This past weekend we had a group of special ladies join us for Thursday through Sunday. The “Adabelles” were all in the High School Class of 1964 in Ada, Oklahoma and every two years they have a reunion. This year they chose Asheville and the Carolina Bed & Breakfast. They were a wonderful group who had carefully planned their entire visit, with result that James and I once again found ourselves with a gift of unexpected freetime.
Friday nights, especially in October, are usually busy with guests checking in. This often entails spending time with them, a map and the box full of menus, as we tell them about the many things our town has to offer. In all the time I have lived in Asheville, I have never seen a Friday night from outside the inn. But this Friday night our guests had all made their plans, knew where they were going and left together. James and I didn’t need asking twice. We locked the door and headed to town.
Some of our neighbors have already started decorating for Halloween and the juxtaposition between the lovely garden of this house and the scary “Freddy” leaping out from the bushes is one of my favorites. Actually they had an amazing ghost flying in the air, suspended from a limb of the tree but we had some strong winds the other night which I guess tore it down. I knew I should have gone down and taken a picture when I first saw it.
The sun was just setting over the mountains as we climbed the slight hill into town. The leaves are at their peak in the high mountains and the color is starting to spread down the hillside. It was a beautiful Autumn evening, clear blue skies and just a touch of chill in the air.
James and I decided to spend the evening going to some of the locations which we often suggest to our guests so our first stop was the Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar. This is one of our favorite places in town. The “bookstore” presents itself as someone’s personal (albeit large) library. Leather seats and couches are hidden behind bookshelves full of hardcover books, from new to old, and small decorative details form pleasing visual vignettes throughout the store. This Friday night there was a guitarist seated in a niche near the door. His music was pleasant and unobtrusive, contributing to the conversation inducing atmosphere which makes this bar unusual.
After enjoying a glass of wine at the bar, James and I strolled down the street towards Pritchard Park and the Drum Circle. On the way we came to the opening of a new Art Gallery: ZaPow! So we wandered in and spent some time talking to Steven Michael, an artist who uses dichroic glass for his windows. Dichroic glass uses minerals to create refractory properties in it so that it changes color depending on how you view it. (This is your piece of trivia for the day James and I were especially interested because we will be building new living quarters this winter (fingers crossed) and will be needing a decorative window for the top of the stairs.
|The crowd at the Drum Circle|
On to the drum circle, which we could hear from a couple of blocks away. I have to be honest and say that the sound of the pounding drums has never elicited in me any desire to leap in and join them but it is fun to watch the people who have gathered. One of my favorite things to watch are the girls from Asheville Hoops. I tried to get arty with this shot of a lit-up hulu hoop.
Because the Drum Circle draws a crowd, it is a favorite site for street artists, especially living statues.
This many armed Indian Goddess was one I had never seen before
|The early crowd at the Chocolate Lounge.|
From Pritchard Park, James and I continued on down Patton Avenue in order to see how long the line was at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge
We were considering buying some pomegranate truffles to have later but decided to come back (which of course we never did).
On to Pack Square where the Bistro 1898 was bustling. As usual, buskers were playing music on the sidewalk there but we also noticed a crowd across the street so we went to see what was going on.
It turned out this man was juggling knives (among other things). He had a really good act which included a lot of crowd participation so we stayed for quite a bit watching. I actually meant to take this picture without a flash because I was afraid of blinding him. But I guess he is used to flashes!
By now we were hungry so we decided to try some place new and stopped in at Pack’s Tavern . The tavern is housed in the Hayes and Hobson Building, built in 1907. The building has had a varied history but is most notable for the large tunnel under it which stretches under the nearby buildings. During prohibition this tunnel was used to store and smuggle alcohol. The Tavern boast a large range of craft beers and, even though it is on the outskirts of Pack Square, it attracts a healthy crowd. We did have to wait a bit at the bar (not as bad as it sounds–there was a baseball game on.)
After dinner, our intention had been to walk home down Lexington Avenue and stop at Tressa’s Jazz Bar. But we were tired and forgot!
I guess one of the things I like about Asheville is how there is always something to look at and someone interesting to talk to.