The Great Escape

The Grove Park Inn.

Matt and I ditched the kids after Easter lunch and started a mini vacation in the North Carolina mountains. We decided to splurge and make it an early 10-year anniversary trip and it was so, so lovely. We stayed at the famed Grove Park Inn, in a charming sixth-floor room (see those fun, curved windows at the top? That was us!)

It rained on us the entire way to Asheville. It was gray, chilly, decidedly un-spring-like. But we weren't too concerned because our plans for the day involved exploring the hotel and holing up at the spa. Before we ditched our jeans for robes, however, we got a celebratory drink and discovered the two most comfortable leather chairs in the entire hotel. They looked out over a gorgeous view, and were positioned perfectly by a vent so my toes were deliciously warm. I could have stayed there all day, but the spa was calling our name.

Best view in town.

Only the promise of a massage could make me leave this spot.
There are no pictures of the spa to insert here, because phones were not allowed. But you can go google the promotional shots yourself if you want an idea of how we spent our day (and money). Now, the spa is not cheap. You either have to book a treatment or pay for a day pass. But it is so, so worth it. Matt and I agreed that any trip to the Grove Park Inn has to include the spa, even though when I told him the price of our couples massage, he was more than a little taken aback. Ya'll, it was expensive. But now that we've experienced it... so worth it. Our massages were at seven, but we showed up at three to enjoy the many steam rooms, indoor grotto-style pool (complete with pool-side fireplace and LED "stars" twinkling in the rock ceiling), therapeutic waterfalls (they massage your back) and even braving the yucky weather to hang out by the outdoor pool (we cozied up by the crackling fireplace with our hot toddies). After all the relaxing, we headed further into the underground spa space for our soothing couples massage. I love spa atmosphere. So quiet and calm, zen music, everyone walking around heavy lidded and blissed out. If only I could recreate that at home. The massage was exquisite and capped off with a glass of champagne - cheers!

After the spa, we poured ourselves back into our clothes and headed to one of the hotel restaurants for dinner. We had a table outside (lots of fireplaces and heaters in this hotel) right by the balcony, which was fun. Dinner was delicious, and include the first of many "tiny beers" that we would have in Asheville. Day one was a complete success!

Tiny beer!
One of the fun things about Grove Park Inn is how historic is is. We stayed in the main building, which I highly recommend, in part because it means you get to ride the ancient elevator several times a day. The elevator is built into the massive stone fireplace in the main lobby, and is run by the most delightful staff. On our way up to the room, we got the suggestion to sleep with the windows open to get the fresh mountain air. And this is what greeted us the next morning!

What light from yonder window breaks! Fresh mountain air indeed!
Although this was the most sun we saw on day two. The clouds hovered ominously close, although we managed to escape the rain all day. First up on the agenda was grabbing some local doughnuts with an old friend from my grad school days who happened to be spending her spring break in Asheville too! How fun!

Doughnuts with Stephanie!
 Then Matt and I stuck around downtown Asheville, popping into the little shops, stopping for lunch (and more tiny beer) at a couple local breweries before finally stuffing ourselves full at dinner at the Tupelo Honey Cafe.
Hanging with these two dudes at Wicked Weed Brewing.

Tiny beer!

Happy ten years, you crazy kids!
Our last day, we signed up for the historic tour of the Inn, because we're dorks like that. But it was fun, informative, and a great way to end our stay. The tour includes info on all the famous people who have stayed at the Inn (everyone from Helen Keller to Margaret Mitchell to Mickey Mouse, and ten presidents in between), a look at the million dollar grandfather clock that's just casually hanging out in the lobby, and the legend of the Pink Lady ghost that supposedly haunts the place.

You can't tell, but this fireplace is big enough to stand up in. And the lobby boasts two of them.

Finally, blue sky!

One last look our our window.
And that was it! After our tour, we grabbed our bags and hopped back in the car for a much sunnier drive home. Short and sweet, but I can definitely imagine coming back here once I win the lottery and can afford to even breath the eucalyptus-scented spa air.

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