Highlands Honeymoon: Part One

More pictures from the wedding week are coming in but at more of a trickle than I expected. So I will post more, but I am hoping to throw a whole lot more. Even my mother has been a bit delinquent in getting me a host of photos. Even pics of Reception 2.0 arrived slowly. It is kind of hard to be snapping a lot of photos when you are supposed to be the center of an event. Thus, Ali and I had cameras that were short on images and long on batteries. Plus, I guess we were supposed to be in most of the photos. It just makes it a bit challenging when you are trying to gather images from half a dozen different people and their cameras. Here are a few choice selections.

Photo: Wedding Preparations Photo: Vince and Ken - Rehearsal

Here we have preparations being made. Who could have known the rain was on its way?! Plus, the two of the most invaluable contributors the MVP Vince and Best Man Ken.

Photo: Pig Head Photo: Cupcake Tree - Reception 2.0

The food is always a huge part of any celebration. Here we find the head of the pig at the end of the evening. Things took a slightly Lord of the Flies turn by the end of the evening, and more than one person kissed this pleasant creature before sunrise. Always the recycler, Ali made use of the cupcake tree again at Reception 2.0.

Photo: Me and Ali with Gifts

Here we are opening some of the wonderfully generous gifts. Once again we cannot thank people enough. Everyone was exceedingly kind!

Also, have a look at the ankle that had me limping for Reception 2.0. The day after the party I felt compelled to make a trip to the Urgent Care facility just to make certain I hadn’t broken the damn thing. Man, that’s ugly! Fortunately, this did not adversely impact the honeymoon too badly. As a matter of fact, I am pretty well on the mend now, but man it hurt at the time.

Photo: Ankle Injury

Since there is a dearth of more wedding pics, I will commense with a recap of the honeymoon, which was quite delightful all the way ‘round. We originally had envisioned a cruise to Alaska, in part because we had an inkling to avoid the normally warmer climes in the middle of the oppressive summer heat. Well, after one nightmarish cruise story after another beaming from television news, we rethought that position. We settled on a trip to Cape Breton, the island part of Canadian Nova Scotia. Having been to the province a year ago, we were pretty confident that we would enjoy ourselves. Plus, we never got as far north as Cape Breton on our last trip, which is supposed to be the lovliest and most Scottish looking part of “New Scotland.”

Driving north to Portland this time, rather than Bar Harbor, we left the Maine coast for a trip on the high speed Cat Ferry. As I have mentioned prior, it is a pretty fantastic vessel. The thing holds nearly 800 people and nearly half as many vehicles: cars, truck, motorcycles, even touring buses. Thinking that it would be easier to leave from Portland was a whole lot less driving stateside.

Photo: Boarding the Cat

However, the ferry voyage from Portland clocked in at about six hours, which we agreed was really pushing the limits of the ship. It is just a long time to be onboard. While it is big, it isn’t that big. Other than the a slim aft deck, there are no other opportunities to get outside along the trip. The food bars started to run out of food and all those little kiddies, with their parents, start getting pretty restless after about four hours or so. Of course we found out first-hand on the way North, as Ali wanted to sit in the section that was showing the kids animated movies in lieu of a paucity of other quality film choices. It was all manageable and we still enjoyed the ride, but it starts to push the limits of what that ship was really designed to do, comfortably.

So if any of you are planning to take the Cat, our recommendation is stay in your vehicle a bit longer and make the trek to Bar Harbor. You will get into port (Yarmouth, NS) a lot earlier too, as we didn’t arrive until about 9:00 PM.

The next morning we jetted north towards Halifax, a city to which I have taken quite a shine, stopping at a couple of spots along the coast on our way. On our previous trip Halifax was as far north as we coud go, so this time we knew where we were going and what we though might be most interesting along the first leg. We tooled through the coastal towns of Lunenburg and Mahone Bay, which are two of the more beautiful little coastal towns, and were hosting an art and old ship festival respectively.

Photo: Port of Lunenburg

Still getting to Halifax before dinner was a priority, for we were set on heading to Henry House, one of our all-time favorite dining establishments. I cannot recommend that place highly enough, for anyone that finds themselves in Nova Scotia’s capital city. The food is outstanding, the beer selection surpasses most micro-breweries of its kind, and the atmosphere, especially in the basement pub, is second to none. Even more, the place just looks beautiful. Make sure you get the bread pudding. It is exquisite.

Photo: Henry House

Photo: Amistad

Before leaving the city and navigating our way to the lodge we would spend the bulk of our time, we wandered along the waterfront and other sites. As you can see above, the historical recreated slave ship Amistad was in port while we were there. Overall, the place just fascinates me, the history, the Citadel, everything. Of course the Explosion that almost wiped it off the map hooked me straight away last time we were there. So this time, I picked up a book. Aside from being the Atlantic Canadian port, Halifax was pretty much Canada’s Ellis Island, which we found as we wandered down to Pier 21, once the immigration nexus and now tourist attraction. Ali is not quite as crazy about the place as I am; but hell, they even have a bus named after me!

