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  • Writer's pictureLauren A. Merritt

Asheville Anniversary Adventure: Celebrating One Year of Pandemic Marriage

Matt and I celebrated our first year of marriage on April 2, 2021. It’s hard to believe it’s been an entire year since we got married during a global pandemic (you can read our pandemic wedding blog here).

Our overseas honeymoon still delayed due to Covid (I’m not ready for that kind of travel yet!), we decided to take a road trip adventure to Asheville, North Carolina. Neither of us had ever been, and it did not disappoint!

We spent the first full day of our trip exploring the Biltmore Estate. My goodness, it was grand! Did you know that George W. Vanderbilt, II was still a bachelor when he built and moved into the 175,000 square foot Châteauesque-style mansion?

The second day, we went hiking with llamas. Yep. Llamas! My llama’s name was Vision. Matt’s llama was Legend (aka “The King”). They’re the coolest little animals and we thoroughly enjoyed our stroll through the great outdoors with our llama companions.

On the third day, we hit the spa. It. Was. So. Relaxing. A much-needed excuse to slow down and just be still.

When I planned out the trip, I did not include any hiking other than the short hike with llamas. My idea was to take in all the sights and great food the city had to offer and then come back in the future to explore the mountains.

I LOVE to hike. But there’s only so much you can squeeze into a short trip.

It was over lunch on our first day that we hatched our crazy impromptu plan to squeeze a sunrise hike into the trip.

We were set to travel back on Easter Day, and didn’t have scheduled plans. What better day to watch the sunrise from the top of a mountain than Easter Sunday?

Did I mention the hike was an hour and a half from our hotel?

We’d have to wake up at 4:15 am?

And the temperature would be in the low 30s?

Determined, we found a Walmart and bought 2 small headlamps. Thankfully, we’d packed hats, gloves, and thermals because it was in the 20s our first night there (hello cold front!).

The alarm set our adventure in motion promptly at 4:15 am Sunday morning. It was pitch black when found the trailhead about 6:30 am.

We were a few hundred yards into the trail when I heard leaves rustle and quickly remembered we’d seen a BEAR from the car on our first night of the trip.

“I think you’re supposed to act big and scream loud if it’s another bear!” I whispered.

Much to our relief, our headlamps soon spotlighted an innocent little bunny rabbit, still just long enough for me to snap a picture.

How cool to spot the Easter Bunny on Easter morning?!

We briskly hiked the 1 mile up Hawksbill Mountain Trail. As the sunlight slowly began to illuminate the sky, we raced faster and faster to get to the top of the mountain in time to see the sun break through the horizon.

We summited for most breath-taking sunrise I’ve ever laid eyes on. 365 degrees of nothing but the Linville Gorge and the Pisgah National Forest. The sky bursting with yellows, oranges, and reds over the mountaintops in the distance. Not a road or a building in sight.

It was the perfect way to end our trip.

The past year has been a year of growth- not only for our new marriage, but also for my new practice.

I have been so blessed and grateful to work with so many families on their probate and guardianship matters and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you to each and every one of our clients who have given us the opportunity to be of service.

If you've recently lost a loved one and are looking for guidance on next steps, download our free Survivor Checklist: Six Steps to Take After a Loved Ones Dies in Florida:

Have a loved one with a developmental disability and want to learn more about Guardian Advocacy in Florida? Check out our free Guardian Advocacy Report: How to Support Your Special Needs Child Without Losing the Right to Make Medical, Educational, Financial, or Legal Decisions:

If you'd like to schedule a probate or guardianship consultation, send me an email me at or call our office at (850) 741-2999 to get scheduled and receive our welcome packet today. Lauren A. Merritt, P.A. 111 S. De Villiers Street, Ste. B Pensacola, FL 32502

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