For the next leg of our two week road trip, Alex and I rented a cabin in western North Carolina with some friends. Kara and Justin, friends of ours who served in our wedding, and Justin's girlfriend, Sarah, met us at the cabin near Bryson City for a short but fun-filled weekend of quality time with one another. On the 5+ hour drive from Alex's dad's house, we started working through one of the couples' quiz books I bought Alex for Christmas. I have to say - we know each other pretty well, but it will be fun for the winner to redeem their rewards for each section of the book. (Those reward redemptions may make an appearance on the blog at some point.)
We also treated ourselves to Cookout trays along the way! If you haven't had a tray (or a milkshake) from Cookout, you don't understand what you're missing. Seriously.
Arrival at the cabin was sporadic, so we spent the first night catching up with each other over light booze and a couple of friendly games of pool (yes, the cabin had a pool table!). Kara made some delicious pulled pork in the crock-pot earlier that day, so we were able to have yummy barbecue sandwiches for dinner that night (and the next too, actually).
On the only full day of our trip, Alex and I had high hopes for spending a few hours tubing at a resort area about 45 minutes away in Maggie Valley. Due to a series of unfortunate events (I'll spare you the details), that didn't work out quite as we had planned. We are, however, grateful to Kara for being so generous as to drive us all the way up and down the mountain as we attempted to get tickets for the tubing experience.
Instead, we spent the day at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. Things always work out as they should, and by the skin of our teeth we were able to grab a set of tickets for the Candlelight Christmas Evenings event - in the earliest time slot, too! Since our tickets to tour the home weren't until 6 p.m., we were able to enjoy a wine cellar and do a tasting tasting, check out the gift shops, walk through some of the grounds, and even get in a few photo-ops beforehand.
Ya'll - the Biltmore at Christmas is gorgeous - breathtaking, really. It was well worth the extra $10 to visit the home after dark, with all the candles lit and sparkling Christmas decor. There was even live music in the form of a chorus providing beautiful Christmas carols as we toured the home. Grade A stuff, I'm telling ya.
The three of us made it back to the cabin around 8:30 p.m. or so, and when Justin and Sarah returned from their full day of skiing around 10 p.m., we all enjoyed barbecue leftovers and turned in for the night not long afterwards. We were pooped from the full day out and about! The next morning, we took our time making breakfast and packing up to head out on our respective ways.
It may have been a short visit, but it was a quality one. Meeting for 2 hours over dinner once or twice a year is nice, but it doesn't do a friendship justice, that's for sure. We really enjoyed our time with the group and hopefully it won't be long before we can see them again. And if you're reading this, there's always an extra bed available in Monroe!
Update (1/19/14) - Click here for Kara's post about our weekend in the mountains.