Day 4 was already upon us…man, the days were going fast. Being a big proponent of education, and having worked at two universities now, I always enjoy taking a tour of a campus if I’m in the area, and well, UNCW was right in our backyard. Oh and who could pass up getting a look at “Capeside High” from Dawson’s Creek?
When we got to campus, we were greeted with this fountain.
As we made our way into the heart of campus, we came across the clock tower.
As we continued our tour, we came about the Computer Science building (the focus of my undergrad). Much cooler building that Pierce Hall at CMU.
And then we stumbled upon it…ok, actively sought it out. Here is the building they used in Dawson’s Creek for Capeside High.
We walking into one of the academic buildings to discover there were posters and plaques describing how Wilmington was the “Hollywood of the East Coast” and talked about a number of movies filmed there.
We concluded our tour with a stop into the Student Union to grab some Subway before heading to Airlie Gardens. When we arrived, we were expecting to shell out about $12 each, but as it turned out, it was actually free admission day. SCORE! Before heading in, Meghan wanted to learn about some trains.
As we entered the gardens, we came upon these giant oak trees, that had some odd stuff hanging from it. I’m still not entirely sure what it was, but it looked pretty cool.
As we walked around, we came upon this lizard guy on the rock. Look close, you’ll see him.
We continued walking the gardens until we came upon this fountain (another location used in Dawson’s Creek, along with a number of other shows/movies). This location is known for marriage proposals…hmm, I wonder what is going to happen here.
As we made our way to the fountain, a large group with kids came over as well (of course), so I had to wait to make my move. We walked around the fountain and spotted fish in the water to kill time, but the mothers and kids were still there. As we headed off, I told Meghan we would have to wait for them to leave since I wanted to get her picture in front of the fountain.
FINALLY, they left. We hurried over before more people came and Meghan quickly took my picture. I had her sit next for my opportunity to to snap this one. I then sat down next to her so we could get a selfie. We sat there for a moment and I tried to distract her as I reached into my pocket to pull out a ring box. She was taken by surprise and seemed super happy. She then asked which hand it was supposed to go on (more on that later), and I said, “I guess it depends on whether or not you want to be Mrs. Earley.” And with that, the ring was out on her left hand. After some hugs and kisses, we continued on our way. As we were walking to the next area of the garden, we saw another couple get engaged in the same spot!
We made our way to the bottle chapel. It’s just what you would expect from the name…a chapel made entirely of glass bottles.
Here is a look at one of the sides.
And here is a look at the inside.
An angel outside of the chapel.
When we got back into town from our day of exploration, it was time to celebrate, but first we needed to tell our family, or rather show them with a picture.
More on the ring….
The ring is an Irish claddaugh ring, a ring that is comprised of a pair of hands holding a heart with a crown. Meghan has always wore one on her right hand, which is why she inquired about what hand it belonged on earlier. Here is an explanation of the significance of the ring:
According to Irish author Colin Murphy, a Claddagh ring was worn with the intention of conveying the wearer’s relationship status:
On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the fingertips: the wearer is single and may be looking for love.
On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the wrist: the wearer is in a relationship.
On the left ring finger with the point of the heart toward the fingertips: the wearer is engaged.
On the left ring finger with the point of the heart toward the wrist: the wearer is married.
After telling our family, it was time to celebrate with a whiskey flight!
After our mini celebration, we headed out for a second horse tour of downtown. Thankfully there were two routes and we were able to see new stuff we didn’t see the last time. Here we are being blinded by the sun.
And here is Buddy and Jeff (remember, Jeff is the horse). We probably won’t ever see these two again, but they made a good pair, and Buddy felt like a familiar and friendly face…someone you don’t easily forget.
Went on vacation with only a girlfriend…leaving with a fiancé. 🤗