Our First Wedding Anniversary




This past year as truly flown by. We’ve both learned so much about it what it means to “be married”….to have a life partner and be a life partner. Marriage isn’t always easy…but it is always worth it.

We both believe the best things in life are the people you love, the places you go, and the memories you make. We love nothing more than making memories and going on adventures together, whether that’s traveling someplace exotic or just hopping in the car and exploring our beloved state of Texas.

We knew we wanted to celebrate our first wedding anniversary with a quick weekend getaway. But since we are both traveling a lot in October and November, we decided to keep it kinda low key.

Tara Vineyard and Winery in Athens, TX was the perfect spot! Only 75 miles southeast of Dallas, Tara is super easy to get to and makes the perfect weekend getaway.








We arrived on Saturday and met up with the Executive Chef Becklien James. She immediately invited us to start our private tour of the vineyard and our private wine tasting. Yes please!

Becklien led us through different areas of the vineyard and winery…..the smash pad, the barrel room, and she even showed us how they label their bottles. She let us sample the wines directly from the tanks…a really cool and unique experience.






We tried many different wines, but we fell in LOVE with the Texas Blanc Du Bois and the Dolcetto. But we can’t forget our old Tara favorite, Stagecoach Red.

After the wine tasting, we relaxed in the barrel room and Becklien taught us more about the wine making process. We learned all about the types of wood used to make barrels and how it impacts the taste of the wine, characteristics of Texas wines, and what makes Tara wines so special.

I’ve done many wine tastings, but this was by far the most interesting, educational, and FUN!






After all that wine, it was definitely time to grab some lunch!

The Cellar Door restaurant is located on the Tara estate and provides beautiful panoramic views of the Blanc Du Bois vineyard and the rolling hills of East Texas. We decided to sit on the patio and take advantage of the beautiful views (even though it was hotter than you-know-what!!)

We ordered a few different things to try, and everything was seriously delicious! LH got a pickled pepper cheddar burger, and I think he fell in love. The smoked salmon bruschetta was my favorite, and it paired perfectly with the Stagecoach Red.

Oh, and I can’t forget to mention…The Cellar Door was recently named one of the Top 10 Winery Restaurants in America by USA Today! Major props to the Chef.






Tara Inn

After lunch, we checked into the Tara Inn. The Inn is located on the first hilltop of the Tara estate and nestled perfectly among the sprawling grapevines.

This beautiful home was constructed in the 1880’s and relocated from downtown Athens to where it currently sits today. The majestic mansion has the original crown moldings, hard woods, huge interior wood doors, and very high ceilings. Expansive decks wrap all the rooms inside the Inn, providing amazing views of the vineyard.

We stayed in the Carriage House Luxury Suite. We loved the decor, the double chaise lounge, the beautiful fire place, and the spa-like bathroom complete with a huge jacuzzi tub.











We took a quick nap and woke up a little antsy, so we decided to hop in the car and drive a few miles to downtown Athens.

We stumbled upon a super cool place called Come And Take It….a beer, wine, and fine food specialty shop. We found an exceptional selection  fine wines from around the world (including local vintages, like Tara wines!)  The also sell locally baked breads, a variety of cheeses, gourmet grocery items, and super cute accessories. Plus they have super cool plants outside that were just asking for a photoshoot. 😉

Locally owned and operated by Mike and Bess Suarez, this is definitely a must stop when you’re in Athens.









After our downtown Athens run, we came back and got ready for dinner. At this point, I was getting the vibe that LH was done with pictures. Instead of setting up the tripod and forcing him to smile/pose, I was a #nicewife and settled for a blurry selfie. 🙂

As I mentioned earlier, the Cellar Door is located right on the Tara Estate and because it has such an amazing menu…. we decided to eat there again!

Larry ordered a steak and I ordered the pesto pasta. For dessert we shared a piece of espresso cake with white chocolate ganache. Everything was super delicious. Unfortunately, I was so into my dinner than I forgot to take any pictures of it. Now that’s saying something…




Breakfast With A View

The next day we woke up and found a gourmet breakfast waiting for us in the kitchen. Fresh squeezed orange juice, fruit, parfaits, and quiche…basically all my favorite breakfast foods.

We grabbed all the goodies and set up our breakfast on the patio outside our room. We shared a leisurely and relaxing breakfast overlooking the vineyards and the rolling hills.








Soon it was time to pack up and head back to reality!

This quick weekend getaway at Tara Vineyard and Winery was the perfect way to celebrate our first anniversary.

If you’re looking for a romantic spot with amazing wine, yummy food, beautiful views, and great service…look no further!


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P.S. To see more of our adventures, check out #travelwithhayes on Instagram.







  1. Trenda McDougal
    September 25, 2016 / 11:03 am

    Love this K! Hope to go there sometime! Love you!

    • September 25, 2016 / 12:12 pm

      Aww thanks Trenda! I think you and Darren would really enjoy it. The only thing that would make it any better is if we could bring our sweet pups along. 🙂 Love you back!

  2. Aimee
    September 27, 2016 / 7:50 pm

    Beautiful pics! ?

  3. Erin Noblitt
    October 10, 2016 / 7:34 pm

    This looks incredible! Your descriptions and the pics make me want to be there right now!!!

    • October 11, 2016 / 1:49 pm

      Awww thanks friend!! I think you and Mike would enjoy it! 🙂

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