Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Happy Anniversary...

The Facts

We went to Lake Lure, NC for our one year anniversary.

His Side

One year. Sadly, a lot of marriages don’t even make it that long. That puts us ahead of the curve, I guess! To celebrate that, we took an extended weekend trip to Lake Lure, NC. Why Lake Lure? Because “why not?” It’s secluded, pretty, relaxing, and we could get the hotel for free. Thanks, Mom and Dad! Also it’s not that long of a drive. 

Since check-in wasn’t until later, we decided to have a lazy morning and sleep in. Sleeping in, these days, really just means 8:30 or 9:00, but that’s okay. We had a leisurely morning, dropped Fletcher off at my mother-in-law’s, and hit the road around 1:30 or 2:00. The drive wasn’t so bad to be honest. We just chatted and listened to music. But, when we finally got there, things took a very negative turn.

Another reason (which I didn’t mention) for choosing Lake Lure is because we could get a king bed and a whirlpool tub. These are two things we did not get on our honeymoon last year, so we wanted to be sure we got them this year. When we checked in and went to our room, though, we found a queen bed and a whirlpool tub. That was unacceptable. Now, before you call us divas, think about how you’d feel if you specifically chose accommodations to have certain things, got excited about those things, confirmed that you had those things TWO DAYS BEFORE CHECK IN, and then didn’t have those things. It’s not a good feeling. Also, the room smelled like a damp, dirty basement. 

Needless to say, we were very discouraged; but, with some phone calls and a good bit of waiting, we got moved to a suite with a king bed and a whirlpool tub. And it was a very, very nice place. We were more than happy with it and excited to finally be able to unpack our stuff and prepare for our dinner reservations that night. 

Dinner was at The Treetops in the Lodge at Lake Lure. Fancy is a good way to describe it. Delicious is another good way to describe it. It is literally the best dining experience I can remember. It helped that the company was great! We had to get to bed at a reasonable time, though, because we had signed up for a ziplining excursion the next day, bright and early. 

You can read more about the ziplining experience in our last post; but, to sum it up:  it was a blast! The rest of the day was spent relaxing at the pool and playing some mini-golf as we waited for our scenic boat cruise to take off that night. I love a good boat ride. Being on the water is relaxing and I absolutely love it. Kristi doesn’t share my enthusiasm. It means a lot to me that Kristi was willing to do the cruise, though. She even suggested it! She’s just lovely like that. 

On the cruise we got to see some ridiculously fancy houses on the lake, learn a little about the history of the area, see the alcove where a lot of Dirty Dancing was shot, and see a lovely sunset. I found it very fulfilling and Kristi didn’t hate it. That’s a win! After the cruise, we had a low-key evening relaxing and cooking our own dinner to save some cash. 

The next day we became outdoorsy people (which we aren’t). We had planned to go to a diner my brother-in-law told us about for breakfast, but we were pretty lazy in the morning and didn’t get out of bed early enough to make it to breakfast. We were okay with that. So, instead, we went for lunch. The cool thing about this diner is that it’s on the Blue Ridge Parkway which is a very scenic, winding road. There are a lot of nice overlooks to stop at and it’s just a beautiful drive. The food and service were great, too.
portions of Dirty Dancing were shot here

After lunch, we headed to another landmark suggested by my brother-in-law (and some folks on our ziplining trip):  Sliding Rock. Here, you wait in line a long time so that you can slide down this super smooth rock into a freezing cold swimming hole. And I mean FREEZING! Doesn’t sound like fun? Well, it is. We only slid down once, but it was worth the trip.

Once we toweled off and warmed up, we got directions to a state park where we planned to hike to a bunch of waterfalls. It turns out we only hiked to two waterfalls because neither of us are huge hiking fans and it was hot outside. The waterfalls we went to, though, were gorgeous and it was a nice trip; but, both of us were ready to get back to our home base. We had been driving a lot that day and wanted to relax.

