Monday, February 25, 2008
The big news is that JP and I got engaged this weekend!!! Yay!!! So let me tell you all about it...
The first year we started dating, JP surprised me with a Valentine's Day trip. He refused to tell me where we were going but he sprinkled in all sorts of gifts during the day -- a CD for the trip, candy for snacks, etc. I had no idea what was up! As we entered Virginia I was still clueless and it took me about forever to realize that he was taking me to Williamsburg. All I knew about Williamsburg was what I remembered as a kid during field trips but I still thought it was a cool idea. We stayed in a part of the Williamsburg Inn that we loved, we took long walks and just forgot about life outside the colonial world. It really was wonderful and romantic (rose petals, more chocolate, truly romantic!).
On the way out of town, we saw signs for a vineyard -- the Williamsburg Winery -- and on a lark we followed them. We were just in time for a tour and tasting and so we signed up! We had a great time and bought a case (maaybe two) of their wine.
They say Southerners do something once and it becomes a tradition... well... this became our tradition. Every Valentine's Day we go to Williamsburg for a weekend. We have a candlelight dinner at a tavern, we stroll around (never actually getting around to going to the attractions), we buy tons of Godiva chocolate on sale :) And we always go to the winery -- increasing our haul every year. And every year we discover something new! Last year, for example, we signed up for a wine dinner in honor of Washington's birthday. Turns out, Washington was the guest of honor and he showed up to chat and answer questions. Sounds cheesy, I know, but it was amazing.
When we moved from Durham to Charlotte and the V.day drive got longer, I wondered if we'd keep it up. If the longer drive would be worth it. It is. It's amazing how wonderful it is to fully exist in another world. How long and relaxing the days feel, how nice it is to forget blackberries, cell phones, internet -- all of it! This is the trip we look forward to every year.
This year no exception -- this was our fifth time going to Williamsburg. And unfortunately, our favorite place to stay was under renovation. As we were driving in and I was telling JP to "turn here, turn here!" to get to our hotel, he said "let me give you my Valentine's Day gift early" and he turned into the drive for the Williamsburg Inn itself. He'd booked us a room there -- complete with fireplace (just call the front desk before 11pm for them to bring wood and light it) and amazing bathroom (plus gorgeous views of the gardens). In a word, posh and indulgent.
We ate wine and cheese, had cocktails and dinner and then lounged in front of the fire. JP had booked us for an 11am wine tour for Saturday morning. Usually we just do the standard tour, but this year JP booked us for the reserve tour -- more in depth, more wine to taste. What I didn't know was that JP had actually booked the entire tour just to make sure that it would be the two of us! We ended up in the wine cellar (wrought iron gates, candles everywhere, wine stacked around the walls) for the tasting -- 14 bottles to taste. JP admitted afterwards that the wine did take the edge off his nerves.
We taste everything and then JP thanked the tour guide and then turned to me and I wish I could remember what he said but I can't :) Something about love and living our lives together :) The tour guide tells me that JP did get down on one knee (I remember this) and said "Carrie Ryan, will you marry me?" and apparently I said yes about 20 times (I wanted to make sure he heard me!). And then they popped a bottle of champagne and we had a blast just enjoying the feeling (while I tried to pry my eyes off the ring). Apparently, the entire winery had been in on it and the tour guide had been stressed out in case I said no! Haha!
After the tour our guide announced our engagement to another tour upstairs and it was just so wonderful to see all the excitement. Then we ate in their tavern where I grilled JP on all the planning and details and then we bought about 9 cases of wine! We ran into the winemaker just as we were leaving and he gave us a bottle of reserve wine as a gift to celebrate (which we promptly drank that afternoon!).
It was just a wonderful amazing and romantic day all around. We went to a candlelight dinner that night at one of the taverns and our server was overjoyed that we'd just gotten engaged. He brought us champagne, introduced us to his fiance, had the performers dedicate songs to us -- all just so celebratory! And of course, for the drive home I bought every wedding magazine at Barnes & Noble :) (and no, no idea when or where yet)
In the end, it was a perfect weekend! JP did just an incredible job with everything -- it was all amazingly special and memorable. Except for memories of him actually asking me to marry him -- still no idea what he said and he doesn't remember either). And he'd been so busy with work and life that I really had no idea he had anything like this up his sleeve. Tricky tricky guy!
So thanks, JP, for giving me a wonderful story that I could share with all of my friends and a wonderful memory to savour in my daydreams :) I never expected anything like this, it was more than I could have ever dreamed up! I truly am a lucky, lucky girl!