Couples Getaway to Blowing Rock, North Carolina
We reached our breaking point. After eleven months as new parents – and with less date nights than I can count on one hand – tensions were rising. It seemed like the littlest things set both of us off. We needed some serious couple’s time without the responsibilities of parenthood, and we needed it pronto. That’s not an easy order when you live a plane ride away from the closest family member and babysitters aren’t really in the budget. Thankfully, we planned a couples getaway to Blowing Rock, North Carolina months ago (and that my mother was willing to fly in for the weekend to watch Deacon).
If you follow Bryan’s blog regularly, you can guess that our weekend had more fun, food, and craft beer to it than romance (although we did work some of that in, too…). We viewed the weekend as a chance to not just reconnect with each other, but to also enjoy the things that have been integral to our relationship since we first met at the University of Miami. For starters, our weekend was centered around the University of Miami vs Appalachian State football game.
But first, we enjoyed a romantic dinner at the Gamekeeper.
Have you ever needed a glass of wine so bad that you can taste it hours before? Yeah, me too. Like when we left Charlotte.
It was a disaster.
We planned to leave at 1pm, but Bryan fell behind on some end of the month deadlines. We didn’t leave until 3:30. Then – a half-hour into the trip – we realized that someone (could have been me….) forgot the game tickets, so we had to double back. Our afternoon of sipping wine at Banner Elk Winery before dinner at the Gamekeeper Restaurant was now out of the question.
Instead, we made it to Yonahlossee to check into our cabin with a half hour before dinner. While Bryan unloaded the Explorer that Ford so graciously loaned us for the weekend, I quickly rinsed off the road dirt and got ready for our date night. We had been hearing about the Gamekeeper for years from friends who regularly travel to Boone and were looking forward to a delicious start to our weekend.
We started with Wendy’s Cheese plate, an assortment of local cheeses and charcuterie. I love that world-class cheese is being produced right here in North Carolina. The gouda had just the right amount smoke; the cheddar, the right amount of tang; the brie, the right amount of heaven. I wasn’t in love with the mustard based Red Dragon as I’m not a mustard fan, but Bryan loved it. Oh, and the sweet sopressata was out of this world.
For our main course, I ordered the grilled spice rubbed emu fillet with manchego and spinach risotto, and Bryan ordered the cocoa rubbed grilled elk leg with blue mac & cheese. It was one of those meals where neither of us felt like sharing, because it was that good, but were curious what was on the plate across the table from us. Our meat was cooked to the perfect temperature (which for some reason is such a rarity at restaurants today) with the right amount of spice to compliment the gamier wild meats. It was the quietest meal we’ve ever eaten together as we savored each bite and were reminded of the food we enjoyed on our trip to South Africa.
For dessert, we split the apple cobbler along with a couple of house coffees – booze-laden (Hey! Our cottage was directly across the street after all…). The cobbler had a hint of lavender in the crust that made it absolutely decadent. The flavors all blended so well from the fresh, seasonal apples to the vanilla ice cream to the floral notes from the crust.
After the day we had, we were both glad that the Gamekeeper met our rather high expectations.
The next day we woke early for the tailgate festivities.
As we lay in bed, we thought for a moment how foolish our plan was to start tailgating at 9am. It was our weekend away from parenting after all. You know, our weekend to sleep in… Alas, we climbed out of bed at 7am and made a pact that the next morning; we weren’t setting an alarm clock.
Bryan and I have followed our Hurricanes all over ACC country – Chapel Hill, Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Clemson – but I have to say that the most fun we’ve had was at App State. Somehow, we managed to find the two Miami tailgating lots on App State’s hilly campus. It’s here where I learned what Bryan was really doing all that time he was working. He packed the perfect tailgate party – a cooler of our favorite craft beer, plenty of snacks, folding table, and plenty of Miami decorations from his man cave.
It wasn’t just the Miami fans that made it an awesome weekend. The App State fans were very gracious hosts (Unlike those hooligans at Va Tech. Really Va Tech fans, you should be ashamed). Fans young and old constantly came up to us, thanking us for playing their team and visiting Boone. I almost felt bad that our Canes gave them such a beat down… Almost.
After, we continued the victory party in Boone.
Of course, we went back to our cabin to clean-up first. It may be cooler in the mountains, but we were still a sweaty mess.
For dinner, we ate at Lost Province Brewing right in the town center. Talk about an impressive brewpub! Their wood-fired pizzas were out of this world. We split Rosticceria with tomato, prosciutto, soppressata, house made mozzarella, and basil, and the Fun Guy with three different kinds of mushrooms, caramelized onions, and rosemary. As for the beer, you’ll have to read Bryan’s post because that’s more of his thing. Let’s just say we didn’t have a bad beer.
After dinner, we visited a couple of college bars, thinking we were still young. Alas, our age and early morning caught up with us, and we headed back to the cabin before it was even 9pm. It was actually exactly what we needed. We sat on the balcony with a growler of beer and enjoyed the cool mountain air while playing Heads Up on Bryan’s phone (so much fun).
Sleeping in felt so good!
And really led to a general morning of laziness, which I think we deserved. It also gave us an opportunity to enjoy our spacious cabin and the daytime view from our balcony while we lingered over a book before checking out and heading home. But not without a few stops along the way.
Our first stop was to The Blowing Rock. The views were spectacular. I can only imagine it on an autumn day when the leaves are changing. Still, we enjoyed the peacefulness of Mother Nature’s splendor. Then, it was off to lunch at Appalachian Mountain Brewery with a stop at Booneshine Brewing before heading home.
We had an amazing couples getaway to Blowing Rock!
It was exactly what we needed at exactly the right time. Isn’t it funny how things work out that way? It may not have your traditional couples getaway with massages and pampering. Then again, we aren’t your traditional couple. Instead, we designed a weekend that reminded us why we work out so well together as husband and wife, and, just as importantly, as Deacon’s parents. We returned ready to resume our roles with our now crawling little guy!
Want to go on a similar trip?
We really loved our roomy cabin at Yonahlossee. It was clean, comfortable, and well decorated with close access to the Gamekeeper (a must eat at dining choice). Ask for the Sleepy Hollow cabin! There are also plenty of hiking trails nearby and ample grounds for picnics. Check out TripAdvisor for the latest reviews. Moon Asheville & Great Smoky Mountains guide book is a great source for finding the best outdoor activities, road-trips, and restaurants in the North Carolina Mountains.