We didn't save the top layer of our wedding cake, because we had a giant tower of cupcakes instead of cake. Not knowing then that we'd be living on the other side of the country now, we'd figured we'd just pick up fresh cupcakes from the same bakery on our anniversary, instead of eating freezer burnt ones.
These ones weren't quite as amazing as our wedding cupcakes, and they didn't travel so well with the crazy amount of frosting piled on top, but were still pretty dang good.
If only we still had our cupcake tower to put them on, then they would have been even better.
But anyway, we packed up the cupcakes we didn't eat Saturday night, and drove out to the Northwest corner of North Carolina, to the cabin I'd rented in the mountains.
And I use the term "cabin" loosely. It was from a cabin rental website, but it was much more like a luxury vacation home (and for $165 a night, it was a serious steal!).
It was raining when we first arrived, so you can't see the amazing views out the windows very well in these photos. But I had to get pics before we unpacked and messed up the place!
(The kitchen was amazing, and I think I'm in love with Electrolux appliances now!)
About 20 minutes or so after we arrived, it stopped raining, so we could go out on the wrap around deck and enjoy the views.
And we finally figured out why the Smoky Mountains got their name, from the smoke-like fog after the rain.
The skies were still a little grey, but we decided to hike the steep 15 minutes down to the Yadkin River that marked the edge of the 10 acres our cabin was located on.
(I don't know what I did to take this cool swirly photo, but I think it's kinda neat!)
After a few minutes checking out the river, it started to get really humid and the fog rolled in.
And while debating if we should hike around a little more or not, thunder started rumbling in the distance, and we decided to start the steep hike back up. Which was a good thing, because within minutes we were getting poured on, which quickly turned the trail into a stream that we splashed and slipped through back up to the cabin. Thank goodness I had my water resistant camera pouch with me, but it was a real struggle to get back up the mountain, and I about lost my contact lenses with all the rain in my eyes.
We decided that it must be tradition though, to get completely soaked though every year, because last year on our honeymoon in Kauai, we got caught in another downpour and had to hide under what was most certainly Craig T. Nelson's house.
This year we didn't take any photos of us dripping wet, because I was more concerned with getting inside without ruining the rugs, and fixing my contacts. But here is the the aftermath:
But clouds move quickly in the mountains, and a while later it stopped raining for the evening, so we could again see the pretty views, hang out on the deck, and check out one of the best parts of the cabin: the hot tub!
The next day of our trip was our activities day, and we were so glad it was Monday, so there were a lot less people at our stops than there would have been normally on the weekends. Our first stop was the Blowing Rock, which sounded a little cooler on the website, but the views were still amazing.
Next, we drove over to the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, and stopped at the Linn Cove visitor center for a little hiking.
The hike wasn't very strenuous (even in the heat and humidity that I'm not used to yet), and the best part was that we didn't see a single person the whole hour and a half!
A shot of the mountains in the distance, taken from the Blue Ridge Parkway as we were driving to our next stop:
And our next stop was Grandfather Mountain. Which was also pretty cool, but definitely not as grand as places on the west side of the country, like Yosemite. Also, it was quite expensive at $15 per person; we thought $15 per car would have been much more reasonable.
The best part was the mile high swinging bridge:
(Trying not to get blown away in the gusty winds, as I stood with my back to the drop off!)
Even the views from the parking lot were stunning!
Does this curve in the road look familiar?
How about now?
(Poor quality screen shot from YouTube)
We drove around a curve that Forest Gump runs up in the movie!
We also saw a lot of animals during our trip, which deserve a post of their own, so I'm moving on to the next day of our trip. Which was our "relax and do nothing" day. Mainly a lot of sitting on the deck, looking at the gorgeous views, BBQ'ing and hot tubbing, with a fair amount of wine drinking mixed in!
I could look at that view every day and not get bored of it. Which is evidenced by the about 1,000 photos I took in three days, but I'll spare you from many more today. Just these last two photos of the sunrise I caught our last morning in the mountains.
This was definitely a great first experience vacationing in our new home state. And it was made even better by all the animals we saw, which deserve their very own post (spoiler alert, there was even a lil' babeh deer sighting!).
It was also great to just experience how hot it was (not too bad, actually) in the mountains in June. We have three more weekend trips planned this summer, but no camping, because I wanted to get a better feel for the weather before I commit to a weekend in a tent with no AC. But I definitely think as long as you get a shady campsite, we would have been just fine in a tent. So that means it's time to start researching camping trips for next year, since I'm sure everything this summer is already booked up!
And there isn't much that gets me more excited than travel planning, even just planning for little camping trips!