Oh man, I’m sure I could really bore you readers with a long detailed itinerary of our weekend in Asheville, NC, and how sweet that town is, but I’ll try my best to keep your attention! Let me try and break it down DDT style.
1) We stayed at the Beaufort House Victorian Inn (my first time at a B&B). It’s funny because you feel like you have to whisper and tip-toe down the stairs because the house creaked like a 100 year old house would. Both of us enjoyed the friendly conversations we had with the other guests at the breakfast table each morning (how random is it we ran into a couple from Troy, OH, where my grandparents live?). We also found out Charlton Heston rented a room here for 6 months in the 1940s.
2) If you had asked me before how exciting I thought a 110 year old house could be, I probably would have shrugged and said, Ehhhh, but seriously the Biltmore is a really cool place (and attracts over 1M visitors a year). The nation’s largest private residence opened in 1895 and had a bowling alley, an indoor swimming pool and 43 bathrooms before most Americans even had electricity in their homes. The audio tour was key and gave me all sorts of new trivia I would otherwise have had to find on Wikipedia . . .
3) In addition to tourists, this town was full of hippies and/or artsy folks. The Mrs. and I played a fun (for me) game called “Count the Subarus” . . . I think we lost count after we saw 5 on one neighborhood street (approximately 75% with Obama bumper stickers). Asheville was also home to Kenny George (of the UNC Asheville Bulldogs), the world’s tallest (7’7”) college basketball player. Sadly, KG had to undergo a career ending surgery on his foot earlier in the year. Another notable AVL resident: Memphis transplant Greg Cartwright (of the Reigning Sound, Compulsive Gamblers, Oblivians, etc.). Oh, you wanted street cred? I saw them Live at Legba Records (TBHS record release – Summer 2002).
4) Twice a year, all the local artists open up their studios (housed in dilapidated old warehouses and factories) for the River Arts District Studio Stroll. We actually didn’t know this was going until Saturday night, but got to see some really interesting stuff Sunday morning. I’d love to see Birmingham “gentrify” an older area like this, I think they’ve started on 2nd Ave North . . .
5) My one regret of the weekend . . . Not having enough time to try all the restaurants! We had dinner Friday at the Corner Kitchen, and Saturday at Fig (Oh, man, the Bass with baby bok choy). Both excellent meals, but I wish we had more time for Bouchon, Table, Salsa’s, Tupelo Honey, 12 Bones, Wasabi, Laughing Seed, Bistro 1896, the list really could keep going and going . . .
Ok, I just have to say one other thing about Asheville . . . Chocolate Fetish! Recognized by the LA Times as one of America’s Best, this Chocolate Shop (get your mind out of the gutter) makes gourmet truffles (at $2 a pop) with some exotic ingredients (Wasabi; Basil & Pistachio; Cayenne Pepper). The French Kiss was hands down the best we tried . . . Dragon’s Kiss was a little too funky cold medina for me . . .
And there you have it, my longest post to date . . . Hope I didn’t bore you all and seriously . . . go visit Asheville!