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Old 12-09-2013, 02:57 PM   #1
kollerbear
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Engagement Road Trip! Young and in Love, the (pre-)Trip Report

Young and In Love, the (Pre-)Trip Report


Pre-Trip Anticipation

Howdy, all! I have stalked the trip reports for years, and am so incredibly excited to be writing my very first one! This trip is exceptionally special because it is a vacation that my fiance and I are taking to celebrate our engagement!! We've been planning on getting engaged for a while--and I knew it would happen soon--but he JUST proposed on our 4th anniversary on October 27!! We're so elated to be officially engaged! Here's a tiny phone picture of us right after we got engaged in Union Square--taken by a friendly parks dept. employee.



And here's a GIANT picture of the ring! (It's was his grandmother's.)



The other piece of the back story (and part of why he waited so long to officially propose) is because we've been taking care of my grandmother for the past 3 years-- first going upstate every weekend visiting her and taking care of her doctors and finances for 2 years, and then, this past January, she moved in with us into our 1-bedroom apartment in Queens with our four crazy cats.

Here are our four crazy cats:

Abigail, after bringing her in from the street last year:


Sasha, our sad little scaredy-cat:


Ella, our


Panther, in a roaster pan:


Ella and Panther, in squirrel-related anguish:



After 10 months of home health aide coordinating, doctors' visits, blood pressure monitoring, and just general conversation-making-with-a-person-with-dementia (I'm sure many know what I mean that this can be the most exhausting part), she collapsed seemingly out of nowhere with a UTI one week before she was set to move in with my parents. We got an ambulance in time--I honestly thought she would die--but she's made an incredible turn-around after a short hospitalization and stay in rehab. As her health care proxy, I am absolutely exhausted, and as her primary care giver, Matt is, too. But finally she'll be leaving to move in with my parents on December 13, and we'll be leaving for vacation the very next day!! We will miss having her home with us! Here's grandma on her birthday last year-- she LOVED eating this mocha cake!! It's an EXCELLENT Chloe Coscarelli recipe.



So in a very big way we've been waiting until we had our lives a little bit more to ourselves to celebrate that next big step. In fact, the hotels are being covered by my parents' DVC points--granted they were about to just let an entire years' worth expire (!!!!), but I know that my whole family gladly let us have them in part to recognize how we've helped to take care of my grandmother. So in more ways than one this is truly a celebration of beginning the next stage of our lives.



Without further ado, I'd like to make some formal introductions!

Matt: 26 years old

(pic of both of us--because I have none of us individually?)

Real Life Persona: Salesforce Database Administrator and Programmer at a nonprofit
Super Powers: Patience, Kindness, Seeking out educational written information in any setting and becoming distracted by it
Feelings about WDW: Meh
Been there, Done that: Only once before 3 years ago on a strained vacation with my family for 5 days at POR
Feelings about going on a romantic vacation and giving it a 2nd chance: Extremely positive
Favorite Attractions: Magic Kingdom--Splash Mountain ("the one with the critters"), Frontierland Shooting Arcade; Animal Kingdom--Maharajah Jungle Trek; Epcot--none (he hated the place); Hollywood Studios--Tower of Terror
Favorite Park: Blizzard Beach
Favorite Resort Past-time: whiling away laundry quarters at the arcade



Samantha: 27 years old

(more shameless smoochie-faced pictures... we will have better photos after this trip!!!)

Real Life Persona: Analyst at a nonprofit (we work at the same nonprofit)
Super Powers: Planning, Enthusiasm, Ability to sleep soundly in any setting
Feelings about WDW: Extremely positive
Been there, Done that: Pretty much exactly once every 4 years throughout my childhood and now into my adulthood--this will be my 7th trip
Favorite Attractions: Magic Kingdom--Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain; Animal Kingdom--the gibbons at the temple; Epcot--Soarin' (although I hate that they don't just use the full word, who actually pronounces gerands like that?); Hollywood Studios--Toy Story Mania
Favorite Park: Animal Kingdom
Favorite Resort Past-time: Exploring at night and going for night-time swims


The Plan:

This trip is actually going to be a smattering of a lot of things--it's an extended road trip down to Disney! What's in store? Eight nights at Disney at a quadruple split stay (SSR, BLT, AKL, BWV), lots of great meals--many of them vegan (including several signatures), both water parks if it's warm enough, Christmas at Hilton Head, stops at Luray Caverns, the Biltmore Mansion, ziplining in Asheville, NC, Richmond, VA, Civil War battlefields and museums in Richmond, and some destinations in Boston, too. I can't wait to go and share it all with you!! We're so close to leaving-- I just have to get these finals done with and stop being so distracted!!

