Monday, June 04, 2007

Memorial Weekend Adventure

So many things to blog about, where do I start?

Well, let me talk about the wedding venue search and the adventure that we had over Memorial Weekend today.

We’ve been searching for the perfect place for awhile now, but looking over the website and the packages the venues sent just could not satisfy us, plus we are picky people, we had to go see them (have you met ANY bride that actually booked a place and didn’t even see it before?) So I booked the appointments late April for Memorial Weekend.

We took off Friday afternoon. 6 hours later, we were at Hommondsport, NY, which is on the Finger Lakes Region, about 3 hours south of the 1000 Islands Region. We went there because David bought a cap for the truck for $11!!!! Needless to say, he was very excited about it, but we had to go pick it up. It only added about an extra hour and half to our trip to the 1000 Islands, so I didn’t mind too much, plus I brought my knitting with me (wouldn’t you do the same??) When we arrived, the guy we bought it from came out and helped David put the cap on. We were ready to go at this point, and David go start the truck – what do you know? The truck made this very weird loud noise, but the engine didn’t stop. David went and checked it out. It turns out the serpentine belt tensioner died. So now we got the cap on the truck, with the camper in towed, and were stuck at this guy’s yard! Somehow David got the truck off the yard and on the side of the road, but we were still stuck at the middle of no where in NY! We forgot to join the Good Sam, which will tow the camper, and AAA won’t tow us because the truck is over 1 ton. Finally, we called AAA anyway, just to see if they can provide a tow truck number so we can get someone to get us outta there. Surprisingly, AAA covered the truck and informed the tow truck people to send another truck along with the first one to tow the camper. By this time, it was around 9pm. We went to the camper to wait so we didn’t have to run the truck and waste gas on the AC or open the window and feed the mosquitoes. The tow trucks finally came at around 11:15pm – apparently there was an accident on the highway and they were the only two on call for that area. The towing company’s name was T&R Towing, and the only reason I’m mentioning their name is because they are such nice people! They were friendly and informative, and were nicely enough to let us sleep in our camper in the parking lot of the towing company – state trooper station was right across the street. They are located at Bath, NY and I hope you never break down, but if you ever do in that area, they are the people to call.

Wayne from T&R happens to also be a mechanic (he towed the camper for us). He looked at the truck and told us that it’s an easy fix and that he can called the parts store first thing in the morning and fix it for us, in time to go up to the 1000 islands for our first appointment. We were excited, but at the same time doubtful, because it was a long weekend, also because our truck was a ’94, the only year Ford put in the International Engine, instead of their regular engine for trucks. Not to our surprise, no one around carries the assembly, so the parts store has to order it. Lucky for us, we had a tent in the camper, so instead of camper camping, we can just tent camp on the site we reserved on Wellesley Island State Park. But to get there, we needed a rental car. We ended up having to rent a car from Corning/Elmira Regional Airport, which is about half an hour away, so we needed a taxi. An older gentleman showed up with a town car and drove us to the airport, along with all our belongings for camping. He was very nice and gave us direction to go up to the 1000 Islands. The trip cost us $60, which I thought was pretty good for that distance. We ended it up with a Mercury Milan for $40 a day, for a return of Monday evening.

We had an uneventful drive up to our camp site, set up camp and made it in time for our first appointment. The first place was Riveredge Resort. It is a beautiful hotel right on the St. Lawrence River. Tina, the sales rep, showed us around and answered some of our questions. This was one of the hotels that sent us a wedding package to look at, prior to us showing up. It has a lounge that opens till 1am, which would be great for our guests, if they decided to continue the party after the reception. The room where the reception would be had a gorgeous view of the Boldt Castle, and the deck/patio area would be where the cocktail hour to be held. The best part – a Jacuzzi suite for the wedding night is included in the package for the bride and groom!

See where I am? The balcony is where the jacuzzi is!

Where the reception would be if we decide to go with it

The view from the deck of Riveredge

Even though we liked everything there, we decided then that it did not have the 1000 Islands charm and characters, and we would probably not go with this place.

