Saturday, September 13, 2014

Home, Sweet Home

It's time for a vacation recap!

Just a few weeks ago, we had the most fantastic, adventure-filled vacation with our in-laws in Johnson City, TN. I wrote a little about it here, but wanted to make sure I cover all the glorious details in it's own special post. 

The trip began late on a Friday night. We drove 3 hours into Nashville and stayed the night at a room we booked on airbnb. 

We woke early the next morning and made our way into Johnson City just after lunch time. We relaxed a fair bit and then the in-laws took us to hear some music by the lake. 

The next day, it was Mass, Indian food buffet, and mountain "climbing", in that order. I put "climbing" in quoties because we let the car do most of the work. Our little hike to the top only lasted about 5 minutes. And then we had this view.


After chilling on some rocks, chatting with my sis-in-law and bro-in-law for a while, we started the lonnnnng, arduous hike down to our car. 



Kidding! It was easy peasy! And the views from the car while driving back down were gorgeous. Also, my sis- and bro-in-law's Prius got well over 100mpg on the way back down. Weeeee!

The following afternoon, which was Monday, we had the most delicious lunch at Tupelo Honey Cafe. Seriously, if you're ever in Johnson City, Knoxville, Asheville, Charlotte, Raleigh, Chattanooga, or Greensville (yes, I just looked up all their locations on their website), you MUST try it out! It's fancified southern food and it's fantastic. Mmmmm!

After resting our stomachs a bit, we met my sis- and bro-in-law for another outdoor adventure: paddle boarding! I'd never done it before, but they were excited about it and said it wasn't to hard, so we went for it. It looks exactly like this...

source

But that's not us. We didn't bring our phones out on the water with us, so no pics were taken. Still, it was a bunch of fun. You start off sitting, slowly work your way to standing, and paddle around the lake for an hour or so. Good stuff! And so peaceful!

The next morn, we woke fairly early and headed to Virginia for a day of country music. First stop: the newly opened Birthplace of Country Music Museum, where we learned about the famous Bristol Sessions and got to listen to lots of fun, old country music. There was even a recording booth where we got to try our hand (errr, voice?) at the tunes! 



And following that, we headed to The Barter (a performing arts center) for Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash. The actors were so spot-on and the music was fantastic!

Oops, blurry.

And after the show, we ended our little day trip to Virginia with a stop at Heartwood, an "artisan gateway" according to their website. It was mostly just lots of artsy stuff for purchase. We enjoyed posing in front of their sign out front...



We spent Wednesday afternoon at a small water park just one town over from Johnson City, the Kingsport Aquatic Center. We floated the lazy river for hours and jumped on the two big slides. It was a blast! I felt like a kid again and it was lovely.

Later that evening, we went to trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings and WON! Holy moley! To be honest, I only knew the answer to one question. ONE! Oops. I am most definitely NOT the best at trivia. But my father-in-law, sis- and bro-in-law, and husband are all pros as it turns out. We won a $50 gift card to Buffalo Wild Wings and it mostly covered all the snacks and beers we'd ordered. Wahoo!!!

The next day was a big one for my Johnny! He went in for an unofficial interview at the Children's Hospital there in JC!! While a lot of details are still up in the air, we're very excited at the possibility of moving closer to his family. More to come on that!

In the afternoon, we headed one town over to Jonesborough, TN to hear some live story telling at the International Storytelling Center. If you EVER get the chance to hear live, professional storytelling, please do go! It seems like it's a dying art form, but it most certainly should not be. So moving, so interesting, so entertaining! We heard stories from the very southern Michael Reno Harrell. Check out his site if you'd like to hear a sample of his very enjoyable storytelling.

That evening was also entertaining because... we did another Schopped competition!!! It was John vs. Me. Eeeek! The marriage being put to the test! The secret ingredients totally threw me for a loop: black eyed peas, mango, hot sauce, and cashews. Yikes! What would you have made with that??

Here's what we came up with...


John made black eyed pea sliders with a mango slaw.



And I made buffalo black eyed pea pinwheels. 

Still can't tell you who won, though. You'll have to wait for the video to find out! John's still working on it, so it may be a while, but it'll be worth it, promise. :) 

The next day we spent in Asheville, NC with my father-in-law. Oh my goodness, Asheville is a GREAT place for adventuring. There's SO so much to do and eat and see there. 

