Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Texan in Spirit

I've been writing an article about Asheville, North Carolina and the Biltmore Estate and haven't been able to think about anything else; which is why I haven't posted for days, this being a blog about the Texas Hill Country with occasional diversions into the wider world of Texas.  

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.

The colors...

Alternate perspectives...

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.


  1. I've never been to Ashville but it's always been on my list of places I'd love to visit. It just moved up the list thanks to this.

  2. Lovely. Now I want to go there, too. Thanks for sharing it with us. I look forward to seeing Biltmore through your eyes.

  3. Asheville IS similar to Austin--kind of hippy, kind of funky, a college town with a scenic view. BTW, did you know there's a Mellow Mushroom on the Drag in Austin? We don't eat there because the location isn't convenient for us, but we've eaten at many a Mellow Mushroom in the southeast, including in Asheville, and the pizza is fantastic.

  4. Oh, I love Asheville -- in fact, it's the North Carolina town I love the most after Chapel Hill, my alma mater.

    Lovely photos -- and I don't think those Ashevillians would want to be Texans. Just sayin' --

  5. very much intrigued.
    and The Woolworth's place is very cool.

    I'm glad you are doing what you love, Kathleen.

  6. Oh wow! This sounds like just the perfect kind of town to live in! You make it all seem so magical. . . I can't WAIT for the tulips!

  7. I agree with Ms. Moon....Ashville just moved up on my list.

    I think it's fine to write about other than Hill Country. We Texans do venture out to 'foreign' lands, on occasion.

    Thanks for sharing...

  8. Thanks for this taste of what you are doing. I think we can tell from this little slice, that article is going to be great! x0 N2

  9. Oh what a great post and I can't wait to see your next one. We are traveling to Asheville in October :-)

  10. Great travelogue--like being there!

  11. Wow - I wonder if Ashevillians (Ashevillites?) know they are living in a bit of transplanted Texas? Maybe we ought not tell them.....

    What jumps out to me is the fact that their city leaders stuck to paying off their bonds and by doing so preserved their historic buildings. Sometimes being stubborn is a very GOOD thing.

    [Hope we'll get a link to the article]


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