The second appointment we had on Saturday was with Pine Tree Point Resort. The resort itself is surrounded by pine trees (hence the name) and is located also right on the river. The garden is beautiful, although not where the ceremony would be conducted. The ceremony will actually be on the terrace right on the water with Boldt Castle as the back drop! It is by far the prettiest place for the ceremony that we looked at over the weekend. The reception places are another story. The place definitely has the charm – old and full of history, but because of the size of the reception, we would probably be limited to the “Bar” area for the reception, unless we pay a surcharge to be in the main dining room, which has glass windows all around, and with the water and Boldt Castle as the background. The room gives me the feel of the typical banquet hall feeling, which is okay, just not as picturesque as the terrace.

The view from the Terrance

Where the reception will be

This place is definitely on the top of our list to consider.

After the last appointment for the day, we stopped in at Treasure Island Jewelry and visited Alex and BJ Mosher. This is where we bought David’s wedding ring, and my engagement ring. They had just recently relocated to down the street from where they were and was re-opening the store that weekend. We chatted and Alex cleaned my ring (I didn’t realize how shiny my ring could be!!) and we started talking about wedding bands for me. David apparently had a vision, and now Alex and David have a vision for my ring. So now Alex is working on something so he can show us when we go up for 4th of July. David said that since I picked out my own engagement ring, I lose the privilege of picking out my wedding bands. I can’t wait to see what Alex come up with! It is very exciting to have someone designing your ring for you!

We went back to our camp site and settled in for the night, after all, we had quite an adventure so far.

Sunday started with visiting the Thousand Islands Country Club. The room was already set up to look like a wedding and it was very nicely done. Although it didn’t have the river view, but it has a very nice menu and all the food looked so yummy I was getting hungry just looking at it! Located on Wellesley Island, the country club actually has villas that can be set aside for people to stay, instead of staying at a different place at Alexandria Bay or Clayton. The villas are very reasonably priced which is encouraging as well.

The room that's already set up for a wedding reception

We definitely like the menu here a lot better than the two places we already visited, but a country club is a country club, it just doesn’t have the charm and the river view that signifies the 1000 Islands Region. We’ve decided that we would probably cross this place off our list, but definitely keep it in mind for rehearsal dinner, if we are going to have one.

In the afternoon, we went to see the Singer Castle. To be honest, we really had our heart set at the castle. I mean how many people can say they got married in a castle and had a reception there? When we arrived, we were directed to go on a regular tour and then meet with the general manager afterwards. The grounds of the castle are absolutely gorgeous! The green, which used to be a tennis court, would be the location for the ceremony, is adjacent next to the Pergola, which could be set up for cocktail hour. There was a carriage house, which includes a full bathroom, would be used for the bridal party prior to the ceremony. The Rose Garden is ideal for the wedding ceremony itself, with the river and the clock as backdrop. After the ceremony, all the guests would be able to have the chance to go on a guided tour of the castle while the pictures are being taken and the reception being set up. The down side of this place? We, the bride and groom, are responsible for coordinating EVERYTHING – catering, cake, chair, tent… you name it, and we have to do it. All the castle is doing is let us using the grounds for the hours we needed.

The greens with Singer Castle as the backdrop

Rose Garden with the clock as the backdrop

After talking with David, we decided that we should probably not go with the castle since we will be planning it from 6 hours away, and we don’t know anyone there to confirm and recommend a good caterer to us. Plus we have to provide the transportation for all our guests to the castle and if any emergency arises, there is no way to get back to the main land immediately. Although we are not going to use the castle for our wedding, we are definitely recommending to all our friends and family to go visit.

We went back to the campsite after touring the castle. We cooked a delicious meal from the camp fire and went into town to get pictures taken for my ring for Alex. Alex snapped some nice picture for his own reference, and we went to Good Dog Charlie to check out the yarn selection. When we walked in, there was a sign right by the yarn section – EVERYTHING 50% OFF! Apparently, the owner is going to close the yarn section due to many reasons! Needless to say, I was super excited! They carry Farmhouse Yarn, Classic Elite, ArtYarns, just to name a few! So I picked up a few things:

9 skeins of Classic Elite Premiere in Black, 6 skeins of Artyarns Ultramerino 4 - 2 in teal and 4 in black, 4 Crystal Palace Bamboo Needles in size 0, 1, 2, and 3, and "Knitting for Dogs" by Kristi Porter

David told the owner that if she still has anything left during 4th of July weekend, we will be sure to get more!

