Asheville!

Yesterday: Miami. Today: Asheville. It sounds like I’m quite the traveler, doesn’t it? I’m a lucky, lucky girl.

But my story starts a little before Asheville.

We were scheduled to leave on Friday morning. I’m cooking dinner on Wednesday evening and I get a little text from my little E: “How long are you in Asheville?”

And the next thing I know, she’s bought plane tickets to land in Lexington in less than 24 hours. So I got a surprise run in with this girl:

The senior portraits we took are hilarious. She makes me smile so big that my face hurts.

We left Erin snoozing in our guest room Friday morning and headed to Asheville. We were going to meet Ashley and Dustin there.

I’ve been internet buddies with Ashley forever, but we’d never met. And I knew absolutely nothing about that adorable husband of hers. That just seems ridiculous to me now. Just ridiculous.

From the moment we exchanged hellos at the picnic tables at the White Duck Taco Stand, I knew they are our kind of people. Fun people. Nerdy people. Laughing people. Foodie people.

Shanghai Shrimp tacos and Duck tacos.

From there, we headed to the expo to pick up our packets. I think I squealed “HOW FUN ARE THEY?!?” to Nathan about a million times as we led the 2-car caravan. The expo was just big enough to be fun. The shirts were awesome. Our numbers worked. All was well.

We drove up to the bed and breakfast to check in. Yes, all four of us. Not only was I going to be running with Ashley, she was going to be sleeping right downstairs. It was like a slumber party! Nathan and I have stayed at the Crooked Oak Mountain Inn at least once a year for the last 8 years, so the innkeepers are like another set of parents for us. I missed Patti (she is in Italy), but that just means we have to go back soon.

We headed back downtown for the first trip to Malaprop’s (and the coffee shop) and to shop around a little. We ended up at Asheville Pizza and Brewery for dinner. Runners gotta carb-load, right? (And almonds on a veggie pizza? BRILLIANT.)

I don’t know what time we made it to bed. We spent a long time in the lounge at the B&B talking about ghosts and who knows what else. It was a great time.

Saturday morning started out pretty uneventful. We made it downtown in great time. Parking was easy. It was great. But the race? Whoa. (You can read my recap here.) Just let me tell you that it was really really hard and I think Ashley summoned the great Miranda as she approached the finish line with both middle fingers flying and “I hate you both for making me do this!” It was a great time.

And then Dustin bought us all coffee and pastries at Malaprop’s and life was good again.

After showers and naps all around, we headed downtown for dinner. (PSA: Don’t plan on wearing heels the evening of a half-marathon.) Curate was just absolutely amazing. This a second visit for the Bentleys. It won’t be our last. The food was just crazy amazing. Tapas just come out as they are ready. And we ate lots and lots. Everyone off everyone’s plates. And from everyone’s glasses.

Crazy good gin and tonic

chorizo and potato chips

my favorite dish anywhere: watermelon and tomato salad (with melted cheese on the bottom)

The boys supported us tipsy girls down to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge where Nate and I shared this crazy Chocolate Stout Cake. It is the stuff that dreams are made of.

Sunday, I found myself in a beautifully lit room.

And breakfast was craaaazy good.

more shopping (and my third salted caramel latte in three days). I bought some artwork for my cubicle (that will eventually be moved into my home office). Ashley got surprised by some jewelry. It was a great morning.

And then lunch started with Moonshine.

As always, Salsa’s was amazing. There are no words for this sweet potato concoction smothered with mole sauce. Just no words.

The sad thing about lunch? Nathan and I had to head home right after. Saying goodbye to Ashley and Dustin kinda stunk. But I know it is only a matter of time before we meet up in Asheville again. And just a matter of time until we are neighbors down in the River Arts District.

Ahhh, Asheville.