I hope I'll get a couple readers and I'll do my best to post some live updates. Can't wait to go on vacation and deliver a trip report!! Consistency isn't always my strong suit, but I know how much joy I've gotten from reading others' and I hope I can share some fun experiences with you all.

Happy Holidays!!! FIVE MORE DAYS!
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Yes, we're celebrating! ENGAGEMENT ROAD TRIP! Young and in Love: The (pre-)Trip Report!

Me (27)--> <--DF (26), Ella, Panther, Sasha, Abigail

Last edited by kollerbear; 12-12-2013 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 12-10-2013, 03:22 PM   #2
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Can't wait for the trip to start after my anatomy lab final on Saturday morning!! I'm currently cramming for the lecture final tomorrow and trying to remember how to get everyone their Xmas gifts before we leave.

I'm wondering if we'll get out of NYC in time to see the Baltimore Aquarium Saturday afternoon? If not, our first "destination" will be Luray Caverns on Sunday! Preview of Dream Lake:




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Yes, we're celebrating! ENGAGEMENT ROAD TRIP! Young and in Love: The (pre-)Trip Report!

Me (27)--> <--DF (26), Ella, Panther, Sasha, Abigail

Last edited by kollerbear; 12-10-2013 at 03:44 PM. Reason: photo instead of link :)
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Old 12-10-2013, 08:24 PM   #3
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Wooo hoooty it's been fun!
 
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I'm in, welcome to the TR boards!
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javamom View Post
I'm in, welcome to the TR boards!
Thanks Steph!!! I'm so excited to have my first reader!! How sad is it that I keep checking to see if anyone's reading.... I think I have first TR jitters!

Procrastinating studying for my anatomy lecture final tomorrow... how about a picture of the Biltmore Mansion Candlelight Christmas Evenings instead?? FOUR MORE DAYS! (four bananas)



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Yes, we're celebrating! ENGAGEMENT ROAD TRIP! Young and in Love: The (pre-)Trip Report!

Me (27)--> <--DF (26), Ella, Panther, Sasha, Abigail
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:56 PM   #5
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I'm following too. Sounds like an amazing trip. I'm esp intrigued by the quad split stay. I would totally do that, if my husband was up for it.
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:01 PM   #6
JessicaKnits
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I'm in! Congratulations on your engagement! What better way to celebrate than witha trip to Disney?! I'm actually originally from Asheville, you will LOVE Biltmore if you have never been! I can't wait to hear about your trip. Drive safe!
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:32 PM   #7
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Thanks, readers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryPoppinz View Post
I'm following too. Sounds like an amazing trip. I'm esp intrigued by the quad split stay. I would totally do that, if my husband was up for it.
Thanks! Yes, it started out of necessity because of limited availability, but then I got excited about less time on the bus and seeing lots of resorts I may not get to try again. I'm really glad Matt was up for it, too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JessicaKnits View Post
I'm in! Congratulations on your engagement! What better way to celebrate than witha trip to Disney?! I'm actually originally from Asheville, you will LOVE Biltmore if you have never been! I can't wait to hear about your trip. Drive safe!
Thank you!! Do you have any more recommendations? It's our first time there. We'll be there the 26th-28th.
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Yes, we're celebrating! ENGAGEMENT ROAD TRIP! Young and in Love: The (pre-)Trip Report!

Me (27)--> <--DF (26), Ella, Panther, Sasha, Abigail

Last edited by kollerbear; 12-10-2013 at 11:42 PM.
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Old 12-11-2013, 07:31 PM   #8
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The Biltmore is stunning!
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Old 12-11-2013, 08:03 PM   #9
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In exciting, pre-trip news, Matt and I picked our wedding venue today!! We'd been debating, but we finally figured out how we could do the venue we love at a good price!

We'll be having the wedding at reBar, a restaurant/bar space in DUMBO. DUMBO is the cutest-named neighborhood in NYC, am I right?? It's like a nod to my Disney love in the subtlest way possible... Anyone know what DUMBO stands for??

Here's a few pics of the venue for anyone following along at home!! These images are from reBar's Tumblr:


What the dance floor looks like:


You can take couple photos from the roof:


Some more atmosphere photos:







There's also an awesome separate loungey space out of the way of the dancing so people can take a break and chat:





Whew! Well, we're pretty excited! This is a great testament to "give it a try" --we never would have thought to check this place out but our wonderful wedding planner suggested it and it is so unique and fun, we just fell in love with the place.

Anyway, THREE DAYS UNTIL VACATION!!!
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Yes, we're celebrating! ENGAGEMENT ROAD TRIP! Young and in Love: The (pre-)Trip Report!

