Thursday, October 13, 2011

We Were Here

Traveling is like getting a new pair of sunglasses.  Different color, different view.

I've been out of town three of the last four weeks. As I sort pictures and memories now, I'm happy to share the fun.  

Asheville, North Carolina is known as the Austin of the East. Truly, even to local Carolinians. Quirky, musical, artistic and beer-loving.  Not to mention beautiful.  

Denny and I stayed at the historic Grove Park Inn on a hill north of downtown Asheville.

Built in 1912 by hand from boulders (not stones, boulders) quarried at nearby Sunset Mountain.  

When I walked into the soaring big-timbered lobby, it felt like entering a Harry Potter mountain lodge.  The cage-fronted elevator, hand operated by a cheerful staffer, opens from a side door into a massive stone fireplace...the closest we'll ever get to travel by flue.      Grove Park Inn elevator entrance--->

Our room was near F. Scott Fitzgerald's favorite room, which he chose for the view of arriving coaches from which he could spec potential feminine companionship. Zelda was resident in Asheville's Highland Mental Hospital at the time.

View toward Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains,  on the opposite side of the Inn from Mr. Fitzgerald's favorite view.

If you ever visit Asheville, take the Grove Park Inn's historical tour, followed by lunch on Sunset Terrace for the view aboveMargaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind, spent her honeymoon at the Grove Park.  There are stories of presidential visits past and present. And you'll want to hear about the The Pink Lady, resident ghost of room 545.  She's said to be flirtatious and to show up in photographs.  Not mine. 

Then stop in at the two galleries on the property, Gallery of the Mountains inside the hotel and Grovewood Gallery next door. I plan to buy everything in the galleries when I win the lottery.  But especially the gorgeous and original woven bead jewelry of Amolia Willowsong. (Gallery of the Mountains) 

<---Willowsong's Southern Skies necklace, photo by Cheryl Lincoln.

And a couple of these hand-carved hardwood rockers by retired surgeon Joe Godfrey (Grovewood Gallery).  Carved to comfort your spine, I'm pretty sure the rocking does the same for the soul.

Speaking of comforting, downtown's Tupelo Honey Cafe offers the world's best way to break the fast.  Yes, I said WORLD'S best (world being even bigger than Texas). 

If you plan to go on a weekend, take yourself early or expect to wait because a big congregation believes in the Cafe's Sweet Potato Pancake.  Fluffy but substantial buttermilk batter underwritten by sweet orange goodness with just enough spice, then jazzed by Grandma's Maple Granola inside.  Cooked up, then topped by a dollop of whipped peach-butter surrounded by a generous handful of spiced pecans, it's the definition of righteousness.  Add a light drizzle of orange-blossom-scented Tupelo Honey and you've got heaven.

Plan on taking half of it home with you--you'll be able to keep your jeans buttoned and it's just as good the next day.

Afterward you'll want a little walk to enjoy the mountain air.  

And the sights.  If you're lucky, the Flying Nun will bless you as he makes his rounds.
Copyright 2009-2011 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. What a great skyline shot, and I had no idea the place looked like that - may be worth a trip next summer with the garden bloggers. The last pic of the flying nun could be Austin, except not enough traffic congestion and no agaves!

  2. Okay. One of these days when I go to visit Jessie I am going to stay at the Grove Park. Oh yes I am!

  3. I really thought you were back in Austin with that last shot of the nun. We have someone just as wacky only he wears only a thong. Seen him? Great trip and the scenery does look a little like Austin.

  4. I love Asheville -- the Grove Park Inn is just so gorgeous. Thanks for the great post -- and delicious photos!

  5. Those Appalachian towns and cities are especially picturesque. I really like Boone N.C., which is home to Appalachian State University and big enough to have artsy amenities but still retains a small town feel.

    I'm glad you had fun.


  6. What an odd and wonderful place! Thanks for sharing your visit with us. . . I'd love to see it myself someday!

  7. Looks like a great place to visit.
    It's now on The List.
    Those pancakes look pretty good. But, I think I put on weight just reading about them..
    Thanks for taking us along with you.
    Have a good weekend.

  8. Lived in Hendersonville not too far away. Love this area. Grove Park Inn looks wonderful!

  9. Oh, I'd love to stay cozy inside all those boulders..

    I love that you are traveling and sharing so much life.

    Love that you are living it!


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