This past week, I spent several days visiting Asheville, North Carolina. It's a great city for walking and I stayed in an apartment which wasn't too far from the downtown. I found myself taking long walks on most days, either in the city or nearby. On my first full day, the rains came. Merrimon Avenue filled with water on either side and I decided to wait out the storm in a fine music store called the Musician's Workshop. I tried out an Ibanez hollow body electric guitar and messed around with a crazy pedal called Superego + that had multiple effects and even allowed overlays of one effect on another. It was fun, but really getting the most out of this kind of effects pedal would take more time than I currently have. Maybe someday.
When I looked up, the rain had stopped and I decided to take a walk at the Botanical Center right next to UNC Asheville just down the road. Normally, a quiet stream curls through the center, but not on this day. Here's a glimpse of the churning brown waters of the stream that afternoon.
The next day, I walked into downtown late in the morning. Most of the trees in town were still green, but here's an exception I saw along the way walking on Broadway.
My favorite stop in downtown is the Malaprop's bookstore. This week I had a gift card at the store, so I had the luxury of browsing through titles in various sections of the store. I did my research on one day, then bought the books on another day. I like science fiction books, so I looked at those possibilities, but I also checked out books of regional interest and the general fiction area as well. The store is replete with other sections such as Banned Books and Staff Picks, so those books are also worth checking out. On prior visits, I had seen books such as 1984 and the Just Kids memoir from Patti Smith that I later read.
But since it was lunchtime, I walked downhill toward the Green Sage on Broadway. This restaurant has great coffee and tea selections, and also has innovative fare for lunch or breakfast. On this day, the temperatures had dropped a bit, so I wanted a lunch with both hot and filling foods. After asking a few questions when I got to the head of the queue, I made my selections and they were brought to my table a few minutes later. My sandwich was called a Rainbow Wrap and its mix of veggies included beets, carrots, lettuce and alfalfa sprouts, augmented by olives and small hunks of feta. Very tasty. My soup was intriguing and warm -- lentils served in a curry-based soup. The piece de resistance was a spicy chai cider which brought the rest of the meal together and whose hot spicy taste felt like a pure burst of autumn. Green Sage is a magnet for a diverse group of people -- single, couples or in groups -- and ages ranging from students to retirees. Across the street, a new building is being erected, which will house a mix of condos and hotel rooms; the city continues to evolve from the one I first encountered about 8 years ago, with a big push toward providing more rooms in and around the downtown.
Later on the trip, I took a ride up into the hills of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Asheville has beautiful views even from the downtown, but it's magnified up on the parkway. Here's a couple glimpses of what I saw:
Back in Asheville, one can encounter some surprising sights. Here's the side of the original Moog studio off of Broadway:
Whether it's music, books, food, wine. beer or the outdoors, it seems there's always another adventure lurking around the corner in Asheville.