I thought I’d try to keep track of our little weekend getaway with a (somewhat) live blog. I’m thinking I’ll just update things here throughout the weekend, and then post it on Monday. So here we go!
Friday, September 5
We’re driving toward Asheville now, but planning a pit stop in Knoxville to hit up one of our old favorites – Dead End BBQ. My jaw locked up just typing that. We always get the BBQ nachos, and they are just as awesome as they sound. I can’t wait to get there!
We’re here! Give me all the BBQ.
Hello, gluttonous plate of food.
We’ve arrived and are looking through all the cool brochures. Ha! Tomorrow will be an adventure.
Saturday, September 6
My half marathon training schedule had me down for a five mile run today, so I found a nearby park and got it in before our day started. I’m super slow, but I’m getting there! It was nice to just be in a different location for my run, although, I wish I’d done more research for a longer trail. This one was a smaller loop, so I just had to keep running in circles, and because I was alone, I was afraid to venture too far off course. Oh well! It was pretty anyway.
Brunch time! We went to Biscuit Head, which features a butter/jelly bar, as well as gravy flights. Yes, like beer flights, only with gravy. I ended up going with the Fried Green Tomato Biscuit, but Kyle’s Mimosa Fried Chicken Biscuit was more flavorful. It was such a fun location, though, and I can already tell this town is full of hippies and mountain people, which I LOVE.
Exploring downtown Asheville! There are tons of cool shops, and of course we love all the old book stores. We can smell those dusty pages from a mile away.
We decided to check out this cool movie theater/pizza joint/brewery, where you can eat and drink while you watch a movie. Genius. Tonight they were playing Maleficent.
We’ve been told by several people to check out French Broad Chocolate Lounge, and I’m so glad we listened! We decided on the Mocha Stout Cake and Unadulterated Carrot Cake. Kyle got a cappuccino and I got an americano to drink with our desserts. So delicious. Plus, it was pouring rain when we were leaving, and the host guy was lending people umbrellas to go to their cars and come back to pick up their dates/families, and even used his umbrella to walk with you to your car as your ride pulled up. He also gave a fun group of girls plastic trash bags to use on their heads as they all left, and they were all giggly and grateful.
We’re back at the hotel, and planning our adventures for tomorrow. I also just wanted to document my outfit before getting ready for bed, because I particularly love my new Anthropologie top and Madewell flats I bought specifically for this trip.
Sunday, September 7
We checked out of our hotel and went to Starbucks for food and coffee, and to eat our cake top for our anniversary. The cake was actually pretty good after being frozen for a year! I was expecting a total freezer-burned mess, but it was ok. We also documented the cookies I custom ordered from BatchPleaseCookies on Etsy. I sent photos of our wedding day and the shop owner, Bethany, painted each cookie to go with one of the photos! After all of this fun, we were ready for some Biltmore exploring.
We toured the Biltmore Estate, inside and out, and it is honestly one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen.
I have never felt so close to being in Downton Abbey before, even though this is an American estate. The servants’ quarters were actually one of my favorite parts of the whole thing (no photos of that because you’ll get kicked out). After touring the entire house, we sat down for a quick drink and a snack.
The gardens are huge and beautiful, with all different types of flowers and plants. To see everything in a day would be a real accomplishment, but we did pretty well for being there 4 hours. And of course I had time for a quick yoga pose.
Everything is intricate and beautiful, and the views all around are perfect for a mountain lover. You’re surrounded by them wherever you stand.
We also went to the winery for a tasting, which was super fun. Plus, after several tastes, we were feeling pretty silly and had a serious laugh-fest in the gift shop afterwards. People of Asheville, I apologize.
We decided on a bottle of Malbec and one of a Cabernet Sauvignon Rose, which is really unusual (and not something I would typically choose) but was delicious.
However, the coolest part of the whole winery experience was realizing that one of the servers was a familiar face, and by the time we both caught sight of her, she was walking over to ask if we were from Huntington. It was Joanna, a former server from Backyard Pizza, who is our FAVORITE waitress! She moved to Asheville in the spring, and has been working there at the Biltmore Winery. Seeing her made our day even more fun and special.
Finally leaving the Biltmore Estate, and got caught in a total downpour, which not only soaked us, but made us laugh for a good half hour.
We have checked into The Grand Bohemian, which is by far the greatest hotel I’ve ever stayed in. Everything is equally beautiful and trendy, and as Kyle said, makes you feel like you’re in some kind of modern lodge. The staff sent us some champagne when they heard it was or anniversary, so we spent some time sipping, eating our customized cookies and getting ready for dinner.
We took some quick selfies before dinner. When it’s just the two of you, that’s you’re only option for photos, really.
We had dinner at the hotel restaurant, Red Stag. It was delicious, of course, and the decor reminded me of Harry Potter – all tree branches and candles. Also, their menus magically lit up when you opened them. Weird and cool. We had fried green tomatoes for an appetizer, Kyle had elk, and I had crabcakes (which were the best ones I’ve ever had) and a strawberry salad with Brie dressing. Yes, I said Brie dressing. So. Freaking. Good.
Monday, September 8
We are supposed to check out in an hour, and Kyle is still in bed. He says he’s not leaving. Ever.
Alas, we did have to leave. But we walked around for a bit longer before heading to lunch.
We had lunch at Rhubarb, a restaurant Kyle’s mom read about and mentioned to us. I’m glad we got to check it out, because it was a delicious ending to our Asheville adventures. We had Brown Sugar popcorn to start. Kyle got the burger, and I had the Roasted Heriloom Tomato Soup, and the Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwich. That sandwich was a game-changer, I’m telling you. (Take note for BHI, family.) Oh, and we had coffee. A lot of coffee.
Now we’re in the car, heading back toward Knoxville again. We’re going to stop and have a drink with Kyle’s old work friends before we go back to Louisville.
Found this gem at a shop in Knoxville. I’d say that’s pretty accurate.
We’re almost back to Louisville! I’m already missing the mountains. Kentucky is deceptively flat, so being around more hills spoiled me this weekend. Nonetheless, I’m excited to sleep in my own bed tonight.
On our trip, we decided to try a few things for traditions on each anniversary.
1. Purchase a bottle of wine from wherever we are and save it for the following year. Our good friends Hanna and Steven got us a nice bottle of wine for our wedding that was from 2005, the year we started dating, and I saved it for our first anniversary. Then we bought some wine at the Biltmore, and I think we’ll save one of the bottles for next year. And so on.
2. Pick something (leaf, flower, etc.) from wherever we are on our anniversary and press it into a scrapbook. I randomly grabbed a big leaf off a tree at the Biltmore on our way out and got this idea. I used to press flowers into my Bible when I was a kid, so maybe I’ll get into this a little more officially for this project. This could be a fun way to remember where we were each year.
3. Go somewhere new each year. We talked about this while we were walking around the Biltmore, and we decided we should try to do something new every year, even if it’s something silly or go to a place that’s in our hometown or close by that we haven’t been to yet.
I loved this trip, and I think it did exactly what an anniversary trip should do — give you time to remember your wedding day, remind you of why you love each other and bring you closer together.