Asheville Living

This post is more than 3 years old.

Kelly and I are fortunate to have enough flexibility in our schedules and employment that we've continued the trend of trying to live in another place (e.g. Portland, OR, Washington, D.C.) for 3-4 weeks per year. It's just long enough to transition away from full-on tourist mode and get to know a place a little bit more from a local point of view. Immersing ourselves in a new landscape is also a great way to get perspective on the world and the rest of our lives - what we value, what we miss, what we want more or less of and how we might make that happen.

This year we spent that time in Asheville, North Carolina.

It's a place that I've spent a fair amount of time already - visiting my dad's parents there when I was younger, attending Camp Rockmont for several summers in a row, going on various whitewater rafting/canoeing trips nearby and visiting college friends there more recently - but it was great to experience the city in this new way as it lives into its emerging culinary/artistic/outdoorsy identity. The mountain air, lush woods and trails, flourishing food scene, accessible size, eclectic neighborhoods and friendly people made for a really memorable time.

We stayed at a beautiful Airbnb house near the downtown area, which meant we could walk into town and experience a restaurant, bar, market, sidewalk performance or drum circle whenever we felt like it:

Drum Circle

The house was a few blocks from three different grocery stores, including a Whole Foods brand and a Trader Joe's - crazy! It also had a perfect extra bedroom and workspace where I set up my temporary office:

Working nook

Asheville's many coffeeshops also served as great spaces to work - I especially enjoyed Odd's Cafe, Waking Life and High Five.

We were always just a few minutes away from some great hiking and mountain views:

Craggy Pinnacle

Having our dog Chloe with us meant she got to enjoy them too:

Chloe in the stream

We went an on an excellent class III-V whitewater rafting tour of the Chattooga river, led by the good folks at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. Their photographer was having a great day, and captured my adventures both in and out of our raft as we went over Seven Foot Falls:

Chattooga Rafting

A tour of the Biltmore Estate was an enjoyable peek into an "American Downton Abbey" experience:

Biltmore House

Be our guest

We each got to spend some time with friends living in/near Asheville, and I enjoyed a few opportunities to co-work with a fellow Automattician living there too - it seems like they're everywhere these days!

We also made it to a quirky short story slam at The Odditorium, a foot stomping concert with actor and musician Jeff Daniels with the Ben Daniels Band at the Diana Wortham Theatre, a reading by Sy Safransky (founder and editor of The Sun Magazine, one of my favorite publications) at Malaprops bookstore, a gathering of Quakers at the Asheville Friends Meeting, another moving reading by poets Jessica Jacobs and Nickole Brown (new friends who also happened to be our neighbors and to have some other mutual friends - small world!) and a tubing adventure down the French Broad river.

We got ourselves some culture, yes we did.

Getting a tune up at Ben's

Chloe made a new friend too:

New friend

One of our favorite things to do in a new place like this is experience new food options, and Asheville didn't disappoint. It felt like even if we'd eaten out at every meal, we still wouldn't have come close to experiencing all of the peculiar and innovative things people in Asheville are doing with food and brewing.

Limones Brussels Sprouts

Biscuit Head

A few of our favorites included:

Even with the additional walking/hiking added in, this culinary exploration came at a price:

Regular exercise routine, here I come again. 🙂

You can see all of my photos from our trip on Flickr.

Thanks for a great time, Asheville!

One thought on “Asheville Living

  1. This is a beautiful mix of excellent narrative & gorgeous photography! On this dreary morning in NH, reading your piece brought sunshine to my soul. Many thanks.

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