Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Asheville: The Northampton of the South

I got to spend most of last week in Ashe-Vegas (NC) with my friend Heather. She was in Birmingham visiting family and took the train to meet me in Greenville, SC.

Tuesday, April 29

We spent the day exploring Asheville. After a yummy brunch at Tupelo Honey (hooray for grits and sweet potato pancakes), we checked out Kress, Mast General Store, and Longstreet. We indulged in one of our favorite hobbies and made snarky comments about some of the lesser pieces at the Asheville Art Museum. We walked part of the Urban Trail until we got bored and gave up. The Basilica of St. Lawrence was amazing. Malaprops yielded a couple of good guidebooks for the next day's travels. We finished off the evening with dinner at the Noodle Shop and dessert at Old Europe. All the food was yummy!

Wednesday, April 30

We drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville until it ended, then drove through Great Smokey Mountains National Park. It was gorgeous!!

We had another yummy meal at the Laughing Seed. Many of their dishes featured seitan, which I was afraid to order since I did not have the Internets with me and I was too shy to ask the waitress what the heck it was. Also, I do not think that "steaks" should be made of things other than animals. (Just kidding, sort of.)

Thursday, May 1

I took Heather to the train station at a very early hour and slept in after I got back to Asheville. I spent some more time in downtown after a lovely breakfast (more grits) at the Early Girl Eatery. The Grove Arcade is so cool. I had afternoon tea in Biltmore Village. The village was built to house servants who worked at the Biltmore and is a very weird, twee little English village. The houses all have fancy businesses in them now, such as Ye Olde House of Wachovia.

I met up with Ed's college friend Blake, his wife Cindy, and their gorgeous daughter Hattie for dinner at Old Europe. We had several sitings of the Hillary Car. (Click on that link. Please! Make sure you see the Hillary car, the masked Hillary army, and the 3 a.m. phone trailer.) We had incredibly tasty desserts at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge.

Friday, May 2

I was at a loss for activities, so chose late the night before. The theme of the day was "things I studied in Mrs. Neser's American history class in 8th grade."

I did a report in Mrs. Neser's class about Swedish-Americans (my paternal grandmother was Swedish-American), including a brief bit about Carl Sandburg. I went to his house, and as my guidebook (gifted to me by Alison) promised, the goats were indeed "enchanting." Sandburg had what I think of as the Swedish chin, which my sister and I have both also inherited (though obviously not from Sandburg!).

I did a presentation in Mrs. Neser's class on the Revolutionary War battles of Kings Mountain and Cowpens. These two battles turned the tide against the British during their Southern Campaign, leading to the end of the war. First I visited Cowpens, site of the one of the few successful double envelopments ever executed. I had the great fortune of meeting a volunteer named Bob Lebrun. Mr. Lebrun fought in the Battle of the Bulge and has been on the History Channel more times than he can count. He is originally from Waterville, Maine, and was delighted to meet a "Yankee" (that would be me). He fell in love with a girl in South Carolina before he left for the war and married her when he got back. They were together for 57 years before she passed away. I hope to be as youthful as Mr. Lebrun when I am 82.

At Kings Mountain, I spent some time in the museum, watched a video, and walked the battlefield path (as I did at Cowpens). I was at each park for periods (1.5 hrs) that were longer than the battles.

After that, I got my flight back to Boston. It was a wonderful trip and I'm so glad I was able to go. I loved Asheville and the surrounding area and had a blast with Heather! I will be back.


Karen said...

Sounds like a terrific trip. You got to see so much and experience what sounds like interesting food, too. That's half the fun. :) Glad you are safe back home.

the bamalaskans said...

Yay! It was such a fun trip. I'm going to try to make it back there too. Alan wants to go. :o)


Donna said...

So glad you enjoyed the trip. We've been to on the Blue Ridge Pkwy between Asheville & Cherokee and it IS gorgeous. We've been to the Grove Arcade, which we loved too. We'll have to try some of your other recommendations when we go up there again this summer. You sure saw a lot of stuff in a short time!

lemmie said...

omg! i *love* asheville. i was born there but we didn't live there long...asheville has changed so much since that time. ben & i went there for our 1st anniversary and *loved* it!! glad you had a great trip!!