Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Calling Collect from Asheville

View from here
Confession: yesterday was the scariest driving moment of the Turtle so far. Was I falling off a cliff? Being pursued by bears? Trying to get close to a toll booth? No. I followed Miss GPS onto a road narrower than the Turtle. Until abruptly coming to my senses and about time, the road ahead was becoming a path. 

A call to Bill and realizing that the road I'd passed, a road with the name of his road = I'm an idiot, really was where I wanted to go and I began the backing out process. With a fence on one side and the woods generally trying to eat the Turtle on the other, it was slow. Until the crunchy sound, then it was stop. Luckily, it's only a two inch tear in the skin of the Turtle, which Bill caulked and taped for a temporary fix. The offending branch that wasn't in the mirror and was probably pushed over the road by a bear wasn't injured. At least not more than it was when it fell off its tree.

I wish I'd taken photos but for some reason, that thought was just not uppermost.

Around the corner and up a good sized part of the mountain that turned out to be only the lower third, Bill and Jo's beautiful home awaited. Planned and built by them, it is sort of the miracle in the woods. I think I told them I'd never be leaving as soon as I saw my guest room. They thought I was kidding. Ha ha.

After a lunch where Jo joined us at a very good Japanese place with outdoor seating, including a screen of bamboo that kept the parking lot slightly out of sight, Bill took me on a tour of the core of town. There were only two chain stores and I'd never heard of either one of them. And they were cool anyway. Everything I saw was right sized, the restaurants and shops welcoming in scope and no frills approach. A mineral rocks shop, a yarn shop, a shop with all things bee related. 

The biggest thing was the oldest indoor mall in America. If this pattern had been followed, how different life might be. First of all, it was IN TOWN.

But let's start with the morning. The wake up in fog morning.

View from Mount Vu Motel
Skipping the branch piercing, arrival at both a beautiful home and a willing mechanic's, forgetting the forgot to take food photos of my tuna roll and their tempeh and salads and soups, we'll jump to the view from the parking garage. Bill was wondering at my first choice a bit, but hey, I like old signs.

These doors are so great! The handles are some kind of plumbing pipe.
Next door is another store with a garage door front so these buildings
were probably warehouses of some kind once upon a time

Just because. All soap holders need a water spout.
All bottle openers need a bath.

This was a very cool store. If you like old rocks with magic inside them.

There were a few of these around the shop, some taller than me.
Ok, that's not super tall but damn big for a fossil!

Yes, the Kress building is authentic. No, there is no Kress's inside,
but other shops are thriving.
Of course, I was just taking a photo of the truck.

She captivated us.

Sort of how a lot of places are here. Tucked in and unassuming but very much there.

And they ARE fine shoes

Every good city needs a building shaped like this

Inside the Kress building they restored the old soda fountain/luncheonette.
Beyond it is art, little stalls where various artists show off their wares. 

Iron for the Flatiron (musician bonus points here)

Bill gave me a lot of history on a number of levels.
Better than me mangling it, if your curiosity is
standing up saying feed me, go here for more

This place (the mall) is so elegant and well thought out,
I could have wandered in there for a couple of hours getting
details. For more, you'll just have to come here yourselves!

So much better than an elevator.
First floor, shops, second, offices, third, apartments.
That works.

I love the underside of the stairs. Yes that is stone.
Anyone who knows me knows I'm not a math person but I can seriously
appreciate the math it took to do this.

Hey! said someone. Let's put a bar on this roof! So they did.

Oh, the mind boggles with potential.
Public Service Building...there should be one in every town!
Just say it softly to yourself...public service...public service.
What a concept.

This is a very unique yarn shop. Someone has an excellent sense of humor.

Underground wires! Keeping the charm.

Bill told me how many shops have come and gone but
this wig shop, on a corner in pricey real estate land, lives on.
I wanted to buy the Princess Leia wig. 

Some soulful horn

If you ever went to an S & W cafeteria, this was the headquarters building.
Now it's not. 

Another building I wish I could be on scaffolding to look at, let alone shoot.

As any good city should have, there are nice bits of public art here and there. This bench is one of them. 

It was commissioned to celebrate...never mind, read it yourself below

Wouldn't it be a cool deal as a sculptor to be asked to do a piece celebrating
the first woman doctor in the United States (a music teacher to this? nice flow)?
I guess she didn't read the manual that women were repressed.

I've seen some great things done with old suitcases. This now heads the list.

Chickens!!!!!! I needed to see some.

Blurry but so cute and the stone/brick/bricks had to be shown

Bill answering my endless annoying questions with patience, grace and humor.

This is not really a bank. Or crooked either but time's a'flyin!

Bill says they've been in business five years now so they must be funny

This is in Vanderbilt world (actually, it is Biltmore Village). There is some very fascinating history here and you can read about it here.

"George Vanderbilt sought to create a home in the mountains of Western North Carolina that emulated the working estates of Europe.  Not only would there be a grand house and grounds, but it would include a self-sustaining settlement to support the estate workers.   To accomplish this extraordinary undertaking he commissioned two of the most accomplished architects of the time, Richard Morris Hunt, and Frederick Law Olmsted."

After a good dinner Jo made that we ate out on the sky deck of their home and the continuation of a conversation that began a long time ago, Bill and I went to a songwriting class he attends once a month. Incredibly, except for thanking them for letting me be there and asking if photos were okay, I kept my mouth shut. Yes, mark the day.

Bill singing the song he and the guy next to him co-wrote for
an assignment. It was smile making. 

Nice people, interesting topics and some good music. 
Back home, talking 'til midnight and eyes getting heavy all around, I went down to the amazing guest quarters and slept the sleep of the content, which is a very good sleep indeed. 

Clouds are hanging on peak tops and fall is making a quilt of the mountainsides. Where is my luckiest woman in the world crown? Under the phone waiting for the mechanic's verdict. I better put it on quick!

Have a tiny home Tuesday (I've not forgotten, just trying to catch up before drowning)! Do something tiptoeing through tulips.


  1. Ok, I said Savannah was my favorite East Coast city, but I forgot about Asheville, NC. Wonderful city, and the artsy communities around it are also great. Liberal city in a conservative state. Is it ok to use the L word in mixed company? Enjoying your travel log blog, again!!

    1. The only mixed company I was in was all about music. Maybe there is a lesson there...