If you read the Banner Birthday blog from earlier in the year, you would have seen Cameron mentioned that he would return the favor in September for my 30th. And that he did!
What was supposed to be a surprise trip, ended like most Camera Couple surprises...ruined. We aren't good at keeping surprises from each other and it makes it kinda tough. With a few good clues, I guessed ahead of time what Cameron was "brewing" up. Ha! He had planned us a weekend getaway to Mills River, NC to go to the famous Sierra Nevada Brewery.
We left on Friday afternoon with the plan to avoid traffic, but Charlotte traffic like usual, had other plans and decided to delay us a little longer than we hoped. After an exhausting stop and go drive, we made it Friday evening to Mills River... and our air b&b didn't disappoint. It was even on Adventure Trail Lane...perfect for the weekend. We were staying on someone's home property. They were building their main house, but they had a studio above the garage. It was a nice little spot tucked back in the woods and there was even a beautiful pond area to look at.
After letting Luna settle in and try out the bed and the couch to make sure they were going to be up to her standards for the weekend, we browsed some food options in the area. We saw Mills River Brewing had some live music and some good looking food options, so we decided to give it a try. When we got there, it was PACKED. We almost turned around, but I convinced Cameron and Luna we should at least go see what the hullabaloo was all about. Turns out the space was a lot bigger than we realized and the entire back area was open. There was a cool stage in the woods and a very empty outdoor bar just waiting for us to give it some patronage. We spent the evening chatting with the band about gear and enjoying some beers in the woods. A perfect start to birthday weekend!
The next morning we woke up and sipped some coffee on the little deck. We had no set plans, other than we did have a brewery tour lined up at 1:00PM at Sierra Nevada. After scouting the map we decided to take a little drive up the road to a town called Brevard. Cameron and I had wanted to see the town because it was a contender for maybe a place we would want to live. It was a short drive from the rental house so we set off early. Unfortunately, Brevard is one of those cute little tourist towns, so you have to pay to park in the historic downtown. We found a spot big enough for ole Eugene and set off on foot to explore the shops.
We came across some fun little knick-knack stores, but the two stars of the show are definitely MANtiques and Sully Steamers. MANtiques was so cool. If you're ever in the area of Brevard you need to check it out. It's a wild collection of antiques that are just so well displayed and unique. And it's 4 floors! It's a really rare and cool experience. That's part of our love for traveling, we find these places that are just so neat.
After a few more shops, we were a little hungry and running out of time before the tour. We happened upon Sully Steamers and figured, why not grab a bite? Oh baby...turns out, I could have had a lot more bites. If you're lucky enough to see this bagel sandwich chain, you have to try it. They have so many variations of sandwiches all on incredibly soft, steamed bagels. It was so good! With our bellies full in Brevard. It was time for the next birthday weekend activity! Beer!
We headed off to Sierra Nevada for our brewery tour which Cameron had arranged in advance. When we got to the brewery it wasn't just a building in a parking lot. It was a massive copper gate arch that you drove through. Then you went around a round-about and followed a beautiful wooded road before pulling into what was one of the most beautiful buildings I had ever seen, and I'm not just saying that because it housed a lot of beer.
We had a fabulous tour that was just shy of an hour and ended with some delicious tastings. We got to feel hops, see how the beer was made, and learn all the history of the brewery. What is so neat about Sierra Nevada is it's still family owned. Their culture and innovative ideas radiate throughout the property. I don't even know how to describe it. To understand the magnitude, you just have to see it in person. After the tour, we roamed the grounds. The gift shop had a bar in it, the restaurant smelled amazing, and the outdoor gardens had flowers, games, a massive outdoor stage, and more outdoor bars. Honestly you could spend an entire day and not get bored. I understand why they call it the Willy Wonka factory of breweries!
Unfortunately, the restaurant was packed since it was a Saturday, so we decided rather than wait for a table we would head home and eat dinner enjoying our quiet house in the woods. It was absolutely a "brew"tiful weekend and I can't thank Cameron enough for a memorable 30th birthday trip!
He likes pizza.