Writer’s note: Okayyyy so this vacation actually took place a few months ago (so the weather in Asheville has changed a lot since the time I wrote this). Ah me and my lazy writing. Oh well, I’m still continuing where I left off. Hubs and I are on a mini roadtrip. We’ve already stopped by Orlando, Palm Coast, Jacksonville, Savannah… and we just left Atlanta.
As we drove from Atlanta to Asheville, our building excitement seemed to match the scenery. Atlanta was built on flat land, but as our little Toyota drove north, hills began to form. When the first mountains began to appear, our eyes grew wider. Before we knew it, we were in tiny Asheville.
And I mean tiny.
As the days went by, we quickly realized it took us eight minutes or less to travel anywhere in the town. Anywhere! It was crazy and cool to think that such as small town had such a big reputation for being a haven for the hipster movement: beer and the arts. After living in a small city where every drive was more than 30 minutes, we quickly grew spoiled from having everything close together.
Speaking of first impressions, our AirBnB hostess was a collection of every Asheville stereotype we’d heard about rolled into a little human being. She was a costume designer involved with the community garden designing an earth-friendly, teepee-like eco-lodge in the backyard with many New Age decor scattered throughout her home. Of course she was ridiculously friendly and lively. If the rest of Asheville was as welcoming, we were going to be okay.
Asheville is proud of its artists. Almost every building was covered with murals of every genre. The typically blah outside of large warehouses were now colorful trips into the painter’s mind. Bronze sculptures danced over the grass in very public places. As we drove under bridges, we glimpsed the underside where almost no part of the gray concrete was left unscathed of art. A large water tower, very prominent from the highway, greeted passing cars with a declaration of ‘Good Vibes.’
But all this art was not there to cover up an ugly town. From almost every direction, tall trees and rolling hills were leading the way to the Blue Ridge Mountains which surrounded Asheville from two directions (except it was still almost an hour’s drive to mountains in either direction. I guess you can’t have it all, huh?). Asheville’s co-existance with nature was most obvious with the French Broad River which flowed straight through Asheville’s center. Every so often you would see groups of brightly colored floating tubes carrying a joyous user. I never saw any motorized vehicle tainting the clear waters.
On our last day, we opted to view the land from the air by heading east to Thermal Valley and hang gliding. A tiny airplane towed the little, triangular contraption containing my instructor and me into the air. Before we knew it, the little plane cut ties with us and we were gliding free. Now THAT is how I imagined flying would be. I felt like how Superman would– when I curved my body left the hang glider dipped left. When my arms were outstretched we glided flat but bringing them closer to my sides allowed me to go faster. I would totally pick this sensation of flying over the feeling of falling (which is skydiving) any day. I just wish there were more mountains surrounding us for better views.
There’s so much to talk about Asheville– the food, the beer, the hikes– but I guess I have to save that for another time, right?