After many, many weeks of anticipation, the time had come for our annual spring break trip with Kel, Paula, and the girls. Two years ago, country fun in Nashville. Last year was snowy Vermont. This year we were keeping it warmer, we hoped, in beautiful Asheville, NC.
Buds had flown up to work with the Virginia crowd the week before the trip, so he hitched a ride in the K + P party van while the kids and I drove over from Nash.
We had a tasty stop at Steak and Shake on the way.
Fries and Dragons.
Buds and Paula found the house during extensive online searching, and the minute we all saw it, we knew it was the one. We had too many bodies for beds, but the Buster was great about sleeping on an air mattress, so all was well.
The house was way up a gravel road.
We were first to arrive at the house, so we quickly unloaded, then explored.
We’d been waiting at the house for awhile, and finally connected on the phone with Kel. They were lost, or had been lost, and had been attempting to drive the van up a 90 degree hill, but they were back on track and not far away.
Here they come!
The house was a delight for all of us.
Monkey had her own secret space downstairs:
Swinging bookcases are cool!
In front of the closed bookcase.
Buds and I had the yoga studio on the very top floor:
Paula’s photo of the view out our circle window.
The daytime view
Our round window from the outside.
The indoor slide was used by nearly everyone:
And the landing at the bottom of the slide was another great play space:
The bedroom the younger kids shared had a beautiful custom loft:
The tree house was a hit:
Inside the treehouse.
There was even a tire swing up on the hill that looked like it would launch you into space:
A Bets and a swing.
View from the swing.
We had time by the fire:
And time on the porch:
Delicious meals were made (mostly by Buds and Paula), including scotch-blocked (spatch-cocked?) chicken.
K + P are great about getting out and exploring, and always offered to include our crew in their adventures. (Buds worked all week, and I worked a couple of the days, so our schedules were varied.)
They took the younger girls out to the Nature Center:
K and Monkey had a great time ziplining with Paula along for the photographic historical record.
B and Yessa had an outing to a “Paint Your Own Pottery” spot:
The Final Product.
One of my favorite parts of the whole week was when the adults would gather on the couches each evening to have a drink and share stories: The Blond Assassin, Paula’s path into computers, retelling the story of our early relationships, kid stories, parent stories, dreaming of the future, where should we go for Spring Break next year…I loved them all.
I was dying with anticipation to show everyone The Biltmore, and that trip was fantastic! Plus, thanks to Kel and Paula having sports team shirts, we got $10 off each admission! That makes baseball worth it!
Monkey was sooo happy to see that rowers have been around a long time.
An awesome shot Paula caught of flying stuffies.
My favorite room.
The Youngers enjoyed the audio tour.
Passing time at the end of the tour.
A display I loved at the end of the tour that showed what was blooming in the extensive gardens that day.
The nearly-whole crazy lot of us:
Might have been a little bright that day.
We had a picnic lunch after we left the house. Paula asked around and found an awesome spot on the lagoon on the far side of the property. We were joined by a very pushy duck and goose. They obviously had enjoyed human food a time or two.
Another day was spent hiking at a couple awesome spots Paula hunted down for us. (Do you see the trend here?)
Two different waterfalls, great, easy hikes, and some fun climbing and splashing.
Kel wanted to look tall.
A butterfly looking for sanctuary in Kelly’s sleeve.
Buds and Monkey stayed home to work on hike day, so they met us at an awesome pizza restaurant at the end of the day. The pizza place used to be a movie theater, so tons of character, and fun old-school video games.
Dividing up the tokens to play.
Monkey’s eyes are closed because she hated the video on the screen.
Buster had a chance to serve as “Dungeon Master” as a few folks played “A Faerie’s Tale,” something he has wanted to do for a very long time.
Much giggling involved.
One night we headed into town to explore. Asheville has the first indoor mall, Grove Arcade, which is beautiful. (Buster was a little disgusted to find the use of the word “arcade” being used in the old-school sense.)
This is not your teenagers’ mall:
Monkey and I wandered into a fantastic bookstore that had a wine bar/restaurant, and all sorts of amazing nooks and crannies for meetings and settling in with a book.
Before we headed to Curatè for our dinner reservation, we joined the protest of an atrocious state law that was passed while we were in town.
Dinner at Curatè was deliciously delightful. I’m glad we got to share with our beloveds. As a tapas place, we shared plates and plates of food.
Buds makes a strategy.
We attended church on Sunday morning. The Associate Minister was a former intern at UUCF, and it was a delight to see her and hear her message.
Other great meals were had at awesome restaurants. (All of which, I’m pretty sure, were discovered by Buds and Paula. Kel and I are along for crowd control.)
Waiting to be seated.
Waiting to be seated, again.
Our last breakfast together.
And finally the week drew to a close with happy hugs and loving tears:
All the shades of red.
And a few of my last favorite shots:
I love how our families mesh together. I love that they love our kids as they are, and vice versa. I love that Paula took the vast majority of these pictures and doesn’t mind me posting them (though we need to get her in many more of them in the future), and finally, I love that we have so many ways that we are alike, and so many ways that we are different, and our friendship continues to grow and deepen.
I miss much about Northern Virginia, but these four are what I miss the most.
Now, where shall we go next year?