After five degrees, a Blockbuster gift card (Julie's first gift to Ben), and just under ten happy years together, Ben would propose at a resort in Napa after a day of biking the wineries (and seeing Hamilton the day before that).
The year was 2008. George W. Bush was President. There were Circuit Cities and Linens & Things as far as the eye could see. The country was in the midst of a financial crisis that would soon become the Great Recession. It would be another two years before the world would see its first iPad.
Ben mustered up the courage to pull out his BlackBerry and call Julie (whom he’d met through mutual friends a few weeks prior) to ask her out (that was the tradition before swiping right came about). Their first date was as American as coffee and a slice of apple pie at DC’s famous Kramer’s Books. Two days later over pasta and failed flambé, they’d begin to discover their shared love for cooking, wine, and eventually, each other.
Convinced that she was crashing another guest’s event, Julie entered a private courtyard framed by rose bushes and the scenic Napa mountains. Set with a white linen table, a dozen red roses, a bottle of Champagne on ice (from 2008, of course), and two white chairs, it wasn’t until Ben actually got down on one knee that Julie had any suspicion what was happening. “I’m so surprised” said nobody but Julie (her grandfather had called it weeks earlier).