Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Trip Down Memory Lane

After our incredible trip to the Virginia Safari Park we had a couple other stops to make. 
What's very cool is that Jeremiah realized the park is minutes away from a little town called Glasgow and a little place called Natural Bridge where he spent about a year and a half of his life (his beginning high school years). Matt and Kristy were gracious enough to take a peek into Jeremiah's past with us. 
It was really neat to be able to see and learn a bit more about Jeremiah's childhood and where he's come from. Glasgow, although a slightly cute town, is really hard to imagine. It is very very small and kind of seems to take you back in time (even more so than Montrose). There is one grocery store, one fire department, and a bunch of churches, all of which look like they are straight from the 1930s. I wish I had taken more pictures, but here are a couple of Jeremiah's old house and the church where his dad worked...

When we were finished our driving tour of Glasgow, we had reservations at the Natural Bridge Hotel for dinner. We ate in the Colonial Dining Room, the place where Jeremiah worked as a busser and head buffet runner. We gorged on their famous Friday night seafood buffet special and it was delicious. Crab legs and fried seafood abound. The hotel is located next to the Natural Bridge itself, a well-known stone structure formed like a bridge due to erosion and other natural causes (hence, natural bridge). Apparently, it's one of the 7 wonders of the world or one of the 7 ancient wonders of the world. Whatever it is, it's big.


More Footage of Our "180-Acre Drive-Thru Adventure!" your own risk!

Llamas galore.

And check out some video...

1 The freaky deaky ostrich

2. Our good friend, the bull elk

3. Zebras, now that's a true safari

The Virginia Safari Park Can't Be Legal

As I reflect on our recent adventure, I honestly cannot come up with the words to even begin to tell you about this place. I will do my best.
My dear friend Kristy and her husband Matt were in town visiting Kristy's family and so we had planned to get together. I should have known we'd be in for a treat. Kristy had heard a few intriguing things about the Virginia Safari Park, located about two hours away from Richmond near Lexington. Her friend had gone and apparently had some interesting pictures and even more interesting stories from her own excursion to the park. Of course, we had to see it for ourselves. 
The only reason we know PETA isn't after the masterminds behind this place is because Kristy asked them outright about it. I'm convinced they are good liars. This is the craziest place. It is essentially a hands on zoo. You drive around in your car through these meadows and woodlands which serve as habitat to these wild animals. The wild animals you typically see locked in cages or behind barbed wire fences are roaming free, and come up to your car. You buy buckets of feed and literally feed these WILD animals through your car windows. Seriously, I cannot do it any justice, I don't even know how to put it in words. It is unbelievable. Lord only knows why this place wasn't shut down long ago due to lawsuits by the dozen. In fact, this is its tenth year in business.
So anyway, these animals (did I mention they are wild?) come up to your car--well actually, they shove their heads INTO your car--to eat whatever food you may give them. It's so weird how they are trained to just go up to the window, and if you're out of food or your window is closed they continue on to each window until they get what they're after. There are hardly any official Safari rangers in sight, but apparently if you have any mishaps you can beep your horn and they'll come save you. Luckily, we ran into no real trouble, because Jeremiah beeped on several occasions out of sheer desperation to get the huge beasts out of our way, but never once did a ranger come to our rescue. 
Thankfully, my car was not damaged nor were any of our limbs torn off by hungry animals. We did however manage to get plenty of food and dirt all up inside the car and had to quickly find the nearest car wash to vacuum and wash.
Matt, Kristy, and Jeremiah all had an exciting time feeding the animals as I watched in fright with my window up. Hilarious! 
Enjoy a bit of our adventure...

Here is our friend the bull elk.

The flies covering some of these things were revolting. This was only a minor case. Check out the food stuck in the window crevice that they crazy ostrich kept pecking at.

Here is some kind of freaky cattle.