Photo: Fred - The Free Trolley

Photo: Halifax Clock Tower at Night

From Halifax it was off to Cape Breton. Driving toward the Canso Causeway that joins the island with the mainland, we travelled through the breadbasket of Nova Scotia. Having grown up in the Midwest, I find something magnificent about coursing through rolling farmland, tracts of crops laid out across the landscape like a monochromatic mosaic. Yet, the landscape that was most captivating would prove to be the Highlands.

Reception 2.0 – Massachusetts Style

Still haven’t got many additional photos from the wedding, but my guess is they will be rolling in now that we are back in town. However, I do have a few images from our reception 2.0 at the home and garden of Ali’s dad in lovely Marlborough.

Photo: Party Patio

I must say that it was actually a pretty entertaining bash, considering the heat was mind numbing. Had it been a little cooler methinks that we all would have had even more fun. Still, to all that headed out west for our suarez, many thanks. We were so pleased that so many people could be there. While we are extreemely grateful for the wonderfully generous gifts, we really were most glad that we got to see you all, break bread (or naan as it was), and chat while imbibing some cool adult beverages. I do sort of selfishly wish that I had not been so hobbled by the untimely ankle sprain, but I tried not to let it slow me down. I may have paid the price on that a little but it was worth it.

Photo: Woodbridge Staff Escape

So I guess it bodes well that in our young matrimonial life we have had the luck of throwing two parties, both under extreme conditions, and we haven’t looked to cancel the deal yet. From buckets of rain to the most dogged days of summer our receptions were memorable to say the least. And to think that we had liquor left on both occasions, suprisingly. Plus, I think we ate Indian food over the next five days; it’s a good thing we like it so much!

Photo: Pin the Ring on the Groom

Photo: Blindfolded Victim

As the pictures clearly show fun was had by all, eventhough they may have felt a bit like a melting popsicle. From a pinata full of candy to stick the ring on the groom (a spin on pin the tail on the donkey), those that endured the heat longer were rewarded with more of such good wholesome fun. In fact, some people were even known to make bufoon’s of themsleves!

Photo: Badminton

Ali Takes a Haas-band!

First let me apologize for the duplicate photographic images in the previous post. What a knucklehead. I am happy to say that they are all fixed, if you scroll down and have a look.

Well, it is now official, as the evidence below proves. Ali and I are definitely hitched, some twenty-two years after first meeting in Señora Rosen’s Spanish class (a class in which I would not finish the year, as a result of growing animosity between me and the aforementioned señora).

Who could have thunk it, especially after our dramatic collegiate break-up, the culmination of a high school romance during what Ali refers to as the “too-too” adolescence? Of course, everything in adolescence can be said to be prefaced by the word “too,” and yet one never seems quite enough when you’re that age. Still, it happened in a strange twist of fate. So here is a visual and textual sampling of the recent event.

Photo: Ken, Keri, and I wait for the Bride

If the old adages are true, then we should have a glorious future ahead of us, no doubt. Our week leading up to the big day in Chicagoland went exceedingly well. We were busy but managed to address all details ahead of schedule. The weather was glorious. Both the day before and the day of the event things had cooled from their high 80°s-low 90°s, to a very lovely low 80°s. Everything was set for a magnificent event as we left to get dressed at our hotel room for our auspicious return. Then the thunderstorms materialized, positively out of nowhere, and commenced with not severe but rather steady rains, just as we got out of the car to get things going. Being an outdoor wedding this was a wrinkle we had anticipated, but were convinced would not be an issue. Surprise, surprise!

Photo: View of the Ceremony

Needless to say, there was a great deal of activity upon our arrival. My second family the Eastman’s rushed into action-mode, calling in in-law Eddie who lives just down the street. Before most people were the wiser, a team of Eastman relatives were assembling an additional tent where we were to have a front lawn ceremony. Bravo!

Photo: First Married Kiss

In a short time, we were able to rally the event and make due with some make-shift alternative arrangements. Everyone was really rather sporting about the whole thing. They must have been taking their cue from Ali, who was positively unfazed by the circumstances. In fact, she was even quite jovial about things, a mood which I must admit I did not share at the time. Fortunately, with so many people rushing to assist, it was hard for me to stay so dour.

Delayed and a little wet, we were married under the big tent in the backyard, amidst thunder and a gentle shower, which even produced a rainbow we were told. Everyone huddled under the canvas and helped us celebrate a fantastic ceremony, courtesy of my long-time friend Joanne, performing as minister. Joanne was marvelous, as were my Best Man Ken and Maid of Honor Keri. Our little bridal party made sure everything went smoothly amidst the circumstances. Before it was all over, Ali took me as her Haas-band, her new turn of phrase that she has become quite fond of using.

Photo: Traditional Toast

From then on, it was barbecue and cake, combined with the meet and greet. Ali and I were so busy we were barely able to stuff a few of our designer cupcakes down our cake holes, and we still didn’t get to everyone. Again, everyone was amazing and really made the day memorable and, more to the point, extremely special for the both of us. So thanks to all that were present. Hell, we even managed to celebrate the birthday of Ali’s sister and father!

Photo: Keri and Henry with Birthday Cake

Unfortunately, the images are still slowly rolling into my mits. So this is just a taste. The official pics should arrive in a couple of weeks. Thus, this is simply the first post that will cover the event. Hopefully, these will give those of you not in attendance a sense of what it was like.

Photo: Me and Ali - Newly Married

More on the big day to come.