Sunday, June 2, 2013

Asheville, North Carolina

At some point last week, Kristin asked if I wanted to go with her yesterday to Asheville. She was going to go help her friend Motor officiate some roller derby bouts, but we figured I could skip out on most of that if I wanted to and just get out of town for a while. She also invited our friends Logan and Becky, and we decided to just meet up on Saturday morning, head to Asheville, and wing it. After a bit of a slow start (I am the only one in the group who is consistently on time), we were in Kristin's car and heading east, and then:

Welcome to North Carolina

There we were.

I've been to Asheville once before, to tour the Biltmore:

biltmore exterior

biltmore house

which was formerly the largest private home in America (I say formerly because I don't think anyone actually lives there now and it's mostly operated as a museum and wedding venue), but we didn't really go into town and see anything, so I was excited to walk around for a while. I've heard a lot of good things about Asheville and everyone said that I would love it, and it turns out to be a nice city to visit.

Kristin didn't get to see much of it, because our late start meant that she had to go straight to derby. Logan and Becky were doing couple-type things, and I didn't want to do third wheel things so I struck off on my own and went solo for the day, and I had a really good time.

The business district of Asheville is very pretty and colorful:

Asheville buildings (3)

Asheville buildings (1)

Asheville buildings (2)

It's full of interesting stores:

yarn wars




random street sculptures:

kitty cat statue

giant iron (1)

giant iron (2)

and street musicians:

street musicians

So many street musicians.

I stopped counting them at thirty, but it seemed like there was one or more people playing a guitar, fiddle, bass, accordian, bongo drum, harmonica, or some combination of them roughly every five feet or so. On the one hand, it's nice to hear music everywhere you walk, but on the other hand it seems like there should maybe just be fewer musicians clogging the sidewalks.

Asheville also seems like a very dog-friendly city. I saw bowls like this:

water for dogs

outside of a lot of the stores.

I also saw a couple of famous landmarks, besides the giant iron pictured above. The convention center was right next to the Basilica of St. Lawrence:

basilica of st. lawrence

basilica statue

and I spent a lot of time at the Grove Arcade:

Grove Arcade (1)

Grove Arcade statue (1)

Grove Arcade (3)

It's an old building that's been completely renovated to house a lot of stores and restaurants, and is gorgeous inside:

Grove Arcade (2)

Grove Arcade bookstore

I had a really nice lunch there:

smoked turkey for lunch

at a counter by the window:

Grove Arcade statue (2)

and read my book for a while before going back outside for more shopping and walking. Late in the afternoon I also had an ice cream soda at the lunch counter in the old Woolworth's:

Woolworth's lunch counter

which has been converted into two stories of gallery space:

Woolworth Walk

went to a bunch of bookstores, bought a print at another gallery that I need to pick up a frame for, and eventually joined Kristin for derby:

Asheville roller derby

before we had dinner, piled back into the car, and headed home.


Justin Bower said...

we were confused by the iron as well, until we looked up and realized it went with the "flatiron" replica building behind it. We were staying across the street in a hotel that was built into a an old department store. I generally like hotels in histoirc structures, but this one was full of displays of clothes dummies in creepy old timey clothes. Add in the low lighting and it was like the twins scene in the shining everytime you got off the elevator. I understand what you mean about the street musicians first I was excited, but then it was know, maybe you all should form a big super band, or at least play something that goes together, because it got a bit cacophonous.

Jeannie said...

Yarn Wars killed me. Love it.

Terri Weaver said...

Wow that photo brought back memories of going to Woolworths to the lunch counter with my grandmother in the small town in Georgia where she lived. I knew I was a big kid when she would let me walk down the shopping center from the store where she worked to Woolworths all by myself.