Upon arrival at Manzanita, we were like always greeted by the staff and floor manager. We were shown our seat (patio side with a view of the snow falling from the sky) and were informed that breakfast was on the house and whatever we wanted we could have. I was yet again blown away, I also felt really bad as these people have already done so much for us. We ordered our meal and it was made to order, it was very reminiscent of the other night, which it was simply fantastic. The flavors in the food that comes out of this restaurant is quick frankly the tastiest I've ever tasted, its truly amazing how something as simplistic as a ham/spinach/onion egg white omelet (minus cheese) can taste as flavorful as it does, the distinct individual flavors are complementing but yet so complex at the same time. We really enjoyed it and appreciated the staff taking the time to chat with us. Just as we figured it was time to leave, we were told that chef's and kitchen staff were going to come out and make snow angels with Dylan. I was like wait......................they must be kidding, right? Who just gets to work and slaves away in the kitchen to only cut loose and throw themselves selfishly in the snow, all for the sake of a child getting a good laugh? That's right, that's the folks at Manzanita. I was completely shocked that these guys/girls in there work attire would do something so special, oh and lets not forget its only like 28 degrees outside. I was so grateful for this moment, nothing like this could ever be forgotten, it was a moment that will forever live in my memory. At the end of it all we were given a signed menu from the restaurant (and this is more than just a piece of paper, its a beautiful single page menu accompanied by a leather placard with the restaurants signature embossed manzanita tree branch on it, its the most elegant menu I've ever seen).
The time had come, it was the dreaded time to say goodbye's...we knew upfront this was going to be really hard, over the last few days we've gotten to know these folks whom had done so much for us; hopefully we could get by with limited water works. As we made our way to the lobby, we were surrounded by what appeared to be the entire hotel staff; from managers, to wait staff, to the chef's, literally everyone we had seen over the course of our stay was awaiting us and our departure. This was all brought to life with everyone clapping and cheering Dylan on as we made our way to the front door. To say it was magical would be an injustice, it was precious; the look on our little boy's face said it all. The experience had come full circle, overwhelming and over the top from the get go to the overwhelming heart warming goodbye's. Dylan made the rounds slapping everyone high 5's. The staff had made Dylan a wonderful banner saying goodbye and likewise Dylan had made the General Manager a very special picture to say his thanks as well, which was given to his assistant Martina (whom came in on her day off just to say farewell). Without the caring and compassionate individuals behind the entire operation at The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe none of this would of been what it was. Our experience is one that will forever live in our memories and one that we will be indebted to these folks for a lifetime.
As we pulled away and started on our journey back to our life/reality, we found ourselves on the side of the road weeping in tears as a family. I grabbed my camera one last time and took a single photo of Dylan and the hotel, which was covered in snow but ironically had a break in the clouds off in the near distance; almost like the sky had opened up with snow over the hotel just for Dylan. Literally as if someone/something had made sure he got to have his wish in its entirety. It truly completed everything.
Thank you all for making Dylan a special place in your hearts over the last few days, with all the bad things he has gone through and will continue for some time to come, I know he will have a fantastic experience to reflect back on for an eternity. We are eternally grateful.
***The images below are in a slideshow format, you can hit the "Play" button on main image or click on individual images to have them enlarge. To get more images put your cursor over the last picture shown on the right, it will scroll to more images***