It was December 10th, that pivotal day when it starts to be acceptable to indulge in all things Christmas. So I put on my reindeer earrings and green leggings and set out from the Carolina Bed & Breakfast to sell my cookbook while enjoying Christmas in Asheville.
My first stop takes me out to Addison Farms Vineyard for their Annual “Handcrafted Christmas” Fair. Here I was surrounded by artists and craftsmen as well as lovers of wine. The Leicester township of Sandy Mush Valley is known for sustainable farming and creative activity. So while I was ostensibly there to sell my cookbook Our Family Table: Recipes and Lessons From A Life Abroad, in fact I was busy buying Christmas presents for my family and friends and talking to the wonderfully interesting people, both artists and buyers. From lamps to leather, wood to wax, every medium was represented!
My next outing took me to Malaprops Bookstore/Cafe where I was surrounded by my favorite temptation, books! Malaprops is an independent bookstore which likes to celebrate Asheville’s local authors (of which there are many). They have an entire section on Southern Cookbooks and I am so proud to have my book on sale there. This particular occasion was for a day of signing. Along with six other Asheville authors, I was given a space to autograph and sell my cookbook…and buy more presents for family and friends.
Having now enjoyed the festivities and feel of an Asheville Christmas in arts and literature, Thursday found me at the Asheville Visitor’s Center. I was seated by a massive Christmas tree decorated by the folks from the Biltmore Estate. Hidden deep within the bough is a small pickle ornament. If you can find it you win a candy cane. It was really fun to watch tourists circle the tree, searching for the pickle while waiting for the next Gray Line Trolley departure! The Asheville Visitor’s Center is a hub of activity both for tourists stopping for information and for locals who come into say hello to the staff and volunteers as well as to pick up the occasional gift at the shop. And, yup, you guessed it, along with selling some of my books, I bought Christmas presents for family and friends.
Tourists, artists and authors are a large part of the Asheville scene but I had one more stop on my Christmas Tour of Asheville. I took my books and cookie samples to a historic house on the Montford Tour of Homes. The 1920 building has been beautifully and tastefully renovated and is owned by a family who moved here from Manhattan (typical of the Asheville mix of natives side by side with transplants!). My book table was in a sunny nook next to the fireplace. A live tree filled the room with the scent of pine and tasteful holiday music played softly as I chatted with the Asheville folks who came to see the art, the decor and the house. It was lovely way to spend an afternoon even though I was sadly unable to buy presents for my family and friends!
When people think of Christmas in Asheville, they usually think of the grand and glorious display at the Biltmore. And this is a justifiable thought, but like any small American town, the holidays here encompass many different events and offer a lot to see and do. There is still time to come for a quick visit this year and if not, there is always 2017!