Romance in the Carolina’s

By on October 19, 2012
The Grove Park Inn Hotel arial view

By Carol Doyel –

My husband and I took a wonderful road trip for our anniversary last fall from Louisiana through Georgia, to North Carolina where we stayed in Ashville, onto South Carolina  where we visited the great town of Charleston, returning to New Orleans. Our primary destinations, the Carolina’s.

The foliage display of turning leaves through the southeast was breathtaking! Starting from northern Louisiana through the Carolina’s, the beauty was endless with many opportunities for side trips and stops along the way.

fall scents for your home

Greenville was one of such stops made on the way to North Carolina. Set among the hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the northwest corner of South Carolina, Greenville with a population of just over 60,000 and 400,000 in the greater metropolitan area, has the feel of a small town but offers plenty to do both indoors and outdoors. From the Liberty Bridge, a 355 foot pedestrian walkway with views of the historic waterfalls nestled in the heart of this downtown location to soaring views from the mountains, the attractions are endless as you’ll discover at the Greenville Convention & Visitor Bureau website.

We continued on to our first destination, Ashville, North Carolina where we stayed at the incredible hotel, The Grove Park Inn, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Grove offers sweeping views of the hills and mountains that envelope the area, with vistas from just about anywhere on the property as well as inside of the hotel.

If you’re looking for a retreat spa getaway, The Spa at The Grove Park Inn – Ranked as one of the top 5 hotel spas in the country by Travel+Leisure,  is beyond any that I have had the pleasure of experiencing. The Spa is separate from the main hotel and sits in the heart of the property which can be accessed from the almost magical hallways leading from the hotel or from the monolithic stone stairways that lead down to the entrance of the spa from the main lobby area better known as, “The Great Hall”, where my husband and I enjoyed sitting in the large oversized rocking chairs in front of the “great” fireplace.

 

This is not a spa to visit for one treatment or an hour or two, but one you’ll want to make sure to allow plenty of time or an extra day so not to miss this special feature that makes The Grove Park Inn so popular; as described in their downloadable online brochure. The spa is over 43,000 sq. ft. in size and offers guests many options from mineral pools with soothing underwater music and therapeutic waterfall pools, saunas, a spectacular outdoor whirlpool, and exhilarating contrast pools, a lap pool, an inhalation room,  a eucalyptus-infused steam room and men’s and women’s Relaxation Lounges. While visiting the spa I enjoyed one of their signature Body Treatments.

There are many dining options within the hotel, our favorite The Sunset Terrace with great food, good prices, and views of the property and the mountains that leave you breathless. While in Ashville we enjoyed a city tour that departs from the Visitor Center and visited the infamous Biltmore Estate, I recommend you do both, but if time is limited you definitely want to make sure to tour the Biltmore estate. But if you do, you’ll want to plan a minimum of a half-day and maybe pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at one of the many beautiful spots on the property. Before hitting the road, we enjoyed a hearty breakfast at a local downtown Ashville restaurant of which there are many to choose from.

Upon leaving Ashville we headed south towards South Carolina making our way to Charleston, taking highway 26 towards Historic Hendersonville and the Village of Flat Rock. Henderson County is the largest apple producing county in North Carolina and the fall is a perfect time to make your way through this apple growing region where you can buy apple cider at one of many roadside markets or plan your trip during one of many fall festivals during the harvest season that starts in Sept. and runs through Oct. Then it was on to Columbia, the Capital and largest city of South Carolina, where history abounds and there’s something for everyone. This city boasts everything from museums, historic homes, repurposed buildings, shops and restaurants. Unfortunately we were only able to stay one night due to our schedule.

Arriving in Charleston we sensed the southern ambiance and the grandeur that this city is known for. Charleston was named the number one city in the United States and Top Destination in the World by Conde’ Nast Travelers 2012 Readers Choice Awards. A city known for its rich history, heritage, well preserved architecture and southern hospitality! From the city life to the beach life, there is endless opportunities to explore many popular attractions that bring people to this area. In Charleston you’ll find harbor tours, walking tours, and horse-drawn carriage rides, we choose to take the horse and carriage ride from the Visitor Center.

 

The highlight of our visit was our stay at the famous Charleston Place, located in the heart of downtown Charleston. While staying at Charleston Place we decided to try the award-winning restaurant, the Charleston Grill, where we celebrated our wedding anniversary and enjoyed an incredible evening of romance, music, and food, with a world class Jazz ensemble playing in the background, a linen draped table next to a window overlooking a small courtyard, and top notch service. The Restaurant offers a menu divided into four categories, “Pure, Lush, Southern, and Cosmopolitan”, we decided on the “Lush” that consisted of a selection of entrees including Maine Lobster, Grilled Lamb, or Beef Tenderloin. My husband decided on the Beef Tenderloin and I went with the “Buttered Poached Lobster Tail, Sautéed Claw”. Both prepared to perfection, the lobster melted in my mouth, deserving the name “Buttered Poached”. I savored every bite and between bites sipped on a selection of paired wines that the maître d’ suggested. By the end of the evening my husband and I were convinced that this was by far one of the finest restaurants we’ve had the pleasure of visiting and the food was superb!

In addition to our fabulous stay and dining experience, I was able to visit “The Spa at Charleston Place”, where the spa manager met with me to give me a personal tour and I enjoyed a spa treatment before departing to make our way home, relaxed and refreshed after our stay at the Charleston Place- One that will not soon be forgotten!

This was a memorable and romantic road trip, one that I would highly recommend doing during the fall or late spring, and both Ashville and Charleston are great places to visit during the festive holiday season as well.

 

Carol Doyel is Editor-in-Chief and Founder of LivingBetter50.com. She is a graduate of The Full Gospel Bible Institute and has a passion for women’s ministries, issues and lives. She and her husband of 28+ years have three grown kids and four grandchildren.  Her desire is to inspire other women to live better physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.

About Carol Doyel

Carol Doyel is Editor-in-Chief and Founder of LivingBetter50.com. She is a graduate of The Full Gospel Bible Institute and has a passion for women’s ministries, issues and lives. She and her husband of nearly 30 years have three grown kids and four grandchildren. They currently reside in southern California. Her desire is to inspire women to live better physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.

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Romance in the Carolina’s