On August 2, 2003 my wife and I embarked on a weekend getaway to Virginia to stay the weekend in our first bed and breakfast. What was supposed to be a romantic, relaxing mini-vacation was actually going to become a life-changing weekend. We planned the trip because my wife was going to be starting a grueling schedule as a graduate assistant volleyball coach for a Division I university. It would be one of the few weekends that we would actually be able to enjoy together, as a couple. What my soon-to-be-wife did not know (at least, I like to think that she did not know) was that I had spent the past month shopping for her engagement ring. Virginia, the state for lovers, seemed like the perfect setting to pop the question.
Our room and the B&B was very nice, including our own hot tub on our own private balcony overlooking the beautiful landscape of rolling hills, a mountain stream and a llama ranch. That’s right: llamas. It sounds strange, but that was the owner’s passion. Looking back, I think we appreciate that our first step toward marriage included a sliver of the absurd because we both have a delightful quirkiness and shared love of laughter. After taking in the new sights, we spent a good part of the early afternoon going on our very first fishing adventure. We were fortunate to catch a few small mouth bass in the little stream that flowed a few hundred yards from the property. Given the modest fishing equipment that we owned, I was surprised that we caught anything at all. But it was a very good bonding experience for us, as we laughed, talked, cussed at the fishing lines that kept getting tangled, and whooped and hollered when we got a bite. Despite all the fun, I was a little standoffish as the afternoon progressed-or as the proposal drew closer.
My mood really did not change much as we headed into town for dinner. It was just a few hours before sunset, where I would propose to the love of my life, and that ring was burning a hole in my pocket. I do not remember what I had to eat, if it was any good, whether or not we talked all that much at dinner or any other details before I pulled our car back into the parking lot of the bed and breakfast. From there, everything began to move in slow motion. I suggested that we go for a walk around the grounds, since it was such a gorgeous evening. We walked up a winding path that led to the top of the tallest hill on the property, where we had a panoramic view of this beautiful setting, kissed by the golden, purple and orange hues of the sun slipping off to sleep. At that moment, as my wife was admiring the view from atop a very appropriately placed picnic table, I took her hand and began telling her all of the reasons that I loved her: from her infectious laughter to her insatiable appetite for reading. Once I started, I could not stop. I had a dozen things that I wanted to say, and I managed to surpass those in no time. Before I knew it I was on one knee asking her to marry me, and before she knew it she was saying “yes” a mile a minute as we were both overwhelmed with emotion.
Booking a bed and breakfast for our last peaceful weekend together in August before the college volleyball season started, and I would be coaching 60+ hours a week until late into November, seemed like the perfect getaway. The Applewood B&B was situated on top of a hill that had a 360 degree view for miles of countryside and creeks. We felt truly on our own and a little like Adam and Eve surrounded by nature–and it was a llama farm at that! The room was small but perfect with a sliding door leading to our own personal, built-into-the-wooden-deck hot tub that we took advantage of as much as possible. The first day, we got there late and just relaxed in the hot tub before calling it a night.
The next morning, we woke up to a hurry up and get your clothes on kind of smells wafting in from the kitchen. Although a little awkward eating with people we didn’t know at a small family dining room table (and us having to lie and say we were already married just to be able to stay at this place) added to the tension. But the food was fantastic and worth the uncomfortable silences. Then, we headed to the stream to try our hand at fishing together for the first time and truly had a blast. We came back, cleaned up and headed into town for dinner, where my future husband proceeded to act like a complete weirdo, barely looking at me the whole meal and drinking wine like it was water. He kept checking the time and insisted that we hurry up and head back to the B&B even though it was still early, and I had wanted to check out the town some more, maybe stop at a few bars along the way and have a nice, relaxing evening out together.
Instead, he ushered me to the top of the hill, dragging me along as a stopped to pet the llamas (who were a little scary to be honest). He then proceeded to plop me down on the picnic table and start pacing frantically. When I asked him what was wrong, he suddenly whipped around, got on his knee, and tripped over his words as he tried to tell me the reasons he loved me and wanted to be with me the rest of his life. Before I could soak it all in, he pointed behind me so that I would turn around and look at the most beautiful sunset I had ever seen in my life. I quickly glimpsed over my shoulder and immediately said “Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!” as we cried a little and kissed a lot. Then, we sat in silence (which is rare for us–I guess we were overwhelmed just a little?) watching the sun sink down and taking in the views all around us. I loved the fact that we were the only two people in the whole world who knew at that moment that we were engaged–not one person was around to witness the proposal, and I loved it that way. It felt like we were completely alone in the world. In that moment, he said that it’s us versus the world forever, and we still say this phrase to each other, especially during trying times. I wouldn’t change the moment of our proposal for the world, and the best part was that we didn’t have cell reception so we didn’t get to tell another living soul until the next day–we had a whole 24 hours to enjoy our new status together before letting the rest of the world in.