David Turns 40! A Birthday Celebration at The Grove Park Inn

40 years old; what a milestone to be celebrated! David’s birthday was last week and we began the festivities at home and then took off and had a birthday celebration at The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, a place that is so special to us.

We have a tradition of the birthday honoree picking the meal and the dessert on their birthday. While David was working (and while his awesome colleagues were covering his car with balloons and decor-hilarious!), the girls and I baked a carrot cake, decorated, and prepped for his simple meal request- buffalo chicken sandwiches and tator tots. When he arrived home we filled the late afternoon and evening with a birthday workout (apparently we are those people now…), bourbon on the porch, dinner, singing, cake, and presents. 

On Friday we loaded up the car to surprise him with our getaway destination. We love the historic Grove Park Inn and have so many happy memories there, ranging from when we were young and newly engaged to a snowy December Christmas trip as a family.

We arrived late afternoon, settled into our room, and headed to our early dinner slot at 4:45. The hotel is very on top of safety protocols and since North Carolina has a curfew and social distancing guidelines in place, I grabbed the only dinner time available. It turned out to be ideal for us though, as not only did we get a beautiful view of the sunset, but we were hungry since we had missed lunch.

The Edison is such a great family spot. David and I split beer flights (I highly recommend the Burial Brewery Surfwax IPA), the girls tried and devoured octopus (Kaitlyn really enjoyed isolating the suckers on her tongue), and a hearty burger hit the spot.

After dinner we took our Settlers of Catan game (yes, we travel with board games) and set up in a comfortable corner lounge area overlooking the mountains. One game later, we all decided to hit the hay. It’s so funny how well we travel together as a family right now. The girls (ages 9 and 6) don’t need a strict bedtime and David and I prefer to be earlier to bed when we can, so typically we all call it a night at the same time when traveling, which makes a hotel room work just fine for us.

The next morning we woke up to the girls peeking out the window, thus allowing sunlight to flood into the room at 7:30, but it was so sweet to hear them exclaiming it’s so beautiful! I agree, girls. The mountains are my happy place.

We headed into Asheville for breakfast. We decided to roll the dice and see how long the wait was at one of the most famous Asheville breakfast spots, The Early Girl Eatery, and to our delight, we were being seated a mere 15 minutes later. It was a great breakfast, from our bubbly waitress to hot chocolate for the girls, to my sweet potato and spinach cakes. A great start to our Saturday!

After a hearty breakfast, we were ready to move our bodies… or should I say that the girls really needed to run off their chocolate pancakes! We took the Sunset Trail to the sports complex at The Grove Park and reserved a tennis court. They have three indoor courts and you can reserve one for $20 an hour. It was a great choice for us because the girls have been into tennis lately and they have huge baskets of tennis balls, meaning we were able to pack a lot of playing, and less chasing balls, into our hour.

Afterwards we played racquetball, let the girls swim in the heated pool, and even spent  few minutes in the weight room playing around with the equipment we don’t have in our makeshift home gym.

We cleaned up in the late afternoon and I tried to keep my cool for a surprise I was super excited about- Mema and Grandpa were coming to meet us for dinner! Obviously David had no idea, but I didn’t tell the girls either just to ensure it would be a secret. The look of joyful disbelief and surprise when they met us in the lobby is one I won’t forget. He couldn’t believe it and the collective laughter and excitement really set the tone for the evening!

We had 5:15 reservations in The Blue Ridge Room, one of the prettiest views in the hotel. It’s usually a buffet style, but is altered a bit right now to a set up where each station is manned and you wander to each and request what you would like. The food was fantastic and the girls were over the moon getting to try it all. The crab legs were the biggest hit of the evening for Hailey, and the dessert station was the definite winner for Kaitlyn.

After the girls ate, they went back to the room to cozy up in pajamas and the adults stayed out chatting until close to 10:00. It was such a special evening!

The next morning we spent a few minutes sitting by the oversized fireplaces, soaking it all in. Then we enjoyed a hearty breakfast with Mema and Grandpa at The Moose Cafe on our way out of town and hugged each other goodbye.

It’s hard to believe that the first birthday I celebrated with David was 18 years ago, just a couple months into dating, and now we’re here toasting to my best friend, the man who loves us and takes care of us so well, and keeps me laughing and looking for the next adventure. I’m so grateful we were able to make it a special weekend for him, and for us all. 

Happy birthday to my babe! <3

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