We relaxed with some s’mores on the beach. The place where we were staying had organized a bonfire on the beach and it was the perfect way to finish out our trip. We watched the sun go down over the lake while enjoying some always delicious s’mores and chatting with some fellow vacationers.

The next day, our blissful trip had to come to an end… sort of. We had to leave Lake Lure, but we still had another day off from work. So Monday was a little “staycation.” We didn’t really do anything which was perfect. Simply not having to work and getting to spend the whole day together was fantastic. Going back to work on Tuesday wasn’t as fantastic, though.

I couldn’t have asked for a better year with Kristi or a better way to cap off that year than the Lake Lure trip we took. I look forward to many more years with Kristi by my side and many more anniversary trips!

Her Side

It seems like just yesterday that Nolan and I were finishing preparations for our quickly approaching wedding. Our wedding day went by way faster than I expected, but I didn’t think that would spill over into the first year. It has flown by! I have now been Mrs. Collins for one whole year… that’s crazy to me, and I certainly wouldn’t change it for the world. A few months back, we started planning an anniversary trip because, after all, I think one year of being married is definitely something to celebrate. As sad as it is to say, there are a lot of folks who don’t make it to the one year mark (I’d presume they didn’t take the sanctity of marriage very seriously). So, we wanted to get away and just celebrate US. We picked a location but had no idea what there was to do there, all we knew is that it was within a reasonable driving distance and would provide some relaxation. Leading up to our trip we talked about what we might like to do but ultimately didn’t commit to anything and decided to be spontaneous the whole time!

Our trip destination was in the mountains of North Carolina and, to be more specific, we went to Lake Lure (a super tiny town that you can miss if you blink… no joke). Our reservations began on a Thursday; but, unfortunately, we couldn’t check in until later in the day. So, our morning was spent lazily starting the day (I wish everyday was like that) and slowly packing up Fletcher’s stuff to take to my mom’s since she graciously agreed to watch him while we were gone. Once we finally decided to hit the road, we had to prep ourselves to say goodbye to Fletcher. He’s just a dog, right? WRONG! He’s like our child, so leaving him was a quasi-big deal to us… well, me. But, once we finally said goodbye, we were on our way.

We arrived at our destination and discovered that the room we were given did not check off all of our boxes. We chose a room with a whirlpool tub (because we don’t have one and the tub we do have is basically only comfortable for a small child) and, more importantly, we chose a room with a king bed. What can I say, we like our space! Well, when we opened the door to our suite, we discovered that it did have the whirlpool tub, but did not come with our requested king bed. Also, it smelled like mildew and stale air. So, we weren’t staying there. After a number of calls and complaints, we worked it out and were moved to a two bedroom unit that was MUCH better and I’d even say we loved it!

Our first night in Lake Lure, we decided to go out to a fancy dinner. Nolan had done some investigating and found a spot to which he was told he HAD to take me. I’m so glad he did, because it was the most delicious meal with the most amazing views of the lake. By the time we were done with dinner, it was time to get back to our place and relax. Before we could relax, however, we had to decide about our adventures for the next day. We both expressed interest in ziplining, so we looked into places and settled on one that seemed to have the better and more adventurous course (albeit more expensive… go figure). We booked it and paid the fees online and got in bed because our day would have to start ridiculously early so we could make our 8:30 am ziplining adventure!

Our zip lining adventure started out rocky, but ended with smiles stretched across our faces. By the time we were done, we were starving… so we started the 30 minute drive back to our place and devoured simple homemade sandwiches as fast as we could. I am fairly confident not a word was spoken between us during that meal… how awkward! Even though our morning was spent outdoors, the weather had been wonderful. Once we got back to our place, the tune had changed a bit and it was HOT. So, we decided that we would take a quick jaunt to the resort pool before getting ready for our evening plans.

