Friday, April 13, 2012


This past week we celebrated my darling husband's 23rd birthday.
We are exactly six months apart; I'm older, of course. So it was also my half birthday!

We had so many grand plans, which included a lot of surprises, because I LOVE surprises!

On his actual birthday, we decided to go out to breakfast! For the last few years we've gone to Denny's to get his free grand slam, but this year we had to settle for the Ihop, since there is no Denny's nearby!
We woke up extra early so that we could eat before his first class.

The very sleepy birthday boy!
He got his pancake breakfast for free, and I enjoyed my usual sunny-side up eggs on wheat toast. Yum! It was a chilly, windy day. We were looking forward to school and work being over, so we could enjoy a birthday dinner and movie!

That night, we got all dressed up and ready to go.

Dusty had also gotten me this gorgeous ring a couple weeks before, as a surprise. A girl in his class sells Lia Sophia, and he knew how I loved to sell jewelry a couple years back; but it was also really tough to get started! So he wanted to help her out, while also getting me something pretty :) so he gave it to me on his birthday!

Our original plan was to go to Waterstone, which is our favorite pizza place downtown. Dusty got some great coupons emailed to him for his birthday, so we wanted to take advantage of them!
Unfortunately, Waterstone was too busy for us to be able to eat in time for our movie. So we headed up to Shoemaker's, which is the fancy restaurant attached to a super cute "shoe" themed hotel.

Luckily for us, he also had a birthday coupon there. For a free entree! And we had never been there before, so it was the perfect time to try.

I loved the shoe-inspired art.
This quote read:
"I still have my feet on the ground, I just wear better shoes."
-Oprah Winfrey

The food was incredible. The spinach and artichoke dip was warm and melty, and absolutely delicious.
We both got the evening's special, which was this cut of steak with a crab cake on top. Yes. Steak, with a crab cake, on top. Ohmy.
I would definitely recommend this for a dressy evening out! The service was great, and the restaurant itself has the perfect dinner atmosphere. (Quiet, private, dim-lit, shoe-themed, fancy).

After our savory dinner, we had plans to go and see Titanic in theatres. Dusty had never seen it, so we figured it would be a fun and romantic movie to see together! We were running late, but managed to make it just as it was beginning! Unluckily for us, the only choice was to see it in 3D.
So our first 3D movie experience was to see hundreds of people dying.
Not ideal.
At least the 3D glasses helped conceal our sobs.

The next day, we were planning to head out to a surprise getaway to a Bed and Breakfast.
Dusty knew we were going to a B & B, but he didn't know where!

The drive was beautiful.
I had him drive, so I could read off the directions one by one. It was a gorgeous drive, as we slowly left Lynchburg behind and headed to the peaceful hills of Afton.
My coworker had told me about one of his favorite restaurants, called Blue Mountain Brewery. His description of it was what originally led me to the idea of having a B & B getaway for Dusty's birthday. Blue Mountain was only 2 miles from where we were staying, so we went there first. We arrived at the Brewery for dinner before sunset. Look at this view!

The restaurant is up on a little hill beside the main road, and has plenty of outdoor seating to enjoy the view. While it was a slightly chilly evening, I can only imagine how delightful it is to sit outside in the warmth of springtime and early summer.

We decided to split their vegetable pizza, which was absolutely amazing. It had all of the good stuff, including goat cheese.
We also got their burger with swiss cheese, which is cooked in their own brew. It was outstanding. And their beans were actually probably the best I've ever had. Yum!

With our bellies full and the sun beginning to set (and the evening getting extremely chilly), we decided to finish up and head to where we'd be staying!

We headed up the driveway to the adorable little (huge mansion-like) farmhouse, excited to experience our first Bed and Breakfast. I wasn't really sure what it would be like. It seems like a romantic idea, but could also be really awkward, like staying in a stranger's home. Which is basically what you're doing!

Luckily for us, it was a great experience. We loved it! We felt like grown-ups, travelling around and staying in this historic home, meeting other travelers and staying in the mountains.

The room was clean and comfortable, and it was wonderful how friendly (yet professional) the innkeepers were. The couple welcomed us in, gave us a quick tour, and showed us where everything was that we might need. Our room was upstairs, and at the end of the hall was a little corner of goodies. Water for hot tea or hot chocolate, and a glass tray of freshly made brownies and cookies. There were also cold sodas for us to enjoy at any time.
She informed us that she would have fresh coffee placed in that corner in the morning, and asked us when we would like to have breakfast in the morning. We told her 8:00am, and she told us she'd put us down for that time. So cute!

Our room was called The Mornington room.
Every room had its own name/theme...The Jefferson room, the Shenandoah room, etc.

I loved the glass detail above the entry!

