As previously mentioned, we spent last weekend in Charlottesville, at a place called Camp Holiday Trails, celebrating the wedding of my friend Rob (I've known him since first grade) and his fantastic new wife Ashleigh.
The camp, which is actually a summer camp for children with disabilities, isn't typically a wedding venue. Ashleigh worked there for several years, though, and always wanted to have her wedding on the grounds. She worked with the camp to make it happen and it was absolutely perfect. Probably even more so for her, since she has so many memories there.
Some guests stayed in hotels, but we opted for one of the on-site cabins. We shared the left half of this building with Matt and Amy (of wine-tasting fame) and DC Jason and his wife Angie: The cabins were rustic - they're camper cabins, after all - but they have bathrooms and electricity, which was really all I needed.
Dinner took place in the camp dining hall. With tablecloths draped over the long tables and fall-inspired florals, it didn't have any sort of mess hall vibe. The building is a wooden structure with exposed beams in the ceiling and little wheel-shaped chandeliers, so it had good bones. The ultimate result was downright elegant: The tables were set with simple linens and dishes (and a few stinkbugs) and an extra-cool touch: pieces of wood with our names burned in them:
And a few notes about the food: it was definitely not cooked by camp chefs. The caterers, who I think came down from Northern Virginia, served a lovely meal. We started with a vegetarian butternut squash soup, topped with a bit of creme fraiche (always good). Then we had a small fall salad with dried cranberries. The meal itself was a buffet, including tenderloin and - much to everyone's delight and surprise - Brussels sprouts. Everyone was also all over the mac and cheese, which was almost definitely intended for the kids. It's hard to say no to a big dish of mac and cheese, though.
After dinner and speeches, everyone was given an extra-long sparkler and we formed two lines just outside the door of the dining hall. Rob and Ashleigh walked through the sparklers to much cheering and - surprisingly - no errant fires:
Then we headed over to the camp pavilion for drinks and to hear The Black Lillies, a favorite band of Rob and Ashleigh's. Much to everyone's extreme satisfaction (especially mine), Rob took the stage with the band for a couple of songs, including a rousing rendition of his own "Marlboro Lights," which is quite the sing-along song when you've got all of us together:
After a little while, everyone moved to the big fire pit next to the pavilion, where we enjoyed a few more drinks, a lot more sentimental conversation (I am sure I said, "we are the luckiest to have such great friends!" about six hundred times) and some more low-key performing by the band. When Cooper and I finally retired, sometime around 3:30 AM, there were still a bunch of people up. In fact, when DC Jason got up in the morning and went outside at 9:30, the band was still playing and drinking wine. Hardcore.
As a result, this is what a few of us looked like in the morning:
Actually, I'm pretty sure we looked better than we felt. Are we all wearing matching t-shirts, you ask? Why yes, yes we are. They were a part of our welcome bags and were intended to be worn during Sunday's bride vs. groom kickball game. Unfortunately, we had to head back to Maryland before the game got underway (though I can't imagine that I'd have been much help anyway).
All in all, it was a great weekend and, unsurprisingly, I am sorry that it's over. As usual, spending time with my elementary and high school friends did nothing but remind me that they're amazing people - smart and funny and ridiculous - and that I'm pretty lucky that our parents chose to live in the same school district.
(All the pictures were taken by Adrienne - I stole them from her Facebook account. Did I take my camera? Yes. Did I even turn it on? No. I was having too much fun talking about how amazing my friends are.)