When Claire Wolfinger, 21, of Damascus went to Jimmie Cone with her boyfriend and his family last month, she never expected a sign listing the ice cream store’s specials to include the message “Claire Wolfinger Will you Marry Me?”
Wolfinger was proposed to by her boyfriend of three years, Bryan Lanham, of Poolesville, at the Damascus Jimmie Cone on Oct. 26.
“It just caught my eye because it was my name,” she said. “I kind of just looked up and saw it and realized what was happening.”
For the couple, the proposal took place where their relationship began. Their first date was at the same Jimmie Cone location in May 2009. The couple was set up by mutual friends, and Lanham said he knew as soon as he saw Wolfinger that she was special.
“As soon as I saw her I was like ‘wow,’” he said. “[And] we just hit it off really well.”
Initially, Lanham said he planned to propose to Wolfinger at Butler’s Orchard in Germantown, but when his plans fell through he realized that proposing at Jimmie Cone was a better idea.
“We both love Jimmie Cone, and I thought it was perfect,” he said.
Lanham said he had a store employee write the phrase on the specials board while the couple was at dinner with his family. After dinner, at the suggestion of Lanham’s two younger sisters, the group went to the ice cream shop, where he proposed to Wolfinger in front of about 15 patrons.
Wolfinger, who intended to get a cake cone with rainbow Jimmie sprinkles, said the proposal was one to remember.
“I just thought it was something really special because it’s something we will always remember,” she said. “I probably would have gotten my cone, but I was so excited.”
Wolfinger is not the only one in her family who has shared special memories at the Damascus Jimmie Cone. Two of her three sisters stopped there for ice cream immediately following their wedding ceremonies at St. Paul Catholic Church in Damascus.
Anne Marie Mumper, 29, of Gaithersburg ordered a cup of vanilla ice cream when she showed up in her wedding dress with her bridal party on May 25, 2007, with her husband Christopher Mumper, 29.
“We just thought it would be pretty cool to go to Jimmie Cone all dressed up and it was something we could do quick [before the reception],” she said. “We got small vanilla cups because we didn’t want to get the Jimmie’s on us,” she said. “I don’t know what my mom would have done if I walked in with chocolate on my wedding dress.”
“It was just really fun,” said Elizabeth Junghans, 24, of Olney, of her wedding stop at Jimmie Cone on April 30, 2011. “My husband [John] and I grew up in Damascus and we have gone to Jimmie Cone many times together. ... Damascus is a really fun, cute town and it’s nice that there’s a place like [Jimmie Cone] that we can go to.”
Attempts to reach Dan Leiter, the owner of the Damascus Jimmie Cone, were unsuccessful.
Wolfinger said she and Lanham are planning their wedding for December of next year. Jimmie Cone closes for the season each year in October and opens again in March, so Wolfinger won’t have a Jimmie Cone stop on her wedding day, she said.
Mumper said she plans to encourage the continuation of the Jimmie Cone tradition in the family.
“I hope we’ll be able to take our kids there, just to be able to share it with them,” she said. “I will definitely suggest [the tradition] to them and be like ‘You need to build in some Jimmie Cone time.’”