This past weekend, Matt and I enjoyed a wonderful long weekend away to celebrate our wedding anniversary!
Hard to believe it’s been 3 years since we tied the knot. <3
We celebrated by spending the weekend in and around one of our favorite spots – Shenandoah National Park. We’ve been hiking that park together now for 10 years (whoa), and our engagement even went down at the top of one of the mountains, so it’s safe to say it’s “our place.”
The Shenandoahs put on their best face for our visit. The weather absolutely amazing all weekend, and the trees are starting to change, making everything even more vibrant and beautiful than usual.
Each year on our anniversary we’ve been staying in this area but mixing up our location slightly. For our first anniversary, we went back to Rosemont Manor (our wedding venue) and then on to Fort Lewis Lodge, where we did a mini-honeymoon right after our wedding. For our second anniversary, we stayed at the adorable Sugar Tree Inn. And this year, our location of choice was a cute and cozy B&B called The Iris Inn.
Beautiful views while porch sittin’ and a great breakfast, too. We loved it!
We spent most of the weekend hiking because the weather was so amazing. We drove down from DC on Saturday afternoon and headed right to Shenandoah National Park for a little late afternoon/early evening hike up Hawksbill Mountain. The summit is the highest peak in the whole park at 4,050 feet, and we had never hiked it before – time to change that!
Sidenote for my fellow Virginia hikers – my mom got us this awesome Hiking Shenandoah National Park book (affiliate link) for Christmas last year and it has come in so handy. It groups hikes in terms of mile on Skyline Drive (the main drag through the park), and also notes best hikes for views, waterfalls, families, etc. and short hikes, long hikes, and so forth. Highly recommend!
This hike was short – only about 2 miles round trip (straight up and then straight down, basically) – which was perfect since we knew we didn’t have a ton of daylight left. By the time we got up there, it was so lovely we decided to stay and wait for the sunset. Sunset on a mountain top = basically the most amazing thing ever. So peaceful.
As soon as the sun said its final goodbye, we raced back down the trail in the remaining light. We made it back to the car just before it got totally dark, which was good since we didn’t plan ahead and bring a headlamp!
Sunday’s adventure was a horseback ride via Rebel’s Run at Afton Mountain! We booked this adventure through our B&B, and didn’t know much about it besides that we should report to the stables (about a 15 minute drive away) at 10:30 a.m.
It ended up being so much fun! Matt and I were the only ones going that day, so it was just us, the stable owner (Mimi), her dog, and one of her best students (a sweet 10 year old girl). We started the ride in the woods on some beautiful shaded trails, and about 20 minutes later we popped out in a pasture.
Then, we stopped at a winery – Afton Mountain Vineyards! The others hung out with the horses and relaxed while Matt and I got to go inside and do what we pleased – which was obviously a wine tasting!
After the tasting, we each got a glass of wine (Gewürztraminer for me!) and headed outside to their picnic tables to enjoy the view.
We also got some food since it was lunchtime!
Lunch of champions – baguette + sausage + cheese + wine. It was perfection.
After lunch, we headed back out on the horses! I love horseback riding – so much fun, and the horses they gave us were very gentle and sweet.
Highly recommend taking a ride with Rebel’s Run if you’re ever in the area. 🙂 Such a fun time – we didn’t want it to end!
On Sunday afternoon/early evening, we headed down to a spot called Sherando Lake which one of the other couples staying at the B&B had recommended to us at breakfast that morning. We were so glad we checked it out – the colorful trees paired with the reflective water made for an amazing sight.
We hiked the trail all around the lake, and then sat for awhile and enjoying the stillness and each other’s company. There’s nothing more restful for me than being in nature. <3
As for dinner, we decided we should probably have more sausage and headed over to a spot we discovered last year and loved: Edelweiss German Restaurant! This is seriously the most random and awesome place ever – it’s right off the highway in the middle of nowhere in Virginia, and you go in and are suddenly essentially in Germany. There’s an accordion player, the lights are dim, and the restaurant is warm and cozy. Great food, too.
For our final day, Monday, we had a lazy morning before checking out of the B&B and heading north, back to Shenandoah National Park, for a couple more hikes to round out the trip. We decided instead of doing one longer hike to do two shorter ones with fun rock scrambles and nice views, since it was such a clear day.
First stop: Blackrock Summit! This was about a 1.5 mile loop, and the views at the top were awesome. We ate lunch (from a grocery store in town) up there, too, while enjoying the views.
Our next and final stop was a bit farther north along Skyline Drive: Bearfence Mountain. This was another short hike to a beautiful summit, but it had some fun rock scrambling for a lot of it, which we love. 🙂
Perfect end to a great weekend! Thanks for the awesomeness, Mother Nature. We owe you one. 🙂
What’s your idea of a perfect weekend away? Mine always involves hiking/outdoorsy adventures with Matt, beautiful weather, and wine. This weekend nailed it!