Fortunately, Asheville is not the same city I grew up in, it's better! The downtown area is a thriving hotbed of artists and restaurants of all kinds of cuisines. Asheville has always been a tourist town, from the campers and Floridians filling up our Blue Ridge Parkway during the summer months to skiers heading for the local ski slopes in the winter.
Asheville has been a destination for the seeing the colorful fall leaves, and the famous Biltmore House, with the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains and parkway. Here are a few photos of the leaves on the parkway in full color.
Last year, we drove up to Mt. Mitchell and it's worth the drive and walk up to the top. There's a great new observation lookout area at the top.
Right at the entrance to the walk up there, you'll also enjoy the fresh smell of the balsams, which reminds me of Christmas. A great side note here, Asheville is a great place to spend Christmas. The Biltmore House is so lovely at Christmas and the whole city makes it really feel like Christmas. Western NC is a top producer in Christmas trees, as well.
Here is the observation overlook at the top.
It's been said Asheville is the Paris of the South. The city's rich architectural legacy with its mix of Art Deco, Beaux Arts and Neoclassical styles is the perfect retro-urban backdrop to the edgy energy. You can get your fill of European and Bluegrass culture, at once, from the elegance of the Grove Park Inn to the Shindig on the Green on the Pack Plaza. You can walk to an exciting array of eclectic historic shops, art galleries, bars and restaurants, many with the view of the mountains. Here's someone enjoying the outdoor cafes.
You can eat organic, vegan, vegetarian, raw, southern cooking, country cooking or any other worldly cuisine.
Above is a photo of Laughing Seed Restaurant downtown on Wall St. It's a fabulous modern vegetarian, vegan and raw restaurant. Voted Best Vegetarian Restaurant for eight years. Here's the pasta dish my husband had for dinner. Awesome food.
My dish, but I don't remember what it called, but it was so good! Oh, and their iced teas are excellent. I had the lemon bomb, my husband had the berry. We both recommend them.
On the weekends late at night, be prepared there's a line out the door, but it's worth the wait. Awesome drinks and desserts. Of course, what could be better than chocolate I say...to my shock and surprise, Mike ordered cheesecake with raspberry sauce. I tasted it and it was so good.
Voted #1 for Hamburgers, Burgermeister! I haven't been there yet, I'll let you know next time I visit the folks. (And again, I can walk to it from my parent's house. How cool is that?). Memory side note: this use to be the convenience store where I would ride my bike to get my Icees. Do you remember when after you drank the Icee you cut out the stamps of the side of the drink cup to send off for junk? I don't think I ever did...well, Okay, truth be told, I did cut out the stamps but never sent them off.
Okay, next stop....one of our family traditions, The Farmers' Market! Yay! Sorry, I get excited about farmer's markets, they're so... what's the word? Americana! You can buy almost anything here.
North Carolina Pottery
So as you can see, the city is not the same and I'm glad it's not! Even my high school is not the same school, well okay, a few things were still the same. Like the auditorium that is last on the list to renovate. Lastly, my high school reunion photos: it is truly a beautiful school. And no, I won't go on and complain about all the new buildings, studios, plenty of options, new cafeteria with HD tv's ...let's see, what else? that the students have at AHS that we didn't have. (No, I'm not resentful.)
Okay, now to Asheville High School and my reunion. First a bit of history for you. Dedication of AHS was on September 25, 1919. The high school was designed by architect Douglas D. Ellington in the Romantic/Art Deco style. It was made out of granite, called "Balfour Pink" which was quarried out of mines near Salisbury and white granite from Mount Airy. Also slabs of orange granite from the Smokey Mountains.
Front of Asheville High School
The back of AHS and Friday night football game
There we are, the AHS Class of 1980!
On a personal note I have to say, what negative memories I had from my high school days vanished after attending my high school reunion. And the positive memories were celebrated. Thanks for going down memory lane with me. I hope you enjoyed the trip!