The First Surprise
In 2010, Andrea and I embarked on a Canadian road trip. By May 14th, we were a couple days into our trip and it was our first full day in Toronto. After spending some time exploring and shopping, I decided it was time to surprise Andrea with the first of many huge surprises...
The one thing you need to know before continuing is that Andrea absolutely loves a movie called Anne of Green Gables. It's her favorite movie of all time, and pretty much embodies her dream world if she could have her way. Like, she really loves it. A lot. Got it?
For the first surprise on the trip, I managed to find the actual house that was used in the filming of the Anne of Green Gables movie. I told her I had a secret destination and plugged it into the GPS. A short 15 minutes later, we were headed up a random looking farm road in the middle of nowhere. I told her "I think it's coming up on the right..." and she was excitedly confused. Here is her reaction!
We pulled up on the side of the road along the property and she just soaked it all in. She was SO excited. We stayed there for at least 30 minutes taking pictures and just enjoying it. Eventually it started to hit me that she was loving it way too much, and that maybe I should spontaneously change my proposal plans a bit and do it right then and there. So finally, I distracted her by asking her to take pictures of this tree that appeared to be glowing in the distance. While she was doing that, I dug the ring out of the trunk of the car, got on one knee behind her and waited for her to turn around.
Once we finally calmed down from excitement, I surprised her with another destination from the movie; a bridge that was a very iconic location from the film. As soon as we arrived she recognized it and was shocked that I found two of the most recognizable spots from the movie. She was so, so happy. We were actually able to walk out onto the bridge and spend a lot of time there. A lady who worked nearby even offered to take some engagement pictures of us!
That night we camped in Toronto. My mind was racing, because the whole day was a surprise to me too. I didn't plan on proposing until the next day! I sort of had another big surprise in store for her...
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Now the fun really begins...
Freshly engaged and rested, we woke up in our tent and started the day early with another HUGE surprise. This is what was going to kick off my original proposal plan! I was so, so excited about this one. Like, massively excited. My heart was pounding as we made our way to the big surprise. I plugged another secret destination into the GPS and held my breath in anticipation as we got closer...
We pulled up into an airport parking lot, and I told her we are going on a trip! I didn't tell her where we were going, but I knew she would love it more than anything in the world. She was convinced it was Paris, but I had something better in mind!
Here's the ring!
So there we were, on an unexpected flight to a top secret location! Even in the terminal and on the plane, other people played along and kept the destination a secret from her. She had no idea where we were flying until we literally stepped off the plane at our destination...
And finally, the plane landed. She looked out the window and saw a Canadian flag, and not much else. Confused and excited, we exited the plane and walked directly down onto the tarmac, and saw the tiniest little airport before us. Smiling, trying to figure out where we were, she squinted her eyes and read the sign on the building.
A great view of PEI
Prince Edward Island. Why did I take her here? Because this was literally the home of Anne of Green Gables. The author of the original Anne books, L.M.Montgomery, was born on this island and created the story based on all of the inspiration she found there. The northern part of the island is filled with massive rolling green pastures, ocean sand dunes, thousands of pointy pine trees, lighthouses, old country homes... and a whole series of Anne of Green Gables based landmarks and locations that actually took part in shaping the creation of the original story. It turns out PEI created a whole tourist section specifically based on Anne of Green Gables, and here we were!
I had arranged for us to stay at one of the nicest inns on the island, called Kindred Spirits Country Inn. ("Kindred Spirits" being one of the most popular expressions Anne used). This inn was absolutely beautiful.
So there we were, in the middle of Cavendish, the small town in which the author of Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maude Montgomery, was born and raised; the very place which inspired the town of Avonlea where the book takes place.
We arrived at the inn on one of the very first days they opened for the season. The place was exactly how I expected to be, fitting perfectly into the realm of Anne and I knew it would be everything Andrea could have wanted. I had a special package prepared for us, and as we were checking in Andrea got to hear all about the carriage ride I had scheduled, along with a picnic, and entry to various L.M.Montgomery museums and landmarks as well as a ticket to visit the "official" Anne of Green Gables house which was located just a few hundred yards from our room.
Andrea's Dream Comes True
We started the day with a walk to the ocean, stopping for about 800 photos along the way. None of the photos did the island justice. One of Andrea's dreams was just to see the beautiful rolling hills and grassy dunes just like in Anne of Green Gables. Her fantasy world. And so I took her there...
The cherry on top...
At the end of our first day on Prince Edward Island, I finally unveiled my final surprise. It was the cherry on top; a DVD I created that was filled with videos, music and photos from our entire relationship together. I spent months on it, and I was more excited about sharing this with Andrea than the whole rest of the trip. So we tucked in for the night and settled in for the 35 minute movie; a huge montage of some of our favorite memories that we had captured. Some of which were stupidly funny that only we would ever appreciate, while others portions were carefully timed to music designed specifically to tug at the heart strings. I can assure you, during the course of this video there were extreme tears, gasps for air, and embarrassing noises. Our heads were in pain after the roller coaster of emotion. So worth it.
We spent our second day on Prince Edward Island touring the historical site of L.M.Montgomery's (the author of Anne of Green Gables) Cavendish homestead. This was the location of the house she lived in; the very place that she wrote Anne of Green Gables. Afterwards we headed to a museum where we had a scheduled horse carriage ride that took us through dandelion fields across the sand dunes to the ocean.
And to cap the day, at last, we decided to visit the actual house that inspired L.M.Montgomery to write Anne of Green Gables in the first place. This house is different from the one earlier in Toronto; this was a real house that the author actually knew and visited while on the island. The location is now a great little tourist attraction. Since we were there during the off season and later at night, we had the entire grounds to ourselves. It was heaven.
Visiting Green Gables
And so we've reached our final day on Prince Edward Island. After finishing breakfast, we started saying goodbye to Kindred Spirits and the friends we made there (who we still are in touch with today). We also revisted the official Anne house and took the tour inside. Afterwards we walked through the wooded Lover's Lane and had a picnic out by the house to conclude our time on the island.
Another White Dash
Finally, here's a montage video that sums up our entire trip!
There's a whole lot more detail to this story, including our return trip back through Niagara Falls and the Christmas Story house. So if you are really bored and have a lot of time to kill, you can always go and read the full version.
Meanwhile, continue reading for some news!
the wedding day
We can't just leave you hanging with the proposal, right? We're married! Our big day was November 5th, 2011. Below is a trailer video for our wedding, done by the excellent Plan-A Wedding Films. There are plenty of other wedding and honeymoon videos and pictures at our full wedding site, http://www.andreadavidwedding.com!
Next up, this is the full 17 minute highlights video from our wedding, complete with snippets of our ceremony and speeches.
We had a pretty "hands-on" approach for our wedding. Andrea is crazy crafty, so she of course wanted to make as much as we can! We created the invitations, favors, centerpieces and other decor.. and of course (knowing me), I had to document the whole thing with video. We showed this one at our reception!
And finally, it wouldn't be complete without a highlight reel from our Hawaii honeymoon.
0:00 First Island: Kauai
3:30 Kipu Ranch ATV Tour
5:03 Jurassic Falls Helicopter
8:21 Second Island: Lanai
9:40 Stables at Koele
See more of our wedding here!:
Thank you for sharing in our story! It was truly the most wonderful experience of our lives. We intend on going back to Prince Edward Island and the incredible Kindred Spirits Inn many, many times! This trip gave us enough memories to last a lifetime...
...but we're only getting started.
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