Me (27)--> <--DF (26), Ella, Panther, Sasha, Abigail
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Old 12-11-2013, 09:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kollerbear View Post
Thanks, readers!



Thanks! Yes, it started out of necessity because of limited availability, but then I got excited about less time on the bus and seeing lots of resorts I may not get to try again. I'm really glad Matt was up for it, too!



Thank you!! Do you have any more recommendations? It's our first time there. We'll be there the 26th-28th.
Hmm...the winery tour is OK, but you can sample just about anything elsewhere, so not a "must do" unless you're really really into the wine.

Not sure how long you are planning to stay in town, but having a meal at Tupelo Honey is totally worth it! Breakfast is my favorite meal (the biscuits with peach butter and blueberry jam are ah-maz-ing!!) But lunch and dinner as excellent as well (and you still get biscuits!) They have two locations, one is downtown where parking can be a bit of a pain, and then a less-busy location in South Asheville. The downtown location is worth it if you have some time to kill since you can walk to all the galleries and shops in the area.

Hope this helps!
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Old 12-12-2013, 09:53 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by JessicaKnits View Post
Hmm...the winery tour is OK, but you can sample just about anything elsewhere, so not a "must do" unless you're really really into the wine.

Not sure how long you are planning to stay in town, but having a meal at Tupelo Honey is totally worth it! Breakfast is my favorite meal (the biscuits with peach butter and blueberry jam are ah-maz-ing!!) But lunch and dinner as excellent as well (and you still get biscuits!) They have two locations, one is downtown where parking can be a bit of a pain, and then a less-busy location in South Asheville. The downtown location is worth it if you have some time to kill since you can walk to all the galleries and shops in the area.

Hope this helps!
Thanks for the tip! Tupelo Honey looks awesome! We're staying at Aloft Asheville, which I believe is downtown and relatively walkable? Would make a great breakfast destination!
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Yes, we're celebrating! ENGAGEMENT ROAD TRIP! Young and in Love: The (pre-)Trip Report!

Me (27)--> <--DF (26), Ella, Panther, Sasha, Abigail
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Old 12-12-2013, 02:45 PM   #12
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I can't believe it-- just less than 48 hours left!!! Two finals outstanding, a lot of work, and Lord knows how the packing will get done... Matt leaves to drive the kitties to Boston tomorrow!

Here's a super fancy pants picture of the hotel we're staying at in Richmond on our way back--The Jefferson Hotel!! I was reading this may have been the inspiration for the grand staircase in Gone With the Wind.



Two more days!
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Yes, we're celebrating! ENGAGEMENT ROAD TRIP! Young and in Love: The (pre-)Trip Report!

Me (27)--> <--DF (26), Ella, Panther, Sasha, Abigail

Last edited by kollerbear; 12-12-2013 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 12-13-2013, 02:55 AM   #13
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The Biltmore Estate is really neat! I've been there and loved it. I'm sure you will have lots of fun. I've never been to Hilton Head (I've been just north and south of it) but I've heard awesome things. I'm sure you'll have a wonderful trip!
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Old 12-14-2013, 10:37 AM   #14
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Joining in!! You and you fiance are great people for taking such good care of your grandma.
However, how can your fiance hate Epcot?! Blasphemous! I hope this trip ignites a love of it for him!!
Your plans are amazing-- that Richmond hotel is gorgeous!! I live outside of NYC, but southern architecture is definitely where it's at!
Can't wait to read more!
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:34 AM   #15
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Update on the road!

So, on his way home from dropping off the cats in Boston Matt spun out on the highway. The snow had pretty much just started and he explains he just hit a patch of something, taking out his headlight and tail light. Thank God everyone was Ok!

I admit, we were gloomy Guses when we realized we couldn't drive the car as it was. The part was special order and we couldn't afford a rental. We were sad, thinking of scrapping the vacation, but an angel at a local repair shop got the lights working again. We still have a substantial amount of work to do on the car, but we at least got it driveable.

We took a nap after the heart wrenching affair, and Matt decided we should leave Sunday morning. We "napped" for 10 hours, woke up at 3 am, packed, and made it out! We cut Luray Caverns out of our plans and just head south.

Now we're in North Carolina on I 95, hoping to make it to SSR tonight... Even better if we make our 10pm Raglan Road ressie, but if we don't make it it's no big deal. I'm just trying to focus on staying safe and being grateful we made it out at all.

I'll try some live updates from my app, but I'm not great at individual replies on the app, so apologies. Thanks for reading!!
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Yes, we're celebrating! ENGAGEMENT ROAD TRIP! Young and in Love: The (pre-)Trip Report!

Me (27)--> <--DF (26), Ella, Panther, Sasha, Abigail
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