After our August 25th wedding, Dan and I hadn’t exactly planned on going on a honeymoon right away. Our plan was to be patient and wait until our last days of work before taking off on a year-long adventure. Except planning a wedding proved to be more stressful for us than studying for the P.E. exam. There were no right or wrong answers when planning our wedding which led us to over analyze and under commit on every decision until the very last minute. After our wedding weekend, we were ready to get away for what we’re calling our “mini-honeymoon”; a trip to Smith Mountain Lake and Floyd, Virginia – two places we’ve had our eyes set on but at 5 hours away, a little too far for a quick weekend trip.
Day 1: The Roadtrip Down
We took our time getting down to the lake, stopping at the Cavalier Store (actually a restaraunt) in Lynchburg for burgers. A true dive with AMAZING fries. WORTH THE STOP. Once settled into our Airbnb at Bernards Landing (a restort community on the Smith Mountain Lake), we relaxed on the beach and swung in hammocks.
Day 2: First Fight As a Married Couple
We slept in HARD. We then head over to Smith Mountain Community Park to launch our kayak. We paddled out to three different locations. At the 2nd location (Smith Mountain Lake State Park) we got in our first marital argument. It was over somebody not packing the hammocks when PERFECT hammock trees were abundant. Not a bad first argument to have. We got over it pretty quick when we realized we could sit on our PFDs for cushioning and enjoy our lunch. The third location was our favorite. We had a beach completely to ourselves. After all that paddling, we were exhausted. We paddled back to shore and drove over to the community pool, which we also had to ourselves. We popped a bottle of champagne and watched the sun go down.
Day 3: Caught in a Storm
We woke up early and drove to Smith Mountain Lake State Park for a quick hike. The Turtle Island trail took us out to a peninsula with gorgeous views of the lake. Because it was early and the wind hadn’t picked up yet, the water was placid and the angle of the sun made the water appear a deep green color, similar to what we saw in Palaway, Philippines. We couldn’t believe this was Virginia! Afterwards, we hung up our hammocks and took a nap in the park.
Later in the evening we launched the kayak again, this time at a launch point near our airbnb, so we could watch the sunset on the water. Clouds were coming in which made for a colorful show. As we sat in our kayak, we noticed all the fishing boats were heading to shore all seemingly at the same time. We thought it was a little odd but then we saw a flash of lightening. A few moment later we heard the thunder. We watched a storm form in the distance like it was another show on caveman television. We kept an eye on the storm and figured we had plenty of time to paddle back to the car before it got close to us. While the storm was in the distance, the wind wasn’t! We paddled with everything we had against the wind and made it back to the car just in time! We watched the storm roll in from the safety of our balcony.
Day 4: Appalachia at Its Greatest
It was check out day. We weren’t ready for our mini-honeymoon to be over, so we booked a camping spot at Chantilly Farm Campground in Floyd, VA. We stopped at the Booker T. Washington National Monument for a few hours and walked around the planation Booker worked on before being freed from slavery at the age of nine. We stopped at the Homestead Creamery for the tastiest icecream before making it to the campground. It was starting to rain so Dan and I enjoyed a few beers at Buffalo Mountain Brewery. We spoke with the head brewer at the location who we found out formerly brewed for Capital City Ale House in Arlington; our go-to Thursday night spot for $2 beers when we first started dating. After the storm passed, we had beers and pizza at Dogtown Roadhouse. OMG. The “Appalachian” Pizza was amazing. Apple butter as a base for pizza may seem odd, but trust us, it works!
Afterwards, we quickly changed in the car into something a little bit more conservative than shorts and tanktops and hed into the Floyd Country Store for their Friday night jamboree. While we felt a little out of place at first, somewhat because of our age (most folks were seniors) but mostly because of the stares. We were so clearly out of towners but felt welcomed by everyone we spoke to. We found some standing room and settled in for the show of live bluegrass music. We met a couple around our age and started chatting with them. Turns out, they were from Australia and happened to be in the band that was up next. As soon as they came-on, the dance floor filled with cloggers tapping away to the beat. We didn’t have steel taps on our shoes, but we inevitably joined in and pretended to know what we were doing. Who said you should leave the country to experience some culture? This was Appalachia at it’s best.
More storms passed through that night and we fell asleep to the rain pattering on our tent. I woke up in the middle of the night, unzipped a makeshift window in our tent and watched the lightening storms go by. I’ll never know how Dan slept through all that thunder, but the next morning, he woke up well rested and I woke up super cranky.
Day 5: Home!
Home to open some wedding gifts! …but not before stopping at Ballast Point Brewery in Roanoke, VA for a quick beer flight.
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