Last weekend we traveled to Newburyport, MA for the wedding of a college friend, Toby and his new bride, Jenna. Thursday was also our four-year anniversary.
Since we were flying out of Jacksonville early Friday morning, we drove over Thursday night for our anniversary dinner at bb’s Bar & Restaurant.
Jason did his homework – the traditional four-year anniversary gift is fruit, and the modern is appliances, so he got me a very nice citrus juicer which I have been coveting. Now I can JUICE ALL THE CITRUSY THINGS.
Friday we arrived in Boston around 9:30 a.m., so we took our time driving up to Newburyport. We stopped at Walden Pond and checked out a replica of Thoreau’s cabin:
We arrived in Newburyport in time for a late lunch (fried clams for me, fish & chips for Jason) at the Thirsty Whale.
Friday afternoon was spend wandering around Newburyport, poking our heads in the little shops and walking along the river.
I also consumed a small dish of salted caramel heath bar gelato, but it was gone too quickly for pictures.
While in Newburyport, we stayed at the Garrison Inn, a boutique hotel on Brown Square. I found the hotel to be very charming and a bit quirky. They have a collection of teacups and saucers, and tea and biscuits are available in the lobby all day long. They also have champagne service, and an excellent complimentary breakfast.
Saturday morning started early with a 5k “fun” run planned by the groom. It took place in a beautiful park. Jason ran the whole thing, and I walked about a third of the course (thanks, right knee, for letting me down). After a shower and a bagel, we resumed exploring Newburyport, including the Maritime Museum.
This little gem is well worth the price of admission. We had a docent take us through personally, and she was incredibly knowledgeable and friendly.
For an afternoon snack, we experienced the magic of the Pumpkin Whoopie at Chococoa Baking Company. They were amaaaaazing.
After our snack, it was time to get ready for the wedding!
My friends got married at the Willowdale Estate in Topsfield. They asked everyone for an “unplugged” ceremony, so we all turned off our cell phones. This was a lovely idea, and made the ceremony seem much more personal – something to be experienced rather than something to be recorded. Part of the ceremony was like a Quaker meeting, where the guests sat in silence and shared thoughts or well-wishes as they were moved.
I did not get up to speak, because I kept getting choked up. But if I had, I would have said:
Toby, you have always been my cheerleader. Whenever I have doubted myself – no matter how small the issue – you have unfailingly offered the right words of support and encouragement. You made me feel like not only would I survive whatever obstacle I was facing, but that I would totally kick its ass. But I’m not special – you do this for everyone. Everyone. I am humbled by your limitless ability to lift up those around you. It has meant more to me over the last 15 years than I can ever properly express. Thank you for being my friend. I am grateful to celebrate this day with you.
The couple exchanged vows in front of a screen made from origami cranes folded by the groom:
The reception featured a dessert table and candy bar:
The cake topper was delightfully non-traditional:
And Jason and I looked presentable:
Overall, I found that celebrating someone else’s wedding is a great way to mark your own anniversary, especially if the wedding just happens to take place in an adorable seaside town in New England.
Happy anniversary to us.