Let me tell you a story. It’s the story of two people who love each other deeply, who got married about a year ago, and what they did for their first anniversary.
This past weekend, Joshua and I went to Asheville, NC, to celebrate the close of our very first year as a married couple. It went by so quickly, and yet so much happened (a friend, a sister, and a brother all got married, we moved into our first home, and gained a new niece, just to name a few things…). We are so happy together, and we are excited to see where we are right now, emotionally, physically, and mentally. They say the first year is either really rough or really great. Ours was definitely great. The little frictional rough spots cannot compare in the least to how wonderful the year was overall. We are blessed.
First of all, let me warn you that this post may be a bit on the lengthy side – no hard feelings if you stop here. I know some people can’t take a long post. It’s ok.
We used AirBnB to book our lodging, and ended up in a huge mountain home, with the owners living upstairs in the top two stories and us living on the first. It was kind of a like a mother-in-law suite, with a completely separate and unconnected kitchen, refrigerator, bathroom, bedroom, closet, etc. We were alone in someone else’s house while they were still there. Cool – and it was impeccably clean and spacious. I was impressed. If they had oiled the hinges on the doors, it would have been absolutely perfect. 😉
On Friday, we packed our day full of good food and shopping. It started with big mochas at Central Coffee Co. here in Charlotte, because we’ve been on a restrictive diet featuring no dairy, no caffeine, no alcohol, and no gluten. Have I mentioned this before? Anyway, it’s over. We finished it up and enjoyed our first coffee in three months the morning of our anniversary. Cue Unforgettable.
We picked up one of the World’s Best Carrot Cake‘s gluten-free options for a Saturday breakfast treat. We shopped the River Arts District, which I highly, highly recommend. Our favorites shops featured encaustic painting and porcelain imprinted with antique lace. There were many artists we didn’t get to visit, there was so much there. There’s also a great taco place and pizza available right there, so we might make a day of it one year. That would be such fun.
We also stopped by the CarePartners Foundation Hospice Thrift Store and got all kinds of cool stuff for a mere fraction of what it was worth – pennies, really. The only place we didn’t get to go to was Porter & Prince, which I really wanted to visit, but we were exhausted on Friday and planned to go Sunday…and they were closed. 😦 Next time.
We needed an early dinner, because Shabbat was going to start around 6:30, so we went over to Chai Pani, our choice for Friday night’s dinner. We actually enjoy Indian food enough to have it on our anniversary. Crazy, right? But they weren’t open yet, because it was 4:30. This lead to the discovery of the beautiful and creative Sky Bar, right next door. It’s a rooftop bar located at the very top of an eight-story building. It had an old-fashioned elevator and an elevator operator in a corduroy vest. Very cool. The spiked apple cider and basil pesto were amazing. Must go again.
After our quick Indian dinner, we found our lodging, up a mountain road and set back in the trees. We met the owner, a youngish man with a wife (apparently) and a dog the size of a horse. It turned out that the “party” they had warned us they were having upstairs on Friday evening was, in fact, an Erev Shabbat celebration – they were Jewish! Seeing Joshua’s kippah and tzitzit, the owner offered that we were welcome to join them, but I think he understood that we were very tired and it was, after all, our anniversary. But still. Small world, right?!
Saturday was a quiet, peaceful day, during which we had time to visit with friends and sip some bubbly in honor of our anniversary. It culminated in one of the best meals we’ve ever had, at the Red Stag Grill, located in the Grand Bohemian Hotel. My mother had urged me to take a peek at their art gallery, located in their lobby, while we waited for our table, and I’m so glad I did. Stefano Cecchini has outdone himself. I fell in love with many of his paintings – much talent. Pictures really don’t do his work justice; it’s just so *real*.
It wasn’t until we went to pay the bill at the Red Stag that Joshua realized he was missing his credit card. I’ll spare you the angst we went through, checking and re-checking places and hypothesizing about where it might be and tell you that we decided he must have left it at Chai Pani. Leaving one’s credit card at a hole-in-the-wall Indian restaurant seemed like the death knell for said credit card, but when we went back on Sunday to see if they had it, they did! It was put away in a safe place, and we checked our statements and found that nothing had been spent by persons unknown. So here’s to the honest Indians.
Joshua and I have a tradition of always, always, always going to Posana Cafe (usually for brunch) whenever we go to Asheville. With a totally gluten-free menu and a truly excellent food, they are one of the best restaurants in Asheville, and we thoroughly enjoy everything we ever get. If we weren’t the foodies that we have become, we would probably eat every meal there. YUM.
Because stores in Asheville open around noon or 1:00pm on Sundays, we strolled the streets for a bit after our Sunday brunch. We visited the Grove Arcade and peeked through the windows of Tic-n-Time to gaze at their massive clocks. We each bought a book from our favorite Asheville bookstore, Battery Park Book Exchange, for $1. What a steal.
Then we had to go to Goodwill to buy me sneakers. I had forgotten to pack my sneakers! We were all set to go ziplining on Sunday afternoon, and I didn’t have shoes to do that in! I’m such a dingaling sometimes. So we found me a grungy, $4 pair of white Nikes and headed off to zipline.
Thank goodness for Goodwill, am I right?
Ziplining was such fun. I was really nervous when we got there, and when we had to listen to the training and then immediately practice braking and self-assisting…I was even more nervous. But what fun! This was nothing compared to skydiving (in the fear or panic categories), and I’m really glad we did it. The last two zips were tandem, so Joshua and I got to ride together, side-by-side. It was fantastic. And the weather was perfect, and the trees were changing and beautiful! Such a lovely time.
And then we finished up our trip at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge, which is an absolute MUST GO whenever you visit Asheville. Everything there is amazing. We could barely decide what we wanted to get, there were so many options. May I recommend the peanut butter cookie? I know – it’s a chocolate place. And definitely get your chocolate fix while you’re there – I’m just saying the peanut butter cookies are really good! 😉
As you can probably tell, our trips normally focus around food. But Joshua was able to work in the art stuff and the friend stuff and we did our cool activity (ziplining), so I think it was a well-rounded trip, all in all. Probably a last hurrah for a while, as we get back to normal life and focus on savings and our new house and our new niece and stuff like that. But was it ever a HURRAH.