After being engaged for over three years, my fiance and I were finally able to set a date and get married! As of September 1st, we are now husband and wife! =)
Originally, I had planned on working the 31st, that Friday before the wedding. But about 2 weeks before hand, I started having second thoughts. I didn't have anything that needed to get done that day, but why not give myself a day off, just for me? So, I did. =) And I'm so glad that I chose to do so! Come that Friday, I was thinking more and more about the wedding, and less and less about work! Since I had nothing to keep me occupied the day before the wedding, I took a trip to the Virginia state arboretum, just a few miles up the road.
I visited this arboretum earlier this summer, back in June, but I did not get to visit all of the areas I wanted to, do to the summer heat. Instead of heading straight for the flower gardens this time, I opted for a different route.
I started walking toward the amphiteater out of curiosity. Along the way, I stumbled upon a great view of the old Quarters building, which was part of the original estate. The warm, early morning sun warmed the gravel path, and kissed the bushes along it. It was absolutely beautiful.
Around the back was the area most used by the original residents.
From here, the path lead to the beautiful iris gardens I visited once before.
There were no irises this day, as their season had passed. I was okay with that, though. The landscape was still lovely!
After walking around the estate grounds and an herb garden, I decided to go back to my car and take a drive on Loop Road. This is a road that winds around the entire arboretum, taking the visitors past places that are difficult to get to my foot (or just take a long time). They also have horse trails, but I do not have a horse. =(
The drive was beautiful. As I have more time, I will have to upload more pictures of the things that I saw, including a VERY vividly orange fungus!
I did, however, get a chance to upload a couple shots of a local resident's home entranceway.
I have always found this kind of architecture fascinating. You can tell by the construction of the massive gateway that these estates have been around for a very long time. I love to imagine just how far back the home is from the road. How long has this estate been there, exactly? How much history does the home have? The land?
After a long morning here, I decided to go back home. After dealing with my nerves, I finally calmed down enough to get through the rest of the day. My fiance at the time stayed the night at his parents' house, so that we would not see each other until the ceremony on Saturday.
The ceremony was perfect! =) It was a small and intimate ceremony, so only the closest of our friends and relatives attended. I wouldn't have had it any other way. I have been to large ceremonies before, and the level of intimacy we were looking for just doesn't exist when you invite nearly everyone you know. Some people can't see the bride and groom, can't hear them, or are just waiting for it to be over. For ours, as the reverend turned us to introduce us, everyone had tears in their eyes, and big smiles on their faces. It is one of the most special days in my life.
For the honeymoon, we went to Seneca Rocks in West Virginia. We rented a cabin that had a view of the river, rolling hills, and a huge rock cliff. Gorgeous. =) After a four-day stay, I had taken 313 pictures. !!! I would have taken more, but I was shooting in the raw and ran out of room.. and I left my spare memory cards at home.
All in all, it was very peaceful and relaxing. We want to go back again when we have the chance.
I have not been able to process many of the images yet, but below is a picture of the cabin and a very relaxing scene right out front. Hopefully when things calm down (we're doing the reception this weekend), I'll be able to upload images of the rock cliffs, beautiful mountains, and some of the caverns we were able to visit. This is definately a place I recommend for a lovely, restful getaway.