Monday, June 1, 2015

Wonderful Weekend : Asheville, NC - Part One

If you have ever read this blog you know how obsessed I am with my kid. He is the coolest little dude on the planet. No, seriously. I am not biased. I speak only truth.

However, he is not the only boy in my life that has stolen my heart. You see, ten years ago there was this other boy. He sauntered into my world and turned it upside down. He loved me in spite of myself - and God bless him - he still puts up with me to this day. 

The thing about marriage is that you have to work at it. You have to carve out time to spend together, working on each other. It is so easy to get caught up in life, in the day-to-day, in the jobs or the kids. I know this first hand because I lost myself in my child for years. Over the last year though, Craig and I have vowed to reclaim our relationship. To ensure that we come first to each other. One of the ways that we have decided to accomplish this goal is to spend more time together - just the two of us. Of course that means the occasional date night, but it also means entire weekends spent away from the hustle and bustle that we experience every day. 

In other words, we are taking every excuse for a mini vacation we can get. This time, we headed to Asheville, NC. The first intent was to visit the Biltmore Estate, but we soon realized that the downtown area of this city boasted some pretty amazing stuff. We spent several days exploring, eating, and just talking. Soaking up the time together. It was glorious.

Asheville is definitely an up-and-coming epicenter for a boho and worldy culture, complete with just about any type of cuisine you could desire, street performers, and handmade art dotting each street. We were enraptured from moment one. I mean, just check out the architecture of this parking garage. A public parking garage, people. Seriously?!

Craig has a hard time getting into "vacation mode" usually. In fact, it generally takes him at least a day and a half to relax enough to enjoy himself. When you only have four days, that isn't a good idea so I decided to start our vacation with a full body massage. It was just what the doctor ordered - for both of us - but of course after that we were mush. So much so that I accidentally left my camera in the room when we went out for an early dinner. Yeah, the massage was that good. 

We took the time to sample a ton of food and beverages that lined the streets of downtown. They had everything from Indian street food to Himalayan cuisine and everything in between. Even better? Not one chain restaurant was to be seen. Oh happy day.

And yes, I took a completely inappropriate picture of Craig and the sign behind him. Don't worry, Mom and Dad, I won't post it for the world to see.

We stayed just minutes from downtown and had to travel through this tunnel each time we made the drive.

One of the best meals of the trip was at this restaurant called Carmel's. Oh my gosh, seriously, the food. Just wow. We sat outside and watched the people passing by. It is an extremely walk-able city and so dog-friendly that it is impossible not to enjoy yourself just taking it all in.

The Basilica de  St. Lawrence sits just on the edge of downtown and a breathtakingly beautiful church. We did step inside, but I felt that it would take away from the reverence of the place by taking photographs, as there were people inside praying and a service was about to begin. However, I can tell you that there were herringbone tiles adorning the ceiling, arched rafters, stained glass windows, and amazing depictions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary in corridors lining the main sanctuary. Truly a sight to behold.

The architecture of the outside was beautiful in and of itself. The brickwork alone must have taken years to perfect and construct.

We stumbled upon what may be one of my favorite shops of all time, called The Spce & Tea Exchange. I love herbal teas so I bee-lined for this place when I saw it from across the street. When we walked in, though, it was like Heaven itself opened up and the angels sang in grateful chorus.

This place mixes it own teas, seasonings, salts, peppers, and herbs. No seriously, just check it out.

It smelled divine. I should know because I opened every.single.tea. and wanted to bath in each one.

Ah, lavender. I smelled this one and immediately wanted to curl up on a pallet and fall asleep. It was that good.

Such an amazing store. We may or may not have left with several baggies of teas, spices, and seasonings to try at home. Ok, we totally did.

Want to see more? No worries, I have plenty more to share. This city became a favorite of mine pretty quickly and I just couldn't get enough of it. I am betting you won't be able to either.

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