The entire time we were vacationing in Asheville for our honeymoon, we kept saying, “I am so glad that we did this,” and, “We have done so much already!” You see, when we were planning our honeymoon we had a short period of looking at all-inclusive resorts or somewhere tropical. We knew that Florida was out of the running because Cory grew up in Florida. As we searched we kept going back to what we loved, the outdoors, hiking and being outside. We noticed that we could very easily book an all inclusive-resort where there wasn’t much to do, or not many options for excursions. So, we decided to stay true to ourselves and search for a honeymoon vacation that we could tailor to us!
If you could not tell before with the quotes above from us, we are extremely happy that we stayed true to ourselves. This trip was amazing, we did and saw so much but we still had a private home on top of a mountain to ourselves to relax, have a fire and watch the sunset. We ate out but also cooked in, explored downtown Asheville, had so much fun hanging out at the local breweries and exploring the local art. We hiked, went on a hot air balloon ride, explored the grounds of the Biltmore and hiked to the bases of waterfalls. My favorite aspect was that we had no real schedule, except one morning to make it to the sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride! We stumbled upon views or activities that we loved doing in-between the ones that we already knew that we wanted to do. We got to explore!
This was truly a trip of a lifetime and is something that I want to go back and relive over and over again! Not because we didn’t do enough, or that it could have been any better, but because it was perfect for us and it was a week long of quality time doing some of the things that make us feel like our best selves. I can’t think of a better way to start our marriage than that! I have two pieces of advice for couples planning their honeymoon. 1- Stay true to yourselves. Plan your honeymoon around what you love to do together, or what you would most enjoy doing. 2- It does not have to be your honeymoon but start planning a trip to Asheville, North Carolina. We already want to go back and have a vacation home their one day! Our first evening at our mountain honeymoon home. These are photographs of our view just from our deck, and his & her’s drink of choice for our first evening on our honeymoon. Sunset from our deck! On our way to hike to Hickory Nut Falls, I made Cory pull over so I could take a photograph of the first waterfall I saw on our trip. Little did I know after a few miles of hiking that we would have our feet in that same waterfall way up there. This hike is in the same park as Chimney Rock! We were surprised to get there and see so much hiking that we ended up doing three hikes that day! Our hikes were, Hickory Nut Falls Trail, the trail to Chimney Rock and then the trail to Exclamation Point! Below is the infamous Chimney Rock. Our views from Exclamation Point made the hike worth it! The trailhead was equipped with a warning sign about death or serious injuries when you hiked past the starting point. Below, we found out that this lake was Lake Lure, so after our hike we headed down to that town and found a Flowering Bridge that the community keeps up together. It was beautiful to walk through. This flowering bridge at Lake Lure had random doors to walk through that lead you down different paths. It had tea pots filled with overflowing flowers, a haven for butterflies and even a locals’ free library station. We spent one entire afternoon exploring The Biltmore in Asheville. I would LOVE to photograph a wedding here. If I am being honest, I would LOVE to photograph a wedding anywhere in Asheville or outside of it in the mountains somewhere! I am serious! Any brides or grooms reading this that love Asheville and it’s surrounding areas for your wedding day, let’s do it! I would say yes in a heartbeat!
We learned a lot during our rooftop tour including my favorite fact: When the owner bought the land for the Biltmore it was actually from a lumber/logging company. So that meant that there were no trees, no gardens and when he hired his grounds keeper that garden architect suggested that he build most of his land into a forest. Two things: You do not see any of the massive architecture of the Biltmore until you are at this view below, he did not want anyone to be able to see it from far away. Also, later on he sold a lot of his land to ensure it would be kept as a National Park, well that is known today as the Pisgah National Forest. Not only did he own all of that land before but listening to his garden architect they planted all of those trees that you now see as densely populated mountain ranges of trees! This fact made me extremely happy for some reason. These statues on the Biltmore were thought to protect them from evil spirits. The picture below this one however there is one statue their that an artist took their artist creativity into their own hands. If you look closely you will see a Bear with a honeypot sitting. All of the land you see below was once all property of the Biltmore! The lanterns and the woodwork of their winter garden was spectacular! They used fresh flowers in every room of the Biltmore and I proved that when we toured the basement, they had a room filled with buckets and buckets of flowers, keeping them cool, until they used them for different rooms in the Estate. Another sunset back at our home away from home! We got up before the sunrise to make it to our Hot Air Balloon ride with Balloons Over Asheville. They were a great group and funny! I will say I expected the walls of the basket to be a little taller, especially for my 6’2″ husband. It came up to my hip, so needless to say I held onto the ropes pretty tightly! I still found the courage to take a lot of photographs though. This was an amazing experience! Our hot air balloon ready for us to take off! I loved that it was right after sunrise, the fog looked beautiful against the mountains. Cory helped pack and put away the hot air balloon, I just took photographs of them working! We walked around some of the art district in downtown Asheville and popped in to some of the local artists’ studios to watch them work. My favorite was seeing the glass blowers work! That picture above happened completely by chance! We were about two weeks early on seeing the Rhododendrons in bloom, but if you are visiting Asheville from June-September, Craggy Gardens needs to be on your list. This trail would be covered in purple and fuchsia colored flowers every part you see the budding plants! It was still beautiful without the blooming flowers. We like to go close to the edge on mountains! Cory got a lot of “compliments” for his shirt on this hike in Dupont Forest! One trail and we saw three sets of waterfalls! Hooker Falls, Triple Falls and High Falls were all in about four miles of each other. PS – This is where they filmed one of the Hunger Games movies. Specifically, the scene where Katniss finds Peeta hiding and injured. Looking Glass Waterfall was roadside and a very popular spot! We still got to climb some rocks and have a little bit of distance from everyone else. Can you spot the rainbow in the photograph below? Some of our drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway on our way to Mount Mitchell, which is the tallest mountain peak east of the Mississippi River. You could smell the pine trees in this area, I am thrilled that we stopped alongside the road and explored a bit because these are some of my favorite photographs of our Honeymoon. A single Rhododendron plant in bloom! Cory took this photograph and many more of the photographs on our honeymoon! He is getting really good! There were so many pine trees with this higher elevation and you could smell them during the entire hike! We loved that! Don’t mind us, we are just kissing on top of Mount Mitchell, the tallest mountain peak east of the Mississippi River. (We had too, you can see us almost laughing too!) Our last hike was a couple of miles out and back to three different views of the Linville Falls at the Linville Gorge.
I hope you enjoyed these portraits because we enjoyed our honeymoon to the fullest! This makes me want to go back right away, because there was still so much else to do! I still have a lot of photographs from our cell phones of the city of Asheville itself and what we did there. I will be sharing those photographs of breweries, the city, some of our polaroid camera photographs and our tour of New Belgium Brewery in another blog post. Asheville, we loved you and we will be back!