Kyle and I celebrated our 5th anniversary and his 26th birthday last week with a road trip to Asheville, North Carolina. It was quite an adventure, filled with moments of happiness, suspense, hilarity, sheer terror, and natural beauty. We indulged in gorgeous mountain vistas and delicious creative food while driving and hiking our way through Virginia and North Carolina. I’m thrilled that we drove 1108 miles together and made it back alive and more in love than ever (awwww…). It was an unforgettable weekend and it all started just steps from our front door.
Spring has sprung in Richmond!
We headed out late on Wednesday morning with a goal of making it to Roanoke, VA before dark. We drove past Charlottesville, VA (one of our favorite places to visit on the weekend) and made our first stop in Afton, VA at Blue Mountain Brewery. Afton is about fifteen miles away from Humpback Rocks, the site of our very first hike together which we completed exactly one year (to the day) before this trip. Kyle requested a beer tasting and lunch for his birthday and I obliged.
At Blue Mountain, the beers are always delicious and the veggie pizza is heavenly. The pizza usually features seasonal and local ingredients. Blue Mountain often tops the veggie pizza with greens or herbs from the greenhouse across the street – it doesn’t get much more local than that!
After BMB, we looked at the time and realized we were ahead of schedule. Great news – we had time for another tasting! I drove down the road to Devils Backbone Brewing Company and we sat down to enjoy a tasting of 12 beers at their beautiful copper bar, with views of the brewery through the glass windows directly in front of us.
We didn’t like the beers here as much as the brews at Blue Mountain, but what DB lacked in taste and complexity, they more than made up for in the scenery. When you overlook the prevalent use of taxidermy in the decor, you realize the brew pub is quite cozy. While it isn’t our favorite, I have a feeling we’ll be back. We did have a great bartender and some good beers.
Side note: I feel that it would be irresponsible of me to leave out the following information about this trip. I had very small sips of the beers that I tasted and was careful to remain sober so that I could be an alert and responsible designated driver. I do not recommend that you take on these tasting flights in their entirety if you plan on driving. Kyle got more than his fair share so we could safely get to our destination and he could catch a birthday buzz. 🙂
After the second brewery, we made our way to the beginning of the Blue Ridge Parkway and drove 112 miles, stopping to snap photos along the way.
The weather was a perfectly sunny 70 degrees F and we cruised with the sunroof open, listening to our favorite songs, and enjoying the breathtaking views. After two or three hours (I don’t remember), we arrived in Roanoke, VA, where we checked into our hotel and drove downtown for some vegetarian sushi and small town scenery.
We rolled back to the hotel after dinner, making one final stop at Cold Stone Creamery on the way. Cold Stone is a very rare treat for us; I don’t think we’ve had their ice cream since last July. I felt that Kyle deserved a birthday cake, but baking or buying a cake for just the two of us wasn’t really feasible, so I treated him to a Birthday Cake Remix at Cold Stone. We didn’t really worry about the impact of the indulgent day on our waistlines because we were in for a mountain hike early the next morning. Plus, we were celebrating!
The second day of our road trip was a long and adventurous one. I’ll just say that parkway closures with no marked detours are never fun. But the hike was beautiful and I can’t wait to share pictures with you in my next post!