From the Archives – Dinner Party with other people


As we are away again, I am once again dipping back into the archives – this time to our 13th wedding anniversary! For those counting, that makes this from 2005! At the time the boys were 7 and 9 years old.

I have really appreciated the responses on my ‘from the archives’ posts as well as the one about smoking … so I am going to pluck another one from the depths of the archives of an older blog written for myself. When you read this we will be on the road at the crack of dawn coming home from another round of college tours!

Just a note – I have been loving the amazing posts and comments from everyone these last couple of days. One thing I really loved was the reaction to my supplement post – it was meant to be provocative and many of you chimed in somewhat disagreeing but also being very respectful. It was awesome! I can’t wait to fully catch up on everything!

My wife and I got the rare opportunity to go out to dinner together without worrying about the babysitter. Last week* was our 13th Anniversary, and on our anniversary day we went with the kids out to Deerfield (MA) to a place called ‘George’s Rocks’ which had a nice litte Dinosaur exhibit and a man-made ‘mine’ for kids to get a bunch of polished rocks. It was fun for an hour or so. We also went to the Yankee Candle Factory store, which is always fun – they make it such a pleasure just to explore that the shopping part is secondary. Then we went to a nice little Italian place (Monty’s Garden in Leominster) for dinner – one of those places that was good as a family, but not so much of a ‘me & the wife’ things.

Last week we also had one of Lisa’s good friends from college and Christopher’s godmother up from Wed – Sun. She offered to stay with the kids while we went out Saturday. Whew! Normally we have to deal with the babysitter (she is very good, but only 13 so we are careful about time) or my parents (…).


We went to a very highly regarded place called the Herb Lyceum, which was a herb garden that has evolved into a fine dining place. No liquor license, bring your own wine. They have a single fixed menu for the month. All that was fine, but seating was ‘communal’ – meaning that there were two tables for 10 and one for 15, making their 35 person capacity. We tend to like more intimate dinners, but thought we’d try. Our thoughts were ‘not bad, never again’ – see, we had no real together time. Intimate side-talk during a dinner party is rude. Also, you don’t know anyone, and there were two very nice couples we sat with and had some nice discussion. Then there was a ‘younger’ couple, early 30’s. They never relaxed and weren’t much fun to talk to because of it. Finally there was a very pretentious couple, who would throw out names and places, but when anyone would want to discuss them, would seem bored and detached. Not much fun. But at least we got to dress up, have *awesome* food and wine, and a little time away.

So what did we learn? While we both enjoy the company of others, what we relish most is intimate time alone to celebrate our life together. In an age of 50% divorce rates – some of which have hit awfully close to home recently – I revel in the love and friendship I share with my wonderful wife. So even though we didn’t have the greatest time at this ‘dinner party’ style night out, we did it together, and shared in that experience and learned something about ourselves as individuals and as a couple.

It was funny reading this for the first time in 9 years. Back then we were JUST getting a reliable babysitter, but still wouldn’t do anything major or outside of our town – we were happy just to get some rare alone time! In fact, we had gotten into the habit of doing most holiday dinners as a family – including Valentine’s day … so this was a real rarity.

Now that the kids are older and we are getting much more time together … we still revel in our time alone together and I don’t think our thoughts and feelings would be any difference.

Another thought – I thought I knew what I meant by divorces ‘hit awfully close to home recently’ … but then I realized that neither of my siblings (both of who are divorced now) were even separated at the time.

Have you eaten in a fine dining place with communal seating? If so what did you think? If you have kids – or other reasons why time with your significant other is rare, what does your date night situation look like?

8 thoughts on “From the Archives – Dinner Party with other people

  1. Foodie comment (you know I have to)–it would be difficult for me to bring a wine to a fine dining restaurant because I would not know what I would be having, and thus the pairing would be difficult.
    Happy, happy anniversary. I hope you all have an amazing weekend (and hopefully stepped it up a bit from Wahlburgers :D)
    I would ahve been totally fine with the communal aspect of the restaurant. I love sharing and learning about food, and though there would definitely be time that I would want us to concentrate just on us, Alex and I are no strangers to becoming friends with fellow diners. That’s how he got smashed on NYE lol

    • Thanks Suz – regarding the foodie note: they publish the two menu selections for the night in detail, and the wine store in Groton partners up to help with selections to go along, and so you end up with a bunch of bottles of well-paired wines around.

      I think I would be better now, but at that time we were very much starved for alone-together time. And in the past of spending time with others on vacations, it has never really been rewarding – we’d really rather savor the special moments together. Everyone is different πŸ™‚

  2. Time alone is so special when you have kids isn’t it? Ours is 10 now and a couple of times has been on school residential trips, we so made the most of it! But I wouldn’t want to do communal dining, we’d want to have som private, hand holding type conversation!

    • haha – totally agree! When we first moved here the boys were in a week-long summer camp and they had one night where they headed to a water park and would be home late, so it was a very rare dinner date for the two of us so we splurged – loads of hand-holding and making eyes at each other πŸ™‚

  3. We are totally in that “who’s gonna babysit” phase, it’s funny to read a post of yours from so many years ago in another phase of life. Our date night situation is almost nonexistent really. It’s maybe once every other month, pathetic I know!

    • Looking back, that was actually the ‘sweet spot’ for us … we really had no one for the first several years, and no one since we moved to New York. As I hinted, our families have always been no-shows (I single out my parents because they were an hour away). So for a few years before we moved we had two babysitters – one we loved but had to stop using when our boys were smarter and starting to manipulate her. The other got into high school and then starting working other jobs – she never ‘quit’, but one day we had tickets somewhere she just didn’t show up and we eventually got it all worked out … that was the end!

      I don’t see every other month as ‘pathetic’ … which might be pathetic on my part … I just nod my head and say ‘yes, I know’. Now we have to work to get the boys to want to do things WITH us! haha

  4. Isn’t it weird to look back on stuff like that from a different period of time in your life? I don’t have blog posts that look back that far but even just seeing things i posted on facebook 10 years ago is fun. I really enjoy your archive posts, and you have inspired me to pull a couple of my older posts for my blog this week since I will be away.

    • Thanks Lisa! Ooh – enjoy the time away!

      And that is why I love TimeHop – it dumps my Facebook/Twitter stuff from years past in my Inbox every day … which is great πŸ™‚

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