A few months ago Nick and I were sitting in the movie theater, having the same loving debate we often have. Vacation. Our whole marriage, my idea of vacation has been very commercial and clean, Hawaii or Disney, at the very least somewhere where they bring you a cute drink with an umbrella and there are elevators. His hope for our family vacations has always been a little more off the beaten path. He’s always wanted to take our kids to see things they won’t see in normal life, but also REAL places where people live and work and have family and community. A mix of adventure and real culture is really important to him. He’d dream of places like Fiji, South Africa, and small islands off the Pacific Northwest.
This particular night, as we were having the debate, we were about to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and one of the previews of the movie was for Disney Hawaii vacations. For the first time, he leaned over to me and said - “You know, that does look nice. Maybe we could eventually do something like that.” Woohoo, I’d won! Well, if you’ve seen The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, you know that it’s filmed in obscure, adventurous places with tons of culture and personality. About an hour into the movie, Nick leaned over and took it all back. “Forget Disney Hawaii. Do you see this?! These are the kinds of places we should be taking our kids!”
I have to say, that’s what the past few days at Deer Valley have been for us. Just without leaving this country. This isn’t a fabricated place that is set apart from culture or reality. And I’m not knocking Disney, because I know there’s a time and place for fantasy and whimsy and make-believe. But for us, this week has been incredible - to soak up adventure and soak up another culture all at once. The families that run Deer Valley are real and it’s been in their family for generations. A lot of the guests and the staff are the same way - their parents brought them and then maybe they worked here during college and now they’re bringing their own kids as well. The wranglers and the house-keeping ladies and kitchen staff - all of them - they’re one ginormous family, loving one another and reflecting Christ and serving their faces off.
As a small business owner and ministry gal, I appreciate what these people are building SO much here. It’s really and good and loving and careful and sacrificial.
Then there’s the very real backdrop of our beautiful country. It’s been amazing to get caught in feet of snow with our kids and take them on horse back rides in the midst of the chalk cliffs. To hike a mile out and have a homemade breakfast picnic in the middle of the woods. Essentially to show them - adventure is HERE. It’s real and we can make it in nature, we don’t have to make it up or build it or even go to Fiji.
Again, I’m not knocking Disney or drinks by the pool for vacation, but I am incredibly glad that my wise husband was also stubborn, and I can’t wait for many more adventures at Deer Valley, this week, and in the years to come. I pray our kids are bringing their kids here one day and saying - “yeah… our parents brought us again and again and we can’t imagine not coming.” I'm excited about being a part of this story and this culture and this place for years to come.