Traveling on a Budget: Boone, North Carolina

About six months ago, Morgan and I realized that, since our honeymoon, we hadn’t taken a trip together–just the two of us and for no reason–since we got married. Sure, we’d been to approximately 521 weddings, visited family, and gone on vacations with friends, but we hadn’t taken time out of our schedules to just escape and be, together.

Since then, we’ve made a pact. We’ll have a date weekly, go on weekend getaways every other month or so, and go on a vacation once a year. Dates can mean a frozen pizza and a RedBox movie…just intentional time for the two of us. Our first weekend getaway wasn’t one to write home about. We went to Washington, DC, I slammed my finger in the car door and then almost passed out in the Harris Teeter bathroom because I can obviously handle pain so well. We got lost in a parking garage and thought we’d be stuck underground for the rest of forever, and, to round out the trip well, we found ourselves smack in the middle of a student protest on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Let’s just say we probably won’t be returning to DC. My poor farmer husband was a total fish out of water. (But, if you go, we do recommend the Newseum! Best part of the trip by far.) We still had a blast laughing about how unfortunate the events of the weekend were.

This past weekend, though, we went to Boone, North Carolina. It was the best.

Our biggest hesitation in deciding to do this consistent-marriage-dating-thing was that we didn’t want to spend a ton of money–especially as we save for our vacation in November. But these trips are vital to us, and we realized that there is totally a way to get away and to do it without breaking the bank.

Where We Stayed:

Okay…so we probably wouldn’t recommend the resort we stayed at this trip. Whenever we go on trips, we look for places to stay in this order: 1. Groupon.com 2. Priceline.com and 3. VRBO.com. We found this place–called The Inn at Crestwood–on Groupon and jumped on the deal…especially because it included free breakfast and a free appetizer at the resort’s restaurant. Though the name sounds incredibly prestigious, it was far from it, but we had a comfy bed, pretty views, and free coffee all day in the lobby, so we weren’t complaining. Our Groupon also gave us a “villa,” which was just a fancy way of saying a hotel room that wasn’t connected to the actual hotel.

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Where We Ate:

This was the best part. We just love food. We got into Blowing Rock around lunchtime on Friday, so we stopped at the famous Woodlands BBQ. It was delicious, and I ate it too quickly to take a picture. Just your classic southern BBQ food.

That night, we headed into Boone to The Local, per a recommendation by a super sweet girl who was working at a boutique we shopped at earlier that day. It was amazing. The atmosphere inside was really unique with reclaimed wood on the walls and lights strung from the ceiling, and we were thrilled because they were playing the NCAA tournament all over the place. Morgan got a cuban sandwich on naan which was so bold of his burger-eating appetite, but he went out on a limb because we watched the movie Chef recently and he said he’s wanted to try a cuban sandwich ever since (it didn’t disappoint!). I got the Uber Veggie Flatbread which had the most tasty red pepper sauce over the top that made it just a tiny bit spicy and big bit wonderful. The environment was my favorite of the weekend. Did I mention that they were having a fundraiser event for a local homeless shelter? I nearly cried and hugged every single waiter when I saw that…too close to this emotional girl’s heart. After dinner, we sat around for a while drinking some local beers and watching the games (and people watching all the college students). The Local gets our recommendation ;).

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We ate at The Table on Saturday night, which was the restaurant inside the Inn at Crestwood. Morgan and I were one of 6 people in the too-close-and-intimate restaurant, so it felt like we were all sharing a meal without sitting at the same table or talking or making eye contact. The food was amazing though–we got fried green tomatoes for the free appetizer, Morg got a bison burger, and I got a chicken club. All the ingredients were fresh and local–and they tasted like it. Best part of the entire weekend was undoubtedly when, in that itty bitty little restaurant, the waitress took heed of my shameless comment that we were celebrating our birthdays (which took place last month) and sang “Happy Birthday” to us. Just her. To just us. We were serenaded–she obviously loved to sing, and we were her audience of the night. I was sobbing from laughing so hard. But we got free blueberry cheesecake out of it.

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What We Did:

When we got into town Friday, it was raining and dreary out, so I took the opportunity to beg Morgan to take me to the outlet mall. He obviously complied because he’s just the sweetest (and because I had a gift card to Loft). The outlets were nothing special but I’ll take any chance to shop that I can–especially those spring sales…can I get an amen?

We headed into the town of Blowing Rock and window-shopped all the precious shops. Both Boone and Blowing Rock have absolutely adorable downtown streets with tons locally-owned boutiques, restaurants, and craft stores. My favorite of the weekend was a store called “Take Heart” in Blowing Rock, which ran out of a tiny purple (maybe it was blue?) house in the middle of downtown. It had all kinds of paper products and girly things. And we talked with the women running the store for a while–they equipped us with maps, restaurant recommendations, and hiking trails to check out the next day!

On Saturday, after enjoying the hot breakfast buffet at the resort, we hung around and read for a few hours–well, I read. Morgan watched golf.

Everyone we asked told us to just hit the Blue Ridge Parkway and hop off wherever we wanted to hike. I thought they were giving us poor instructions, but, around Boone, the Parkway is chocked-full of hiking trails, so they were really right. And everything is gorgeous. We kept feeling like we were driving on flat land…until we realized that we were literally on top of the mountain. (I kept singing “I’m On Top of the World” which Morgan loved. Talk about a serenade.) We parked at Rough Ridge and did the 2 mile hike up one of the most gorgeous views I’ve ever seen.

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We also hiked around Julian Price Park and the Cone Manor. Nothing disappointed. It was my favorite part of our trip. We also had flawless weather, so that was a plus!

Sunday was filled with downtown Boone! We got coffee and read at Bald Guy Brew (good coffee! I like anything hot and full of caffeine, so I’m not the best to give a review of a coffee shop. But it did the trick!). We walked through Mast General Store, which is an iconic stop in Boone filled with tons of candy and outdoorsy things, and headed back home.

Our trip to Boone was just right. I think it’s important to sit at a dinner table with the person you love, making conversation that veers away from typical topics and gets to the heart of why you fell in love in the first place. We are so quick to get busy and forget to be intentional, and our weekend in Boone brought us back to the same page. I call it a successful (and inexpensive!) trip!

I bet there are lots of things we missed in these sweet small towns, so let me know what else we could do–because we’re definitely planning to head back down 77 to Boone shortly.

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One thought on “Traveling on a Budget: Boone, North Carolina

  1. Sheri says:

    Glad you enjoyed your visit to the High Country, and hope you’ll be back again soon. You’ll have to come out to Valle Crucis next time.

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