Friday came along and I managed to get out of work a little bit early for the weekend. We headed on I-40 and started driving west. I still wasn't sure where we were going or what she had in mind for the weekend, but Asheville is one of the few destination points within a reasonable drive of our house, so I suspected that might be where we were going.
We got to Asheville around suppertime on Friday and went downtown to grab a bite to eat for supper. We found a really neat restaurant that served fusion cuisine. I ate all of my yummy shrimp and some of Mrs. Mellow's duck that she couldn't finish. After supper, we walked around a little bit and wandered into a comic book store, where we picked up a copy of Daredevil Visionaries, the Frank Miller run on the book. I'm still reading through it and absolutely loving it. It makes me wish I were more into comics -- and more knowledgeable about them -- when I was a kid. Eventually, we got back in the car and went to the next exit up where a nice hotel awaited us.
Saturday morning, we got up early so that we could take advantage of the tickets to the Biltmore House that Mrs. Mellow had secured. I've never been to the Biltmore. It's something that we've always talked about doing, but never actually did it. I'm really glad that we went -- and that we were able to spend the whole day enjoying it. Before heading to the Biltmore, we stopped for some breakfast at the Biltmore McDonald's. It's absolutely the nicest McDonald's I've ever been to. They had a real, working player piano in the corner!
After breakfast, we headed to the estate. Wow. What a house. There's really no way I can describe it. Suffice it to say that I think it would be immensely cool to have a house with both a swimming pool and a bowling alley in the basement.
After enjoying the house, we headed out to the Biltmore winery. We were very fortunate to have arrived as early as we did. As we were leaving the house and heading to the winery, we noticed that the line to get into the house was getting quite long. When we had arrived, there was no line whatsoever. When we got to the winery, again there was no line. By the time we left, we noticed that there was quite a long line. The winery was pretty cool. I've been to a few wineries before, and this one had many of the "standard" features on a tour that I've seen before. In addition to the self-guided tour, we took advantage of a couple of special presentations. One was a red wine barrel tasting and the other was a tasting of red wine and chocolate. Both of them were really cool.
After we were finished at the winery, we headed back to the hotel to change for supper. I still didn't know what Mrs. Mellow had planned for supper, only that I needed to put on some nicer clothes. Once we got back to the hotel, I was extremely surprised to bump into one of our friends from Charlotte, who was also in town with his wife. Apparently, Mrs. Mellow had planned more than just a simple trip for us -- she had coordinated it with our friends from Charlotte, as well.
After we had dressed for supper, all four of us piled in the car and headed out farther west. We ended up going to the Great Smokey Mountains Railroad in Dillsboro, where they had a special Valentine's Day supper train ride. It was really cool. The train didn't really go anywhere -- well, it went somewhere, but just turned around and came back. The whole purpose was to have a yummy meal on a train. It was really nice that our friends from Charlotte came -- otherwise, we would have been eating a romantic Valentine's Day supper at a table for four paired with a couple of strangers. It was quite a wonderful supper all around.
After supper, we headed back to the hotel and visited with our friends a little more before retiring for the evening. Sunday morning, we got up and headed back home in the sleet.
All in all, it was probably the coolest surprise weekend I've ever been a part of.