Jen and I had the “perfect date” this weekend. Normally, I wouldn’t feel right bragging about creating the perfect date experience. However, since I had very little to do with the plan for the date and how it turned out, I guess it’s OK. I will give proper credit where it is due.
Our whole family went to Grand Rapids over the weekend to stay with my parents. We wanted to see my Mom for Mother’s Day; also, my sister Rachel just got back from college and we were anxious to see her as well. We also got to see my brother Joel, his wife Emily, and their 2-month-old twin boys. As you can tell, it was a busy weekend. But the weekend also gave us the opportunity to go out on an anniversary date. Our 8-year anniversary is actually tomorrow, May 13.
For my birthday and our anniversary, my parents got us a gift certificate to the One Trick Pony, a great restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids. We had reservations for dinner at 6:00. We were seated right away and got to enjoy the great atmosphere. We both had salads, I had grilled salmon and shrimp, and Jen had angel-hair pasta. The food was fantastic; getting a chance to talk was even more fun. For our conversation, we tried to create a list of all the trips/travel that we’ve done together from our dating days through now. And it was a pretty incredible list–especially when you consider that we don’t really set aside money for travel or have it as a part of our normal budget.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel to quite a few training sessions and conferences for my job. We typically go together, bring the family, and tack on a few extra days to the beginning or end for some family fun. We’ve taken a few non business-related trips as well. Our destinations in the past 10 years include Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, Denver, Minnesota, Chicago, Cedar Point, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, and Spain. (Incidentally, we’re adding New York City to our list late this summer, but I’ll save that for later.)
We declined dessert, but after we got our bill, we realized we hadn’t quite spent our whole gift certificate…so we changed our minds and had a Tuxedo Brownie Sunday. It was terrific. Then we hopped in the van and made the short drive down to the river in Grand Rapids.
The second part of the gift from my parents was a gift certificate for a horse-drawn carriage ride through downtown. So we found our pickup spot right by the Amway Grand Hotel and enjoyed a perfect ride through the streets of downtown and the parks on the west side of the river. The weather was totally perfect. It was just cool enough so we weren’t hot at all but didn’t need to use the blankets in the back of the carriage to warm up. It is definitely an experience I would recommend if you’re ever hanging out in downtown Grand Rapids.
After the carriage ride we drove to Barnes and Noble, found a stack of New York visitors guides, and sat down with some coffee to begin picking some things we really want to see in the city. Jen and I are flying out by ourselves for a weekend in August to:
- See baseball in Yankee Stadium before they tear it down at season’s end
- Get to experience a city we’ve always been interested in
We know we’re going to Friday night and Sunday afternoon Yankees games. But we are trying to pick out a few other activities to fill the weekend with. There is certainly no shortage of cool things to do in New York.
Finally, we drove home to find three sleeping girls–a perfect end to a perfect date. So really, the credit for the great date goes to:
- My Mom and Dad for having the great idea for the dinner and carriage ride, and for taking care of our little sweethearts while we were away
- God for providing the perfect weather for a beautiful, sunny day and a clear, cool evening
- Jen for having an incredible memory of all our travels and for being my favorite person in the world to spend time with