Birthday Extravaganza

The Flowers of the Gardens at Spring Ridge

The Flowers of the Gardens at Spring Ridge

I don’t want to brag, but I have to say, I lucked out in the husband department.  Although he has his faults like everyone else (smoker, workaholic, picky eater), he is smart, kind, affectionate and incredibly thoughtful.  (He is also much more rational than I am which can be maddening and beneficial all at the same time.) 

My birthday was last Thursday and the thoughtful side of my husband was on fire.  For starters, he turned my birthday into a birthday week, starting Monday night when he surprised me in Orange County.  I knew he had a work meeting in a different part of Southern California on Monday, but I thought he was flying down and back in one day.  I was stunned when he showed up Monday night at the gym, where my friend and I were working out.  After our workouts, we all went out to dinner together and my husband and I got to spend the night and breakfast the next day together (at one of my favorites, Britta’s Café in Irvine) before he had to fly home. 

Wednesday night, I flew home and the surprises continued with the discovery of a vintage nightstand from our favorite antique store, Timeless Elegance.  As I had been putting my bottle of water and lip balm on the floor every night for 2 ½ years, this was huge!

Thursday morning, I woke up to find a bouquet of gorgeous yellow roses and a card awaiting me.  The card said, “These are your birthday instructions.  Pamper yourself as much as you like until 4:00.  At 4:00, meet me at my office.  Do not be late, even a little bit late.  Call me when you leave the house.  You will want to bring with you (1) toothbrush, toiletries, etc. (2) good shoes for walking, (3) clothes for a nice dinner, dress or pants, your choice, (4) a swimsuit.  You will get no further instructions than these, so don’t ask . . .”

When I arrived at his office, we hopped the ferry to Bainbridge Island.  Upon arrival on the island, my husband drove us to the Spring Ridge Gardens Bed and Breakfast where he had booked the Courtyard Suite for the night.  After a month of traveling, the Springridge is the perfect place to unwind.  The Suite features a large living room, complete with kitchenette, fireplace and baby grand piano, a comfortable queen sized bed, our own private hot tub right outside the door, and terrace gardens that were exclusively ours for the night (the gardens were written up in Better Homes & Gardens in 2002).  We popped open a bottle of one of our favorite Italian varietals, Valpiocello, and enjoyed it on the terrace and while exploring the grounds.  My husband also presented me with another b’day gift, a serving dish to match my great-grandmother’s tea set.

For dinner we headed downtown to the Four Swallows.  The Four Swallows is perfect for a romantic or celebration dinner.  The restaurant is in an old house and the tables are laid out in such a way that you pretty much completely forget there are other people dining in the same room.  The food is incredible and the wine selection and quality of the selection is ideal.  Our server was charming, entertaining, and had a great knowledge of wine that steered us to a really nice French wine (Domaine Tempier, Bandol) that paired perfectly with my beef tenderloin entrée (YUM).  Yet, another b’day gift was presented by my husband at dinner – this one, was a 100+ year old French mirror I had been eyeing, but that my husband didn’t particularly like.  The card that accompanied the mirror gives me carte blanche to put it anywhere I want in the house – as we usually both have to like anything that goes into the house, this is a big concession by my husband.  

After dinner we headed back to Springridge and spent some time unwinding in the Jacuzzi and admiring the gardens.  All of the stress of the past month melted away.

The next morning we slept in, had a wonderful breakfast of organic egg soufflé with mango and spicy chicken sausage and fresh orange juice (when the proprietor, Wendy, brought in breakfast, this was the only time we saw anyone during our stay at Springridge), relaxed in the hot tub once again, and at Wendy’s invitation, picked a bunch of organic heirloom cherry tomatoes to take home (I’ve been snacking on these for days).  Before we left, my husband had one more b’day surprise for me – picture frames and pictures of our honeymoon to hang in my new office space downtown (I move in tomorrow) – something I had wanted to put together, but of course, hadn’t gotten around to. 

Although we were gone less than 24 hours and were only 40 minutes outside of Seattle, our overnight in Bainbridge was like being on a different planet in a perfect oasis of calm.  I have no doubt that my husband knew it was exactly what I needed after a month of traveling.  Next time I’m stressed out, I know where to go!

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2 Responses

  1. My dad is good at birthday surprises, isn’t he?

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