Part 1: CollegePlus and first meetings
Stephen’s Story: Part 1 – Noticing a Proverbs 31 woman
Part 2: Second meetings and big decisions
Stephen’s Story: Part 2 – A deepening friendship & surprising messages
Part 3: When 1,935 miles apart gets cut down to 15
Stephen’s story: Part 3 – Becoming an Arkansan
Part 4: A boy, a girl, and a ring
Stephen’s story: Part 4 – A Proposal and a Resounding “Yes!”
Part 5: How I orchestrated our own engagement pictures
Part 6: Our Wedding
We left the next morning after our wedding, amid freezing rain and chilly winds, after chasing a few balloons that escaped from our car (thanks to our bridal party) when we were loading up. Stephen was so wonderful and let me sleep most of the drive up to North Carolina. What a blessing. What’s crazy is that we drove through SNOW when passing through Tennessee. In APRIL….
By the time we got to Otto, NC, it was quite dark. We made a few wrong turns trying to find our cabin, but we finally pulled up the steep, rutted driveway around 9:30 pm. Our cabin was a gem of a find on Airbnb, with three floors, a deck, master room balcony, and plenty of space. Plus a California King size bed. It was kinda great.
Part of our plan was to turn our cell phones on airplane mode while we were gone. We wanted to unplug as much as possible and didn’t want any distractions. It almost worked against us, because with airplane mode on, the time didn’t change. Which can result in a rushed morning when you suddenly have only 15 minutes to get ready for church, when you thought you had almost an hour. 😉
Our plan for the rest of the week was to enjoy the hiking and waterfalls that NC has to offer. And it didn’t disappoint. Monday dawned slightly rainy and chilly, but we simply bundled up and set out anyway. The best part about it was that we were the only ones on the trails that day. 🙂 We drove up meandering roads and higher elevation, my ears popping all the way. The amount of roadside waterfalls were amazing!!
The first stop was Dry Falls, which is a waterfall that you can walk behind!! That was SO cool. 🙂
Glen Falls was my #2 waterfall/hike of the entire trip. This triple waterfall hike was so gorgeous. Each waterfall was slightly different and the sound was amazing. There was such a wonderful woodsy smell as we hiked under a canopy of trees and down the mountain. I kept taking deep breaths, and I could’ve just stood there and smelled the entire day.
One of our favorite things to do together is eat (so cooking is pretty high up there too), and we had lots of fun cooking all of our meals. The only mishap was when we put some ingredients in the crockpot for soup Monday morning, turned it on, and then came home to find out that we forgot to plug the crockpot in. 😉 That was a night of improv supper that turned out pretty good 😉
This is just a sample of the kind of breakfasts we enjoyed. Sweet potato bowls, granola, fried potatoes with avocado, dragon fruit (a first for both of us!) and homemade chicken broth to drink. YUM.
Tuesday was our long drive hike. We drove first to Soco Falls and hiked down the short distance to the bottom holding on to ropes. The mist rising up from the falls was so mystical. (see what I did there??)
Our next stop was the Frying Pan Tower, located on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Ever since I first saw a picture of the Frying Pan tower back in 2016, I knew I wanted to go. And once I showed Stephen, he was all in. It’s not even marked as a trail, so if you want to go, you have to be in the know. 😉 The mile hike up the hill is SO worth it. The tower is simply a metal lookout tower, with 6 flights of stairs giving you the most incredible view. The road shown in the picture below is what we were driving on just minutes before…. It was so crazy.
And this shows the Frying Pan Tower and just how high up we were…
All too soon it was time for us to leave our cozy cabin and head back home. But we had a couple stops to make first.
Burgess Falls State Park came highly recommended and after seeing pictures of the waterfalls there, I knew we would want to stop. This was my favorite hike of the entire trip and I think everyone should stop here if they have the chance. I’m going to stop talking now and simply let the photos do their job.
One last thing: This overlook was closed because of FLOOD DAMAGE. Do you see how high up we are??? I can’t imagine the amount of water and power it would have if the flood waters came this high. That’s something else that we kept marveling at during this entire trip. The power of water, the sound it creates, and the force it has to shape rock and just the sheer amount of water that is constantly flowing. While on the Parkway we couldn’t help but think about how much work we had to do simply to see this small amount of mountains. We had to drive, hike, and climb just to get a bird eye view. Yet our Heavenly Father can see all of this and more in an instant, without any effort.
After our hike, my new husband took me out to my favorite burger restaurant in Nashville, Burger Up. So delish. The next morning showed our real reason for stopping in Nashville. Breakfast at First Watch. By far my favorite breakfast place. We both agreed that it was good that we don’t have a First Watch in Arkansas. We’d be there wayyy too often. 😉
Yes. We are now those people. We have the wife and husband t-shirts. Don’t hate.