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Thursday, April 11, 2013

{Travel} Mr H turns 31

A couple of weekends ago, I surprised Mr H with a trip to one of our new favorite mountain getaways to celebrate his 31st birthday-Old Edwards Inn and Spa. OEI is located in the town of Highlands, North Carolina which is situated on a plateau in the southern Appalachian Mountains, within the Nantahala National Forest. The weather is mild and the views are to-die-for. It is often rainy with a mystical fog settled down on the town.  For us, this only adds to the romance and old world European charm of the property.

(Hello, sexy legs.  He may kill me for this . . .reading The Economist, of course)

The drive to OEI is characterized by 5-8 miles of winding mountain roads with beautiful waterfalls emerging on either side of the drive.

Some of the waterfalls were only visible from the road while others had parking lots and pull-offs like the one pictured, above.  It is truly an amazing drive.

There are several different types of accomodations at OEI:  historic main inn, the Lodge, private cottages.  We have chosen to stay at The Lodge the times that we have been because it seems to be more private with larger rooms.  However, all options are beyond beautiful.

The Lodge has a main building where there's a lobby, butler's pantry (stocked with complementary soda, tea, coffee, fruit and Dove ice cream bars-we had a few . . .okay more than a few :)), and wrap around double-decker porch with rockers.  On the Lodge grounds, though, there are individual cabins (think, luxury summer camp) that contain living rooms, fireplaces, jetted tubs, patios/sunrooms and heated bathroom floors.  YES!  HEATED BATHROOM FLOOR TILES! (we never knew how nice of an amenity that is until we stayed here).

The Lodge-front porch

The Lodge-lobby

The Lodge-looking out on the croquet lawn from the front porch

We did play a little croquet.  Someone might have let someone win because it was his birthday ;)

(looks like he'd rather be playing golf)

Our room was beautifully adorned with period antiques.

Chest in our room

I enjoyed sitting out in our sunroom in the mornings with a cup of coffee.

OEI has many amenities and activities:  tennis, golf, 2 outdoor mineral pools, fitness center with group classes, horseback riding, flyfishing, and the amazing . . .heart skip a beat . . .spa.

There are no words to describe how nice this spa is.  It is definitely the best amenity at OEI (and the main reason why we go).  The best part of this amenity is that you DO NOT have to purchase a spa service to enjoy all of the facilities that the spa has to offer.  There are men and women's separate areas with large swiss showers, dry and wet saunas, hot tubs, etc.  And outside of these rooms, there are beautiful "meditation rooms" complete with waterfall features and fireplaces. 

Spa living room

We purchased the Rainforest Rejuvenation spa service since it was Mr H's birthday (we were in a steam chamber where we rubbed different exfoliants and muds on eachother.  Sorry mom and dad ;))  But the majority of our spa time was spent together, reading a book, with a view like this:

We were so spoiled.  I asked for some hot tea . .  .and poof

Terrrible back lighting, but this is the look of total relaxation:

The food at OEI is truly amazing, as well.  We ate dinner and breakfast in their signature restaurant, Madison's (french toast and their thick sliced bacon is a must for breakfast).

Madison's lobby (I just die over the decor at this inn)

Madison's lobby-Love their mix of textures and colors

Madison's restaurant-I just die over this granite stone wall

Breakfast for the Birthday boy

OEI really sets themselves apart with their customer service and attention to detail.  They greeted us by name at every meal and made it a point to say "Happy Birthday Mr. Hazelwood" every time they passed.  In addition to that, they surprised us both with a beatiful dinner table setup for our upcoming wedding anniversary.

(Seriously?  Rose petals?  Sigh .  . .)

And when we returned to our room later that night . . .

Rose petals at turn-down.  You had me at rose . . .petal.

It is important to take the time to pamper yourself and the ones that you love, from time to time.  I did my best, along with OEI, to pamper and spoil my husband for his birthday weekend.  He works long hours to provide for our family (as do I :)) and I wanted to show him my appreciation.  And while we have only been married a year (WHOA . . .anniversary coming up!), and shouldn't need a "reset" button, OEI and Highlands gave us time to better connect with eachother and escape from our demanding professional lives for a weekend.

OEI has officially been added to our "favorites, hope to frequent" list and I can't wait to make many more wonderful memories with this husband, that I love so much:

(P.S.  How old are we that we needed coffee to stay awake during the after-dinner live music?)

So while I'm feeling mushy and nostalgic, go hug on those that you love.  We never know what tomorrow will bring.

(I am neither sponsored nor paid by OEI for this post)



  1. This is a beautiful resort. I have enjoyed the pictures.

  2. Just came across your post! I'm looking at going in November for an anniversary trip and 1) did you book a package or just a regular room and 2) how was the rain forest treatment? do you recommend it?! thanks! :)

    1. Hey Amanda, thanks for checking out my post! We have not booked packages when we've gone to Old Edwards. We have just booked a regular room at the Lodge (cottage 701 is amazing . . .I think that's the number) but if you know that you are going to have a certain number of spa treatments, a package could be worth it! We liked the Rainforest Rejuvenation a lot. You are in a small steam chamber together where you get to use all kinds of muds and scrubs. This treatment is definitely more interactive as you have to apply the products yourselves. Hope you enjoy your stay! Be sure to tell them you're celebrating your anniversary!


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I appreciate any and all feedback I receive. If you'd like to email me directly, you can do so at lori.craighazelwood@gmail.com.

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