Casey and I often talk about how our relationship was built on weekend getaways. When we first started dating, nearly four years ago, we were only a 2.5 hour drive apart. Only I had a car, though, and 5 hours round trip for a new relationship is rough.
Instead, we’d pool for a hotel, and I’d split the drive between Friday and Sunday or Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes I’d just visit West Point, staying at one of the 3724 hotel options less than a mile from the gate (or even splurging for the Thayer if there was a special deal or a Groupon). While I would stay at a hotel, he would sleep in the barracks; we’d just spend the days adventuring within driving distance. As often as he could get a pass, though, we’d try to get away.
Sometimes we’d visit family, but sometimes we’d explore. There was the time we stayed in a Manhattan hotel, watched Wicked on Broadway, and ate the most expensive dinner in our lives. There was the time we went to the Poconos off a Groupon and the place was not at all what we thought it’d be, but we laughed through it and had fun anyway. There was the time we treated his Mom to Matilda on Broadway tickets for Christmas before visiting the tree in Rockefeller Square. There was the time my sister broke the news that my car was stolen (with the only copy of thesis in the back seat). There was the time we road tripped to Illinois and I rode on a boat for the first time. There was that time I learned to call his aunts and uncles Aunt and Uncle. There was that time we walked the Miracle Mile and saw the Chicago Bean. There was that time we just hid from the snow in our hotel room and ordered pizza because I didn’t want to drive. There was the time we drove twenty minutes out of the way so that I could eat at a Polish restaurant in Ohio that had been on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. There were the many times that we spent the whole weekend at my Nana’s home as she neared the end of her life. There was the time we drank Baby Banana Booty Bouncers and Apple Pies in the Catskills. There was the time we rented a house with a pool and a hot tub INSIDE. There were the many times that we did nothing but enjoy each other’s company and Netflix ‘n’ Chill.
Our relationship was built on these weekends we could get away, sometimes to nowhere at all, because in those moments we got away to each other. Living together for the last sixteen months, we haven’t had that many weekend getaways. We’ve visited Nashville, Charleston, Richmond, Raleigh, and Savannah but almost always for a purpose and with company.
When, a couple of weeks ago, we decided to get away to Wilmington, I felt blessed. It felt like those weekends that we hadn’t had in over a year and a half. We loved being there. Exploring a new city with no agenda was great, but the magic was in our time together. Wanting to be extra present, I even left my cell phone in the hotel room all weekend. The weekend was a blast, and I loved every second of it.
When not two weeks later, Casey suggested we go back for Labor Day Weekend, we committed to making it work with our budget. Things have been a little pricey lately, but with the upcoming distance, we knew we wouldn’t be spending money on each other for a while, so it was a worthwhile splurge. If we were going to spend two months apart, we were going to get away first.
Labor Day Weekend
On Friday night, we went to our usual World Of Beer Happy Hour. We ate $5 apps, watched Army Football #BeatFordham, and picked up a few odds and ends at Target. There was a pretty bad rainstorm that led to flash flooding in Fayetteville, but we were determined to get to bed early to make the most of our weekend.
On Saturday morning, we were up by 5 and on the road by 6. I broke a bottle of alcohol just as we were walking out the door, and Casey was phenomenal about not making me feel terrible about it. We headed out to Wrightsville Beach, hoping to be there by 8. Unfortunately for us, the rain wasn’t totally through yet. Our drive east included it’s share of not only rain but also accompanying thunder and lightning. Since the beach was out of the question, we headed instead to The Causeway Cafe for a diner breakfast.
With the beach out and the weather making exploring downtown out of the question, we visited a bookstore before checking into our hotel early. Obsessed with the three new books I splurged on (#sorrynotsorry), I immediately set to dig into the first one while Casey sat next to me and napped. Eventually, the weather cleared up, and we decided to lunch at Front Street Brewery. Since we weren’t super hungry, we decided to go the appetizers-only route; among others, we thoroughly enjoyed our mug of bacon.
When we got back to the hotel, Casey suggested we plan to go to dinner at 7 PM. Before we had even booked our hotel, we had planned to go to Dock Street Oyster Bar for dinner. Since the quality of the seafood had been so phenomenal just a couple of weeks prior, it was a no-brainer for us to go back. The dinner timing was a little late, but since we’d be going out right after, I didn’t think anything of it.
Soon after we got back, Casey insisted he needed to go for a run. Don’t get me wrong, I support his endeavors, but You have to go for a run right now?! After he used very simple logic (You know I’m training for that thing), I decided to take an afternoon nap and be supportive of his run. Little did I know, this was when Casey was coordinating with our photographer Matt of Millie Holoman Photography to help set up my dream proposal.
Around 6, I started getting a little hungry. We had eaten a small lunch, and I’m pretty much always hungry. I started getting ready early, hoping that if I was ready, I could convince Casey that we should go eat a little sooner. I straightened my hair, fought with my eyeliner, and put on the cold shoulder dress I had bought from Stitch Fix a couple of weeks before that Casey had suggested I pack for our night out. At 645, I was teetering towards hangry while Casey was still lounging nowhere near ready. I whined about being hungry, and he eventually conceded that we should get going.
Since the sky had completely opened up, Casey suggested we take the slightly longer walk along the river. We walked out of our hotel room and to the Riverwalk. As we were walking to dinner, Casey pulled me into a hug. He told me about how happy I made him and how much I meant to him. In that moment, I realized what was going on.
He stepped back, pulled the box out of his boot, got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him. I proceeded to ugly cry while saying yes. I have loved this man for nearly four years, and this moment was more perfect than I ever could have imagined.
In truly the circumstances of our dreams, Casey had coordinated with Matt, the photographer from Millie Holloman Photography, as we were leaving the hotel room. We had walked right by him on our way to the spot. Matt was there capturing all of it. This was perfect because this proposal will always be a moment that only Casey and I share, but we were also able to share with our family through pictures. Right after the proposal, Casey and I did a short thirty-minute shoot with Matt to celebrate the occasion.
Because I hadn’t taken my cell phone out with us, I suggested we go back to the hotel room so that we could call our family and share the good news. We Facetimed my sister, his brother, who was with his dad, stepmom, and stepsister, and my mom. We snagged a bandaid from the front desk of the hotel so that I could resize my ring. I snapped a picture of my beautiful ring and sent it to a couple of my BFFs who I wanted to share the good news with immediately! At this point, I was famished, so I suggested we call my dad as we walked to dinner and we did.
That night we went to dinner at Dock’s and sat at the bar eating the delicious seafood we had planned. We shared the good news with our neighbors who bought Casey a shot in celebration (and asked us if we had set a date- lady, we are barely engaged). We danced the night away at a couple of different bars, including a Karaoke stint, before ending the night at Island’s Tacos.
When I woke up the next morning, I was still in a bit of shock at how Casey had given me the engagement of my dreams. It was so him, so us, so perfect. I will forever cherish September 2, 2017 as a special day in our relationship and one I will never forget.
Nearly four years ago, under the stars at Trophy Point, Casey kissed me for the first time in our very first weekend getaway. When I told my friends I had met the love of my life, they rolled their eyes at me, but I knew then- I have always known. I can’t wait for a lifetime of weekend getaways.
PS. We’ve decided on #SharewiththeScharios as our wedding hashtag, so feel free to check in as we’re wedding planning!
Emilie is an Army Wife, Data Engineer, and CrossFitter with a love for working through her thoughts in this space on the internet. She lives with her husband Casey and their pup Bo in Savannah, GA.