A Winery Kind of Weekend

Another reality of nearing the age of 30 is wedding mania! I’ve always enjoyed weddings, so this stage has been fun for me. What’s better then drinking, dancing and watching people who are truly in love? Sounds cheesy, but nothing makes me happier than watching the most important people in my life start a life with someone as equally amazing as them. At each wedding, I’ve learned to appreciate the little details and how much the day is representative of the special couple, from the venue choice to the music and the food and drinks.

Emily's wedding circa 2009!

Emily’s wedding circa 2009!

Sadly, another reality of this stage is that at some point, you are bound to be double-booked. Certain weekends are very popular for weddings, and when all of your friends are getting married at once, you may even be triple-booked! (Remember the movie 27 Dresses..that can actually happen).

One of my closest friends in the world, Michelle, is getting married in a couple weeks on Memorial Day Weekend. I’m very excited and honored to be in her wedding party, and I can’t wait to watch her say “I Do” to her fiance, a true gentleman (born and raised in Ireland!), who complements her in every way possible.

Unfortunately, my college roommate, Sarah, has also chosen that weekend to get married, and since there is no way to be in Illinois and Rhode Island at the same time, I have to miss what looks to be an amazing wedding!

So, this weekend, I headed to New York, Washington D.C AND Virginia to attend Sarah’s bachelorette party. The weekend was very memorable, and I’m so glad I had the chance to celebrate Sarah’s wedding.

Back in the City that Never Sleeps

As I mentioned in Friday’s post, I headed to NYC on Thursday night to start my journey. Now that I live upstate, it’s a bit harder to get places quickly, as I usually have to go through NYC.

I took full advantage of this factor and arranged to stay with my brother and his wife for the night and also to stop by my old company for a meeting. On Thursday, we headed out to dinner for a delicious meal of Tecate and tacos, my fourth Mexican meal of the week (I told you. I LOVE Mexican food).

I had a lot of mixed emotions being back in the city, and I thought about them as I ran along the Hudson River on Friday morning.

My view while I was doing situps on the Hudson River

My view while I was doing situps on the Hudson River

The moment I got off the train on Thursday, an old, familiar feeling came back to me…CAB ANXIETY. Maybe it’s just me, but whenever I’ve actually needed a cab in NY, I can never actually get a cab. Sometimes it takes me 20 minutes just to hail cab!On the other hand, as I wandered through the West Village with my brother and Julie, I remembered all of the reasons I chose to live in NYC in the first place.

The next day, I headed back to my old office for a meeting with my former boss. My new company is actually working on a project for my old company, which has been such a treat for me.

So, since I was already in NYC, I set up a quick meeting to review the project. Walking into my old office was definitely the most emotional part of being back in NYC for me. I realized how much I missed my friends, team members and even the work. Starting a new job is always difficult, but starting a new job in a new place AND in a new field of work has been very challenging. I alluded to this in one of my posts, but it’s definitely been a bit rocky at times. I’ll never regret my decision, but there are several times where I’ve had serious doubts about my ability to write well and whether or not writing is truly the right field for me. I know that working through all of these challenges, however, will help me to be a stronger person in the end.

The meeting went very well, and then I got to enjoy something else I miss about NYC: giant salad places. In NYC, there is practically a salad place on every block – in each place, you can get pretty much any ingredient you could ever dream up mixed into a delicious tossed salad. Of course, they opened my favorite salad place, Chopt, across the street from work right after I left.

This place is like heaven for me.

This place is like heaven for me.

My former coworker, Tracy, and I both got salads bigger than our heads, along with a delicious homemade caramel for dessert. It was ice to sit and chat over lunch like old times!

Big salads make us happy.

Big salads make us happy.

Time to Celebrate

At 4:00, I caught a train to D.C. from Penn Station. The train ride was 3.5 hours, but it was nice to have some time to decompress and think about my time in NYC. I also watched the movie, Safe Haven, which was shockingly good.

I arrived in D.C. at 7:30 and headed straight to the festivities. We were planning on leaving very early the next morning for wine tours in Virginia on Saturday, so the plan was to keep Friday night low key.However, when so many bottles of wine are involved, you can never be too sure ;-).

Let the wine weekend begin!

Let the wine weekend begin!

Throughout the night, Sarah opened some fun bachelorette gifts, and we were all able to share our favorite memories about her. There were people from all different parts of her life, so it was very interesting to here all the stories from her sisters, hometown friends, college friends and work friends. As we laughed and told funny stories, it became very clear that Sarah has impacted a lot of people in her short lifetime.

The lovely bride-to-be!

The lovely bride-to-be!

Two Peas in a Pod

Sarah and I roomed together our sophomore year of college and have been friends ever since. I remember meeting her my freshman year and being blown away by her infectious energy, big smile and loud voice. Because of her outgoing and friendly personality, she was one of those people that everyone on campus knew. I couldn’t believe my luck being her roommate sophomore year!

Halloween senior year: She was a bumble bee, I was a teeny bopper.

Halloween senior year: She was a bumble bee, I was a teeny bopper.

