A few weeks ago, when my mom was down to visit us, I mentioned to her about wanting to just get away somewhere. A place where no one knows us, a place where we could just hide for a while. A few days later, she called to say that she and my dad were going to pay for us to take a trip over Memorial Day weekend (the only time Bryan could get away since he had used all his vacation for Samuel.) She insisted they wanted to do this for us (after my protest that it was too much!) and we started talking about places to go. Our initial thought was somewhere warm - maybe an oceanfront hotel in California or Florida - but then we realized that would include a flight and there was no way to control if we got seated next to a baby for hours (something I would not be able to handle!) Bryan and I talked and realized we needed a place for adults only that was not too far away so we could drive. We love visiting Duluth each year, so we began looking for a hotel there. We quickly realized there would be the same problem with hotels; too many families with kids/babies. After some research, we found a bed and breakfast (adults only - perfect!) called The Firelight Inn. It looked perfect and it had tons of great reviews. They had the perfect room for us. A room with a king-sized bed, a jacuzzi tub, a fireplace and a great view of Lake Superior. Also, another great aspect of this specific inn... they bring breakfast to you in your room so you don't have to be around the other guests if you don't want to. How perfect for us! We could get away without having to deal with other people. My parents so generously purchased the room for us and even included some of the Inn's special extras - a cheese, fruit and cracker tray, a dinner of wild rice soup and bread and a tray of dessert and coffee. They really spoiled us!
I had some mixed emotions (what else is new...) as the day grew near for us to go. I realized if Samuel was alive we wouldn't be going. I feel sad doing things I know I wouldn't be doing if he were here. It felt strange to want to enjoy the trip knowing he couldn't be apart of it. But I was also really looking forward to "running away", even if just for awhile.
Because my mom always goes the extra mile, she packed a bag for us with games, yummy snacks, drinks and even bath products for our trip. She also got me a beautiful little engraved coin with Samuel's name on it. It's a beautiful little thing I can hold in my hand while I'm thinking of him. It's very special to me.
On Friday afternoon, we packed up and left for Duluth. After a long car ride (thanks to the many others heading north for the holiday and lots of construction delays) we finally made it to the Inn. We pulled up to the beautiful brick home and immediately knew we had made the right choice. It is a historic home that was beautifully restored and obviously well maintained. As we walked up to the door, we were greeted by the owners, Joy and Jim, who felt like family welcoming us to their home. We were the only guests that night, so we ended up having the run of the place while they went out to dinner. It was such a beautiful home! There was a huge wrap-around porch on the front and side of the house with lots of comfy seats, tables with games and books, a beautiful fireplace and enormous windows overlooking Oregon Creek on the side of the house. Then there was the living room with a grand piano, couches, and another fireplace. The dining room led into a butlers pantry with things for our enjoyment during the stay. There were coffees, teas, sodas, water bottles, freshly baked sugar cookies and snacks all ready for you whenever you wanted. The next room over was a cozy - but not small - living room with an amazing fireplace sectioned out under the beautifully hand-carved staircase leading up the rooms. They had bookcases with movies, books, CDs and games for our use. During our tour, we got to see all of the guest rooms. No two were the same and we would have been happy with any of them. Our room was on the top floor. We got a suite with two rooms. When we opened the door, we were so excited to see how beautiful and well appointed our room was! There was a king bed with an awesome antique metal frame, a large jacuzzi tub right across from the fireplace, a private bathroom with shower (and handmade soaps the owner makes) a second room with a couch, table and chairs, an entertainment center and even a beautiful antique wardrobe for our clothes. There were many skylights we could open for fresh air and even one that opened on to a really cool metal walkway with a spiral staircase down to the lower deck. The room was so beautiful and clean. It looked like we were the first people to even use it.
Every morning, we would get a knock on the door and hear "Bryan and RaeAnne, your breakfast is served". When we opened the door, we would find a huge basket filled with wonderful things like a plated hot main dish (brie and Canadian bacon quiche the first day, ham and cheese strata the next and strawberry stuffed french toast the last day), a dish of some types of yummy fruits, a basket of muffins and other bakery breads/treats, coffee, tea, and everything else you needed for a great breakfast (including a daily newsletter with the days menu, the local weather and things to do around the city). We were spoiled with the amazingly delicious (and huge) meals each morning.
For the most part, we just spent time together in the room, just being together watching movies, reading, napping and talking. We talked about Samuel and how much we miss him. We cried at times, we dreamed together of what he was doing right at that moment, in heaven, and we talked about how we are going to try to live without him. We miss him so much! Although the weather was cold and gloomy (even thunderstorms and rain), it was perfect. We could just cuddle in the warmth of the fireplace and not worry about going anywhere or talking to anyone. Almost no one knew where we were so it felt like we could just relax and be alone. It was very nice and I hope we can make it back there again someday. I don't think we could have found a better place to go and we will always remember our time there.