If you know me, you might know that I HATE wearing a swimsuit in public. I’m not model skinny and I definitely have some meat on my bones. I’m not suggesting I’m ashamed of my body, but let’s be honest… we live in a world where women are told they should look a certain way and be a certain size… one I’m certain not even one of my legs would fit into. All of the “good chairs” were taken by those wanting to get some sun, but not too much sun; basically, they took all of the desirable shaded spots. So, we opted for chairs that were closest to the least populated section of the pool. I dropped my stuff, took off my swimsuit cover up and pretty much ran, er, briskly walked to the edge of the pool and got in immediately. The water was brisk but oh so refreshing! We commandeered an unpopulated corner of the pool and did some serious people watching:  one of our favorite pastimes!

Once pool time was over, we had to get ready for our evening excursion - a scenic boat cruise around Lake Lure. Fun fact about Kristi:  I don’t like boats. I don’t like boats for the same reason I don’t like planes. Because I can’t immediately step out at any time and be on solid ground; also, I’m not a fan of waves rocking the boat. It FREAKS me out. Nolan has become accustomed to this, but I assure you he still thinks I’m crazy. Well, the boat ride turned out just fine, although the water got bumpy a few times and I had to squeeze Nolan’s hand to keep my cool. By the end of the boat ride, I didn’t want it to end since the views were gorgeous and the breeze on the water was incredible! But, all good things must come to an end, right?

Our final full day in Lake Lure started with a ride up to the Pisgah Inn (a fantastic place to eat with great views) along the Blue Ridge Parkway. My brother suggested we get there for breakfast but, since breakfast is only served until 10:30am and it was about an hour and a half drive to get there, we opted to get up there in time for lunch. The drive up was full of twists and turns, literally… oh and a bunch of tunnels. I guess that’s kind of what you have to do when you build a road in the middle of a mountain range, huh? After our lovely lunch, we decided to go to Sliding Rock where you slide down a HUGE smooth rock into ice cold water. Now, I don’t know what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn’t what we saw and experienced. There were tons of people and an extremely long line to walk up the rock and slide down. Again, I tried to talk myself out of sliding down the rock. I didn’t want to be in a swimsuit in front of people and the thought of ice cold water gave me flashbacks to that time myself and a bunch of cousins and family jumped into the canal in Kuna. What I remembered was that it was frigid. Well, I sucked it up and made my way to the top of the rock and like the cute couple we are, Nolan and I opted to slide down the rock hand in hand (I know… how lame, right?) We slid down the rock and the breath was quickly knocked out of each of us upon the realization of how cold that water actually was. Once was enough for both of us… now that’s something we could agree upon.

Sliding Rock
Next, we decided to do some small hikes and see some gorgeous waterfalls. Again, I wasn’t expecting there to be so many people and I certainly wasn’t expecting to get winded while on our journey to see the waterfalls. The parking lot was packed and we had to “hike” up a long hill, that we admittedly stopped hiking halfway up because we are THAT out of shape.

We took the winding roads back to our place and got cleaned up and ready for a marshmallow roast on the beach at the resort. I love marshmallows so, as soon as I heard about it, I was IN! I was curious as to why only marshmallows were being roasted, but was pleasantly surprised when we got to the beach and discovered we were doing the whole sha-bang. S’MORES! Music was playing and everyone was enjoying the delicious s’mores. What a wonderful way to end our anniversary trip.

This trip has been a conclusion to a wonderful first year of marriage together. I’m thankful for every day that I have spent with Nolan. If you were to ask me a year ago what I thought marriage would be like, I would have no idea what to tell you. It’s a lot harder than I expected, but that’s not a bad thing. I actually consider that a great thing. If it were easy, it would be easy to take for granted. Instead, when you have to work for something you appreciate it much more.

So, like our vows said a year ago… Nolan, I STILL promise to encourage you, inspire you, and stand by your side for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health for all the days of my life. I will forever be there to laugh with you, to lift you up when you are down and to love you unconditionally through all of our adventures in life together… and I hope there are many more to come!

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