Recently I had the opportunity to revisit one of my favorite places on earth, Asheville, North Carolina. I know it doesn’t sound that exciting compared to the vast array of sensational options to tour here in America, but believe me, when I say, don’t judge ‘till you’ve been there. Its popularity has skyrocketed in the last couple of years thanks to dozens of film directors, actors/actresses and common folk like myself who crave some kind of eclectic ambiance, history and culture with artists in residence.
Whether you arrive by plane, train or automobile I guarantee your first impression will literally take your breath away while your body acclimates itself to this destination which sits well over 2,100 hundred feet above sea level. Allow enough time to let your ears decompress and your eyes soak in the majestic scene this land has to offer. The air is pure and the sights are legendary.
People flock here in particular for the music, art and glimpses into how American royalty lived in our recent past.
Anyone who follows musical history knows this southern city holds a special treat for the artistic technology geeks with a free tour of the Moog Synthesizer manufacturing facility right outside of the city limits. My visit included a back room peak where assemblers work side-by-side with hand-picked synthesizer engineers inspecting every analog box before being sent to its lucky recipient.
Don’t leave without asking one of the talented tour guides to demonstrate the synthesizer in the lobby/gift center. It’s fascinating to watch their interaction with this very complicated machine and if you feel daring enough you too can “peck” a tune or two yourself.
You will come away with a greater appreciation of how the “outside the box” Asheville music scene began years ago and sets the tone for the evening festivities downtown.
If lying back listening to music and people-watching is more your style, make your way to the center of town after dark. Somehow, without fail after the sun goes down the action picks up ten fold. Hundreds of people seem to come out of nowhere and fill the small square with mingling tourist and locals alike. You will see a cornucopia of colorful characters from suburban snappy dressers to packs of COACHELLA loving young “Ashevillians” making their way to local breweries or fancy restaurants to settle in for the musical entertainment. Choose to munch on grilled honey brussels sprouts with a beer or highbrow bone-marrow appetizers and pate; there’s a restaurant and musical entertainment that delights anyone’s “taste.”
Are you are an avid art voyeur like myself and get bored with the idea of sitting, eating and listening to music all night, Asheville has something for you as well!
ART—all kinds of art. You will love sauntering through rows and rows of galleries that house many one-of-kind art pieces crafted through the vision of local artisans in residence. It may take a while to find that special piece to add to your collection so start early, as they close at eight…….
Of course, no Asheville excursion is complete without a whirlwind tour through one of America’s most iconic monuments, the Biltmore Estate. Whether you sandwich this in at the beginning or end of your tourist activities, don’t miss it. It is a delicate mixture of artifactual opulence, the ancestral relevance of southern sovereignty and just jam-packed with really cool stuff into a huge residence that everyone in your party will love. Make sure to schedule an entire day there, add valet parking and get ready to take tons of pics without the flash.
Although the music is fantastic and the art mesmerizing, I continue to return for something greater than a momentary beautiful souvenir that tickles my fancy. My experiences in Asheville have become a part of me, part of my heart, and most importantly a part of my muse…….MUSE in the Mountains (next blog post)