Twenty-eight years ago, Greg and I got married in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, at The Little Chapel on the Boardwalk.
I wore my mother’s wedding dress, which still resides in a camphor chest in our living room, along with my sisters’ wedding dresses. The year was 1982, and Knoxville, Tennessee, hosted the World’s Fair. I always wanted to go to a World’s Fair, and Greg said he would take me there for our honeymoon.
Reservations for hotels and motels required just a toll-free number. So, I called and talked with an operator at the Fair office, running down some of the options. We had a very low budget, but wanted something nice and quaint. They recommended was the ‘Town & Country Motor Court,’ advertised as a charming little vacation village with sweet little cottages and affordable rates.
The proprietor was SueAnn, who kept her hair in a old-fashioned bouffant style. She was so excited about having a honeymoon couple that she gave us a “special upgrade” – the chance to stay in a BRAND NEW DOUBLE-WIDE MOTOR HOME!! (Gee, just what I always wanted!) Unfortunately, the trailer had brand new carpet, which sounds nice, but Greg was allergic to the new carpet fibers.
We did have a nice time at the fair, even if it was burning hot and we spent much of our time sitting on concrete edges of water fountains with our feet in the water. One of the best parts of the honeymoon, however, was driving back over the state line from Tennessee into North Carolina, where we found a wonderful place to stay in Waynesville that far exceeded SueAnn’s offering.
We stayed at the Old Stone Inn in Waynesville — a wonderful, romantic, rustic and memorable get-away which opened in 1946 as a haven for families who needed rest and relaxation after the war.
Greg always likes to give gifts of experiences rather than store-bought items. So, in late May, he treated me to a second honeymoon anniversary at the Old Stone Inn.
The place had been expanded and renovated, but we were glad to see things hadn’t changed much. The rooms were still covered with old wooden planks, surrounding the bed, chairs and country curtains. The central building on the grounds contains a full-service restaurant, with very nice food and wine, as well as free breakfast. One evening we ate dinner on a round iron table on the large grassy area out back, surrounded by quaint gaslights. And, surely you have guessed that much of the Inn is covered with huge stones – including the fireplace in the dining area.
Our vacation was very peaceful, and we had a chance to get out and explore. We strolled through downtown Waynesville, a charming small-town street with unique restaurants, art galleries and knick-knacks. And, lucky for us, we were downtown the day of the Waynesville Street Festival, where we saw lots of crafts, dancing, interesting galleries and much more. Later we ate a fabulous meal at ‘The Chef’s Table’ and Greg said he had the best chicken marsala on earth.
The next day we took a side trip to the Cherokee Indian Reservation. We sat on a comfortable wooden bench in front of the trout stream, watching the water go by and soaking up some sun. (The area’s always been a bit tacky, but it was a shock to see blocks and blocks of huge Harrah’s Casino buildings. And, no, we didn’t gamble!)
After leaving Waynesville, we drove up to the far western end of North Carolina, to the town of Murphy. When Greg was young, he spent time with his Grandmother in Manteo – about the furthest east you can get in North Carolina. As a native North Carolinian, he always yearned to see the western-most town in the state as well, which is Murphy. And so we did.
While walking around Murphy, Greg saw a wild daisy and picked it for me. It was a reminder of our first date – a Carolina football game in 1977 – when Greg gave me a pin-on daisy for my shirt.
We’ll never forget our first honeymoon, and we’ll certainly never forget how wonderful it was to revisit the place that meant so much to us.
Every happy couple deserves a second honeymoon. And if you’re interested in learning more about the Old Stone Inn, please go to www.oldstoneinn.com. You WON’T be disappointed!