Our room windows overlooked the sweet little garden area to the side of the house.

Breakfast in the morning was really good.
As soon as we sat down, they brought out chilled orange juice and fresh organic coffee.
We had several courses, starting with homemade banana bread and butter. Then they brought out a breakfast quiche, and finished with a blueberry parfait.
I had 3-4 cups of coffee (they were sorta small cups, which is how I justified it) and we were both stuffed.
Another couple joined us partway through the meal and told us about all the vineyards they had visited the day before. So we decided to go to one of them later on, and take advantage of the beautiful weather!
(I've always wanted to go to a vineyard, ever since I saw A Walk in the Clouds!)

All in all, Afton Mountain Bed and Breakfast was a success. We loved it.
Here were some more fun details of the house:

Stained Glass Entryway

Front Sitting Room

The Dining Room

The main staircase
My personal favorite was this adorable light-switch cover, located by the "Powder Room" across the way from the dining room. It's obviously hand-painted, incorporating Alice in Wonderland characters throughout the property of the Bed and Breakfast! Adorable.

The outdoors were just as lovely. As I said, it was a beautiful day!

The great front porch!

Pretty tree blooms.

Fabulous phone booth.

Hand-thrown mugs, for sale as souvenirs for guests.
And of course...Dusty and I can't resist souvenirs.

And on we went!
We went to Veritas, which was only a few minutes away. I've heard from a few wine drinkers that this is a great place to go! It was a sunny day, perfect for walking around. We both were wishing they had a restaurant there, because it would have been lovely to get something to munch on with the vineyard in the backround!

The inside was really fancy. It was also crowded! Obviously a hot-spot for locals, and travelers alike. :)

We loved their giant display of "LOVE" using wine corks, hanging on string!
It must have taken quite a lot of time to put together.
We took some time to walk around and soak up the sunshine, before heading off to get something to eat! We were starving!

We went into Charlottesville and found a Red Robin. Yummm!
We hadn't been there in ages, and a juicy burger sounded great to both of us. Plus Dusty had a birthday coupon! $5 off of $20 or more, PLUS he got his burger free because it was his birthday month.
I just love birthdays!

After lunch we wandered around the mall for a while (quickly discovering it was just as bad as Lynchburg's mall), stopping in a few stores and browsing. We came across a massage place, one of the fabulously cheap ones, and decided on the spot to each get one.
It was actually kind of wonderful. The Asian ladies were hilarious, talking loudly to each other across the curtains and making jokes. My masseuse kept referring to Dusty as my boyfriend, and I thought she was going to faint when I referred to him as my husband. She was also 23, (she thought I was much younger), and she just couldn't believe I was already married. She was too funny...I loved her. I feel like we could be friends.

I had informed Dusty earlier that I had reservations for dinner that evening. He had no idea where. On our drive back, we decided to swing home first so I could change and freshen up, and we could drop our stuff off before going in to dinner. I also wanted to be driving, so he couldn't see where we were going.

I had him lean his car seat back, and he even called his mom on our way there, so he wouldn't be able to pay attention to where we were going.
When we got there, I asked him to take his best guess. "Olive Garden," he said immediately. Ha! What a punk. He was right, of course.
Little did he know, a table full of our friends was waiting for him in the back :)

I had been planning for weeks. Dusty loves a good party, and he loves social events. While we enjoyed a great weekend planned for just us, I knew he needed something with friends, too.
We walked in, paused for a little bit at the front, and then I took his hand and dragged him straight back to the table I knew was waiting for us.

Happy Birthday Dusty!

After dinner, a group of us headed to the dollar theaters to see Woman in Black.
It was a jumpy, old-school scary movie, and I spent the entire time with my eyes squinted and my ears plugged. My whole body was sore afterwards, just from being tense for so long!
Luckily for all of us, we got to experience the movie in a dollar theater full of misfits. Everyone was talking, screaming, and commenting on the movie in the most hilarious ways. It was like a giant party. So funny.

We had such a great weekend, and still had Easter to look forward to the next morning.
Which brought two last surprises -- first, that I got Monday off of work! Dusty didn't have school that day, but I had told him that I didn't get any vacation days for the Easter holiday (because I actually didn't realize that I did). And two -- well, I'll get to that later. :)

Also, in true tradition, we had his birthday favorite -- dirt cake. :)

 Who needs dinner, when you've got Oreos and pudding?

Happy Birthday baby!

In love,


  1. Wow what a fun birthday weekend! I'm jealous! Looks like you guys had a great time! Wish we could have celebrated at Olive Garden with all of you :) Love you guys!

  2. Man, I wish you were here to plan my birthday party, Caitlin. You thought of everything and I know Dusty loved it. The B and B looks amazing!