Friday, May 1, 2015

Norfolk Nuptials

It is a beautiful Friday morning here in my neighborhood, and I want to share part two of our trip to Virginia for the wedding of Natalie and Camille.
It was raining as we left the Greenbrier on Friday morning. Again.
Thankfully, as we got closer to the coast, the sun started to shine through.
A beautiful sight, indeed. Our balcony room overlooked the beach and boardwalk, and I loved leaving the sliding door open all night to hear the sound of the surf. Best sound machine ever.
We gathered with the bride and groom and family at Bravo for dinner on Friday night, and we got to meet this cutie (nephew of the bride) for the first time. Little Vaughn warmed right up to me when I offered to take him outside. :) He'll be big brother to a little sister in just a few months.
The forecast for Saturday was for clear skies for the wedding day, and I started the morning with a little walk on the beach. Walking to the north took me past some lovely beach homes. Yes please!
The benefits of Jim's morning run and my walk were quickly voided when we went across the street to Pocahontas Pancakes, and I ordered the famous Triple Layer French Toast. Oh yes, I did. I think we'll have to try to recreate this at the lake this summer. Delicious! (And no, I didn't eat it all.)
I also got to spend a little time with a book by the pool. My kind of day.
By late afternoon, it was time for the wedding at the beautiful Norfolk Botanical Garden.
We got there early enough to see the bride posing for some photos.
A sweet photo of brother-of-the-bride Neal and his precious family.
Here comes the groom, with his kids David and Grace.
Beautiful Becca, daughter of the bride and maid of honor.
The bride was escorted by her handsome son, Jack.
Natalie and Camille shared words they had written for each other as part of their vows. So sweet.
Natalie was a stunning bride. So beautiful.
And what a pretty spot for a wedding.
Extended family.
Bride, groom, and their kids.
The happy couple.
Here are a few of the professional photos that I borrowed from Natalie's Facebook page. They were taken by Fresh Look Photography.

Natalie's dress was amazing, and she looked beautiful.

The dress, the hair, the flowers…. just perfect.

A fun photo with the 'kids'.
A perfect day to start their married life. I am so happy for them, and wish Natalie and Camille many years of happiness! So grateful to be there to share in their special day.

The morning after the wedding, most of the family headed out early to get on the road or catch a flight, but Jim and I had time for a leisurely brunch at Waterman's Surfside Grille. Mimosas and cinnamon rolls, and eggs Benedict, oh my!
Thankfully, we had a sunny day for driving (for a change), and we listened to Dave's sermon live from St. Luke's UMC in Indianapolis. It was a good one, and we learned that even when the Big Bad Wolf comes huffing and puffing at our door, God can calm our fears and lead us through the storm. Amen.

We arrived in Charlottesville a little too early to check in to the B&B, so we found a sports bar where we could enjoy a beverage and watch Jordan Spieth on his way to a wire to wire victory in the Masters.
We checked in to the Dinsmore House Inn, shared wine and cheese in the parlor with the innkeepers, and had a nice dinner at a restaurant down the street.
On Monday, Jim had an early golf game, so I enjoyed breakfast at the inn before going for a walk around the beautiful Grounds of the University of Virginia. Our last visit was 18 years ago on our way to Washington D.C., when our friend Christopher Smith was a student tour guide. I tried to remember all the points he had shared with us as we toured the Grounds, but I mostly just enjoyed the beautiful day in  a beautiful place.
Designed by Thomas Jefferson 200 years ago as a library, the Rotunda is the centerpiece of the University. It is currently undergoing a 2 year renovation, during which time it is closed to the public. I also happened to be there on Thomas Jefferson's birthday, and they were setting up on the Lawn for a Founder's Day celebration. You can see the corner of the tent in the photo below.
There is so much to see at U.Va., and I was happy to wander through the beautiful gardens, many of which are enclosed by the unique brick serpentine walls. Thomas Jefferson found that walls built in a serpentine design used 25% fewer bricks because a curved wall can support itself while being only one brick thick instead of two. I just think they are pretty.

As I wandered, a guy doing work in one of the gardens urged me to go to garden one, which was bursting in pink blossoms. Glad I didn't miss it!
Another look at a serpentine wall.
I walked past the Lawn Rooms, many of which had doors open on this beautiful day. Fourth year students apply for the honor of living in the rooms, which include a fireplace, desk, bed, rocking chair, and sink. Also included is a robe, for making trips to the shower (and toilet), which are around back. Edgar Allan Poe lived in a Lawn Room, but could not afford to stay, and did not graduate. There is a room set up to look like the one he might have lived in while there. Complete with a (stuffed) raven.
The Rotunda from the opposite side.
Jim returned from his golf game, and I from my walk, and we started on our next adventure, a wine tasting tour. I didn't know that Charlottesville was known for fine wines grown in the surrounding countryside, but I learned it is sometimes called the 'Napa of the East'. We hired a driver, who took us to 4 wineries.

Our first stop was King Family Vineyards. We tasted 6 or 7 wines, with the server sharing information about each one. Of course, there was the opportunity to purchase both the wine, and the glasses in which it was served.
I liked this vineyard a lot, because in addition to producing fine wine, they also play polo. On horses. :) The owners of the vineyard hold polo matches at the farm every weekend during the summer months. When I asked about the horses, our server introduced us to the trainer, who had just happened to come in to purchase a glass of wine to drink with his lunch. He took his wine to a table outside and added orange juice to make it 'sangria' like they drink in Argentina. He was nice enough to walk us down to the barn and bring out one of the 'ponies', a four year old gelding who had been born on the farm.
The next vineyard was Pollak. Here, we enjoyed tasting wine, and also visiting with a fellow taster who worked for another vineyard and was doing 'research'. Of course, he knew everything about wine, and it was interesting to hear what he had to say.
It is also a beautiful place.
Next, we visited Veritas Vineyards & Winery. I loved the LOVE made from wine corks.
We ordered a bread and cheese plate, and enjoyed it on the deck. There were sheep nearby, and it was quite a peaceful setting to sip wine, eat cheese, and enjoy the homemade apple chutney.
We took a selfie at Veritas, too.
Our last stop was Afton Mountain Vineyards.
I loved their slogan printed on the t-shirt: 'grapes don't grow in ugly places.' Virginia sure isn't an ugly place, so they must grow some mighty fine grapes there. We brought home several bottles to test at the lake this summer. :)
Back at the inn, we visited with the innkeepers and another guest, a young woman who had an interview at U.Va. for entrance into their Landscape Architecture program. We wished her luck!

Outside our window at the inn, this beautiful dogwood was blooming away. My favorite!
One more check of email, and it was time to head home. Jim? Are you coming?
Past the golden dome of Charleston, West Virginia.
Back into more rain. It was a good trip, and although we had lots of rain during our time on the road, we had good weather for all the activities we had planned to do. Thanking God for a new marriage, safe travels, rest and relaxation, and time spent with the one I love. :)


Cathy said...

Such beautiful photos. I love reading your posts and seeing your photos of places you visit. So interesting.

Lea said...

Oh, Virginia is just gorgeous and I was born in Newport News and still have many relatives in the Norfolk/Hampton area. Not sure why I let Hubby drag me to Louisiana, but.....

Lovely pics and a beautiful wedding.

Happy new week!