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As we stay bundled in our layers, I dream in anticipation of the ear-to-ear smiles that sprinkle into Paradise every Sunday from June until September. The image of people exiting their cars or hopping out of our shuttles and letting the first glimpse of the beauty of our valley sink in is guaranteed to refresh me for a new week of guests. After plane rides or road trips, Paradise creates a perfect oasis from the outside world. I love even hearing our international guests when they take in their first view of our ranch say, “This was worth the miles!”.
In one simple week, the range of people that come to enjoy the ranch is amazing. All kinds of kinds drive through the FUN gate, and every one of them has a shared desire for and oasis. One person's idea of retreat may be sipping on a cold beer on his porch, visiting our massage therapist, a relaxingday of fishing on French Creek. A different guest's may be forgetting about professionalism for a moment and whooping and hollering to pen their cows for a win, breaking out some rusty guitar skills for the talent show and becoming explorers on the mountain hikes with their kids.
Some of my best memories from our 2013 season cover all kinds of people from all walks of life. In one family week I remember enjoying Sunday evening dinner with a beautiful Australian couple celebrating fifty years of love and marriage on the left of me, newly married honeymooners on the right, and a family with five little ones with eager eyes and smiles ready to jump into the action of the week. No matter where someone is from or what stage of life he's in, it is a joy sharing that special week of a person's year. This is a week where we can help find peace, fun, and lasting memories away from the daily grind. In today's world of having your entire life in the palm of your hand, I love watching parent's jaws drop as they see their teenagers put down their phones and play volleyball or go on hikes with new friends. Paradise perfectly displays both the literal and figurative meanings of “a breath of fresh air.”
Having a thirst to travel all my life, I often dream of exploring the Australian outback, taking in Boston's history, hiking in the Canadian Rockies, tasting gelato in Rome, biking the golden coast, and swimming off the coast of Greece. It is one of the most humbling experiences when people who have the opportunity to experience all these wonders daily come to Paradise as their dream vacation. Watching our guests take in that first breath of our mountain air and get settled in their own cozy cabin looking out on French Creek and Fan Rock reminds me that I live in a perfect vacation haven. Only four more months until families, couples, singles, new friends and old friends step out of the daily stresses that life brings and step into an oasis of beauty, laughs and all around peace. Seeing the stress and obligations melt from guest's faces is something that money cannot buy. Summer can't come soon enough!