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