Grandfather Mountain near Linville, North Carolina!

While in Boone, NC Andrew and I decided to explore Grandfather Mountain. When we arrived at the park entrance, we paid $20 each for a ticket which included a few brochures explaining the history and a CD to listen to as we drove up the mountain. Both were informational! 

While driving up Grandfather Mountain, we noticed picnic areas and little shops. We drove to the first parking lot which gave us the option to hike up to the Mile High Swinging Bridge. The trail was very rocky and it was pretty cold and windy. We literally raced to the top of the summit so we could go into the gift stop to defrost before heading out to the bridge. 

Since we arrived so early to the Grandfather Mountain, we had the entire place to ourselves! It was so fun to act like little kids running around the Mile High Swinging Bridge with nobody to judge us. It was also kinda romantic to be alone and to experience something so beautiful! 

The Mile High Swinging Bridge is America's highest suspension footbridge. 

There was so much more to do at Grandfather Mountain but Andrew and I had plans to head to Asheville, NC so we didn't stay long. Plus, it was just too cold to hike any other trails. 

 

Luray, VA

Andrew and I went to Luray, VA to explore the Shenandoah Valley. The Valley is at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains so needless to say, the entire trip was beautiful. We went in November and the leaves changing colors and the air had a cool breeze. We chose to go to Luray because I went there as a child and I always talked about the spectacular views and all the outdoor adventures. We grabbed a map and headed to the Skyline Drive! It was absolutely beautiful.

 

We explored Luray Caverns which is the largest cavern on the East Coast! The caverns are indeed a natural wonder... the history of who discovered them and how is truly amazing. When you walked through the cavern you feel more skin to an unearthly experience. 

 

 

We also hiked Stony Man Mountain in the Shenandoah National Park. The hike was short and pretty easy!  There were three really awesome overlooks and there wasn't many people.We also went to the Car and Carriage Caravan Museum and the Luray Valley Museum. They were both pretty small and didn't have much to really offer but it was worth learning about the history of Luray. 

Here is a picture of the Luray Singing Tower! It is 117 feet tall and contains 47 bells. It recitals every 45 mins throughout the spring, summer and fall. 

 

We also went to Bear Mountain Zipline! It included 7 ziplines which totaled to 2700 ft of line. The last 1000 ft stretch brings your out over a meadow. It was mine and Andrews first time on a zipline so we were both unsure about the experience but by the end of the course we were pros! 

Outer Banks, NC!

Family vacations are my favorite! All 10 of us got together to enjoy a long weekend in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The woman slept in the camper and the men(and fur baby) slept outside in a tent. It is always a good time when we all get together. We laugh so hard and just really have a great time. We spent most the time on the beach or watching my dad grill! Check out my photos from our family vacation at the Outer Banks! 

New York City, New York!

My family decided to take a small weekend trip to NYC! None of us had ever been and it was only an 8 hour drive... so why not?! We stayed in Staten Island because it was cheaper and cleaner hotel wise and the hotel was also located on the Coast Guard base. We took a ferry back and fourth to get to the city each day. We spent every possible moment exploring and eating.. lots of eating. We had a great time learning about the city and seeing different landmarks of famous movies such as Home Alone. The city is crazy busy all the time and I felt rushed everywhere we went. However, I would go back to the city again. It was beautiful. Check out the photos I captured while in New York City! 

Baltimore, MD

My mom and I decided to have a girls weekend in Baltimore, MD when Andrew's cutter was porting into the Baltimore Harbor. It was a great excuse for us to explore and it was even better that we would see Andrew! Although Baltimore is getting a lot of bad publicity right now, the city is still beautiful! We didn't really leave the touristy areas but we had a great time exploring Baltimore. Check out the photos! :) 

Pancake Pantry in Nashville, TN!

We woke up around 5:30am to head to Nashville. When we finally arrived we were starving so we headed straight to the Pancake Pantry. It was rated the number 1 breakfast spot in Nashville, so we couldn't pass up the opportunity to decide for ourselves!

We got there just in time... after we sat down, a line started to form all the way around the corner of the building! It was only a Wednesday morning... I couldn't imagine how busy it can be on a Saturday. 

It was really hard to us to decide what we wanted to order... everything sounded so good! Ugh, we finally narrowed it down to two options. 

I ordered sweet potato pancakes. I love all things sweet potato. The Pancake Pantry also had homemade cinnamon syrup. It was soooo good! Andrew ordered a casserole filled with hash-browns, ham, cheese, peppers, and egg. It was much better than mine... I was kinda jealous but my pancakes were delicious!

Central BBQ in Memphis, TN!

Before we left Nashville, Andrew and I decided that we wanted BBQ for dinner... so I started researching on my cell phone. I simply googled "best bbq in Tennessee" and boom!, Central BBQ came up. We decided to leave Nashville around 3pm, and head to Memphis. It was only a 3 hour drive... and boy was it worth it!!

We waited in line in the pouring rain for about 20 mins! I didn't realize that there would be a line out of the door... but I guess if you are the best then people are willing to wait.

Andrew and I were STARVING! I think it didn't help that we stood in line and looked over the menu a hundred times either... We decided to get different things so we could share everything with each other. 

The environment of the restaurant was so much fun too! They had a bar, inside sitting, and also a large barn connected to the restaurant filled with picnic tables. It was Memphis style for sure. 

Andrew and I decided to sit at the bar. I just love the service you get while sitting at the bar and how you can mingle and talk to the people around you.

We ordered a appetizer... BBQ chicken, cheese, and jalapenos nachos! Oh. My. Gosh. They were absolutely amazing! We hadn't eaten an actual meal since breakfast so we destroyed these nachos within minutes. 

Our food came out so fast. I ordered BBQ pulled chicken with slaw, baked beans, and green beans. It was absolutely delicious! Hands down the best BBQ of my life. 

Andrew ordered half a rack of ribs, pulled pork, and pulled chicken! He chose mac and cheese and onion rings for his sides. Mmmm it was so good! I'm glad we decided to share with each other so we could try everything on the menu. When we left, we were so full it literally was painful. We then decided to walk down Beale Street to help our stomach settle.

Romans in Asheville, NC!

Roman's sandwich shop was highly rated in Asheville, NC. After leaving Grandfather Mountain, Andrew and I drove straight to Roman's to eat lunch before we headed to the Biltmore Estate.

While waiting for our food, we ordered a beer to share and started to map out of day in Asheville. The town was really unique with it's sense of style and what it had to offer. We decided to walk around downtown to check out the architect and local shops after we ate. 

Andrew ordered a burger topped with mushrooms, bacon, onions, and cheese. He loved it and refused to share a bite with me. 

I ordered the veggie burger with a side of fresh fruit! It was the best veggie burger I have ever had! 

If you ever get the chance to explore Asheville, NC you must stop for lunch at Roman's!