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A Fine Romance: Asheville After Valentine's Day

February 14th, 2016

Love is what happens after the Valentine's Day fanfare: after the cards, the flowers, the dinner. It's the "What's next?"

Love is waking up Monday morning in your Windsor suite and deciding to stay cozy indoors. It's the power to create a three-day weekend. Love is having groceries delivered for a living room picnic. It's watching a movie and snuggling in close. Love is sharing the blankets equally between you. It's a light pillow toss and a kiss. Love is taking the time to watch the sun set.

Love is stepping back to see the bigger picture. It's sitting on the bench in front of a fine painting and taking time to ponder aloud the meaning of what has been created. Love is discovering visual delights in one of Asheville's numerous art galleries. Love is wandering the River Arts District and popping your head into a studio to see something you've never seen before. It's circling around that sculpture a second time to notice the crucial detail. It's buying a piece of art that will display in the home you share together.

Love is in the written word. It's a visit to the former home of author Thomas Wolfe and learning the rich literary history of Asheville. It's discussing your favorite childhood book, the one that changed your life forever. It's ducking into the Battery Park Book Exchange and grabbing a glass of bubbly. It's exploring shelves and picking a great read. It's her voice reading a passage aloud to you.

Love is remembering the body. It's a minute drive from Asheville to Shoji Spa and a few hours with the phone turned off and tucked away. It's a natural hot tub and the cool air against your face while you soak under the open sky. It's a deep-tissue massage that reminds you that you needed more moments like this. It's sitting quietly with your favorite person and realizing you don't always need words to fill the space between you. Love is the clink of wine glasses over tapas, and a toast only the two of you can hear while sitting at your cozy table in Zambra.

Love is under your feet, on the path to a pinnacle. It's the Mountains to Sea Trail. It's the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's the overlook and the mountain tunnel. It's the sound of your partner's breath behind you as you hike just a little more, just a little longer to reach the top of a ridge. It's the water bottle passed between you. It's the laughter as your knees hurt on the way back down the trail, and the indulgence of a hot shower on sore muscles later that evening.

Love is holding her bags while you check out in the lobby. It's the car door shutting and the look you two share after five days of adventure in Asheville. It's the sound as you start the engine and click the turn signal in a new direction. Where will you go next in such a fine romance?