For my 26th birthday, Shaun gave me a surprise vacation as part of my gift. He wouldn't tell me where or when we were going, but would only say that it was a long weekend trip, and that he had already cleared the dates with my coworkers. I would occasionally ask for hints, but he did not budge at all! On October 1, I finally got my first clue about the vacation plans. When I opened my laptop at the office, there was a note taped to the keyboard from "the airline" informing me that my flight was to leave early that Friday morning. A few days later, Shaun printed out the weather forecast for where we were going with all city details removed, and gave me some additional hints on what to pack. I packed and headed to the airport early Friday morning still without any knowledge of what our final destination was. Finally, on the way to the airport, Shaun handed me a Vermont Visitor's Guide!
We spent a lot of time in Vermont when Shaun was working in Plattsburgh, New York, so I was excited to be returning. Since I was not sure where we were going when I was packing that morning, I spent a little too much time overanalyzing my suitcase contents, and we ended up leaving later than Shaun had hoped. After waiting in a very long security line, we heard our names being called over the loudspeakers at the airport - the plane was about to leave without us!
We ran through Dulles airport as fast as we could with all of our luggage. Shaun ran ahead and got to the plane just in time before the gate was closed, and convinced them to let us on. Once on the airplane, Shaun handed me a card with a few numbers written on it, stating that it was a clue to where we were staying. I tried to decipher what it could mean, but could not figure it out at all. I finally gave up after analyzing it for a while, and put it away in my purse.
Once we touched down in Burlington, we picked up our rental car and drove downtown to do some shopping and have lunch. It was unseasonably warm in Burlington, so after lunch Shaun suggested walking down to the lake. Once we got down there we sat over in a semi-secluded spot, and Shaun asked me if I still had the card he had given me earlier. He explained that the card was not actually a hint to where we were staying, but instead each number represented the number of days to each milestone in our relationship, dating back from the day we first met during our freshman year of college (January 2000), to when we started dating (July 2004) and through to the day of the proposal (October 5, 2007).
At that point he got up on his knee, pulled a velvet pouch from his pocket, and proposed. I immediately said "Of course!" In all of the excitement, I forgot to even put the ring on, and Shaun had to grab my hand to put on the gorgeous diamond. On our way back to the car, he finally let me know that we were going to a resort in Stowe, which we had always talked about going to but had never made it to. On the way there, I called my parents and Shaun called his to tell them our news. I got to talk to my mom, but she said that my dad was out golfing and would have to call us back.
We got to the hotel, where Shaun had reserved a beautiful room with a fireplace and balcony, and had champagne set up in the room so it was there when we arrived. We enjoyed a glass of champagne and then got ready for our dinner reservation, as he said he wanted to get there early so that we could relax with a drink before dinner. As we walked in, I immediately spotted Shaun's parents sitting at the bar! I was completely surprised to see them and was so excited they were there. After I caught my breath we ordered a drink and started to share more of the story with them.
A few minutes later, just as I was thinking to myself that it would be wonderful if my parents were there too, they walked in! When I spoke to my mom earlier I was lamenting how we would have to wait until Thanksgiving to see them and show them the ring, so I was absolutely shocked to see them walk in. We all had an amazing dinner, and it was so great to be able to share that moment with them.
Shaun had been planning everything since back in March, and had met with my parents in June to tell them of his plans. He even made hotel reservations for my parents! We enjoyed the rest of the weekend at our resort in Stowe, enjoying lots of great food and relaxation. We went on a long hike at Mt. Pisgah, drove up Mt. Mansfield, went to a fall festival and visited the original Ben & Jerry's, which is based in Waterbury. It was the most perfect engagement, and a weekend we will always remember.