Bambi and friends.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Vacation with the Links

We have just arrived home in Midlothian from a week-long vacation in North Carolina. Boy was the change of scenery needed! Early the morning after Valerie and Alex's wedding, Jeremiah and I hopped in the car to embark on our vacation with his immediate family at North Topsail Beach, NC. We stayed in the same condo we were in last year, which is a great place right on the beach with a lovely pool and a beautiful view of the ocean. 
For the most part we had great weather, although Monday was a total washout. Have no fear, we had plenty to occupy ourselves with, especially since we had brought Killer Bunnies. This is a great game that was introduced to us by Greg and Elise. Google it for more information and definitely go buy it at Barnes & Noble. 
In addition to getting a pretty fabulous tan, I am rather proud to say that I actually finished an entire (long!) book while on vacation. My Sister's Keeper (think the movie that's in theaters now) is an incredible book, and it's a quick read. I would also like to brag about my killer Ladderball skills on the beach; however, please take note never to attempt to play that game in extreme windy conditions. Talk about a quick self-esteem killer.
So yes, we had great fun sun-bathing the week away. We ended the trip with a visit from a few extended family members and then after checking out yesterday we headed to Holden Beach to reunite with Jeremiah's grandparents and a whole slew of Links down that way. It was good to see everyone since we don't get to very often, and I even had the chance to meet some cousins and such that weren't able to come to our wedding. Good times.

Williamsburg Winery Wedding

Last Saturday, Jeremiah and I attended a wedding for one of his co-workers and her fiance, Valerie and Alex. I also know Valerie from book club. The outdoor ceremony was lovely and the reception inside was beautiful. We had a great time hanging out with a group of friends we have here that came about because Jeremiah, Valerie, Meg, and Kaitlin all teach math at Robious together.

Here's our occasional game night or Robious-outing group: Alex and Valerie, Kaitlin and her boyfriend Chris, Meg and her husband Emi, and Jeremiah and me.

  Thought these place tags were real cute! Valerie made them herself using three wine corks from the Winery itself.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Engagement Excitement

Last night we had a surprise engagement party for Jeremiah's cousin and her fiance, Jen and Dave. The shindig was held at Jeremiah's aunt and uncle's house, which is about ten minutes from our apartment. The family wanted to do something special for the soon-to-be Underwoods while Jeremiah's immediate family was in town, and it was a success.

These are the cupcakes I made--an inspiration from the cupcakes my mom made after my own engagement. Jen is thinking about watermelon and orange colors for her wedding.

Here's sweet Ruby, looking as cute as ever.

Ah, and here are the Link brothers, up to no good jumping off the ladder into the pool. But let it be known their own father was watching the stunt--and of course, I was taking pictures. Their aunt and mother were none too pleased when shown the pictures.

My dear brother-in-law, Ben, showing off his cupcake-topped engagement rings.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Koehler Women (and Jeremiah) Vacation Together

As mentioned in my previous post, my mom and sister came to visit Jeremiah and me for a little vacation from Thursday through this morning. A lovely time was had by all! After a rather extensive and frustrating drive down I-95, they made it here safely (a mere seven and a half hour haul I think it was). We started the festivities that evening with a trip to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. This kind of thing is right up my mom and sister's alley, and I do think they enjoyed it. It's a beautiful place with tons of different vegetation to see. Jeremiah enjoyed taking plenty of artistic shots while we were there, too.

The next day, after the four of us went to Cafe Caturra (a favorite of mine and Jeremiah's), the girls went out shopping, particularly to hit Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn. 'Twas quite the exciting trip, especially with a tasty Godiva truffle mixed in. Later, the whole brigade checked out the 17th Street Farmer's Market 'Red, White, and Brew' but, unfortunately that was quite the bust. Mom and Jeremiah did enjoy a beer together though. We opted for a nice dinner at Maggiano's instead.

That brings us to the 4th of July! We headed to Maymont Park to check out their animal and garden displays prior to our settling down for several hours waiting for the climax of Independence Day. Jeremiah could not have gotten a better parking spot, which allowed us to be equidistant from Maymont and Byrd Park, where we would be celebrating the rest of the holiday. I had packed a picnic dinner and we each brought a book to pass the time (thank God for that--even though I don't like to read) and a lawn chair so that we could spend the five hours we had to wait for fireworks relaxing, people watching, and attempting to eat overcooked, oversugared funnel cake. It was well worth it though! One of the best fireworks displays I have ever seen! And hands down the best finale I have ever seen!!

For our rainy Sunday we scheduled a trip to Barboursville Vineyards, to check out a winery that a friend recommended to me. None of us had ever been to a winery, so it was a fun experience for all. Can you believe only $4 for 16-20 tastings, a souvenir glass, and a tour?? Talk about a steal. 

We ended our vacation with a bit more shopping and just some much needed time to relax and spend time together. Actually, we officially ended our vacation with a viewing of the new show "Dance Your Ass Off" on Oxygen. WOW. Words cannot describe. In Midlothian, it was on Monday evening at 10pm. Check it out--a must see. I can think of no other way to end a wonderful visit.