This past weekend I made a solo roadtrip to Charlotte, NC to meet up with friends from high school for the Fourth! I was weary of making the trek because of the distance to time ratio, but I'm so happy I decided to go! I had an absolute blast with the old high school crew.
In all my excitement for the trip, I forgot to pack my camera battery, so semi-blurry iPhone pics had to make due. Oops! In all honesty, we were enjoying each other's company too much to make time for pictures. The best kind of trip in my opinion. Thankfully for the sake of this post, I was able to snag a few here and there!
Most of the trip is set in the Smokeys, Asheville being just past the halfway mark. It was an absolutely gorgeous drive! I've now been through Asheville a few times since living in Nashville, and have enjoyed it more and more each time. I made a pit stop there to fill up my gas tank and grab lunch, and just maybe a toasted almond sesame donut with cinnamon from a charming donut shop called Hole. If you ever find yourself in Asheville, you MUST visit!
I arrived in Charlotte around 4 pm on Saturday after a seven hour drive and was more than ready to enjoy the day. After a brief time of catch up with the gang, we all headed to The Olde Meckenberg Brewery for a drink to start out our night! Being I attended undergrad near Grand Rapids, MI (known as Beer City, U.S.A.), I had a hard time believing another city could love beer just as much. Well, I stand corrected! Charlotte is not joking around when it comes to local breweries. It seemed there was one on every other corner of the city.
After our time at OMB, we made our way downtown for tapas and a tour of the city. We ended our night dancing at a rooftop bar overlooking the skyline of Charlotte. We stayed out till about 1 am (CRAZY KIDS OVER HERE), which for this grandma, is the latest I've stayed out all year long. Needless to say I was a tired wreck the next day! Worth it? Absolutely.
Sunday meant visiting Stephanie's home church and hitting up Dean & Deluca for a much-needed salad (please reference beer and donut pictures above). The guest pastor spoke on the gospel of Mark and the presence of authorities in our life. It was incredibly fitting for a social weekend, one where it can become so easy to get caught up in how we look, where we eat, and what we say to old friends to portray a neat and tidy life. I was thankful to leave Charlotte on Monday feeling full of love and genuine conversation.
Later that night, Kayla and Corbin (two on the right) had us all over to their place for tacos and card games. They both went to my high school as well and were recently married this past winter. It's unfortunate I didn't know them as well in high school because let me tell you... they make an amazing couple! They were so sweet and hilarious, and made the best host and hostess. This year has been all about making deeper connections with people of my past which I absolutely love!
Our Sunday ended with a short fireworks show in Rock Hill, SC and milkshakes at a true Southern fast food staple: Cookout. Does it get any more American than that?
Probably. We could have thrown a burger in there too.
The true highlight of the trip for me was Independence Day. We were lucky enough to snag a last minute reservation for a pontoon boat on Lake Norman, about a hour north of Charlotte. We spent more time in the water than out and enjoyed a truly perfect Southern day. I walked straight off the dock and into my car for the seven hour drive back home to Nashville before work the next day, swimsuit and all!
I always miss the Midwest most in the summer. Yet, God finds ways to inject reminders of home when I need them most. Thanking Him this week for the presence of my people who remind me of why I'm here for now and, more importantly, how friendship transcends geography.