While our recent West Coast adventure was playfully referred to as “Honeymoon Part I,” Asheville is where we really got to celebrate our recent marriage without interruption. Here is a recap – I was sure to keep it PG.
Tuesday was primarily dedicated to driving and eating. It is about a six hour haul to Asheville from the house, but it took us seven hours once we stopped and ate at Cracker Barrel for lunch. (Southern children know what I am talking about – it isn’t a road trip unless you stop at a Cracker Barrel and have to wait in a rocking chair for thirty minutes in the blazing summer heat.) We got to Asheville with enough time to explore our cabin, The Barn at Mountain Meadows. This cabin is AMAZING! It is tucked away just 15 minutes outside of downtown Asheville but feels like there isn’t a soul around for miles. It is the epitome of privacy and romance; two things you are looking for in a honeymoon retreat. There was a little group of frogs that lived in the pond by the front door and they made the most adorable noises every time they hopped into the water. There was a gap just big enough in the canopy to see the mountains on the other side of downtown. I could not have asked for a better place to stay. While it was a little more expensive than other places, it is perfect for a couple that doesn’t mind hanging around the cabin for a peaceful retreat.
The view from our back porch – this is the gap that I referred to earlier. One of my favorite memories is watching the mountain disappear from the hot tub as the sun set.
After we roamed around the cabin and changed, we set off for Curate (it has an accent over the “u” but I have no clue how to do that in WordPress) for a delicious meal of meat, cheese, and tapas. We wander over to Wicked Weed for post meal beers and grabbed some beer for the cabin before heading back for the night. (I know, I know, I know. There are strong opinions about Wicked Weed. I get it. But it is incredibly convenient to Curate and they brew good beer. My moral compass wasn’t anywhere to be found when it came time to enjoy a cold beer on a hot evening.) The rest of the evening was spent trying out the hot tub and attempting to figure out what all of the light switches in the cabin were for. Oh, and I’m still not certain I ever figured out how to use the air conditioner. Everything was hi-tech and green. Apparently, Bradley and I are neither.
This is the view from our shower. Seriously. The majority of the wall in the bathroom is a window and you haven’t enjoyed a shower until you’ve watched a mountain storm come by.
The theme of this trip was to go with the flow. We made very few reservations and had only a vague idea of what we wanted to accomplish. The weather was pretty nice on Wednesday, and we were feeling energetic so we ate breakfast/lunch at Homegrown before heading out for a hike on the Rattlesnake Trail. (And, no, we didn’t see a single snake. We were fairly sweaty and mildly dirty after the hike so we headed back to the cabin to wash up before heading downtown for cocktails and dinner. Social Lounge was the perfect way to relax before dinner and we ended up enjoying a second round of drinks due to a pop-up storm. After the storm, we headed to Brasilia Churrasco Steakhouse (Bradley got to pick this dinner since I made him go to a tapas bar the night before – a steakhouse should come as no surprise) for a gut filling dinner before heading back to the cabin for popcorn and a movie. That might seem lame to some people, but we are embracing our age and the need for reasonable bedtimes. Furthermore, we rarely get to share a bowl of popcorn without two sets of hungry eyes begging and cuddling on the couch has turned into a balancing act of making sure that both dogs can touch both humans without touching one another. A peaceful movie with just the two of us was actually pretty awesome.
A picture from our meal at Homegrown and the delicious cocktails we enjoyed at Social Lounge.
Perhaps the most fun day in Asheville! We went to the NC Glass Center where they offer one-on-one glass blowing classes! Bradley made a paperweight and I made a drinking glass. Our instructor was very informative, patient, and complimentary despite glaring mistakes made on my part. While we worked with Matt, our instructor, there were two other artists in the studio working on their own projects. It is exactly the community, hippy, artsy vibe that I have been missing since moving to Smithfield. Bradley, who was wildly skeptical of this idea, was a huge fan when it was all said and done. He loves to work with his hands so this was right up his alley.
