good and I didn’t want it to end so we drove to the restaurant, sans dogs of course.
We arrived at Mountain Oasis on Aspen Avenue in downtown Flagstaff at about 7:30 pm and were seated in the bar area before our table was ready. We browsed the wine selection and each ordered wine, sat together and talked for awhile. Looking back, it’s funny that our conversation lead us to talking about our future (not marriage, just our future in general) because I obviously didn’t know what Josh had in store for the night.
Once we were seated, we ordered salads that were amazing. Fresh mixed greens- sesame tahini dressing for Josh and red pepper/basil vinaigrette for me. The restaurant was quaint, with exposed brick walls on both sides, a large glass door and windows in the entire front, and tables spaced far enough apart that it felt private and cozy. The entrance had a pretty fountain that made a quiet rushing noise and helped to keep the setting intimate. Each table had a small lantern with a candle, so mostly the light inside came from candlelight. There were also small, indoor trees that separated the different areas, with white lights in each tree helping to also dimly light the place. We both thought our entrees were amazing, and ended up sharing them with each other, not leaving enough room for dessert.
After our waitress had brought the check, Josh cleared his throat and told me that “this is a special place”. I agreed, looking around and thinking how cute the restaurant was. He said it again, making sure I was paying attention, and then said, “because this is where we got engaged”. I saw something glisten inside his clasped hands, and then he showed me the ring. I immediately froze, thinking it seemed so surreal, and I think I just said “No!” a couple of times. Not no, as in I didn’t want him to propose, just no as in I couldn’t believe it was actually happening! He asked if I would marry him, and of course I said yes with some tears. It was a really awesome end to the day, and although we were in a room full of other tables, it just felt like us and our moment.
Here is Mountain Oasis, where it happened (taken the next morning):