Much of the year blends together, because we had so many good times. Our love of country music, margaritas and dancing made us a perfect match. I told the group on Friday night about the time Sarah forced me to do our “roomie dance” to “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” in front of a room full of frat boys. I was so embarrassed, but like so many times, Sarah was able to push me out of my comfort zone, and of course, it ended up being a great time! But, above all of the fun times and partying, what has always amazed me about Sarah is her big heart and professional drive. She has spent her entire career helping to better education in our country and has changed many lives because of her hard work.

Standing in our room adorned with posters of Abercrombie models.

Standing in our room adorned with posters of Abercrombie models.

And, I am so glad she met someone with similar goals and the same drive to make the world a better place. Trust me, these two are going places!

Wine, Carbs and Dancing

Just as planned, we headed out bright and early for Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday morning. I was very excited to see the town, because my brother’s wife went to school there at UVA and has always spoken very highly of the town.

We had a pretty tight schedule, as we needed to be on the party bus and headed to our first winery by 11:00! Wine before noon is motivation enough for me!

Let the wine drinking begin!

Let the wine drinking begin!

Thankfully, the group brought lots of snacks to accompany our afternoon full of wine. The biggest hit of the afternoon was Sarah’s mother’s “Monster Cookies” which are legendary to all who have tasted them. The cookies include M&Ms, chocolate chips, peanut butter and a lot of extra butter and love. They helped get me through finals sophomore year and Sarah has promised to give me the recipe for this blog (though, rumor has it, only Sarah’s mother can make the cookies right…many have tried, and no one has succeeded!

I will get the recipe for these magic cookies...mark my words!

I will get the recipe for these magic cookies…mark my words!

We went to three wineries throughout the day and tasted countless red, white and sparkling wines. Each winery was surrounded by lush green hills, trees and ponds. Despite the amount of people and all of the wine, it was a very relaxing day. Just what i needed! I had a great time catching up with Sarah and also getting to know her friends – not surprisingly, all of them were just as sweet as her.

Beautiful scenery, wine and cheese. What more could a bachelorette want?

Beautiful scenery, wine and cheese. What more could a bachelorette want?

Rallying like College

As predicted, it was a bit difficult to rally for a night of dinner and dancing after drinking wine for 6 hours. Everyone made it to dinner in good spirits, if not a bit tired. Dinner was at a restaurant in Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall, Brookville. One of the girls in the group went to law school at UVA and promised this restaurant was delicious.

It’s a good thing we had the inside track, because the meal was one of a kind! We started our meal with popcorn cooked in duck fat and ended with chocolate chip-bacon cookies. In between, I enjoyed a grilled romaine salad, an egg on top of fried bread (glorified breakfast sandwich) and a roast chicken, with fried egg and asparagus ragu.

My iphone photography does not do this food justice!

My iphone photography does not do this food justice!

Each dish was full of unique flavors, and everything was cooked perfectly. We found it interesting that there were so many fried eggs on the menu – perhaps it’s a southern thing? Anyway, if you are ever in Charlottesville, I would recommend you get to this restaurant. You will not regret it!

The food must have hit the spot, because following dinner, we danced the night away until 1:30 am at a local college bar.

Party girls!

Party girls!

We were clearly in a “hip hop” bar, but because of the size of our group, we were able to negotiate with the dj to play all of our favorite hits including Bon Jovi’s “Always” and Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.” Despite the fact that this was a college bar, we were ruling the dance floor as we belted out the songs. It was the perfect way to send Sarah out of her single life!

The beautiful bride-to-be bustin' a move!

The beautiful bride-to-be bustin’ a move!

Reality Check

I’m so glad I was able to attend Sarah’s bachelorette party and celebrate such a special time in her life. It’s refreshing to hear her talk about her fiancé and to see how excited she is for the future! Their wedding is going to be on her family’s farm in her hometown, and I have no doubt that it will represent them perfectly. Congratulations to Sarah and John!

However, all of the happiness in the world couldn’t take away my feelings of pure exhaustion during the 10 hours of travel home yesterday. There is a reason we don’t party like we are in college anymore, that’s for sure! I’m still feeling the effects today, but it was all worth it!

Hope your week is off to a great start!

Question:

Are you in a wedding year? Have you been double-booked yet? How did you choose?

What was your favorite bachelorette party? What did you do at yours?

Favorite dance party song?

6 Thoughts on “A Winery Kind of Weekend

  1. My sister’s bachelorette party is this coming weekend! We’ll be spending it in the city. I’m so excited, but also nervous. I hope she likes everything I planned! My original idea was to do a winery in Long Island but the drive would have been long and I was worried it wouldn’t all work out. Your friend’s bach party looked like it was so much fun! I enjoyed reading about it. I plan to write a recap of my sister’s next week.

    • Good luck! Bachelorette parties are a TON of work to plan, so I commend you. I’m sure it will be great, and I look forward to reading about it!

  2. You look like you had SUCH a good time and ate so much great food! It’s a bummer that you couldn’t go to both weddings. I’m in college now so I an definitely feel ya on the post partying “fatigue” ;)

  3. This looks like so much fun! What a great way to spend time with friends. I have a soft spot for the NYC pics you post :)

  4. Pingback: WIAW: Oh, Hello Summer! | The Sometimes Healthy Living Blog

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