I am a city dweller, always have been;always will be. There is nothing greater to me than enjoying a hot corned-beef and swiss sandwich prepared by the fresh-mouthed men at Viand while admiring the passers-by at Seventy-fifth and Broadway, New York (http://tinyurl.com/2e5wne5) . But I’ll save that little fantasy for my visit next month. This morning, Dr. Tom Bibey, while describing All Things Country (ahttp://tinyurl.com/2bws9ol), reminded me of another place I like to sneak off to, a place that inspires me and other artists to create. Oh Dr. Bibey, Asheville, NC is a place we city dwellers like to claim when we explore all things country. Perhaps you’ve heard of it.
Perhaps the most popular destination for visitors to Ashville is The Biltmore Estate. I too have visited during spring vacations with the offspring. But, with all due respect to George W. Vanderbilt, over the years I’ve become less drawn to the tulips of the estate and more drawn to the cultural explosion happening in downtown. Ashville, founded (debatably) by David Williams and family in 1791, has attracted people from all parts of the world, due primarily I’m sure to its beautiful landscapes. But for artist of all types, this area has also become a bit of a colony. I’ve been absolutely in love with Biltmore Avenue for the past decade and cannot say enough about the diversity of talent and beauty that’s apparent there. The galleries, from my favorite, 16 Patton to The Bender Gallery are the must see destinations in the area. But also, there are coffee houses (yeah, I said it) and poetry dens, and all sorts of creative venues that just ooze coolness. Yet, the area somehow, which all of us Yankee visitors trekking through, manages to keep its southern charm. If you’re a writer and you’re looking for a good writing destination, without the hassles of a writer’s retreat, check out Ashville. You won’t be disappointed.
The River Arts district, a gem of a neighborhood is buzzing with creativity. It’s a must for anyone who looks to be inspired while on vacation. Just in case you’d like a peek, here it is: http://tinyurl.com/2dnhz2k. And in case, you’re really feeling like you should include some serious nature while you’re away, check out Chimney Rock Park. It’s about twenty-five miles outside Asheville and the hiking trails are great. So who’s up for Ashville this spring? Hey Tom, let’s start a movement!