By Cliff Locke
Sometimes it’s not all that easy to figure out where to spend a weekend with the person you love. We wanted someplace where we could enjoy each other’s company, be involved in nature and doing things we haven’t done before. We also wanted someplace that wasn’t that far away and not a big city. A friend suggested Asheville, North Carolina and we are happy we took his advice.
After looking at accommodations we decided to book at Bear and Butterfly Bed and Breakfast, which is situated in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains. The owners cater to gay men and the grounds are beautifully landscaped and the meals include many items grown from the garden. The views were breathtaking and rooms were more than comfortable. The large outside hot tub and cocktail hour were both things that made this an excellent place for us to stay for our weekend.
Our first night we booked a city tour with LaZoom Tours for a comedy bus tour. And how hilarious this tour actually was!! First of all there is a band on the bus, the bright purple bus winds thru the downtown area while we enjoyed the sights of the city, the sounds of the band and narration and a few cold locally brewed beers. As we left there and walked up the street we noticed that the Diana Wortham Theatre was having a concert and we thought why not try to get tickets. This small, 500 seat, theatre is a perfect venue to see any show! I was very happy that they still had tickets. We returned to the bed and breakfast for a late evening soak before bed. Tomorrow was going to be a busy day.
We woke to the smell of fresh coffee brewing and anticipating an awesome breakfast. Fresh eggs gathered that morning were on the menu as well as many other options. We quickly ate and headed out on an adventure on the Blue Ridge Parkway. There were many fabulous scenic turn offs all with magnificent views. We drove thru tunnels, hiked to waterfalls and the most important part for me was there was no cell reception, so no one to bother us the whole time on the Parkway.
We made it back to the city to enjoy a tour of The Biltmore Estate. This 250-room French Renaissance chateau is sure to impress anyone who sees it. George Vanderbilt started construction in 1889 and after six years the doors opened to friends and family in 1895. You can’t visit Asheville without a visit to the estate, winery and restaurant, you won’t be disappointed. After the tour we headed for The Omni Park Grove Inn for dinner. Edwin Grove, friend of Vanderbilt, opened The Park Grove Inn in 1913 in the mountains of the Asheville area. The views from the dining room do not disappoint.
As the sun began to set over the mountains we drove back to the B&B, we chatted about how glad we were that we decided to try out the Asheville area for our romantic weekend. We would be leaving in the morning, but not forgetting the experience. We were able to not only reconnect with each other, but enjoy some of the most awe inspiring views I have ever seen. I was lucky enough to do this all with the person that makes my life worth living. There were so many more things to see and do there, I know we will be returning!