After the triathlon last Sunday, Bill and I headed west to Asheville, NC. I had always wanted to stay at the Grove Park Inn, and we had seen a special in our local paper. We got a package deal for 2 nights stay which included various discounts throughout the resort. So, away we went.
We arrived around 5pm Sunday evening. We were supposed to have a double bed room with a property view, but my wonderful husband asked if there were any King rooms available. We were quickly upgraded to a king room in the newest wing of the resort, the Sammons Wing. We were on the 8th floor, so we had a spectacular view of the mountains and downtown. I immediately feel in love with the Craftsman style of our room and its wonderful amenities. We headed to the bar in the lobby (or Great Hall as it is called) for a few beers. We took our over priced brews out to one of the terraces to enjoy the stunning view. Soon, it was time for dinner, but we didn't have far to go. We were eating at the resort that night at The Sunset Terrace. We had a tasty dinner and got to enjoy the view some more before heading back to the room to call it a night. Remember, we had been up at 4:30am for the tri.
We woke Monday morning and enjoyed breakfast at the Blue Ridge room. After breakfast, I headed to the spa for what turned out to be the best spa experience I have ever had. The spa at the GPI is pretty amazing. It was built in the center of the grounds, partially under the ground. I received a tour of the spa which includes several different pools with different therapeutic uses. The main pool area is built to look like you are swimming in an underground cavern with rocks covering all the walls. I didn't have much time before my appointment, so I decided to try the contrast pool. You sit in a 103 degree hot tub for about 10 minutes, then immediately plunge into a 64 degree pool about 3 feet in diameter. It is supposed to improve circulation. It certainly got me moving quickly. After the plunge, I sat in the inhalation room with a cool peppermint towel on my face. Soon, it was time to head back to the fireside lounge for my massage. My therapist let me pick the scent of my massage lotion as well as the music we listened to during the massage. There were small extra touches along the way such as scented paper on the head rest and an eye bag for my face. It was a wonderful experience. Later in the day, Bill and I went back to the spa to enjoy the pools. We listened to the under water music in the lap pool, sat under the therapeutic waterfalls in the hot tub, and sat outside in the whirlpool while staring out at the mountains. Talk about peaceful!! We were able to go right to dinner after the spa since the water has no chlorine in it - it is all enriched with minerals to make your skin and hair silky smooth.
Before we hit the spa, we did take a tour of the historic park of the inn. The original building will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2013. We rode the main elevator that is built in to the side of the fireplace, and viewed the palm court lounge area. We also looked at the photos of the building of the inn - a remarkable feat that was done with one steam shovel and took only 1 year.
While in Asheville, we checked out some local beer houses, and found a great place called The Thirsty Monk. The Monk has 2 sections - an upstairs featuring brews from USA, and a downstairs featuring brews from Europe. We each enjoyed two tasty Belgiums in the downstairs bar and had dinner as well. I would recommend the Monk, and hope I get a chance to return. We headed back to the inn, and slept wonderfully with the open windows letting in the mountain air.
Sadly, Tuesday was our last day of vacation. We did start with a bang. We ate breakfast in downtown at Tupelo Honey, which we agreed was the best breakfast either of us ever had. With a quick stop in neighboring Black Mountain, our vacation was over. It sure was a great one, though. I hope we will have a chance to go back and stay at The Grove Park Inn again. I bet is is beautiful at Christmastime...