We all know Texas is more a Country than a State. The most interesting, geographically diverse, eclectic, close-to-heaven body on the continent. And during the time I've been immersed in writing about Asheville, I've come to realize that Asheville is really a Texas town. The North Carolina location is just an unfortunate geographic malfunction; Asheville's nature is pure Texas. Where else would proud public art include bronze pigs parading in the Art Deco eye of the historical district?
With that understanding, I'm sharing a bit of Asheville here with my Hill Country Mystery friends.
Asheville's reputation for the arts doesn't do it justice. We found every kind of art-- architecture, fine art, literary art, music, culinary art, gardens, healing arts, decorative arts, wearable art and antiques. And public art dots the historic downtown landscape.
I loved it all...but the architecture held me captive.
1928 Art Deco style City Hall, built in shape and color reminiscent of the mountains surrounding the town.
Downtown is designed for walking and contains one of the largest collections of Art Deco era buildings in the US, kept intact because city fathers declined to forfeit on bonds during the Depression. Repaying the debt meant no money available for the next half-century for urban renewal.
Instead, old buildings stayed in use, kept up and re-purposed. Today, the historical district's two-laned, tree-lined streets thrive with unique galleries, shops and restaurants.
1929 Gothic-style Grove Arcade Building, a corner of which is home to Carmel's, renowned for pomegranate martinis and lick-the-plate, when-can-I-go-back dining. See the stone faces looking down on passersby?
A 1930's F. W. Woolworth Co. building is today Woolworth Walk, a gallery showcasing more than 150 local artists. And serving old-fashioned banana splits at the soda fountain.
Thomas Wolfe's novel Look Homeward, Angel echoes Asheville. Literary tourists walk through his boyhood home and think about seeing the town from his eyes.
The air in Ashville feels different. I think it's the vibe.
Augmented on occasion by a sip or two.
I can't wait to go back.
Yes, we did go to the Biltmore Estate while 100,000+ blooming tulips danced. And I'll share those pictures in my next post.
Copyright 2009-2010 Kathleen Scott ,for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.