Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Autumn Trip to Asheville, North Carolina

Something different for you this with this post! Perhaps you'd like to go down memory lane with me. Now that it's autumn and what better time than this? I was raised in Asheville, NC and this fall I went back home for my 30th high school reunion. It was better than I could have imagined. My hat is off to our organizers, truly a high (not pun intended) class weekend event. The weather was awesome and the people were too. I wanted to share with you photos taken from my trip and high school reunion.

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.

 Back to my life growing up in Asheville, it was a quiet town. But, that's not the case now! The city is no longer a sleeping giant, but a bustling, hip, happening, artsy town.


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.



(My Mother holding my daughter's Sarah's hand and my Mother-in-law Norma at Grove Arcade. I'm the tall one on the background.)

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.


One of our favorites on the menu where the Jalapeno and Onion Fries. Naughty,... but yummy.

After dinner and a little walking around, Mike and I went to French Broad Chocolate Lounge.
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.

I went for their specialty, decadent Chocolate Cake. Oh my! Words don't describe. I also had a cold chocolate drink made with coconut water... awesomeness.

 12 Bones restaurant, where President Obama ate a few years ago. Voted #1 for Barbecue. They catered our high school reunion lunch. Excellent food, I don't know how it could have been any better. The smoked coleslaw is delicious and unique. It's a don't-miss-this-one, if you love barbecue.

This is Sunny Pointe, voted #1 for Breakfast. Great outdoor seating and always busy. Yay for me, just a short walk from my parent's house and across from their church on Haywood Rd.


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.


                                                Fresh Western NC Apples!

 
                                                 Bittersweet Wreaths


                                               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!
Allison 









Monday, October 11, 2010

"Winter Reflections" from my abstract Season Reflections series

Thought you'd like to see the latest additions to my abstract Seasonal Reflections series. This is a reflective light and color study I did and here are the results from that study. I really enjoyed the painting process with this painting. As you see, colors choices are cooler, darker and some muted, yet some dramatic. To show the degree of colder temps setting in and shades become more muted, blended, and retracted even. Shadows are more apparent and tend to increase, therefore there is some drama to the shadows. The sun is low, the days are shorter, the sky is no longer as sunny. There is still color during the winter season, it's just a bit hidden and muted.  Hope you enjoy this painting, I know I did.
You can purchase this Winter Reflections painting here on Etsy. Thank you for stopping by! Allison


"Winter Reflections"
18" x 18" 
Acrylic




Monday, October 04, 2010

"Summer Reflections"

Hello All!
Even though summer is over now and autumn has begun, I just finished a painting from a series I call "Reflections". My "Summer Reflections" painting is a result of a study on the reflections. In art school, we students were taught how to see reflective color around us. I remember in my figure class one day, our instructor was teaching us where reflective colors come from and how they change what we view. We had to squint our eyes and look long enough to see color being reflected from the walls and other objects onto the figure we were drawing at the time. It took me a while but sure enough, I slowly began to see what she was saying. Wow, it does open up a new world to you when you've been given a different perspective, right? So now, no longer were we drawing a figure just with the usual highlights and shadows, we were adding in reflective colors here and there. Definitely changed our thinking and artwork. Still these days I find myself not just looking at the obvious, but at most interesting and changing reflective atmospheric colors. They too, can be just as interesting. As you see, this painting has the reflective colors and shades of summer. With trees and other plants in their full various shades of green to the flowers in their vibrant colors blooming. The sky is bright and sunny, shadows from winter gone except under the wonderful canopy of an oak or maple tree. Oh, how we long for shade in the hot summer months and rely on that shelter of shade. The days of summer are hot and long with plenty of glare. The colors are a combination of brightness, yet faded from summer's hot sun.
I hope you enjoy "Summer Reflections" and I'll be adding more, so please return. Thank you for stopping by to reflect back on life in each it's distinct seasons.  Allison.


"Summer Reflections"
24" x 30"
Acrylic




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