After leaving Wilmington on December 30, our Nissan caravan headed into the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina! The beach is beautiful, but I’m 100% a mountain girl at heart. As we drove closer and closer, and could see shape in the distance, I got so excited and couldn’t stop staring.
We got into Asheville late in the day, so we checked into our little Airbnb and chilled the rest of the night. We watched Sixteen Candles and played Monopoly, making sure to get enough sleep so that we weren’t tired in the morning.
Monday morning (December 31), we woke up with not much of an agenda. Looking at some pamphlets our Airbnb hosts had at the house, we decided to check out the “Botanical Gardens at Asheville” since it was a nice 60 degree day.
I’m sure in the spring and summer, this place is beautifully decked out in green grass and dazzling flowers. However, in the dead of winter, it was muddy and dreary. We still had fun walking along the trail, however, and we even stopped to “play” in the creek.
Then we headed to downtown Asheville. We found a parking garage and walked around, exploring shops and art. There were some pig statues I found especially adorable.
It was getting close to lunch time, so we decided to pop into a cute little cafe close to the pig statues. Upon entering the French Broad Chocolate Lounge, I knew it was a place I would go often if I lived here. It was very chill, environmentally friendly, and they had multiple vegan options, which I was not expecting. I got a chocolate snickerdoodle cookie, which was delicious, and my friends got some drinks.
The whole place was super cute, and we even got some cute pictures with the blue wall and fabulous lighting. Thanks, portrait mode.
We walked around for another hour after that, stopping in salsa shops and cute book stores. We even found a perfect backdrop to take a picture documenting our Asheville adventure.
We rested at the Airbnb for a while, making sure not to wear ourselves out too much before staying up all night. Then, once it was dark, we headed out again to eat somewhere downtown.
We ate at a restaurant called “Farm Burger” and their vegan burger was very tasty. I loved the atmosphere of the restaurant, and we sat and talked about our 2018 memories and 2019 goals for close to an hour.
Then we drove to Marion, North Carolina for their intriguing New Years Eve celebration. We found a parking spot and walked around, soaking in everything that was going on. Chey and I went into a bar (we still don’t know if we were supposed to be in there) and danced to some jazzy live music. Then all of us found a coffee shop to sit in for a while until it got closer to midnight.
At 11:45, we hit the streets again and joined the growing crowd. Then, at midnight, we counted down to the new year while a large golden “nugget” was dropped from the sky. (Why is this the only picture of the nugget I have? Regardless, I love it, favorite picture of the trip, slow clap)
We cheered, Shane and I kissed- our first New Year as a married couple!- and then Chey and I obnoxiously sang along to “Electric Boogie”, subbing the words to those of a classic Vine. After doing the Cupid Shuffle, we left Marion and headed back to Asheville and our Airbnb for the night.
The next morning (January 1, 2019)- after sleeping in fairly late- we drove to Looking Glass Falls, which was absolutely beautiful. It was just off the road, which made it very easy access, and it was so strong and powerful.
We stopped at Cracker Barrel- aka, vegan Hell- on the way back into Asheville, and then stopped at another hiking trail near our Airbnb. It was a nice and easy hike, and it was just nice getting to walk around in nature for a little while.
(Side note, this was a very rough day for me because my mental health was falling apart, and had been for a couple days leading up to it. My depression and anxiety attacked me all day and I cried 3 times in 24 hours, which is really huge for me because I very rarely cry. I just wanted to be honest and not paint a picture that my life is perfect. Mental illness never goes away, even when you’re traveling with your friends and are supposed to be having an amazing time. Side note over. *drops mic*)
For our last full day together on January 2, we visited the US’s largest privately owned home- Biltmore Estates. It was so beautiful and such a fun experience, that visit will get it’s own blog post, so just enjoy this picture for now.
After Biltmore, we got a quick bite to eat before saying goodbye to North Carolina and hello again to Georgia. We dropped our stuff off at our last Airbnb of the trip in Atlanta, then headed out to meet Lauren’s parents at the Krog Street Market for dinner! I got falafel, which I had never had before and really loved. We also had ice cream, and I was delighted to see that there was a vegan triple chocolate flavor. It tasted just like the ice cream I used to love as a kid, but was not made using cow’s milk, which made it even better. If it weren’t for my stomach pain (acid issues, not the food), I would have believed it was Heaven in a cup.
January 3 was our parting day. We woke up and packed all of our things- why do clothes fit in a suitcase so much easier before a trip??– and checked out of our last Airbnb. Lauren took us to Revolution Doughnuts for breakfast, because most of their donuts are vegan and I was very excited. I tried one that was raspberry flavored- interesting, but probably wouldn’t get again- and a coconut cake donut, which was heavy but very good.
Then we went to the Ponce City Market to pass the time. It was basically a very hipster mall that I fell in love with. They had a lot of really cool walls I was dying to take picture of/with, and all the stores were very “Millennial” and I was living for the vibe.
And then, alas, it was time to say goodbye to Lauren and our adventures together 😦
She dropped us off at the airport, where we struggled to find security (I was very grateful we got there so early). The busiest airport in the world ain’t playin.
Chey, Shane and I got some Chick-fil-A to curb our hunger, and then we said goodbye to Chey at the Indianapolis gate and headed to our own.
Our flight back to Kansas City left a little late, but once we left Atlanta’s airspace, the flight got much smoother. For a while, looking out the window blinded me because we were literally just flying through a giant white cloud for a good hour and a half.
Our seats weren’t together, so I couldn’t annoy him the whole flight. Instead, I just read on my Kindle and tried not to fall asleep. We finally landed and made it back to our car (Shane was so happy be reunited with his Vibe) and then drove through traffic all the way back to little ‘ole Joplin, Missouri.
This trip was a lot of fun, and I loved getting to explore more of the world with my husband and good friends. Now, a new semester is starting soon and it’s back to reality. At least you have one more blog post to look forward to, all about our visit to the Biltmore Estate!