Friends! Long time, no talk. I have missed Something Pretty over the last few weeks (has it been months? Yikes!). This space has always been my destination for “self-care,” so it has to take a lot for things to grow quiet around here. Sure enough, life right now is full…of great things, but full nonetheless, and I just haven’t figured out where blogging fits in yet. Thanks so much for sticking around–I hope to get back to regularly scheduled programming soon! I think my next post will be a “life lately” update so we can catch up, but in the meantime, I’ve been anxious to share a recap of the trip we took to Asheville last month…before fall is over!
Dave has been wanting to visit Asheville in the fall since we first moved to North Carolina, so this trip was a long time coming. We planned a getaway for the second weekend of October with another family, which is actually very out-of-character for us–we haven’t traveled with friends since our study abroad days! However, we were so excited to spend a few days with some of our closest Raleigh friends, David and Stephanie–they have a one-and-a-half-year-old, Jackson, and he and Charlie are best buds, so it was fun to see the ways they entertained each other in a new setting!
Our families drove the four hours into the mountains separately with plans to meet at 12 Bones Smokehouse for a barbecue lunch before heading to our rental house. A GPS mix-up led us to the two different locations, but we both enjoyed our lunches, even though we didn’t spend that time together! 12 Bones is best known for their ribs, and Dave and David both gave them rave reviews. My favorite part? They serve $3 “side portions” of meat, so we were able to order the perfect little plate of barbecue chicken for Charlie!
After lunch, we headed to our rental home, which we found on Homeaway. We looked for ages for a beautiful, relaxing, private house in the mountains that wasn’t too far from downtown Asheville, and this place absolutely delivered. The host has impeccable style, and the home was spotless when we arrived. The one downside? We realized after making our final payment that there’s only one closed-off bedroom! We’re still not sure how all four of us looked at the listing without realizing this, but with two toddlers in tow, this was definitely a source of some anxiety in the weeks leading up to the trip. We ultimately decided that the Shaners would take the bedroom, while the Kirks would sleep in the bedroom nook in the living room, since Charlie is a little more experienced with sleeping in new places. We prayed for good weather so the adults could spend the post-bedtime hours outside, and I have no idea what we would have done had it rained! But back to the house…it truly was lovely and felt like a peaceful retreat from the rest of the world. We would absolutely stay there again…maybe with only one child in tow :)
After settling in, we headed down the road to the Sierra Nevada Taproom, one of the activities Dave was most looking forward to. It is HUGE and the property is beautiful, complete with fire pits, string lights, mountain views, gardens in bloom, and even a play area for kids! We didn’t do a tour, but thanks to the play area and the perfect fall weather, we happily spent a few hours hanging out outside and sampling beers with Charlie and Jackson played. The few snacks we ordered were surprisingly delicious–I especially loved the pimento cheese.
We had dinners at the house (Dave and I made turkey chili and vegan cornbread ahead of time and just reheated it the first night–easy!) and then snuck onto the patio with a cooler after the boys were down for the night. The hosts provided firewood and fire starters, which was so nice! Below is a photo I snapped of Dave and Charlie eating muffins on the patio the next morning :) It was a lovely little space that we were so grateful to have access to.
We spent most of Saturday in downtown Asheville, starting with Flora, a hybrid flower shop/coffee shop that was mentioned in the fall issue of The Magnolia Journal. Dave and I recently decided to start buying home goods from every place we travel to, and picked out a beautiful blue and white planter to take home. Now I just need to add a plant to it! After fueling up with coffee, we walked around downtown, let the boys run around in a park, had lunch at Farm Burger (the food was very good, but the service was unfortunately awful), and checked out a few boutiques (my favorite was Ware, pictured below).
We decided to try to give the boys a chance to take afternoon naps in the car while we drove the Blue Ridge Parkway. After a busy morning, this worked out perfectly, both for them and for us. Jackson and Charlie were both snoozing in their car seats within minutes! We chose an overlook (Mills River Valley Overlook) to stop at based solely on the distance from downtown and our house in order to give the boys a good amount of time to sleep, but there were tons of scenic spots along the way. We were a little early for fall foliage, but the view still took our breaths away!
On Sunday morning, we headed to Mass at a nearby church, packed up the house, snapped a few pictures with the goats on the house’s property (not included here, but believe me, they are hilarious), and headed out for our last adventure: apple picking at Justus Orchard. Charlie was SO excited about this! We grabbed a box of apple cider doughnuts first, and then sampled a few of the apples they grow. We were so disappointed to learn that our least favorite variety was the only one available for U-Pick that day! We opted to buy a bushel of our favorite variety to share instead, and brought our apples, doughnuts, and the cutest little apple ciders for the boys into the orchard for a mini picnic. It wasn’t what we had planned, but we still had a wonderful time!
We were so grateful for this fun, relaxing weekend away. Most of our travels revolve around seeing family, and it’s always exciting to change things up by visiting a new destination, especially one as lovely as Asheville!