Friday, June 4, 2010

One Year Anniversary

Over Memorial Day weekend we celebrated our one year anniversary! My how time flies. We headed back down to the Homestead for the weekend, and it was a fantastic time full of great moments and nostalgia (is it nostalgia if it's memories of just a year ago?).  We kept saying "A year ago at this moment we were..." and then would recount what we were doing at that time. It was fitting because some of our activities of this weekend paralleled those of our wedding weekend (unplanned and totally cheese, but sweet)!

Esme, our wedding coordinator, arranged to have us in an upgraded suite in the tower, the tallest part of the hotel with the best view, for our stay. And as I got ready for dinner, G called me out to the living room to look at something...

There were the unusual Amnesia roses that I carried as my bouquet on our wedding day. Mr. P had called the local florist (who did our wedding flowers) and asked for them. First, I was so incredibly touched by this!!! Second, I was in shock that he even knew the name of the flowers and third, since they are a bit rare and unusual, I really appreciated the effort it took to get them (they had to be special ordered from Guatemala).

So there we were on our first night on our anniversary weekend (we got married on the 30th, the next day, which would be the big dinner and anniversary night). But this night, we headed over to Garth Newel, the barn-turned-music center, to take in a dinner and a chamber music concert. It was hosted in the very barn that we had our rehearsal dinner exactly one year earlier.  They introduced the new Steinway that the organization just acquired and we sat in the second row, where we enjoyed the big and resonant sounds of live chamber music. It was fantastic!


The chef, Randy Wyche, made a great dinner for the evening including an Indian-inspired tomato curry soup, shrimp in puff pastry, beef tenderloin with gratin potatoes, and a little capuccino cream dessert. He and some of the wait staff remembered us and told the director of the organization, who broke out the Champagne and dinner and made a toast to us in front of all the concert guests! It was SO touching and sweet!!! Mr. P even went around later with the rest of the bottle of Champagne and gave some to the 30-some concert-goers/dinner guests. Several of these kind strangers came up to us afterward and congratulated us on our one year anniversary. The food was yummy and the impromptu celebration was more than we could ever expect! They really made our night memorable!!!

Chef Randy raising the one year anniversary finger!

The next day, the day of our anniversary, we got up and had some coffee in our room then headed down to the pool...exactly what we did a year earlier. Again, not planned, but it's just the natural thing to do in a resort like this. There we lay, taking in the sun and reading our books and newspapers.

We had brought a bunch of stuff to take on a picnic, figuring that we'd decide on a location once we got to the resort. Mr. P had asked around, and decided to surprise me with a 'special' location for our picnic. We stopped by the local grocery store as well as the fancy new Old Dairy market and picked up some fun and traditional picnic goodies for our little adventure. Mr. P had packed a cooler full of beverages, including Champagne.

So we parked at an overlook spot and started to walk towards our destination. Again, I had no idea...and apparently G didn't either. It was about a mile hike up a steep mountain...on my sandals and a dress, carrying a bag full of gear as Mr. P carried a very heavy cooler and picnic basket. I cut my toe on some rocks and was laughing at our by now hot and sweating state. Any notions of a romantic picnic photo session were out the door (I was carrying a heavy tripod, too!).  It got so hot (the day was about 90 degrees as it was) that Mr. P had to take off his shirt (which he never does).

But finally, we got up to Flag Rock, a spot overlooking Warm Springs and much of Bath County. It is a gazebo built on top of a flat rock formation...and it is breath taking. Speaking of which, we finally got to catch our breaths and enjoyed our picnic of fried chicken (yes, chicken, we made the exception here), potato salad, orzo, cheese and crackers, and some water melon! I even brought a flower. Cheesy!

I also packed some year-old macarons! Mr. P's mom had saved some in the freezer! This time I used a salty caramel (that a friend gave me for my bridal shower) for the filling. They were good...but definitely stale!

Then we headed back down the mountain and drove to another little surprise, our friend Mary and Ryan's incredibly gorgeous farm right on the Jackson river. There we caught up with them and played with there new dogs and goats. They have such a magnificent property, where they have a guest cottage and a historic old main house (which they are redoing) and the river is just yards away, where they have placed Adirondack chairs for leisurely evening fishing and where they can view bald eagles and other wild life.


They also rescued some goats. Mary is a gourmand and was thinking that she'd raise them for milk and cheese, but alas found it to be too expensive and difficult. So now they're just the cutest pets. (Speaking of gourmand, she made a watercress pesto from what she found on the water's edge and some great smoked salmon noshes). Blue and Cotton, the rescued Great Pyrenees, the newest members of the family--and at over 100 and some pounds--are quite the handful! Blue really loves to be under foot and enjoys giving kisses. Lots O kisses! It was a lovely time. Oh yeah, one year later, me, in a white dress, having a great time (and being kissed by a handsome fella) in this beautiful valley!

We headed back to the hotel where we showered and got ready for dinner. Esme said she had an anniversary cake for us. Our wedding cake, as you may know, was a cakewreck, and the hotel actually lost the top tier. So our coordinator had another one made for us...and I was really anxious to see it.

For old time's sake, we walked around the property to snap some portraits...I've gained some weight!  There was a Memorial Day barbecue on the lawn near where we had our cocktail hour. It looked so fun and festive, and Esme was, again, there to make sure things went on without a hitch.

We sat down for dinner, got complimentary Champers, we exchanged our modest little gifts...okay, mine was modest, Mr. P went all out.

We exchanged gifts for this 'paper' anniversary. I used our boxed invitation to hold the make-shift anniversary card (a one-year message written on our wedding invitation) and a framed picture of his bride (try not to gag). Mr. P gave me the most touching cards and a little well as a piece of fine art photography (actually, I'm holding a little print out of the real thing, which is being framed). I also have something forthcoming for him! We both got a little misty...

Dinner was delicious and very old-school-traditional--such a throw-back. You know, lots of table side service, flames, etc. We had escargot, spinach salad, the ever-present-palate-cleansing-sorbet, and Chateaubriand for two. Our window seat afforded us a GREAT view of the Memorial Day fireworks on the lawn outside...And Esme (our wedding coordinator) stopped by to say hello!!! She's the best.

And for dessert, our cake!!! Our monogram! And... I guess Esme arranged with Mountain Laurel Creations, our florists, to have the various flowers and greenery in our wedding decor to be arranged as a cake topper. What a fabulous surprise!!!! The cake was actually DELICIOUS. We should have gone with this cake (long story, read about it here). Ten thin layers of lemon cake, separated by raspberry filling, surrounded by cream and then enveloped in fondant. It was lovely.

On our way home, we stopped by my mom's who hosted a Memorial Day dinner for me and Mr. P's parents (I could shoot myself for not getting pictures of actual PEOPLE rather than just food).  Mr. P helped to grill the steaks and the food was delicious. We even shared our anniversary cake. We ALSO had a special announcement for everyone...


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