By Shannon Quinn-Tucker
Every couple has a story to tell about their engagement. While some folks go to great lengths to plan every last detail, others are more spontaneous. Some incorporate elaborate props like fireworks or hundreds of people, while others choose to make it a more private affair. Some engagement stories are funny, some are romantic and some are predicable, but each one is special in its own way. The engagement story of Brian and Heidi, recent visitors to Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park, was made of a little planning, a little luck and a whole lot of love.
Brian and Heidi met through an online dating service shortly after Heidi moved from Chicago to St. Louis in 2008. Heidi, a student intern and bio-medical electronics technician, was interested in making friends in her new city, and quickly found that she and Brian, a process control engineer, had a lot in common: they both enjoyed nature, hiking and traveling. Brian and Heidi didn’t begin dating right away, but after a three year friendship, a flame was kindled. By the time they’d planned a trip to our area this past March, Brian knew he wanted to ask Heidi to marry him.
“We drove down from St. Louis on Saturday, March 14, and I knew I was going to ask her to marry me at some point while we were visiting Asheville,” says Brian. “We had many hikes planned for the week so I had ample opportunity. We both love to hike and she loves water falls. I didn’t have a set plan, per se, I just knew that when I felt the moment was right I would just get down on one knee.”
The couple made their first visit to Chimney Rock and began hiking the trails, beginning with visiting the top of the Rock, then making their way up to Exclamation Point. Brian considered making his proposal there, but it was a bit windy that day and the timing just didn’t feel right. That was when the couple made their way back down the Outcroppings trail and hiked out to the Hickory Nut Falls.
“The beauty of Hickory Nut Falls inspired me to do it,” remembers Brian. “I found out later that it was the backdrop to Last of the Mohicans so I was pretty happy about that as well.”
“Brian leaned over to help me off with my backpack and took out a ring. I was shocked!” says Heidi. And the couple was in luck – another couple happened to walk upon the scene, one of whom was a photographer. As Brian got down on one knee, the man snapped some photos, giving them a tangible memory of their moment.
But that wasn’t the last of the couple’s good fortune. They decided to visit Cliff Dwellers Gifts shortly afterward, where Heidi mentioned that they’d just gotten engaged at the Falls. Retail associates Holly and Gary were only too happy to help them find something special with which to remember the day. Heidi, who loves items made of wood, thought she might like a wooden Christmas ornament to commemorate the occasion. But Holly remembered that the store carried a wood plaque featuring a painting of the Falls and found it for her. “The scene on the plaque is literally the very spot that Brian asked me to marry him,” says Heidi. “It was perfect – now we have something to put on our wall that will always remind us of that day.”
Brian plans to burn their engagement date on the plaque and add a pocket on its back for mementos such as the photo (and this article!). “The plaque is a beautiful piece of mother nature,” he says, “and now we will get to come visit through the years and different seasons. Chimney Rock will always hold a special place in our hearts.”
Congratulations, Brian and Heidi! You have a special place in our hearts as well.
Shannon Quinn-Tucker is PR and Promotions Manager at Chimney Rock State Park.