Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Birthday Celebration

Todd's birthday was last Thursday and since it was during the week, we couldn't really do anything too exciting except go to dinner.  After work, we headed down to the Short North to Barrel 44, a whiskey bar.  Now I was clearly taking one for the team as I'm definitely not a whiskey fan, but Todd is so I knew he'd enjoy this place.

Menu at Barrel 44

He was able to start off with a flight of whiskeys; he tried a whiskey, scotch, and bourbon that he'd never had before

For dinner, we each got burgers; Todd got the Bourbon Barrel Burger

and I got the Pomodoro burger

The atmosphere at the restaurant was very casual & laid back and the food was great so we had a good time.  We headed home so Todd could open up his presents and have his birthday cupcake.

Todd's presents

It really doesn't take much to make him happy: a bottle of Cask Aged Tripel beer from Rockmill Brewery, undershirts, and a bottle of Bourbon from Watershed Distillery (a local vodka distillery that just put out their first batch of bourbon after aging it for 2 years; Todd's bottle is actually in the first batch as the bottle was numbered 001)

Todd blowing out the candle on his birthday cupcake from Pink Moon Cupcake Bakery in Powell

Since we've been together, I've always planned something big for the weekend before or after his birthday.  We went ziplining in Hocking Hills in 2008, we went to Geneva on the Lake to go wine tasting in 2009, we rented a charter bus and went drinking along the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky with a bunch of our friends in 2010 for his 30th birthday, and last year we spent a weekend in St. Louis.  Unfortunately, we had a more limited budget this year so we went up to Cleveland & Akron for the day.

We were supposed to meet Emily and Mark for drinks at the end of the day but they ended up moving on Saturday so instead we went to Cleveland first thing to help them move for a couple hours before we started Todd's birthday trip.

Our first stop was to Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  I know I've mentioned this before, but Todd has a National Parks passport book where you can get stamps at every National Park or National Historic Site in the United States.  He brings this passport book with him on every trip and we're actually pretty good about getting stamps at a lot of places.  The funny thing is, he's yet to get a stamp from Ohio so this was the basis of his birthday trip.

We drove through parts of the park along the canal and stopped at a visitor's center to get Todd's stamp.  We really didn't spend much time here but it was a beautiful fall day to take in the scenery.

One of the many entrances to the park

Our next stop was about 45 min south in Canton at the First Ladies National Historic Site.  There was an hour long tour we could go on but we got there in between the two tour times so we went on the shortened tour of the Saxton McKinley House.  While our tour bypassed some of the dresses former First Ladies had worn, we still learned quite a bit about our nation's famous ladies.  I've always had an interest in the First Ladies so I found this to be a great tour. 

Todd posing outside the Saxton McKinley House...love the hand on his hip

By the time our tour finished, it was 2:30 PM and were starving!  We were heading back up towards Akron so we made a quick stop at Swensons Drive-In, our latest obsession when visiting Akron.  Seriously, best peanut butter chocolate milkshake I've ever had....and trust me, I've done extensive research on this topic.

They had already switched over to their "cold weather" trays which means the tray hooks on in the inside of your car....I'm totally asking for one of these for Christmas

Our last, and most important, stop of the day was to Thirsty Dog Brewing Company.   You had to walk through part of the brewery to get to the tasting room and since it's only open limited hours, it was actually pretty crowded on Saturday afternoon.  We were able to find a couple empty stools at the bar and sat down to enjoy some beers.

Outside the brewery

Todd had already had a couple of the more well-known Thirsty Dog beers so he tried a bunch of of the other ones

I had the Pumpkin Ale and it was delicious

Finally, a picture with both of us from the day!  Notice the bourbon barrels in the background, they were selling them and Todd wanted to buy one but unfortunately, it wouldn't fit in his 2-door Civic
After Thirsty Dog, we headed back home to spend the evening watching a movie on the couch.
Todd's birthday celebration finally ended on Sunday night when we went to City BBQ with my parents and came back for birthday cake and ice cream.

The guy gets excited about everything....including a new toiletry bag and Avengers movie

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