Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Family Trip to Asheville

For my birthday, mother's day, and our 7th wedding anniversary, Greg wanted to take me to Asheville.  He actually suggested doing this trip a few weeks after Allie was born, and I told him he was insane.  After three months with our little girl, I am finally comfortable enough to consider traveling with her though.

A while ago (I think before I started blogging), we went to Asheville and stayed at the Grove Park Inn, which is a pretty fancy hotel nestled in the outskirts of Asheville overlooking the city and mountains.

I think this was 2008?  Check out my short hair!

The Grove Park Inn a pretty amazing place.  It's also kind of ridiculously expensive to stay there, eat there, or use their spa, hence it being my present for three separate holidays.

Greg splurged on a room with a view, that was also dog friendly (for a fee) so we could bring Clyde, and included breakfast.  He also got me a massage at their fancy spa and watched Allie and Clyde for me so I could have an hour of bliss.

Our journey started around noon last Wednesday, when we hit the road with a full car of baby, dog, and adult luggage.  Yes, we're crazy.  It takes a little over two hours to get to Asheville from Charlotte, and I we did end up stopping at a rest area once we got close to Asheville so I could nurse and change Allie, which worked out well.

On the way I stalked my friend Jen's blog for ideas of where to go, since I know she frequently visits Asheville and raves about amazing food she has while there.  I noticed that French Broad Chocolate Lounge came up on almost every trip she took there, and she said the carrot cake was a slice of heaven.  We immediately bee-lined for the bakery so that I could get my hands on some of that carrot cake :)  First we decided to walk around Asheville a little though.  When we parked, we noticed it was looking kind of ominous and checked a radar app I have on my phone.  It looked like rain was coming, but we ventured out with the stroller and both the baby and dog anyway.  We found a dog store and ducked in, thinking we'd maybe wait out the rain there, but after it did little more than sprinkle, we decided to head back outside.  This was a mistake.  It definitely unloaded, and we were lucky enough to find a closed restaurant with an awning for us to hide under, but were stuck there for about a half hour while we waited out the downpour, which included hail!

Allie somehow slept through the whole thing (thank god), but Clyde was scared and trembling while huddled on our laps.  Finally the storm let up and we ventured back out.  We had an early dinner at a place called Farm Burger.  I had a chicken burger and Greg got the veggie burger and we split some garlic fries.  I also fed Allie again in the rest room, which was a single female one, perfect for private nursing.  Asheville is probably the one place I could nurse in public without a second glance, but I like our privacy ;)

After dinner we went back to the bakery and I got a slice of that heavenly carrot cake, plus a piece of chocolate layer cake, to go to have at the hotel later that evening.

We got checked in, and then decided to just go for drinks at one of the hotel bars since we weren't really hungry after our burgers.  They had a menu of centennial martinis since it's the hotel's 100th anniversary, and each included a souvenir glass.  Greg and I liked this idea and both ordered martinis.

I can't remember what was in this, but it was kind of dessert-like and came with a piece of pistachio biscotti.

Greg's martini was more like a margarita- kind of citrus flavored.

We enjoyed a great view while drinking our fancy martinis.

Allie did pretty well, but woke up a little fussy at one point, so here I was rocking her a little to get her back to sleep.

Both kid and dog did well in the room, which was a relief.  The next morning we went to our included breakfast, which was amazing, and which I forgot to get any pictures of.  They have a two room buffet with juices, pastries, oatmeal, fruit, cold cuts, an omelet station, and a hot area with eggs, sausage, bacon, potatoes, eggs, french toast, pretty much everything you could possibly eat for breakfast.  I had fruit, an omelet, potatoes, grapefruit juice, and coffee and it was delicious.

After breakfast, I made sure Greg and Allie were all set and then headed off to the spa for my massage.  The spa at the Grove Park has a couple pools, both indoor and outdoor and I received a tour of all the facilities, which was I welcome to use that day.  Unfortunately, I really didn't have time to do anything but get the massage since Greg had Allie and Clyde, but the massage was really wonderful.  I chose lavender scented massage oil, a focus on my neck and shoulders, and some relaxing music.  My masseuse was wonderful.

Once we checked out of the hotel, we headed back into Asheville one more time to get some lunch before heading back to Charlotte.  We found a place called Carmel's that was dog friendly and sat outside.  It was a gorgeous day.

I had a spinach salad with grilled chicken and pears that was delish.

Allie slept through lunch.

We took a quick walk around after eating and then decided it would be wise to hit the road before sooner than later to make sure we didn't spend two hours in the car with a screaming baby.

It was a quick, but memorable getaway and it's nice to know that we can do this kind of thing with the baby and the dog with a little team work and planning.  We had a good time!


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