The kindness of strangers can sometimes simply make your day.
One of the best things about staying in a bed and breakfast is that you have other guests at breakfast. We lingered over breakfast with a couple of the other guests, there were two students and a professor lodging here. As residents of Fairbanks, they had the inside scoop on visiting the Ice Festival.
In all my research, the one thing I hadn’t seen or read was that a key component to enjoying the ice slides was a sled. Perhaps it’s such common knowledge amongst the natives, but as a Floridian it never occurred to me that a sled would not only be allowed, but critical to whizzing down the slides!
As I child, I never went sledding. I have no feelings of nostalgia or memories of sledding down hillsides. But now my boys have this experience, common to all childhood experiences of people raised with snowy winters. Bright eyed and breathless, they’d sling themselves down the long slide made of ice. Upon arrival at the bottom, there was barely a moment’s pause before they’d grab the rope and race back to the top….little legs bouncing up the slope.
I also took a trip or two down some slides. I must say it was exhilarating. Something that truly struck me while exploring the ice sculptures, playground and maze is that the ice was so dry. In Florida, my entire experience with ice is that it is always in a state of melting, and therefore wet. Never has ice been so completely frozen that it’s dry to the touch. Sometimes, it’s the simple things that strike us, no?
We came back to our home away from home for dinner. The kindness continued – after talking about our experiences today, one of the staff invited us to join us in a sledding extravaganza later this week. Cannot wait to join them!!!
As our bodies still think it’s 4 hours later (hello Eastern time zone!) it was an exercise in sheer will power for us to muster the gumption to return to the Ice Festival after dark to see the sculptures all lit up at night. To be honest, we almost threw in the towel and all went to bed. But we didn’t.
The Ice Park was transformed by night, the slides, playground and park illuminated a winter wonderland. The boys raced off to the slides once more while Jon and Judy took photos. Today I’m just going to post them all gallery style – more details will have to come later!