If you're sticking with tradition, you're supposed to exchange gifts of paper on your first anniversary. (If you want to go the more modern route, I think year one is clocks.) My gift from Jon began with this delightful, schmaltzy card -- when you open it, it plays Unchained Melody. "Wooooohhh ma-ah-ahahay luhuhuve..." (Too bad he couldn't find a Tony! Toni! Toné! card. Man!)
The paper part of the gift really ended there -- though Jon found himself a loophole by printing out information about the other gift-parts on paper. So clever. (While my present for Jon is strictly paper, it's... not here yet. Oops. So he totally gets a pass for skimping on the paper. At least his gift was on time!)
Anyway, Jon gave me the card and accompanying printouts after work on Friday, because some of our anniversary activity would be taking place the next day. Jon had planned a wee getaway for Saturday night, followed by lunch Sunday at a lovely restaurant south of town I'd expressed interest in. As a late-breaking bonus, he'd gotten offer for day-long press passes to the inaugural Atlanta Food & Wine Festival -- a random perk of being on someone's media list.
So Saturday morning we picked up our passes by 9 a.m. and attended some of the morning sessions -- one on charcuterie, one on pairings of local beer and cheese (pictured below) and one on cocktails made with Coca-Cola (but like way better than anything you've ever had. Go to the bar at Holeman + Finch and ask for 'The Pause that Refreshes' -- holy crap!).
After the sessions we hit the tasting tents, where we were overwhelmed with samples of delicious food and booze. All free with our passes! Yes please.
From there we went home to recover from our gluttonous/boozy morning/early afternoon, then we gathered our overnight things and packed Otto in the car to take him to the doggie motel. (I had to include this shot of windblown Otto.)
And we were off! We went to a place called Historic Banning Mills, about an hour or so south and west of town:
After a short time there, Jon allowed that he probably could have vetted the place more thoroughly. The accommodations were fine -- nothing special -- but the food was truly abysmal. Having been to the F&W Festival that morning didn't do it any favors, but even without that comparison, it was awful.
We decided that this place was probably better for a corporate/team-building retreat (if you're into that sort of thing) than for a romantic getaway. After all, it has Georgia's best zip line canopy tour -- and it goes right over your cabin!
We did avail ourselves of the putt-putt course on the grounds, which I'll grant was a nice activity to have around, even if it wasn't a super exciting course:
After our terrible dinner -- salvaged by the really nice bottle of wine Jon's parents had given us for our wedding last year (though I felt a little guilty pairing it with such dismal food) -- we hiked around the creek, which was quite lovely:
Lunch the next day definitely made up for our dinner on Saturday. We went to the Farmhouse at Serenbe, a lovely, farm-focused community for wealthy hippies (more or less), and enjoyed a lunch of fried chicken and vegetables picked from the garden on-site with refreshing southern cocktails.
So concluded my multi-stage anniversary present, and back to Atlanta we went. But, of course, the celebration wasn't over yet -- we still had to have cake! And before cake, we had agreed that we would recreate one of our favorite treats from our French-Canadian honeymoon, poutine. It's not the prettiest dish, but don't knock it 'til you've tried it. It's delicious! What could be bad about french fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy? Really not much.
We finished out the night (and weekend) with our year-old wedding cake. It held up just fine in the freezer, though it got a bit squished in the storage process. (It also looks like the florist tried to put a floral topper on it before she remembered we had a topper: when I first lifted the cake out of the foil trays it had been sandwiched between, I was worried that those colored spots were mold or something -- nope, just smooshed flower petals and leaves.)
Much to my great delight, the red velvet cake was every bit as delicious as it had been last May 22 -- and this time I think I got to eat more!
All things considered, we had a fun and (mostly) delicious first anniversary. I only wish we got to take a week off work now to commemorate our honeymoon!
Sunday Edition #342
6 hours ago