#18 A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN

At a Gala at the O.A.S. in Washington, D.C. dating before we got married.

Reminiscing about the past, time flies, how did we get here? I was thinking when we met each other if we really thought we would be here one day, 18 years later. John said he knew since the first day. I know today that our marriage has exceeded my expectations. I have learned so much and John has been so loving and caring always. I hope I have also been a good partner for him, that is my wish, that he knows he is my priority always. I am happy that we arrived here today…

So John said we were to take a long weekend trip for our anniversary and so we did. I cleared my schedule and we left our home around 9:30 AM the day before our “real anniversary” and we took it slowly and bought breakfast along the way. I had no clue where we were going, just like for our honeymoon, I left that to him. So we headed north, Route 15, avoiding the major highways, enjoying the views. We saw some fall foliage along the way but not that much to warrant photos.

Have I told you how much we love “field trips”? Just to take off and go? It is blissful. As long as we are together we just enjoy doing this a lot. After an hour and a half or so I dozed off (typical) and then woke up in Lancaster, PA. Our first stop was in the city itself and John went to the visitor’s center to grab some brochures and ask some questions. We then walked to the legendary Lancaster Central Market, the oldest, continuously running public farmers’ market in the country! More than 65 vendors and OMGoodness what a treat. It is very clean, it has areas where you can sit, but quite frankly there is so much to see and enjoy you want to walk every aisle and sample the delish cheeses or meats they give you. We were a little hungry for lunch so after a quick visit to the dutch market we left through a side door and had lunch across the street at the Lancaster Dispensing Company Pub. Small and busy, set in a historic setting, the atmosphere is very nice, waitresses and waiters very congenial and the faire was what is to be expected, fresh and filling. I had chicken quesadillas and J had a club sandwich. Mind you, we have to try club sandwiches wherever we go and see f they measure up to our “club sandwich standard” 😉

We returned to the market after lunch (it closes early) and bought some treats to take back to the hotel. Quite frankly the market was a great place to be, and made me wish we had something like this in Loudoun county where we live. We were able to evidence so much from being there about Lancaster itself. What better place to experience Lancaster than right in the heart of it? We bought meringues and a guava pastry from a Cuban stand – Havana Juice; cheeses, chorizo and other meats from S. Clyde Weaver; bread from Ric’s Bread. At Ric’s Bread they had an assortment of artisanal breads and handmade baked items. One thing I will tell you, don’t doddle in your decision because in a blink of an eye someone else will come and grab what you had eyed a minute ago. John decided to buy Amish butter and try it, we were all excited about our treats. But this market not only has food and vegetables, it has all sort of products and handmade items, it is a must visit when in Lancaster!

After a short nap we went to dinner to Luca, a fairly new, trendy Italian restaurant. If you do not have a reservation be ready to wait and be seated as they see fit. Luca is very busy, always! We sat by the bar and kitchen at a hightop shared table with a lovely mother and daughter. The mom is a foodie herself and recommended us like ten places to visit and also pointed out how Lancaster has been becoming a foodie city. We could not agree more after our visit. We do want to say that at Luca’s we had extraordinary service and our waiter was pleasant, accommodating and filled our glasses with prosecco all night long and even gifted us our first drinks and dessert since we did mention it was our anniversary. Food was fresh, a mix of old-country with a modern twist; and we loved to learn that they have a farm-driven kitchen focusing on vegetables and roasted meats, Neapolitan-inspired pizzas, and handmade pastas. Needless to say the menu was not a mile long but the offerings were amazing and created such an explosion of flavor in our mouths that we made a mental note to return before we went back home.

We drove around the city and were tempted to go have drinks afterward but we were tired and went back to the hotel. We made reservations for our big night on October 26th at another great restaurant, and a staple in Lancaster, The Belvedere Inn.

On Saturday morning we set out to do one of the various covered bridges tours Lancaster has to offer and we had a wonderful time driving through Dutch country. The farmland and the dutch farms were enchanting. We had a lovely time. John has the best ideas of “field trips” to do and I just love spending time with him and visiting new places.

Dinnertime came and we got ready to get to The Belvedere Inn early and sit by the bar. This restaurant is very popular and it’s building is a victorian Italian style mansion built in 1869 by John Rohrer, a tobacco dealer from Strasburg to entertain his guests while visiting the city of Lancaster. Mr. Rohrer incorporated a belvedere, meaning “beautiful view,” on top of the mansion for his guests to view downtown Lancaster. This restaurant has great history and an amazing second floor with a jazz bar and it’s decor is unforgettable. This night was pre-Halloween so the staff was all decked out in costumes and they all did a great job. We were guided to the bar and lo and behold we were greeted by Jesus! Yes, our bartender’s costume was unique. We also saw Bob The Builder, Curious George, a clapper or two, Harry Potter, a few Vampires and other characters, but this one attracted everybody. We had to take pictures in case someone did not believe us! Our table was great, when we sat down we had a card wishing us a happy anniversary, dinner was succulent, the waiters were kind and professional (ours was Curious George) and the champagne and cocktails were generous and tasty. We had a wonderful time and also made note to return when we came back to Lancaster!

Sunday was a stormy day so we decided to cozy up and enjoy our suite and talk about our plans for the future. Nothing like cuddling with a blanket and just being together. We had planned to go to Luca for brunch but opted to go for dinner since the weather was so dreadful earlier. We had to go back after our magnificent experience, and we enjoyed once again the menu and great atmosphere of this unique and phenomenal spot in Lancaster.

We had a great time and it was not really far from home. There are so many things to do in Lancaster I would not mind living and working there at all. The best part is “Just-Us” celebrating our love . Life is short, I am glad we took some time out of our busy schedules to spend time enjoying each other’s company. John is an amazing husband and I am so very blessed to have him. We really complement each other; we take one day at a time and we respect each other above all. I have to thank God for our 18 years together, I know this has been a match made in heaven.

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