Asheville, North Carolina. There are so few words that can truly describe how wonderful this place is, but I can sum it up as the perfect place for Josh and I to go on our honeymoon. We left for our destination the morning after our amazing wedding on October 7, 2012. We packed up the car and headed out bright and early, mainly because I couldn’t sleep with all my excitement, but also because we wanted to start our travels as soon as possible. Eight hours, three cups of coffee, and only one bathroom break later, we made it!
For a brief history, the main reason Josh and I picked Asheville is because of my family. My grandparents have lived in Asheville for the past 20 years and Josh had never been before until a year before our wedding. I had been describing (for what feels like forever) how the small city reminded me of him and that he would fall in love as soon as he got there. While we only had two days on his first trip, he surely fell in love.
It ended up being his first idea of where he wanted to go for the honeymoon. It would also allow us to spend more time with my grandparents if we chose there. The past few years have made our times together a little more difficult, as their age and health has not allowed them to travel and visit us as much.
My grandparents Mimi and Papa helped my mother raise me when I was young, so I am very close with them. My papa has a great feeling of history and love towards Asheville and Josh and I were so pleased to see the amazing look on his face when we told him there was no other place we’d rather go. For me it was going to be a fresh experience to see the nightlife and explore the city with my new husband!
We started our trip at the incredible Bohemian Inn. It was the most intricately decorated and fantastic place we’d ever seen. We spent the first hour just looking at each incredible floor, which is uniquely decorated by a featured artist’s painting and sculptures. The decor was everything you imagine the word Bohemian to mean.
Immediately after checking in, we went down to the grand Red Stag Grill within the hotel and ate the most wonderful foods until we were in a food coma and then rested with cocktails by the fireplace. The rest of our stay was filled with the same fantastic foods and beverages, with some amazing hikes in between to help keep us from staying indoors all day!
We spent half of our honeymoon at the Bohemian and then ventured over to the Biltmore Estate Inn. Although the inn is relatively new, I had been visiting the Biltmore Estate itself for many, many years. It’s enriched with culture and the history of one of the oldest homes in America, and now that the Inn was created, it brought the whole place to life. There are now restaurants, excursions and even a winery that you can explore. It made the last half of our honeymoon as wonderful as we had hoped. Our favorite part of staying there would have to be the incredible view from our balcony. Josh, who is the last person to rise early, was up with the roosters crowing every morning to watch the sunrise. We would sip coffees and teas and just sit in a beautiful silence while the smoky mountains pushed out the mists and filled the sky with every color imaginable. As a freelance photographer, you can just guess how perfect these moments were for me, which is probably the reason I walked away with 2,000-plus photos from the whole week.
The rest of our stay included private horseback rides, 15-mile hikes, and beer festivals for Oktoberfest. The last night was the best because we ended up going to the gorgeous Grove Park Inn for dinner and to watch the sunset with my grandparents. They used to take me there when I was young and talk about all the stories and fun facts that went into creating the Inn, and that night was no different. Josh was able to sit in front of the giant fireplace with papa while he described what the Inn looked like before and after its renovations. Mimi and I took photographs and walked throughout the Inn while looking at all of the pictures of famous guests from the past and the present. It was the perfect way to end our flawless trip, surrounded by the people that we love.
Our Asheville honeymoon was the greatest experience that we could have ever planned and we hope to continue going there in the years to come. Although we spent a full seven days there, there are still so many places to see and discover. While the Bohemian was cheaper than the Biltmore Estate, our stays were very unique and I would stay at either place again. All in all, the total costs for the trip with stay, daily breakfasts and gas prices came to about $6,000.
I would recommend everyone to visit Asheville at least one time in their lives and allot yourself a minimum of four days! There are just so many things you can do there that you would want as much time possible. After all, it is voted Beer City USA and the ideal place to go for a foodie.
Josh and I built memories there that will last a lifetime and we hope to one day show our children -- and their children -- the same incredible experiences.