Over the July 4th weekend, Nate and I embarked on our most ambitious trip yet since having Gabriel.  Our plan: Drive to Asheville, NC and stay 1 night (2 days), drive to Brevard, stay 2 nights, drive to Lake Junaluska, stay 1 night (2 days), drive home July 4th night.  And ya’ll, we did it!! And it was the most fun trip and I couldn’t have imagined it going any better!  Gabe did amazing – better than we thought he would and we were so impressed by him!

I grew up in NC and spent a lot of my summers and holidays up in the Asheville area at my family’s mountain house at Lake Junaluska.  You guys, Lake Junaluska is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and every time i’m there, I am just stunned by it’s beauty.  I have spent probably 25 of my 31 July 4th holidays there and it was incredibly important to me that Gabe have his first one there too….even though he won’t remember it!!  I’m an insanely sentimental person and even more so now that I’m a mama!  Tradition runs thick in my soul and I want to instill that in my kids!

The drive to Asheville is about 6 hours and Gabriel did wonderfully.  Once we got there…he was ECSTATIC!  He was rolling and flipping all over our hotel bed!!  It was actually pretty hilarious!  Here’s some shots of him playing on his first hotel bed!

And we laid a blanket on the floor (anyone else grossed out by hotel carpet?!) and he was able to play.

He is SO darn cute I can hardly stand it! He is SO darn cute I can hardly stand it!

We set out to explore Asheville and headed to one of Nate’s favorite breweries..Wicked Weed.  They have a great outdoor space and during the summer they have a cucumber beer…and I always look forward to that!  **So thankful for Baby Led Weaning..because Gabriel loved chewing on a cucumber!  AND my Wildbird sling…Gabriel lived in this on vacation and we couldn’t have done nearly as much without it!

The next morning, we got up, found a cute little beignet place (Bebette’s Beignets) and then headed over to our go-to breakfast place, Early Girl Eatery.  Honesty moment: the food there is delicious…but we really just go for their housemade hot sauce. Later that day our friends, Ashley & Brandon met up with us and we grabbed lunch and headed down to Brevard!

I have ALWAYS wanted to stay in an Airbnb!  I’ve been a little obsessive about it…but since Nate travels so much, we always end up using hotel points when we travel and I never get to stay in an Airbnb!  But Brevard is so little, we weren’t able to find a hotel to fit all of us, so we opted for an Airbnb and it was everything I dreamed of! ha! I’m hooked and I’m on the hunt for our next Airbnb!

We explored Brevard and went on a hike (it is SO much harder to hike with an 18 pound baby strapped to your chest!! sheesh!) We planned on going to Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, and High Falls.  But we only made it to the first two.  Gabe was so tired and we really needed to get him back for a nap.

Going to Lake Junaluska was actually pretty emotional for me.  Through all our time of trying to conceive, and the years leading up to that, I have dreamed of my kids “growing up” at our mountain house too.  Taking my first born was something that affected me in a way that I didn’t anticipate.  I had three things on my agenda: 1) Take Gabe to see where his granddaddy is buried. 2) Take Gabe to the cross where his daddy proposed to me 3} Give Gabe his first sink bath.  Well, I chose not to go to see my daddy because I knew I wasn’t emotionally ready to do that.  Next time, I’ll be more prepared!. We didn’t make it to the cross because the bridge was closed and we came in another way.  And then we ran out of time!  Again, next time!! BUT we did give Gabe his first sink bath!  This was important to me because, as you’ll see below, we have a picture of me (and my cousin Jordan) taking a bath in the same exact sink 30 years ago!  This was so fun and he made a MESS in the kitchen with all the splashing, but it was worth it!! (Side note: In the photo of Gabriel you’ll see the mallard with the miniature garden tools….in the photo of me on right behind my head, it’s the same duck with the same garden tools!  It’s something I’ve never given a second thought to, but I know if it weren’t on that window sill…I’d notice and miss it!)

When we were kids, this tree was like a cave and we played under it all the time – now it’s actually trimmed and taken care of like a real bonsai tree and it is so pretty!  I had to get a picture of Gabriel under the same tree his mama played under so many years ago!

The July 4th Parade & BBQ are a big deal up there!  gabe did great with the parade – he watched all the cars and floats go by (and mommy scored a crunch bar! ha) and then we walked down to the BBQ where we had lunch and listened (and danced) to some live bluegrass music! It was so much fun!  Here are a few more pictures from us hanging around the house and the parade!





Courtney & Jesse  |  A Riverside Maternity Session


Gabriel’s First July 4th at Lake Junaluska | A Personal Post

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