A Birthday Celebration

Ben and I celebrated my 35th birthday on Sunday by spending the day in Richmond. Traffic was light, so we arrived an hour ahead of schedule. We walked around the shopping district of Carytown, and I grabbed a hot chocolate at Sugar & Twine (I don’t usually let myself drink hot chocolate, but anything goes on birthday weekend).

Ben had made a noon reservation for afternoon tea at the Jefferson Hotel; he likes afternoon tea as much as I do, ever since we went to England.

Tea is held in the lobby of the hotel, which is beautiful, but the setting was a bit awkward, since we were on display for people who were checking in or just hanging out in the lobby.

We were served Virginia ham sandwiches and a few different wraps (hummus for me). The tiered tray also included chocolate chip scones, spinach scones, pound cake (vanilla and chocolate), macaroons and chocolate covered strawberries.

We finished the tier (the waiter was impressed and said most people don’t), then we were given a piece of cake for my birthday. I was thrilled that it had cream cheese frosting; everything is better with cream cheese, and cake is already pretty good.

After tea, we decided to visit Agecroft Hall, a Tudor mansion that was brought to Virginia in the early 1900s from Manchester, England. Richmond was having a “time travelers” weekend, where historic sites throughout the city offered free admission and abbreviated tours. Agecroft Hall was one of the participating sites.

Our visit started with a ten-minute video about the history of the house. It had fallen into disrepair in England and was at risk of demolition when a wealthy entrepreneur purchased it. The house was taken apart, crated and shipped across the Atlantic. The mansion that was built in Richmond is inspired by the home that stood in England but isn’t a reconstruction, so that more modern conveniences could be included.

As we were waiting for our tour, I practiced taking Ben’s picture in front of the mansion. You can tell from the progression of these photos when his patience wore out (understandably so; these aren’t even half of what I took).

I asked Ben not to give me gifts for my birthday, but he surprised me with a book that I’d been wanting from Paper Source, a book that I’d looked at months ago. It was very thoughtful.


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