How We Met:
One evening in the early spring of 1999, I received a phone call from my brother Phil. He asked me if I wanted to meet him and some friends out at Pearl Street Brewery to watch the Buffalo Sabres playoff game. I decided to go, but invited my friend Ryan as well.

When we arrived Phil was upstairs watching the game with some friends, one of which was Brian. He seemed to be a on a date. Later on I found out that Brian thought I was on a date too. Phil introduced us, and I smiled as Brian showed me his Sabres Stu ‘BARNES’ jersey (who was a Sabres player at the time ~ no relation). We talked for awhile throughout the night. We all ordered food and sat together for the game. I did think it was kind of strange that Brian would offer me a taste of his portabella mushroom, because I thought he was on a date with another girl!

The next day Phil made a point of telling me about Brian. Brian had called Phil and wanted me to know that he was not on a date, and that the girl he was with was just a friend.

A couple of weeks later, on July 2nd, 1999, Phil planned a get together at his place prior to going to the friendship festival concert in Fort Erie, Canada. The Tea Party was headlining, and Esthero was opening the show. This is where Brian and I met up again, and since we hit it off so well, we consider this our first date. Standing near the front of the crowd I vividly remember Brian protecting me from the people around us. Phil even let me go downtown with Brian after the concert without any qualms. I thought to myself, "he must really like this guy!"

The Proposal:

Brian proposed in a very unique and detailed manner. Some background information for those interested:

Brian has always visualized a heart shape in the Finger Lakes. Yes spatially inclined satellite map GIS geek : ) Keuka Lake (‘The Y shaped lake’) being the base of the heart. Seneca Lake to the East and Canandaigua Lake to the West forming the sides of the heart. Gorham, NY as the top internal peak of the heart. You can see this above.

WebLink: Interesting Heart Symbol Information

Also, our birthdays are only one day apart which comes into play. I am November 7th and Brian is November 9th. Our Birthdays fell late in the week in 2007. He tricked me and said there was an important formal dinner event on that Saturday night related to his field, and that he had to attend. Being mainly couples he wanted me to be there with him. We also planned to turn the trip into a long birthday celebration weekend together.

Brian had driven us to unique locations and unusual stops in the Finger Lakes along the way. I did not know at the time but he was routing us in the shape of this heart he envisioned. We arrived on the night between our birthdays. We had a nice dinner near Geneva, NY. Brian seemed anxious to leave. He wanted to drive down into the Keuka Lake Bluff and spend part of the evening under the stars. Keuka is the 'Y' shaped lake and the base of the heart he envisioned in his planning. Also our favorite lake to visit. This is where some humor kicks into our story.

Brian was adamant to propose that night before midnight. Being the day between our birthdays he sees it as the day that connects us : ) He planned to propose to me under the stars at the base of his Finger Lakes heart shape. He took us to a secluded lookout area of the lake. When we arrived there was cloud cover and Brian seemed anxious about something. He kept wanting to stay a little longer to see if the clouds would pass. Here is where the humor kicks in. I turned on a flashlight he brought and it spooked a group of geese and ducks. They would not stop quacking and making noise! Come to find out, Brian was only a few minutes from proposing to me. After our trip he said it did not feel right obviously and the noise of our aquatic friends changed his first proposal location.

It is pretty funny thinking back, but stressful at the time for Brian. When we returned to the hotel room that night he forgot he had snuck in beautiful roses into the room. His mind was elsewhere obviously. So when I saw them and wondered how they got there while we were gone he quickly faked they were part of my birthday gifts. : )

Brian was still unsure of his second proposal location. He had a few ideas in his mind. The next morning while I was getting ready he was surfing the internet to help with his planning. It turned out better though. He found a place called ‘BARNES GULLY’ (seriously) It is spelled the same and everything. Located on the west side of Canandaigua Lake, right off of Barnes Road.

Coordinates: N 42°46'57" W 77°18'56"
WebLink: Barnes Gully

It empties into Canandaigua Lake and has beautiful waterfalls. Brian had not previously known of this location. He decided that this was his next option and fit in perfectly with his plans, even the name!

The next day after we awoke, Brian said he wanted to drive into Gorham, NY as he heard they had a great breakfast location. When we arrived, it was an extremely small rural town. We stopped shortly but found no location open for breakfast. Little did I know until later this was the inside peak of his heart. We then continued on driving into the city of Canandaigua. After getting something to eat we continued on to Barnes Gully.

After about 30 minutes of hiking into Barnes Gully we stopped at the base of the upper waterfall. Brian was very adamant about bringing a cooler and some bags to carry things. We had some wine and snacks on our picnic. Brian was again about to propose. We then heard a noise from far above. When we looked up there was a few people on an observation deck. Brian again altered his plans as he wanted it to be secluded and romantic. After a short relaxing break we hiked back down to the lower falls area. There was no observation deck here. His planning would finally come to fruition.

Somehow during that time he sneeked a carved rock below my feet. He showed me a map of the area and asked me if I knew where we had been. I didn’t make the connection. Then he showed me another map with satellite imagery which had his heart superimposed over it. After a few seconds he explained the heart shaped path we had driven that weekend. Now I was really confused and wondering why? Since he had made such a huge event for my 30 birthday I assumed it was just another extravagant weekend of birthday joy. He then pointed out the rock he carved by my feet and said that "maybe that can help you." I bent down to take a look and was beyond confused as to the props he had, but felt something was special was happening. How did he get that rock by me? While I was looking at the rock and maps he got down on his knees behind me. When I turned around to ask more questions about the rock / maps I found him with the real rock : ). I was stunned and speechless. He said his proposal speech with words of love. I believe Barnes Gully had a slight flood that day from my tears of joy : )

We stayed at some really nice places that long weekend. We both fell in love with the Belhurst Castle though, which is why we decided to have our wedding there. It is right on Seneca Lake in Geneva, NY.

Or, the North East section of his heart : )