I would have called this post “our babymoon in Asheville,” but to be honest, we rarely ventured from the Biltmore Estate! This was super unusual for Dave and me–we’ve never done a resort-style vacation before and love few things more than getting out and exploring new cities. In this trip’s case though, we were most excited to REST, and that’s exactly what we ended up doing. Heading to a city we’ve been to a few times before certainly helped take the pressure off, while treating ourselves to a gorgeous hotel with lots to offer meant we never felt guilty about laying low and enjoying it :)
For the handful of times we’ve been to Asheville, we’ve never made it to the Biltmore Estate. I’ve been wanting to see it for years, and when we started dreaming about places that would be fun to visit in the fall for our babymoon, it popped into our heads. We ended up booking a great deal on their Christmas Candlelights Package, which I highly recommend–it included our room at The Inn, a fabulous breakfast buffet daily (I joke that fancy hotel breakfasts are my love language!), admission to the Biltmore House any time throughout our stay, admission to the Christmas Candlelight Tour, shuttle access around the property, and a commemorative ornament. Considering a single ticket to the Estate this time of year is between $70-90 per person, the package was a no-brainer!
Our Candlelight Tour was on the first night, and even though we were pretty tired from our drive, it was easily a highlight of our trip. We popped into Bistro for dinner beforehand; while it was pricier than we would have liked, the convenience of dining on the estate won out and the food wasn’t bad. Just like when we went to New York alone together last year, I remember that dinner being the first moment it hit me that I could focus 100% on Dave for the next few days–such a blessing. Seeing the Biltmore House decorated to the nines and glowing at night was amazing and absolutely lived up to my high hopes. I’m inspired to put some kind of tree in every room of our house this year!
The next morning, after aforementioned fabulous breakfast, we headed back to the House to see it in the daylight. Our package also included a self-guided audio tour, which we used and really enjoyed. It was the perfect overcast fall day, so we loved walking around the gardens—they were gorgeous in November, so I can only imagine how stunning they are in spring!
After walking around all morning and having lunch at the Stable Cafe on the House property (didn’t love it–we wished we had grabbed a few of the tasty-looking hot dogs at The Courtyard Market instead), we ditched our plans of heading downtown for the afternoon. Instead, we brought books down to the lounge of the Inn and spent two whole hours reading and sipping coffee in a cozy corner by the window! I don’t think I could’ve been more relaxed if we had spent the afternoon at the spa. Reading a book in the middle of the day (especially in such an idyllic spot) felt straight-up indulgent. We took a stroll down one of the walking trails outside the Inn before having dinner right in the same room where we had been reading, the Library Lounge. This was by far our favorite meal we had at any of the Biltmore restaurants we tried–we’re still talking about the french fries :)
On Tuesday, we headed out to enjoy the gorgeous fall foliage first thing. Apparently, Asheville’s peak leaf season was late this year, so it fell about a week before our trip–no complaints here! The leaves were gorgeous and we loved taking advantage of one of Biltmore’s many forest trails to soak in the view. We headed downtown for daily Mass at the Basilica of St. Lawrence, and then popped into a few shops before grabbing lunch at Button & Co. Bagels. We will both enthusiastically insist that our local bagel favorite, Benchwarmers, is much better, but we still enjoyed our food–I ordered a seeded bagel with pecan butter and sweet potato spice cream cheese. Yum!
We apparently didn’t take any more photos for the rest of our trip, but we topped it off with a low-key pizza dinner downtown, dessert at French Broad Chocolates (we haven’t been in years and were happy to find no lines on a Tuesday night!), and a trip to Target for more contact solution :)
Once again, planning a few days away wasn’t easy, on almost any level. It was hard to justify the trip in our budget at the end of a year PACKED with travel. It was hard to ask my mom to babysit for a few days, which felt like a really big request since she had to fly up. It was hard to get everything taken care of and planned ahead at work so we could both totally unplug. There are 101 reasons we could’ve given to not take this trip, but I think even more than last year, we knew how deeply we needed a little bit of time to rest together. It has been a hard year, and we know that heading back into the newborn season early next year will hold its fair share of challenges too–different challenges, but challenges nonetheless. Taking intentional time away together gave us some renewed strength and energy to pour into our marriage after this year and, we pray, prepared it a little more for what’s to come!