I love living in Asheville North Carolina. The Surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains provide unmatched natural beauty while the superb architecture of the many historic buildings range from simple and primitive to stunning Art Deco and sturdy Arts and Crafts. The extravagant Biltmore Estate is the largest privately owned home in America. The French Chateau inspired mansion is just as beautiful today as the day that George Vanderbilt moved into it back in 1889. Nearby, the Grove Park Inn can be seen from miles away, built from huge boulders and crowned with red tiles for the roof, the rustic lodge is reminiscent of lodges in our Western National Parks.
The Blue Ridge Parkway hugs Asheville’s ridge tops like a warm embrace; a short drive north will take you to Mount Mitchell State Park and the highest elevations East of the Mississippi. A similar drive south delivers you to the heart of the Cherokee Nation and the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There is plenty of hiking, fishing, picnicking, and camping to be had along the way.
Asheville is home to some of the most talented people in the world. Craftsmen can still be found carving home made furniture. Silversmiths design exquisite jewelry and sale it from their local shops. Music can be heard on every street corner and at festivals nearly every weekend. Shindig on the Green has been a Saturday night tradition for the past 46 years. Bele Chere brings world class music and thousands of people to town every July as Asheville hosts the largest free outdoor street festival in the Southeast. And the food…oh, my the amazing food! No matter what you are in the mood for, Asheville has restaurants with top notch service and cuisine. For dessert be sure to check out decadent truffles and drinks from the French Broad Chocolate Lounge; there’s always a line on the weekends. Old Europe has amazing cakes and tarts, and The Chocolate Fetish has melt in your mouth bon-bons.
My favorite thing to do in Asheville is to people watch. My town is so diverse and vibrant, there is always something going on. Hippies, hipsters and buttoned-up business folks all feel at home here. I never get bored walking downtown in the warm summer evenings. A couple of weeks ago I grabbed my camera and took a few photos along the way. Here are just a few scenes from a typical Friday night in my hometown.