Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mountain High

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I think this will be shorter than the epic Asheville post! We were hoping to drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway to Highlands, but unfortunately it was closed for the Winter (despite our mild temperatures). So we took the boring but slightly faster route to Highlands.

So. I had stayed at The Old Edwards Inn before...like four years ago! And I had completely forgotten how nice it was. (Apparently, my theory that "if I blog it, I will remember it" is EXTREMELY FAULTY.) My excuse is that we stayed in the lodge rather than the inn proper.

Anyway! When we checked in, the first question we were asked was, "Can I get you a complimentary glass of champagne?" Say what?!

We got the full tour of the Inn, then we were shown to our gorgeous room, where we were greeted with this:
Omigosh, my taste buds instantly told me that they remembered these cookies from four years ago and to expect imminent deliciousness!

By this time it was freezing cold outside, so we ordered a salad and an amazing soup in the "lounge" (here's a daytime picture):
We watched the first part of the Oscars there and then "ran" up to our room during a commercial. We watched the rest from our bed, after snarfing the turn-down snacks that were on our pillows (spiced pecans!).

The next day was my birthday! We slept a little late because the rain had woken us up the night before. Michael had booked us a package that got us three meals, so we had breakfast at the Inn.

Check out our elegant dining location! I think I should always be seated amidst overstuffed pillows when I eat. =)

After breakfast, I actually took a bath! I don't do this at home because we only have a shower. I know, I know, that's crazy, but in our last place we had a combo shower/tub, and since we showered most every day, the tub was constantly dirty. Not very relaxing if you have to clean the tub before you soak, is it? There wasn't enough room in our new place for both, either, so I chose shower only. But check out the tub I got to use:

After my bath, we walked around town. We took a walking tour offered by the Inn. The walking tour was great; we had a really fun guide...he seemed to know everyone in town! The Inn actually has a number of activities and a full gym (two stories!) If I'd known, I would have brought workout clothes, because they offered a Zumba class that morning. I've always wanted to try Zumba!

That afternoon, I had a pedicure. It seems I only find the time for pedicures when I am on vacation! Post-pedicure, I was relaxing in one of these overstuffed plush chairs...
...in a robe, with my feet up, Kindle in one hand, when one of the spa employees came by and said, "I just found out it's your birthday! Can I get you a complimentary glass of wine?" Now I am not really a wine drinker, but I had had a Riesling I liked so I requested one of those. They had three to choose from and he was going to let me try them all, but the first one was good. =) Michael was with me at this point (post sauna and whirlpool, free for all guests) and he got to have his own glass. The perks of travelling with me. ;)

We lazed around until it was time for dinner, which was A. MAY. ZING. We had the most entertaining waiter, who declared that one of the appetizers was "good enough to roll in," in his very understated manner. I guess you have to be understated when you're 6'8" (over 2m!) I need to get better about shooting food with the new camera (the old one was rubbish at it as well), but here's a shot of my spare ribs...
...which I said I might need to be alone with for a moment, LOL! They were sooooo good, and were accompanied by veggies grown in their own greenhouse--baby kale, baby beets, parsnips (OMIGOSH, I had no idea I loved parsnips!), and pureed acorn squash. Michael had a fantastic steak, but I only had eyes for my spare ribs. =) This picture makes them look small because it was taken with the wide-angle lens, but I couldn't finish them all!

My dessert came with a candle and "Happy Birthday" written in chocolate...in English this time rather than French. ;)

The next morning we got up and had a last cup of tea out on our tiny balcony with a great view!
I really didn't want to leave! I had a plan to buy a can of the Instant Snow we saw the day before and take a picture with it on our windowsill and email it to my boss. The concierge was totally willing to back me up. I figured my boss wouldn't buy the freak localized snowstorm. Stupid Internet, with your instant access to weather conditions anywhere in the world!

After leaving the Inn, we hiked up a nearby mountain to "Sunset Peak". And when I say, "hiked," I mean, walked uphill on a gravel road. =) The view at the top was worth it! Here's what it looked like if you were laying on the rocks like the camera:
And here's what it looked like for us:
New camera does a mean panorama.

As we drove home, we stopped off at a few waterfalls. You used to be able to drive under this one, but a rock fall rendered the road unsafe.
Can you see tiny Michael?

We wanted to hike down to this one, because you can walk behind it, but unfortunately the Park Service had closed it due to ice. I'm 100% sure there was no ice on the trail (we could see practically the whole thing from the top), but I didn't want to hop the chain they placed. So, we had to make do with gazing from afar.
(Yup, I also played with shutter speed a bit at this waterfall. =)

We continued to drive along and stop wherever we wanted a nice view.
Have I mentioned I love my camera? =)

Finally we were almost off the mountain...but we got stopped because an 18-wheeler had flipped over (this road is only one lane in each direction). We could either sit there in the car for 25-45 minutes, or go exploring! We thought maybe the GPS could find another way off the mountain. It couldn't (road closed), but we did find this lovely waterfall!

Was this a slightly less epic post? Did anyone even read the WHOLE Asheville post? You just scrolled to the bottom for the pretty yarn, didn't you? Admit it.


Jean in Georgia said...

Ah. I see you found hwy 64 between Highlands and Franklin. :-) The gem mine down that road is where I buy my buckets of rocks and have my jewelry made every year.

Daffycat said...

Oh, my...I think I will start tagging along with you when I want a vacation. This trip really looks divine. Seriously ~ your new camera rocks.

Chris said...

It looks like an amazing weekend!

lesli said...

What a wonderful getaway! Love those pictures...that Inn looks like a fabulous stay!

Carol said...

I've always wanted visit that part of NC and your photos make it look even more inviting, Heather! Your camera takes great photos--so glad you had such a wonderful getaway :)

The Knitting Cross Stitcher said...

Just had a look a the web site. That a lovely place to go for your birthday. Great photos from your camera too.

Terri said...

Wow, what a wonderful weekend you had! And such a beautiful place to stay!!! Happy Belated Birthday!

And you really should try Zumba some time --- it is SO FUN!!!!!!!!!!!

Joysze said...

When I'm thinking of my next vacation.... I'll be picking your brains!! :D The pics are amazing and I agree, damn internet and their instant access to weather and news reports!!! I read the whole Asheville post, yes I did.... but as i was scrolling down to comment on this one, I see that there's a post with stash pictures!!!!!....... *poof!*

autumngeisha said...

Happy Belated Birthday! What a wonderful place to celebrate it. I especially love all of the food pictures and everything sounded delicious. The waterfalls look so beautiful, too. North Carolina is going on my list of places to visit next year.

Old Geek-outs