To celebrate our commitment and getting through a hard year stronger than we started, we took a weekend trip to north Georgia and stayed in a beautiful cabin in Morganton. (I won't mention the terrifying drive up the mountain that at least paid off in some gorgeous views.) We had been wanting to return to the mountains since we traveled to Ellijay with our small group, and our anniversary was the perfect excuse. It was one of those weekends of memories I will cherish: long days of easy conversation and laughter, reflecting on the past year and what we have come through together, and some amazing experiences.
To compromise on the very different ways we envisioned spending a weekend away in the mountains, Brian and I each planned a day with whatever we wanted to do and agreed to enthusiastically participate in whatever the other chose. Brian planned an active day of hiking. Me? Spa day and wine tasting, of course.
After fighting Atlanta traffic on Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend (bad idea, much?), we arrived in the charming town of Blue Ridge and grabbed burgers and beer at the Blue Ridge Brewery. I'm not a huge beer fan, but a flight of their house craft beers may have converted me. My favorite was a blonde ale brewed with local strawberries. Definitely exactly what we needed after seven slow hours in the car! And I was definitely happy I had a beer or two in me for our first drive up the mountain in the dark.
On Saturday, we ventured out on a hike to Long Creek Falls (after a treacherous drive down the mountain from our cabin, and then an almost as scary drive out to the trailhead...I am not made for mountain living and am forever thankful for four wheel drive.) The short hike out to the falls was a little tougher than anticipated due to the steep grades, but we were happy to reach the waterfall and rest for a minute!
Our next stop (after some more scary mountain driving...theme of the weekend for me) was Brasstown Bald, Georgia's highest point at 4,784 feet above sea level. The views were incredible. It was such a clear day, and you could see for miles.
For the rest of the day, we enjoyed hanging out around the cabin, throwing some chicken and veggies on the grill, and enjoying the sunset view from the cabin's back porch. The weather was perfect and just cool enough for enjoying the outdoor fireplace and hot tub!
Sunday morning we headed to the Brasstown Valley Resort for our day of relaxation at the Equani Spa. This was the most amazing spa experience I've ever had. An awesome massage, quiet time in the relaxation room, a beautiful view of the mountains from the hot tub on their outdoor deck, and a delicious and light lunch with fruit smoothies (while still comfy in our seersucker robes!) to wrap it all up. Pure bliss.
I knew I wanted to visit one of the vineyards in the area, and when I discovered that Crane Creek Vineyards is owned by a retired Army officer and West Point grad, I knew I had found the place to stop. We had a wonderful time sampling all the wines, and the owner was kind enough to stop and introduce himself to us as well as "talk Army" with Brian. It is nice to see someone doing something they truly love and have a passion for. It also reminded me that, yes, there is life after the Army (albeit probably a little bit sooner for us)! We sampled a few glasses of wine, picked our favorite bottle 'to go,' and enjoyed the view.
That evening, we ventured back to Blue Ridge for our anniversary dinner at Harvest on Main, a neat farm-to-table restaurant that uses local ingredients whenever possible.
Monday morning came way too quickly. After breakfast at L and L Beanery and a quick cupcake stop at The Sweet Shoppe of Blue Ridge, it was time to head back to the Lowcountry.
I couldn't imagine a better way to celebrate two years of marriage. It was a weekend of many treasured memories.