Monday, November 11, 2013

Anniversary Weekend in Asheville.

Donny joked with me this weekend that anniversaries were invented so that men could prove to their wives that the wives had chosen the right guy.  But if that's true, then I absolutely did!

I am a notorious micro-planner for trips, and Donny is the exact opposite, preferring to just fly by the seat of his pants.  But a few months ago, he told me not to plan anything for our anniversary because he was going to handle it.  For months, I had no idea where we were going or what we were doing.  He did eventually tell me where we were going so that I could pack appropriately for the trip, but I loved that he took the reins to create our weekend.

Friday, we both got off work a little early.  Asheville is only about two hours away, so we got there right around dinnertime.  Our hotel looked like a mountain lodge, and he had booked us a suite (with the biggest jacuzzi I've ever seen in my life!).
After we checked in and unpacked, we went to Juicy Lucy's, which Donny had read about online.  Supposedly it was the best burger place in Asheville, and I must admit that it was delicious.  I mean, it was no Bad Daddy's, but it was pretty great.  I only wish they had had a turkey burger option, but they did have some of the best french fries EVER to make up for it.
After dinner, we drove around downtown Asheville for a while and explored a little before going back to the hotel.  We had an early morning on Saturday, so it was an early night for us.

Saturday morning, we got up early and got ready to go to the Biltmore Estate.  We had gotten the tickets from my mom (who gets discounted tickets through her job), but they were day passes onto the estate only.  We still had to go that morning to get an entry time into the actual house.  Given that it was the first Saturday that they had Christmas decorations up, it was a big weekend for Biltmore, and there was no guarantee that there would be any times available for us to get in.  So, we got there a little before the office even opened to try to get an entry time, and fortunately there was.  We got in with the first self-guided group at 8:30am, and it couldn't have been more perfect.  There was no one in front of us, and we walked right up to the door and in the house without waiting in line.  Seriously, if you're ever going to the Biltmore House, take the earliest time into the house that you can get.  By the second or third room, we had gotten ahead of all the other people in the 8:30 group (we don't tend to linger like a lot of people), so we were the first people in all the other rooms-- it felt like we were on a private tour of the Biltmore House!
The house is BEAUTIFUL.  It's huge and ornate and insanely decorated.  I wish we had been able to take pictures of it, but they wouldn't have been able to do the house justice.  For example, the dining room is seven stories tall with a pipe organ in a balcony.  A full pipe organ!  Crazy.  And the Christmas decorations make it smell amazing.  I was just in love with it.
After the tour, we walked around the grounds for a while and went over to the gardens briefly before going to the winery.
We had been told by one of the tour guides that more than 10,000 people were ticketed for the day, so we knew we wanted to hit everything as early as possible before most people arrived. The winery opened early this weekend at 10am, and we were there around 10:30.  A German woman gave us a tour of their facility and explained how they made their wines, including the sparkling wines, which I found fascinating.  The tour ended with a free tasting of any and all of their wines!  I tried several but didn't like many (I'm not a huge wine fan), but Donny liked quite a few.  We ended up buying some different blends to go with the bottle of Riesling, which we already had and that I actually do like a lot.
Dining on the Biltmore Estate is crazy expensive.  Fortunately, they do have a place that is somewhat reasonable.  Although, the food isn't very exciting... haha.  I didn't care-- I knew we were having a fancy dinner, so I was just fine with a hot dog.  And also fine with not spending $50 on lunch.
We explored the Antler Hill village for a little while longer then decided to leave the estate for the rest of the afternoon.  It was starting to get super crowded, and we had seen pretty much all there was to see.  I had found the alleged best cupcake place in Asheville on yelp, so we made that our first stop after we left.  I got kind of annoyed at the place, which was in the ghetto, had no signage to tell me which cupcake was what flavor, didn't have any vanilla cupcakes, and half of the cupcakes they did have were vegan.  I finally found a coconut one that was normal (albeit pretty small), so that's what I got.  And then when I bit into it, I knew that it was all worth it-- what a heavenly, delicious cupcake!
We went back to the hotel, where I watched my Tar Heels beat Virginia pretty bad and took a quick nap before our dinner reservations.  Not sure what the traffic/travel would be like in the evening, we went back to the Biltmore Estate fairly early.  I wanted to get some pictures of the house at dusk.  I was only able to get one (from the car, as we drove by), but it turned out pretty good!
Our dinner reservations were at the Dining Room at the Inn on Biltmore Estate.  Donny had arranged for us to have a table right by the fireplace and for flowers to be on the table for me when we arrived!  It was so special and such a wonderful surprise.
Fancy dinners always have a lot of ingredients that I either don't know or don't think I'd like.  But I decided to take a risk and get the pork tenderloin with some side dishes and flavors that I wasn't sure about.  And holy cow, that risk paid off.  This was quite possibly the best meal I've ever had in my life.  I forgot to take a picture before I ate, but you can see how good I thought it was...  I threatened to lick the plate.
Dessert was a fig and honey souffle with a honey creme anglaise.  The souffle was so soft and airy that it literally melted in my mouth.  Crazy delicious.
Donny also gave me my anniversary gift at dinner (even though it was technically a day early).  I've been desperately wanting one of these bracelets forever, and now I have one!  I love it so much.
Everywhere I turned at dinner, I felt like there was another surprise!  Neither one of us are what I'd consider to be super romantic, but he planned the perfect romantic dinner for us.  It was wonderful.  :)