We started at White Duck Taco Shop for lunch. BEST TACOS OF MY LIFE!!! Killer salsas and margaritas too!!



Then we wandered for a bit because there were so many shops to take in!! We went into a massive shoe store, a men's clothing store (my husband like clothes shopping way more than any girl I've ever met), and then discovered the most amazing tea shop!!

DobrĂ¡ Tea.


I ordered this delicious treat...


And then taught my father-in-law how to take a selfie.


He LOVED his tea that looked like a beer.


We relaxed there for quite a while, then headed into the River Arts District part of town, where there are studios upon studios all open to the public. We looked at tons of great art, some weird art too, and purchased a neat little game called Zip It (from the makers of Bananagrams).

Our last stop in Asheville was at Urban Orchard Cider Co., recommended to us by the man we purchased Zip It from! I'm really not much of a beer drinker, but cider I can get behind!


Pretty, pretty cider! And, though we hardly had room in our happy tummies, we couldn't pass up their cheese platter...


Cider + cheese platter + Zip It = a lovely way to wrap up a lovely outing.

We returned home to this little monster...


He honestly turned into my best bud by the end of the week. I definitely wasn't a dog person going into the trip. (Not because they're not cute, I just didn't grow up around them.) But by the time we left, I was sad to say bye to my furry friend. Go figure!

I was also sad to say goodbye to these beautiful views!


UGH, MEMPHIS! Why are you so FLAT?! Mountains are way prettier!

After our day in Asheville, we had one last day with the fam and spent most of our time hanging out. My mother- and sis-in-law hosted a bridal shower at the house while John, my father- and bro-in-law, and myself went out for Thai food (mmmmm!) and played Dominion.


We went to Mass later that evening as a family and then enjoyed the rest of our time together by relaxing the night away.

So yeah, it was a most wonderful vacation! Can't you tell? :) And we're so so so excited to possibly be moving there within the next year. Only time will tell! John still has to officially interview at the Children's Hospital there and be offered the job. But I'm thinking our chances are pretty good! Eeeeee! And that's why I titled this post "Home, Sweet Home." Because chances are, those pretty mountains will be our home someday, and soon!


17 comments:

  1. Soooo much yummy food! Ah, you're making me jealous ;-)
    Glad you had a trip! And I hope things go your way with the job opportunity!

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    1. Thanks, Katie! I only realize once friends start commenting that I post way too much about food. Ha! Oh well. It was definitely a tasty trip. :)

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  2. Praying he gets the job! Mountains are much prettier, we love seeing our mountains every day :) All that yummy food and great places, it sounds like it was a great vacation! I can't wait to see the Schopped video!

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    1. Mountains are SO much prettier!! Yes! I can't wait to have them as my daily backdrop. :) And I also can't wait to share the Schopped vid with you!

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  3. What a great vacation. Beautiful views. We love trivia at BWW!!! Hope the job works out.

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    1. Trivia is great fun, isn't it?! I'm itching to go back already. :) Thanks for the kind comment, friend. And the well wishes!

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  4. So much fun! Looks like you guys had a great time! Love the picture from the top of the mountain! Definitely print that off and frame it! :)

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    1. Ooohhh, good idea! Thanks for the inspiration!!

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  5. Awesome recap! I loved all the food features.

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    1. I guess it's time to admit... I'm a foodie. :) Glad you enjoyed!

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    1. Thanks, Lucky!! :) Your vacation looked fantastic too!

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  7. That's it. I'm adding you to my blog list because I love the Appalachian mountains, I love good southern food, and I love east Tennessee (much of my childhood was spent in Bristol) and this post just has it all. I feel like it was written just for me. What a great corner of the world you found!

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    1. Maybe I *did* write it just for you. :P So happy you enjoyed!! And I can't wait to write more posts about beautiful east TN!! Bristol was such a fun little city! We didn't spend much time there, just enjoyed the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, but loved it!! Glad to have gained a new reader by writing about my new favorite part of the country. :) Hope I can capture it properly, especially once we move there!!

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  8. I agree that mountains are the best

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