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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Bragging Rights

I have to brag on Ben today because he planned a wonderful surprise birthday excursion for me this weekend. For all the hopeless romantics, this will make you smile. And for any husbands/fianc├ęs/boyfriends looking for a fabulous idea to steal, this may be your ticket!

So, my birthday is May 11, which falls right in the middle of mother's day/graduation/wedding season. And in general for us, May is a very busy time of year, which means I got to celebrate my birthday 10 days early (yes!!). Side note - I LOVE birthdays! And celebrating 10 days early means I'll get to extend it just a little longer because I still haven't celebrated with my family and of course the official day is still coming.

All Ben told me was to pack casual, comfortable clothes for a one night excursion. After some prying on my part, he did give me a couple of clues. First, our destination had to do with my name. Second, we'd never visited this place before. And third, this plan fell within the realm of my bucket list. Now he had me excited!

Friday afternoon we dropped our dogs off at our cousins' house, and then Ben handed me a piece of paper that described the historical background of the city we were headed to. The destination is the oldest inland city in South Carolina and home to a major Revolutionary War battle where the Americans were actually defeated. A successful merchant also set up a mercantile store here that gave the city it's economic success. Because I had no idea, I called my mom (who's just completed her BA in History, thank you very much!) and she guessed right - Camden, SC!

Next, Ben handed me a brochure of all the interesting places to see and experience in Camden. Now, I don't know what you know about Camden but all I knew at the time was it's a small town about an hour from where we live without too much interesting going on. As it turns out, Camden has lots of fun antique stores, a couple of tasty restaurants, and a wealth of historical interests! As we're driving down the road, he mentions that I should have brought my bathing suit because the Holiday Inn has a swimming pool. My heart sank. The Holiday Inn? Really? Couldn't we be staying somewhere old and historic and beautiful? Please? But I just made some comment about not having a swimsuit that fits and kept smiling (I was not going to cry even if it was my birthday excursion!).

As we pull into the downtown area of Camden, Ben tells me that there is one more big surprise - we're going to take a tour of an old historic home. My heart picked itself up off the floor just a little. As we're driving down one of the tree-lined main thoroughfares in Camden, this colossal mansion rises up before me with this beautiful, stunning Federal architecture. I point it out to Ben because it's beautiful, and we actually pull in!

The sign out front says "The Camden House, circa 1832." As we walk inside, a gentleman comes to greet us, Ben makes introductions, and the gentleman says, "I'll show you to your room." Our room? Ben made reservations for us to stay one night at The Camden House, a local Bed & Breakfast! And the details that simply put me over the moon? Ben booked The Allison Room at the B&B, and had a dozen pink roses delivered to our room just for the occasion!

During our stay at The Camden House we enjoyed complimentary wine, engaged in a wonderful conversation with one of the B&B owners about the history of the house, played with Sophie & Cooper (the resident King Charles Cavalier Spaniels), rocked on the front porch of the beautiful home, walked the antique district in downtown, ate at The Old Armoury Steakhouse for dinner, savored a decadent homemade stuffed french toast breakfast the next morning, visited a national Revolutionary War site, toured the restored Robert Mills Courthouse, and finished the trip with a light lunch at Everyday Gourmet!

Excursion recommended! Husband adored!

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