Beach house was always my go-to answer. But somehow, in the past three or four years, I've grown a real adoration for the ease and serenity of the mountains.
We took a few days off of work to go up to the mountain house and get some real R+R as a family. No friends, no other family members, no elaborate plans ... just some good ol' fashioned family bonding.
We arrived in Boone around lunchtime and stopped at one of my very favorite spots, Coyote Kitchen.
The restaurant is small and the menu is so creative. My favorite menu item is the Taos Boat which contains rosemary chicken, crumbled cornbread, black beans, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted corn, fried plantains, roma tomatoes, chipotle cream cheese, and scallions, all topped with melted jack cheese. It is as delicious as you are imagining.
After lunch, we arrived at the house, unpacked, and then headed out for a big grocery store trip to hold us over the next few days. Dinner that night was grilled steaks, bacon caesar salad, and roasted carrots with thyme.
Ian slept in a little the next morning so the baby and I held down the fort in the kitchen. I baked some banana bread the evening before that we had with sausage and eggs each morning.
Thursday was probably our most adventurous day. We went into Valle Crucis and hit up the Mast General Store.
Afterwards, we were so excited to try lunch at Over Yonder after hearing rave reviews from my friend and food blogger extraordinaire Allie. This farm-to-table "Appalachian kitchen" absolutely lived up to the hype... and beyond. We were both really impressed with our meals -- I ordered the tomato cobbler and Ian had the chicken fried chicken. The menu and decor reminded us of Husk in Charleston. We didn't have any drinks, but the cocktail menu looked phenomenal. We will absolutely be back.
After lunch, we drove to Linville Gorge to take a hike to the different waterfalls. It was the perfect way to get in a little movement and spend some time outside.
Back at the house, we all played around a bit before it was time for the baby to hit the hay.
Dinner that night was Brunswick stew and gelato for dessert. The Sea Salt Caramel was the winner by a landslide.
So, I'm the worst at pool ... our game back home turned into a game for Camille. She got more in the pockets than her mama did.
We were excited that night to try out a local gas station's chicken and waffles. Gas station food is usually scary but we happen to love the breakfast sandwiches from the little griddle inside this one -- so we knew we trusted them. Five bucks a plate. Freshly-fried chicken and the biggest homemade waffles. So incredibly amazing!
Saturday was chilly and a LOT of fun. We happened to be in the mountains for Blowing Rock's annual Winterfest festival. At 10am they had the Polar Plunge where groups went one by one, jumping in the frigid water at Chetola! (ps, Ian looks so handsome ... this was his late father's hat.)
It was just so cold out, so we warmed up a bit in the lodge at Chetola and then drove in to the main street of Blowing Rock. We dipped into a few stores to warm up, bought a few little items, and tried on some clothes.
Those boots Camille is wearing above were a Christmas gift from her Aunt Laura :) And she was in fleece-lined jeans from my mom!
Before the sun went down Saturday, we drove to Grandfather Stables with a bag of carrots and introduced Camille to horses. She was in awe; it was really cute.
Our days were full and we accomplished our mission of having a good balance between adventures and much-needed relaxation -- naps, couch-time, card games. With an eight-month old, we had to plan carefully; we didn't want to throw off her routine too much. We generally had relaxing mornings together, then she would go down for a nap around 9:30am, Ian and I would use that time to get ourselves ready for the day and pack up the diaper bag, and after she woke up we would leave the house. She takes another nap around 1:30/2 so if we were out we just tried to make sure that nap occurred in the car. Otherwise, we were home in time for her afternoon nap. She was delightfully adaptable :)
We took a few photos with Drake before heading home as he hasn't been in the best health recently. He does love the mountains and we were happy to see him enjoying the sunshine before we jumped in the car to head back home to Charlotte.