Sunday, we were able to sleep in for a little while, so we took our time eating breakfast and packing before checking out of the hotel.  We decided to go to the North Carolina Arboretum since the weather was so beautiful.  Unfortunately, most of the plants and trees were pretty dead by this time of year, but they did have a pretty neat Lego exhibit.  Some artist (a certified Lego builder, if you can believe that there are such things) built Lego sculptures that are throughout the arboretum.  We went on a quasi-scavenger hunt through the gardens to find them all.  There were bumblebees, roses, koi, dragonflies, and more, but I think our favorite was this lawn mower!  That's a LOT of legos!
After we left the arboretum, we wandered around Biltmore Village for a little while and had lunch there before heading home.  Upon arriving home, I saw that Donny had another surprise in store-- this was hanging on our wall!  It has the words to "Just the Way You Are" by Billy Joel inside the heart-- our first dance song at our wedding.  What a sweet and wonderful gift.  :)
And I gave him his gifts.  I stuck strictly to the paper theme for our first anniversary, so I made a travel map of the US for us to pin places we've been as we travel throughout the years!  It was really fun to put together, and I'll be posting more about it later this week.  I also gave him a book he's been dying to have (and almost bought last week...) by Nick Offerman (aka Ron Swanson).
Then we tried our cake, and amazingly it was still good after having been frozen for a year!  I'm definitely looking forward to eating on it this week.  :)
Since we were home fairly early, my parents took us out to eat for an anniversary dinner, then we came home and spent the rest of the night watching the Cowboys game.

It was the perfect anniversary weekend, and I couldn't have planned it better myself!  Donny did such an amazing job-- I'm so blessed to have him as my husband.  :)


  1. That is a great anniversary weekend! The Biltmore looks amazing. I am going to have to add that to my places to visit list. Love the pictures.

  2. Happy Anniversary! :) Looks like a great weekend...and a fantastic cake! :)

  3. That sounds wonderful! I am happy you got to see the Christmas decorations at the Biltmore! I was there, but in the summer, so some day I want to go back at Christmas time. The Legos would also be my highlight of the garden. and the map is genius.

  4. This looks like an AWESOME anniversary getaway. I'm keeping this in mind for my future anniversaries :)

  5. Aww! Glad you guys had such an awesome weekend! Looks amazing and so romantic!!! That Biltmore estate looks incredible! Happy belated anniversary!!!

  6. This sounds so great! I would love to visit the Biltmore one day! And, I love lego "art" - it is so cool! Glad you had a great weekend!

  7. Sounds like an awesome weekend! I went to the Biltmore when I was younger, but would love to go again!

  8. What a great weekend. I love all the gifts and surprises. As I have said a million times, you guys are the cutest, and Donny is definitely a keeper.

  9. What a fun weekend!! Hope y'all had a great Anniversary!!! (would have been way better if the Cowboys hadn't been such a disaster last night I right?!). hahaha

  10. I loved Asheville when I went with my family years ago...I hope to go again one day! Sounds like a great anniversary - what kind of bracelet is that?

  11. That really does look like an amazing anniversary trip. Donny definitely did well!! Definitely made me want to go to the Biltmore.. .so gorgeous!

  12. This sounds like one amazing trip! I love that house and I must see it for myself now.

  13. Now THAT is an anniversary trip!!! It's sweet that he had everything all planned out. :) I'd definitely say he did a good job.

    And now I want to go to Biltmore even more! Haha:)

  14. looksk like SO much fun!!! When I asked on IG about anniversary places, someone actually suggested we go there because of the Christmas decorations! We'll have to check it out one day! I can't wait to see more details about map you made for him!!