I cannot rave enough about this experience. It was genuinely cool. But it is actually extremely hot – almost terrifying so at times. I’m shocked that anyone in that studio had any hair left on their arms!
After we worked up a sweat in the studio, we walked all over town for food and beer. We first stopped at Wedge Brewing Company which is right in the heart of the River Arts District. I was hungry for tacos so we swung by White Duck Taco Shop for lunch before visiting Green Man Brewery, Twin Leaf Brewery, and Hi-Wire Brewing. Four breweries in one day felt like quite the accomplishment so we settled up our day with dinner in the cabin and another relaxing night. There is something about food in a cabin that makes it taste better.
I adore the grunge and mild grit of a brewery. They don’t worry themselves with frills, and I appreciate that. You don’t worry about how you look or if there will be judging eyes – you just show up and drink. It is delightfully simple.
Friday was our last day in Asheville and we spent it eating and drinking (shocking…) and antiquing. We ate lunch at Asheville Brewing Company (get a pizza!) before heading to the Antique Tobacco Barn. We took a mid-day nap at the cabin before heading back out to Highland Brewing Company for a cutthroat game of Uno. Spoiler alert: I ended up winning overall. In true Britney and Bradley fashion, we concluded our day by relaxing at the cabin.
“Just a wee bit different.” Indeed you are, Asheville. And what a darling it makes you.
We left the cabin around 9:30 am and headed south to Newberry, SC to meet up with my family for lunch. We typically celebrate the Fourth of July at my Nana’s house but (long story short) we had to improvise this year. It all worked out and we met up at a local buffet for lunch with both sides of the family. I was able to give my grandmothers the photo albums from our wedding and got to visit with my great-grandmother who was in the hospital following a hip surgery. (Y’all – this woman is 94 and looked like a million bucks when we saw her. I told her that she was looking good and she replied “Well, I can’t help that” before laughing.) We walked around downtown Newberry with my parents that afternoon before Bradley and I explored the new bar in town, Bar Figaro. It was such a delightful surprise! We talked quality music with the bartender while enjoying cocktails before we headed down the street for dinner. We settled in at the hotel and binge watched cable (we don’t have traditional cable at our home) before calling it quits.
Never, in a million years, would I expect to find such beautiful architecture and delicious drinks in my parents’ hometown. I drank a porter out of a crystal glass. It was a definite departure from the breweries of Asheville but a splendid surprise nonetheless.
The road back to reality is long and tiresome. We made the six hour drive back to Smithfield today to be greeted by two of the sweetest dog faces you have ever seen. I’m sure they were convinced we weren’t coming back since we have been gone quite a bit the past two weeks. It was nice to see their adorable faces again.
Reese is in heat. We are going to have her progesterone levels checked tomorrow or Tuesday to see if it is go time yet. We are hoping that we haven’t missed the window and, if not, we will likely be taking her to a breeder this Friday. If she has already “peaked,” then we will wait until next cycle. Part of me hopes that we have a house full of puppies running around in the next few months but the other part of me wants to keep Reese our baby girl. Something about her having puppies makes her seem older to me. Either way, it will be what it will be. We were a tad unlucky in that she started her cycle the very day we left for Asheville, but the breeder said there is still a good chance that we haven’t missed the prime breeding window. More to come. (And before you think I know anything about breeding, Bradley shared all of this with me approximately five minutes before I wrote this. I don’t have a clue what is going on. I just know that she is in heat, is extremely moody, and may or may not be knocked up within the next week.)
Honeymoons are the perfect way to reconnect after all of the absurd craziness that surrounds you during your engagement/wedding. My advice is to take the honeymoon you want, not the one you think you should take or the one you feel pressured to take. It doesn’t have to be insanely expensive or ridiculously exotic to be a great honeymoon. And you don’t need lots of bars and swanky restaurants. All you really need is a hot tub. And most people can get that without having to hop on a plane. Trust me: make sure you have a hot tub.
Another thought is that work is going to be a struggle tomorrow. I’ve been away for two weeks…I don’t expect tomorrow to be easy.