Asheville, NC (11-21-15 to 12-5-15)
Asheville – BBQ, breweries, Basilica, Omni Park Grove Hotel gingerbread contest, arts and crafts
Southern BBQ is not quite what we expected. Based on various recommendations, we searched for what we consider barbecued ribs. Unfortunately, we didn’t specify ribs and ended up having pulled pork as the only BBQ option at a few venues. Since both of us have always like to cook, we were disappointed that the pulled pork was not anything special – mostly like pork shoulder from a crockpot. We did get to two places with ribs. One was reportedly popular with President Obama called 12 Bones. The rib “joint” ambiance was better than the food. Okie Dokie had great BBQ but lacked true “joint” atmosphere. Did you know people in the South put vinegar sauce on their BBQ?
Asheville has been called Beer City and will quite possibly keep that reputation as new breweries pop up quite frequently. We visited 12 breweries in 14 days; and, as if that wasn’t enough, we paid a visit to the Pour House where patrons pour their own beer from a large selection of taps. It was fun to try tastes of a few that I wouldn’t normally consider. Price was per ounce – great idea. At Burial Brewery, we sat with some great beer while signing, folding, and stuffing envelopes with our holiday letter.
Not to be daunted by rainy days, we went downtown for a self-guided tour of the St. Lawrence Basilica, not so ornate as we expected for a Basilica.
It wasn’t a great day to do outdoor exploring, so we ducked into the old Woolworth store for the “Woolworth Walk” around the areas converted to an indoor arts and crafts fair. Such a great idea for a store in the middle of downtown – use it, don’t tear it down.
On a much nicer day, we traveled the Blue Ridge Parkway to see the annual display of gingerbread creations at the Omni Grove Park Inn. Lots of hiking up to and through the hotel.
We visited various smaller towns such as Black Mountain (loved the park and town) where I naturally was drawn to a couple of yarn shops; but, “no shopping for more stuff we have to cart around!” (Anyway, I have two knitting projects with me on the road). We made it to a town outside of Weaverville for a fiber fair and actually bought something. Another shopper convinced us to purchase a natural laundry product that comes in small capsules and is supposed to be better than soap, leaving clothes smelling as if they were hung on a line. We’ll be sure to report back with the results.
My overall impression of Black Mountain was good enough for consideration as a place to settle.
Acquaintances transplanted from Eden Prairie invited us to their home to see the east side of Asheville. Beth and Steve gave us a tour to see the vegetables still growing in their huge garden. We really enjoyed their hospitality and the opportunity to chat with people who understood our quest for a place to call home.
If you’ve read Alan’s Asheville post, you know he was not impressed with the roads. However, the people and the weather make it an attractive place to live. We plan to return to the area to visit other small towns recommended by some Minnesota transplants we know and acquaintances who were willing to share their thoughts.
For now, the exploration of North America continues with conversations that may take us to Mexico in the near future. I have a 50 year class reunion tentatively planned for mid-July or August, so we are trying to plan around a trip to Sidney, Nebraska, followed by a visit to Minnesota to spend time with family and friends.
Leaving Asheville to visit a former Eden Prairie friend/neighbor and his daughter and son-in-law in Chesapeake, Virginia.