Lea Chapman & Graham Atkins

Lea & Graham

September 5, 2008

Lea Chapman & Graham Atkins

Lea & Graham

September 5, 2008

So as the days start ticking by, we have finally sent out our invitations. Yay! We hope you all come and can't wait to see everyone at the wedding. Hayrides, mini-burgers and bourbon for all who attend!

We had a hard time deciding on what to do for our registry. Living in one country and getting married in another (and then possibly moving in the next couple years) does not make it easy to register for "stuff". And believe it or not, we are both quite practical. Although we do like crystal wine glasses as much as the next person, we realize that they would most likely fall victim to our clutziness within a week. And although Lea's heart does still flutter at the thought of a KitchenAid mixer, she is far too lazy to cart the thing back and forth across the Atlantic. And both of us are totally against UK prices for such things (350 GBP, I mean come on!) We'd much rather go on a fabulous honeymoon and get to see new things and have new experiences.

So that is why we opened this honeymoon registry. It's a bit unconventional, but you'll be helping us build some fantastic memories. And we promise to send postcards and take pictures of every "gift" so you can see your present in action!

Thanks for visiting our registry and lots of love to all!

-Lea and Graham
Living in Edinburgh, we've come to appreciate the wonderful places that Europe has to offer. Over the years our holidays have revolved around a very specific theme: Food.

Fried calamari was eaten every day in Madrid, as was salted aubergine (that's eggplant for all you Americans). In Barcelona we dined on lamb tapas and razorclams. Wood pigeon ravioli was savoured in Tuscany, accompanied by the biggest bottle of Montepulciano Nobile wine ever seen (seriously it was 3 feet tall-but don't worry-we had 4 friends to help finish it off). And finally, we survived synchronized heart-attacks when we saw the bill for Lea's rock lobster and champagne risotto dinner in Sicily!

So when we started discussing where to go on the honeymoon, it suddenly became one of the most difficult decisions to make. Until...someone mentioned the French Laundry. Now we're not sure which one of us was the first to whisper this suggestion, but after a quick google search and glance at the menu, the idea was stuck in our heads, fermenting like the yearly vintages in Napa Valley .

So we decided to visit one of America's best food desitinations: Napa Valley. And what's even more fun is we decided to make it into a road trip! Lea has always wanted to see Big Sur and she cunningly suggested renting a convertible and driving from LA to Napa. She knew Graham would imagine wind whipping through his hair as he "put the pedal to the metal" accelerating to a top speed of 35mph (Highway 1 along Big Sur is extremely curvy after all). Neither of us have really been to California except for a few times when we were both much younger and were tagging along with our parents.

So here's the general plan:
Arrive at LAX and pick up the 'stang. Drive to Santa Barbara for a night in a hotel on the beach. Head north the next day on Highway 1. Stay in a Yurt (yes we said yurt-which is basically a fancy tent-and no it does not have a bathroom) overlooking Big Sur.

Days 3 &4, we move to a posher hotel and stay in a treehouse. Luckily this one does have a bathroom.

Days 5, 6, & 7 drive north to Napa. Ride bikes through the vineyards, stopping to taste some of the world's best wine. (Don't worry-we'll wear helmets.) Somewhere in all this Lea is hoping to slip in a spa day and Graham would like to go sea kayaking. (Lea is not convinced he realizes how cold the Pacific is. In comparison to North Sea, it's probably the same temp which she believes is "only warm enough for polar bears".)

On Day 8 we hop on a plane back to Edinburgh. Phone our families to let them know we arrived safe and sound. Then promptly fall sleep for the next 48 hours from all the excitement of the past two weeks!
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Who wants authentic wind-blown hair? We do. We do. Help us get a Ford Mustang convertible for a drive up Highway 1.
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How hard can it be to find Highway 1? Please aid us in our quest to find the right road by contributing to our "Map" fund.
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Fish Tacos in Santa Barbara. Real Mexican food doesn't exist in Edinburgh. Introduce us to the real thing at dinner.
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No one likes to run out of gas. Make sure we don't get stuck in some sort California equivalent to Deliverance backcountry by filling up our tank.
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All that traveling is making us hungry. Let's spring for breakfast in an authentic California diner. Chorizo omlette anyone?
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Stock up on munchies for the long road ahead at Trader Joe's.
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A night in a Yurt. I hear there are bears in the forests at Big Sur. Or maybe that was mountain lions. Either way, keep us safe and snug in a night in a great big fancy tent.
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A romantic dinner at the Post Ranch Inn overlooking Big Sur waves. Graham has already decided on the rib-eye.
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Two tickets to the fantastic Monterey Bay Aquarium. Lea wants to steal an otter.
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After a hard day's hike, let us soak our feet in the Big Sur River as we feast on grilled chicken at the Big Sur River Inn.
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Mmmm...Donuts. (with coffee and eggs) Home-made at the Carneros Inn.
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A day cycling through the vineyards.(Need to work off all those burritos!)
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Wine-tasting. After all, we are in Napa Valley. Even though, we're not big wine drinkers (is that a snort of laughter we just heard?) we thought we should try the local vintages. We're sure we heard from someone that they were pretty good.
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After all that cycling and wine, we need a relaxing soak in a tub...and maybe a massage. Treat us to a few hours in the spa.
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Fishing. Help Graham break his curse and catch a fish. We heard there's wide-mouthed bass in these here waters.
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Picnic lunch to take with us on our cycling wine tour. We'd like to stop at the Napa's Oxbow Public Market to pick up some supplies.
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A Couple of bottles of Cab Sav to relax with at night as we sit on our porch and cuddle.
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Kayaking or canoeing? We can't decide whether to go sea kayaking in Monterey Bay or canoeing down the Russian River Valley in Sonoma. But we definitely want to get some "oar" action during our honeymoon.
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Taxi to dinner. We'd both like to sample Napa's wines, so that means no driving for us.
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Unfortunately the French Laundry was booked solid. So we've decided to go for the tasting menu at Redd.
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