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Alaskan Adventure
By Carol LeBeau
6/24/2011 4:52:59 PM


Tom and I returned from a wedding in May. And you say, “big deal,” right? Well, THIS wedding was a big deal … and the celebration continued for an entire week … aboard a cruise liner bound for Alaska!

We’d been looking forward to Adrienne and Jeff’s wedding for months. Adrienne’s Dad is Tom’s cousin. Growing up together in West Virginia, Rob and Tom were more than cousins – they were best friends. And the marriage of Rob’s oldest daughter was reason to celebrate. Little did we know, the nuptials would be part of the trip of a lifetime!

There’s nothing ordinary about Jeff and Adrienne, so few were surprised when the adventuresome couple chose an extraordinary venue as the stage for their wedding ceremony. From across the country, 38 friends and family members traveled to Seattle to board the Sapphire Princess for a seven-day cruise along Alaska’s Inland Passage.

The next morning, as we cruised along the coast of Vancouver Island en-route to Alaska, Adrienne and Jeff were pronounced man and wife by the ship’s Captain. From the bow of the 16th deck, the wedding party and guests enjoyed a million dollar view … including a small pod of whales that appeared just in time to share in the celebration.

Following a festive champagne reception, fabulous food and a few rounds on the dance floor… instead of a post-party letdown … THIS week-long party was just getting started!

Between elegant four-course meals each night, we enjoyed fascinating ports of call, including Alaska’s “First City,” Ketchikan, and the capital city of Juneau. There we took a ride aboard the Mt. Roberts Tramway and got a breathtaking view of the Mendenhall Glacier.

My favorite stop was Skagway, a charming little town known to thousands of hopeful gold-rushers back in the 1890’s as the “gateway to the gold fields.” The community has retained the flavor of the era with its quaint, historically accurate storefronts on all its boutiques, restaurants and bars.

The next leg of our tour took us through the scenic Juan de Fuca Strait, ending in the harbor of Victoria, British Columbia. Following a brief visit in the picturesque city, we boarded the Sapphire Princess one last time for the final stretch of our voyage.

Dinner that final night was elegant, as usual, but even the signature baked Alaska was bittersweet as we said good-bye to all the family and friends with whom we’d sojourned to witness the marriage of Adrienne and Jeff… and the majesty of our 49th state.

We headed back to our home states – West Virginia, Tennessee, Virginia, Indiana, Florida and California – to check our e-mail and Facebook pages for the photos that would remind us of our wild and wonderful adventure together. What a trip! What a wedding!

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.