SingularCity is proud to announce the three essay winners of our W Hotel Weekend Getaway Contest. First place goes to Brandy Sprunger, a certified veterinary technician (screen name: animlgrl) who moved to Los Angeles from Scottsdale several years ago. Brandy wins a Wonderful Suite Weekend at the W valued at $2,958. “I’m totally excited about winning,” Brandy said. “Since I come from Scottsdale, I’m looking forward to going back and seeing my friends and having a great time at the W Hotel.”
Second place goes to Tracy Roten (screen name: SoCalGal) of Brentwood. Tracy wins a Spa Suite Weekend at the W Hotel, valued at $1,758. “I was thrilled to hear that I won second place in the Singular W Hotel Contest,” Tracy said. “I have never won anything before. I love to travel and I enjoyed entering a contest where I could write about my weekend adventure. I‘ll enjoy even more checking out the Spa Suite Package at the W Hotel in Scottsdale!”
Third place goes to Yvonne Moore (screen name: caligirl) who lives in Encino and is a website programmer. Yvonne wins a Wonderful Room Weekend at the W valued at $958. “I was thrilled,” when I heard that I had won. I love the W hotels and have always wanted to check out the Scottsdale area. It was an exciting morning!”
Here are the winning essays:
First Place: Brandy Sprunger
I had a great guy friend who I had a crush on for years, but both of us were in relationships, so both of us were unavailable. To add to that, I lived in Phoenix at the time and he lived in Orange County. After 8 years of a very unhealthy relationship, I finally broke it off a year ago. My guy friend had become single not long before that.
After having a rough two months after my breakup, he called me right before Memorial Day weekend, and invited me to get away to Orange County for a few days. He was going to drive to Phoenix after the weekend anyway, so why not drive back together? It was the first time in my life I ever did something so spontaneous, that I ever bought an airline ticket less than 24 hours before my flight, and it was the best thing I could have done for myself.
On the flight there, I began reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love a story of the author’s own breakup and subsequent travels. I nearly finished the book on the short flight there. The weekend was spent with my friend working, but with me enjoying the feel of the Pacific Ocean for the very first time in my life. I spent every day running and relaxing at the beach, and becoming very emotional about where my life had led me — in a good way.
I cried at Huntington Beach Pier as I watched surfers for the first time. I took pictures of my own shadow in the ocean. I read books on the beach, perused the farmer’s market and just let everything go. My friend and I enjoyed some great conversations and dinners that weekend and on the trip back to Phoenix. It was definitely the best thing I could have done, to just let all the negative past go, and to open the door to my positive future.
I couldn’t have done it without my good friend. And while he began dating someone not long after I moved to Los Angeles, he is very aware of how grateful I am for that weekend away, and how blessed I am to have a friend like him in my life. He knew exactly what I needed at the time. I’ve used that same sentiment with my own friends who live in Phoenix still, and have invited them to stay here when they’re having a rough time. So while My Best Weekend Getaway Ever didn’t occur in some distant country, involve a passport or tropical beaches, it did change the course of my life, my attitude and spirit, which is what a vacation should be. And since then, I have never been happier being Singular!
Second Prize: Tracy Roten
My friend Greg and I took off from LAX into Jackson Hole, WY mid-October of 2008. He had never been there and I was a child last time I passed through Wyoming on a family vacation. I started out by finding a deal at the Snake River Lodge (RockResort) for $99 a night. We flew in over the Grand Tetons and couldn’t believe how spectacular the view was that surrounded us.
We rented a car in town and drove to the lodge located at the bottom of the Jackson Hole ski resort. The weather was just perfect the whole trip; crisp fall climate, sun shining with just a little snow on the mountaintops. We spent the weekend checking out recommended local restaurants and bars in the evening and during the day, we drove through the Grand Teton National Park taking loads of pictures of the wildlife, the lakes and valleys, and of course the Grand Tetons.
Starting out early every day, we were able to catch elk crossing the highway, a grizzly bear (at a distance), buffalo, beavers, deer and coyotes. The scenery was amazing! We also took a day to drive into Yellowstone Park and do the loop of scenic sites before heading back to our lodge and spa for a jacuzzi. The town and parks were not very crowded as it was the last days before closing for the winter. My friend could not thank me enough for suggesting this destination. It was a wonderful time and just the type of trip we were looking for, a relaxed stress-free atmosphere, cool and comfortable weather and an amazing photo-op for amateur photographers. We will definitely do it again someday.
Third Prize: Yvonne Moore
My Best Weekend Getaway Ever was actually the beginning of how I became a “Singular.” My husband at the time and I were in a major rut in our marriage, in a deeply unhappy place but still together. He was a nonstop workaholic but I managed to get him to take a trip to the seashore in New Jersey for the weekend.
It was so wonderful to get away from our problems at home. We enjoyed the ocean air, ate fantastic food at restaurants and walked along the beach and boardwalk. It was the best weekend I had in several years. It made me realize what having fun was again and that life was meant to be enjoyed! I struck out on my own after that and since then I have been so happy and free as a “Singular” person. That weekend changed my life!