After Good Dog Charlie, we went to the Drive-in to catch the new flick – Pirate of Caribbean. I love the drive-ins. I wish we have one near by. It is such an economical way to see movies, plus David and I can discuss if need to, without anyone turning their heads! One down side of the drive-ins – you can only watch it after sunset, otherwise it’s way too bright to see the screen!

Monday came around quickly, with the news that the part we needed for the truck didn’t come in. We packed up the Milan and decided that we will take the rental home and drive to Finger Lakes to pick up the truck when it is ready. But before we go home, we had another place to visit for the wedding, The Hart House.

The Hart House is a bed and breakfast, and was the original cottage on Hart Island where the Boldt Castle resides now. There is a whole history of it that you can read it here. But the cottage was relocated after George Boldt decided to build the castle on the island and moved it to Wellesley Island. It is nestled against the golf course of Thousand Islands Country Club and it is absolutely gorgeous! We went for breakfast and encountered a number of guests who were staying at The Hart House the night before – there was a wedding reception there. One of the guests was so excited about the place and showed us her room before we even spoke to the owner of the place. The room was tastefully decorated and spacious.

Jo came and greeted us and set us up for breakfast (we planned to have breakfast there to try out the food). We were served with drinks and seasonal fresh fruit and cinnamon rolls. The fruit had a dollop of fresh made crème with blueberries in them – yum! Then it was roasted veggie frittata with sausage on the top! It was beautifully displayed and very tasty. After breakfast, Art and Jo (the owners) came and sat with us and went over some details. If we go with this place, we will need to have the ceremony out on the yard, which is full of flowers and has a far view of the river (the Yacht Club is in between), and the reception can either be indoor or outdoor. They were very friendly and honest, and were willing to customize anything for us. The best part is that we would be able to rent the whole house so there are only people staying there that are attending the wedding. Both David and I enjoyed the breakfast, and thought this place would definitely be on our list.

The Hart House

The yard and the view from the front of the house

We parted with The Hart House at around 11am and started our journey home. Luckily, it was very uneventful. Needless to say, we talked about our choice most of our way home. Right now, we are torn between the Pine Tree Point and the Hart House. Like I said before, Pine Tree Point has a beautiful terrace to have the ceremony, although the reception area is decent and the menu is typical, and the Hart House has a beautiful yard to have the ceremony, although not as close to the water, still have a far view of the river, and the food is delicious and the space for the reception has its own charm and a nice feel to it. Our debate is “Do people mostly remember the ceremony, or the reception?” What do you think?

We are tying a few loose ends and asking few more questions to both places and hopefully we can agree on a place by this week, since I don’t want to drag this out any longer! I’ll post about what happened to our truck and our adventure to pick it up soon!


Sneaksleep said...

You know my vote: go for the B&B! I think people will remember the reception the most. And you guys can always go somewhere near the water and take photos before or after the ceremony. Sounds like you had a great weekend in any case!

Anonymous said...

My husband and I rented an entire B&B for our wedding 10 years ago, and it was great. We loved being able to spend the whole weekend with our guests. To this day everyone raves about what a great time they had. The ceremony will be as special as you make it, but the reception is where you really get a chance to celebrate!
Katy @ knitterpated

Baby Beth said...

I agree that the reception is what people remember the most about any wedding...but you can't go by what other people will think. They will always be complaints about a wedding no matter what. "The food was just okay." "The music didn't make me want to dance." and blah blah blah. It's yours and David's day anyway, who cares what everyone else will think. :)

archiknist said...

I think people will pay more attention to their surroundings & the view during the reception, since the ceremony is shorter (and besides, they'll be watching the ceremony!). Does one of them seem like they would be easier to work with?

archiknist said...

Hey Jen--

I'm doing Mystery Stole 3 too!

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