Where do I even begin? This weekend visiting Nina in Johnson City was more incredible than I could have imagined (flashback to the first time we met). When she told me she was going to plan out the weekend, I had no doubt that it was going to be a fun time.
If you don’t know Nina then you’re missing out, and you need to go read her blog right now. Go on. I’ll wait…
Okay, now that you love her too, we can continue. As you now know, she has one of the most beautiful hearts. We have a lot in common, including our love of Harry Potter (that’s how we met! Thanks, internet.), our love of books, the beauty we find in interracial relationships and we’re both ESFJ’s!
I rolled into her driveway a few hours later than intended, and then the fun began…
FRIDAY, JUNE 9
After a quick shower and getting dressed (and more than half a day on the road), I was revived and ready to start the fun. Nina took me to downtown Johnson City where we indulged in some of the most delicious tacos I’ve ever had. We went to White Duck Taco Shop where I had a Bonzai Shrimp taco and a Thai Peanut Chicken taco. We also shared some chips and queso and the salsa trio.
The food was good, but I also loved the vibe of White Duck Taco Shop. It’s connected to the Yee Haw Brewery, and there’s indoor seating as well as patio seating, and the space just felt very open. The weather was beautiful and perfect for eating outside, so we sat in a couple lounge chairs and dove into our food.
On Fridays, there’s an event downtown called Founders After 5, named so because it takes place in Founders Park. We took a seat on the concrete steps and had a fun time listening to the band, Time Sawyer (pause while I remember my obsession with the banjo), and doing a bit of people watching. A woman brought a ton of hula hoops, and all of the kids were in the grass playing with them. There was also a couple that was blatantly drunk and living their best lives while dancing to the music.
After leaving the park, we went to Mimi’s Cookies N’ Creamery Food Truck. The line was incredibly long, but it was worth the wait (even though they were out of the ice-cream I wanted and out of cookies). I got butter cream ice-cream in a waffle cone, and even though I was still crazy full from dinner, I ate all of it.
We ended the night watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and I turned in kind of early because I hadn’t had a proper night’s rest since Wednesday night. #thestruggleisreal
SATURDAY, JUNE 10
We slept in on Saturday, and Nina, being the amazing host she is, made me a delicious breakfast that included homemade crepes with Greek yogurt and blueberry compote with a side of bacon. Delish.
Back in the gap when I was reading Nina’s blog recounting her bachelorette party, I got some serious envy as she described where the party took place. Hence Nina being amazing and taking me there. We made the hour-long drive to Asheville, North Carolina where we made our way to the most awesome bookstore I’ve ever been to – Battery Park Book Exchange. It’s a two-story bookstore that serves adult beverages, including literary cocktails. They have shelves full of used books and cute little nooks to enjoy drinks, snacks, books and good conversation. Another plus: it allows dogs! I fell in love with this sweet
not so little husky.
After walking around downtown for a bit, we stopped by a food stand to get some hotdogs. We ate them outside on these huge rocks while enjoying the noises and views of downtown. While making our way to get some dessert, we ran into a little event, and we couldn’t resist taking a look. Several vendors had shops set up selling everything from clothes to soaps to dishes and more. There was even a guy selling wallets repurposed from old VHS holders (Whoops. Showing my age.).
We passed by a man who writes poetry on the spot. All you do is give him a topic, and he’ll take 10-15 minutes to come up with something completely unique to you. Once you read the poem, you pay him what you think the poem is worth. Nina got him to write one for her six-month anniversary with Pai, and he definitely delivered.
Our last stop downtown was to French Broad Chocolate Lounge. If you’re ever in Asheville, do yourself a favor and don’t leave downtown before visiting. I got a sparkling float, which consisted of a sparkling wine of my choice mixed with a scoop of whatever ice-cream I wanted. I got a little tipsy drinking my dessert, and it was incredible. I got prosecco mixed with salted caramel ice-cream. Such a simple concoction that I was disappointed in myself for not trying it before.
Please take note that all of this happened before 5 pm.
That night, Nina hosted a game night, and it was so great getting to meet some of her friends in the area. We picked up a brick oven pizza from a local place called Scratch. The pizza was delicious, but my favorite thing about this place is that you can get Trust and Limited Trust pizzas. If you get a Trust pizza, they just throw on whatever ingredients they think will make a good combination. If you get a Limited Trust pizza, you can eliminate certain ingredients that you don’t want and then let them make a pizza from the possible remaining ingredients. I don’t know everything that was on our pizza, but I ate that sucker up.
During game night, we played a card game called Exploding Kittens. It was my first time ever hearing of or playing the game, and I was not successful. Next, we played Scattergories. I’m usually pretty bad, and this was no exception. I still had a blast getting creative and hearing everyone argue over which answers were actually legitimate.
The night ended with a little surprise (to me) trip to Bristol, Virginia to go to Blackbird Bakery with Nina and her friend, Anna (That’s right, y’all. We visited three states in one day.). I got a huge lemon bar, and ate about half of it (the other half was devoured while I was on the road to South Carolina). All three of us are ESFJ’s, and it was so great having stimulating conversation with these girls during the 45-minute drive there and back.
SUNDAY, JUNE 11
After a fun-filled weekend so far, we definitely didn’t slow down on Sunday. We started the day by going to church, and then we drove to Warriors Path State Park where we met some of Nina’s and Pai’s friends for some kayaking.
This was my third time kayaking, but the other two times I had been, they were pretty chill. This time, we rowed quite a bit to get to a small beach area to relax in the water, which was freezing cold. You would think that in June, it would be a little warmer, but no. Even staying in the water, it didn’t get any warmer. I didn’t stay in for very long.
About two hours later while rowing back to the dock to turn in our kayaks, we ran into the parents of one of the girls we were with. They invited us to come on their boat, and we happily obliged. Everyone took turns trying to learn to surf in the lake. The weather was so beautiful, y’all. Perfect for a lake day.
I told y’all my weekend was action-packed. There was never a dull moment, and I’m so grateful for that, even though my arms were sore the next day from kayaking. If you ever find yourself in Johnson City, Asheville or Bristol, be sure to check out the places I mentioned! You’ll have #noragrets. Not even one letter.
Have you ever been to Tennessee?