Wednesday, January 9, 2013

"Welcome Winter.......


 ........Your late dawns and chilled breath make me lazy, but I love you nonetheless" - Terri Guillemets

We had a most wonderful adventure for Christmas this year. We decided that shopping was not how we wanted to spend our time or money. We craved an adventure....we wanted to be somewhere that would bind us together with the threads of our combined memories....a sharing that was more than of just things. We are at a time in our lives where our sprouts have sprung into trees and will soon be on their own adventures, and also a time where parents will soon not be able to brave the rigors of traipsing through the frozen woods. So the time was now......and the place was one as magical as we could find...the Yosemite Valley......


We have been here in winter before, but it has been a few years, and it has never been quite so beautiful. We came into the valley when there had already been some snow, but it had just begun to snow again. It was like entering another world just past the gate. We chained up on the side of the road, and met a pretty women who was traveling with her own two daughters and her mother...just like we were. We helped her get her chains on her car and we all traveled on to the "castle" in the valley: The Ahwahnee Hotel. There was to be a concert there that afternoon, and while we knew we were not going to make it on time because of the snow, we hoped to see some of it. We did get there and listened to the carols in the historic lodge while the snow fell outside....and then we saw a familiar face! The woman we had helped was there with her family to see a friend in the choir. She thanked us again for helping her get to the concert in time to see her friend, and we were pleased to have spent the time helping out someone to kick off our trip. Our adventure was off to a perfect start!


I cannot say that there were no presents at all this year. There were a few....but they were important and they were specific to each person and what they needed and really wanted. For me....I had dropped my camera in the fall and had been limping along with no zoom and no flash for a few months. So this trip was the maiden voyage for trying out my new camera. I was all set to get a Nikon D3200, but was convinced to try out the Sony a37 at the camera store. There is a lot to love about this camera...and I will be taking some free training to learn all the bells and whistles. There are some major differences in how each camera functions...so I will be getting used to it in the days to come. So let me know what you think about the photos! (Thank you Tim for spoiling me!) 

I hope you enjoy a peek and enjoy the peaks.......

Misty morning on the valley floor
After a cozy dinner at the Yosemite Lodge by by a roaring fire, we settled in for the night anticipating and dreaming dreams of great day to follow. And it followed with a new blanket of snow and a gorgeous blue sky! Trust me when I say I had to severely edit the quantity of photos so as not to overwhelm you with "my Christmas vacation"!



Half Dome was magnificent dressed in white, and one of my favorite gifts this year was to see my Mom's face when she saw it for the first time. Born and raised in California, she had never been to Yosemite....my heart grew three sizes that day.....




The light was ethereal, and everything was so quiet. We all just sort of fell quiet ourselves and stared at it all....



And thought very thoughtful thoughts......












While we did try to spend every minute outside that we could, we also had plenty of time to enjoy the Ahwanhee Hotel in all of its grandeur.....


The hotel was all decked for the Holidays. Fires were roaring....


Hot Toddies and Hot Chocolates were in great abundance....


Trees were adorned .....



A little warming up and relaxation was in order.....



Christmas Eve was fast upon us, so we headed back to our own lodgings to get ready for the Bracebridge Dinner, an 85 year old Yosemite Christmas Tradition. This is an event I have been wanting to attend for years, and this year we decided was "the" year! It is a "formal affair", so we all donned our finest. Thank goodness there was valet service. I cannot imagine how we would have slogged through the slush in our heels on this snowy night! I was lucky to have a vintage 60's lace coat from the old I. Magnin store in Pasadena given to me by my Mother to wear., not only very chic, but also warm......



There were women wearing long gowns and tuxedoed men all gathered for the Renaissance holiday feast.....


Could you tell I used my iPhone to take the photo? No cameras are allowed into the main Dining Room for the pageant! All very hush hush you know. We enjoyed all seven courses, sharing a table with a great family from Southern California and were satiated. There was caroling and court jesters....there were trumpets and arias....there was peacock pie and plum pudding....it was merry and filling and great! Happy and tired, we made our way out of the hall, saying goodbye to all of the players in the pageant. I thanked them all for their performance, but was stopped by a couple in full costume who insisted they knew me.....I had no idea who they were and thought I had become part of the play, as many others had already been. But they insisted, and I realized I was talking with two old friends from college who were part of the production. You see....our freind was the granddaughter of Ansel Adams ( photographer and one of the founders and Master of Ceremony of the Bracebridge Dinner), so she and her husband had been asked to be in the pageant. It was a wonderful surprise to end a magical evening. We all had a drink together to cap off the evening. After wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas, we headed back to our hotel and to bed to wait for Santa to find us all.....


We had Christmas Day Brunch at the Ahwahnee (Best brunch I have had in ....well.....ever!) and then went on a little hike to the Yosemite Falls to work off the Croque en bouche. There was more scenery to see and pictures to take....but I will leave you here at the Falls my friends.

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday Season and wish you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year! 
Best wishes for a wonderful 2013 from all of the Denhams....and Fred

"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a freindly hand and for a talk beside the fire....." - Edith Sitwell.



13 comments:

Karen Albert said...

Katie each and every image is just magical!! This will be a holiday remembered by all of your family forever!

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

The Fab Spot said...

Oh my goodness! What a special trip you'll always remember! All of the photos are breathtaking - especially the waterfalls!

Amanda
www.romance-it.blogspot.com

Kelly said...

Wonderful! Brings back great memories from a few years back, when I spent my birthday (a week before Christmas) in Yosemite. The quality of light in your Yosemite Falls photos look exactly like mine.

I would love to attend the Bracebridge dinner...someday. My own kids are still too young to be invited!

Willow's Quiet Corner said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous photos! I spent a Christmas in Yosemite a few years back. I have wanted to do it again ever since! Maybe next year? ? ? :)

cindy said...

Hi Katie

I LOVED this post. We went to Yosemite a couple of years ago before Christmas and it was absolutely one of the most magical times I can remember. We peeked at the Bainbridge Dinner from afar. Your pictures are absolutely wonderful. You cannot take a bad picture at Yosemite I have decided. Thank you so much for this post!! I am going to post it on my facebook page for all to enjoy!

Kwana said...

Wonderful post. Best wishes for a wonderful 2013 to you too.

Merlin said...

Ethereal!! franki

mary said...

Hi Katie, A fairy tale Christmas. Everyone looks so beautiful. Much to my chagrin, I have never been to Yosemite, either. Your photos are pushing me to go in winter--the stillness pulls me in. Thank you!
Mary

serena@FarmHouseUrban said...

Katie, just beautiful! I've bookmarked several of your travel posts. What an incredible setting to spend Christmas - thanks for sharing it!
xo
serena

pretty pink tulips said...

What a beautiful and touching holiday! The scenery is mesmerizing and your photographs capture the beauty. You're on your way to mastering that new camera!

I have never head of this place but love knowing about it and its rich history.

Happy New Year!
xo Elizabeth

ovidiu said...

Amazing pictures...

Paper Shredder said...

Winter wonderland pictures are such inspiring to look at. Thanks for these pictures.

topSpot | Find your top spot here said...

Great pictures..i like this blog! :)