A Wine Country Wedding and Birthday

I’m 25 and loving life! No quarter life crisis here. 07/07/07 couldn’t have been more perfect. (Well, I could have won that million dollars …) But, really, it was a very happy birthday. Let me recap.

a wine-country wedding

The celebratory week kicked off with a wedding. Six Pennsylvanians headed north to New York. Waterloo welcomed us with 25 cent wings and pitchers of Coors Light. We sang along to “Redneck Woman” and “Friends in Low Places” while shooting pole and throwing darts. Later that night we found ourselves at the hotel bar drinking summer ales and dancing to Usher.

The morning of the wedding, we sunned ourselves on the beach of Seneca Lake. The boys ventured into the murky water while the girls played in the kiddie fountains and squealed when the cold water hit our skin. We identified ourselves with a group of little girls splashing nearby: Mary, the industrious one filling plastic cups with water; Emily, the theatrical one wiggling her ruffled behind; Jenny, the cutie-pie with blond curls and rosy cheeks; Kristen, the petite brunette giggling at her friends. After we got our fill of playtime, we headed back to the blanket to wait for our favorite New England gal. She arrived with the boyfriend and a bag of snacks. We greeted both with open arms!

We headed back to the hotel shortly after to primp. I felt like Audrey Hepburn in a black and white paisley dress with a thin black belt. I twirled my full skirt like the little one in her ruffled swimsuit.

Ventosa Vineyards was the ideal venue for the Miller – Turocy Wedding. It perfectly captured the personalities of Quinn and Dave: sophisticated and classy yet good-natured and down-to-earth. We mingled with other guests on the lawn while sipping glasses of white and listening to the sweet serenade of the string quartet before finding seats among the neat rows of white wooden chairs. Quinn’s entrance was breathtaking. Her long veil blew in the lake breeze and her cheeks were glowing. The ceremony was short and sweet, and I smiled when the minister said, “Each of you here played a part in bringing these two together.” And I remembered high school days of pitching tents after prom and sharing colorful cocktails at the shore. And consoling one another after first loves ended. Nick slid his hand into mine as Quinn and Dave recited their vows. We’re almost all grown-up.

After the newlyweds personally greeted each of their guests and we snapped photos along the edge of the vineyard, we walked indoors for hors dourves and a selection of local reds and whites. The interior was decorated to reflect the lure of the Finger Lakes: wine. Our name cards were wedged into corks; Each table was named after a grape; Favors included heart-shaped silver corkscrews and bottle stoppers.

Soon the guests of honor were introduced and we witnessed their first dance as husband and wife. It was a charming, choreographed number to Michael Buble’s “Everything.” And they didn’t miss a step! Several hours of dancing and several glasses of Riesling later, we joined the group on the back porch for fireworks over the lake. A surprise gift from Mom and Dad Miller! We then bid farewell to Mr. and Mrs. Turcoy as they sped off in a black MG. The night was perfectly planned and executed down to every last detail. And it was wonderful to share the memory with a couple who I have no doubt will live a long and happy life together.

celebrating a quarter-century

The post-wedding “chocolate cake” shots and pints of Leinenkugel were probably not a good idea. But what was actually a good idea was deciding not to book the 9:30 a.m. winery tour. Thanks, Mar.

We arrived at the first winery on our self-guided tour around 1:30. I couldn’t manage more than a sip of the Torrey Ridge selection, but the baskets of oyster crackers and refills of water reserved for rinsing glasses did the trick. I was fully-recovered by the second stop–Prejean Winery–where I sampled a fruity Cabernet Sauvignon (thumbs up) and a thick syrupy Port (thumbs down). Next we ventured off the beaten-path to Seneca Shore Wine Cellars. The medieval design and cheerful “wine wench” made for an amusing atmosphere. And the eight of us managed to polish off an entire cheese tray which included garlic and gouda and other fresh concoctions. Back onto the trail and into Fox Run Vineyards where we enjoyed an educational tour of the fields and cellars. Nick was camera-crazy by this point and got some good shots of the vats and oak barrels and the beautiful view of Seneca Lake. After sampling a few varieties, I decided to purchase the Arctic Fox (dry white) and Ruby Vixen (more for the label than the taste).

Belhurst was the fifth and final stop of our afternoon tour. The Cayuga white was crisp and refreshing, and we enjoyed full glasses on the patio before our 6:30 dinner reservation. The dining room decor was elegant with paneled mahogany and cherry walls, tiled floors, and bright floral accents. The waiter welcomed us to the castle and wished me a happy birthday as I took my seat at the head of the table. His deep voice sounded as though it was being projected from speakers. Our own white Barry White, we giggled through our glasses of wine.

We jumped right into the warm loaves of bread and flavored spreads. Most of the table ordered bowls of lobster bisque, though Nick opted for the escargot which arrived in mushroom caps and tasted fabulous. Our main courses included filet mignon served on a gorgonzola crostini, lobster tail broiled in brandy, beef tip, grilled tuna steak, and fruits de mer with shrimp, sea scallops, and mussels. Side dishes consisted of sauteed mushrooms and smoked bacon and cheddar potatoes. Each bite was more delicious than the previous! We filled our bellies until we couldn’t swallow another forkful … Though our ears perked at the word “dessert” … And our mouths watered at the sight of the “tray of temptations.” I talked the crew into sharing an eight-layer slice of rich chocolatey heaven. After all, what’s a birthday without a birthday cake? It arrived with a fresh strawberry glaze and a single candle. As my dear friends sang “happy birthday to me,” I looked around the table and felt like the luckiest girl alive. I celebrated a quarter-century with people I love, admire, and appreciate. People who spent hours in cars and planes to share this moment. These are my people.

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