Arty Asheville NC

Apr 9th, 2019, 06:51 AM
  #1  
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Arty Asheville NC

On 31 March - Thursday April 4, 2019, I drove from the Washington, D.C. area to Asheville, NC. Friends (B and F) of 30+ years moved there from Florida in May 2018. B said come on down and see all the art here. On April 4, I drove to the Greensboro NC area to look around.

I drove south on 95, went west on 85, then SW on 40. With no traffic, this should take about 8.5 hours. I stopped for lunch/gas, coffee, gas so added another .5. Once on 85, I called B to let her know where I was. Within seconds after ending the call, the road went to one lane. Add another .5 to go 20 mph for 10 (?) miles. So, it took me 10 hours. According to the directions map, route 81 would be a bit faster, but DH and I avoided this busy route.

Figuring I'd be pooped, B and F cancelled dinner reservations and made some chili. We talked and ate for a couple of hours until I started to flag.

I don't recommend driving this long unless you are slightly nuts.

DAY 1 - 50's but warm in the sunshine

Breakfast was bagels and fruit at B and F's
Lunch:Chai Pani: https://www.chaipaniasheville.com/our-team B+++/A-
Lamb Burgers, Chicken Pakoras, Aloo Tikki Shaat
Dinner: Chestnut: https://www.chestnutasheville.com/ B+++/A-
Petite Filet, Shrimp and Grits, Duck Confit Wellington, Ice Cream, Signature Sundae, Amaro

More to come. Think lemon curd ice cream!

Last edited by moderator8; Apr 9th, 2019 at 08:35 AM.
TDudette is online now  
Apr 9th, 2019, 11:53 AM
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I never understand why people won't drive 81.
Gretchen is offline  
Apr 9th, 2019, 03:14 PM
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Ashville is a nice town with good Indian food. its a long drive from DC.
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Apr 10th, 2019, 03:20 AM
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​​​​​​Great startómore please!
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Apr 10th, 2019, 08:41 AM
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Gretchen, for DH and me, 81 was always crowded with fast trucks. On one occasion, the retread separated from the semi in front of us and bore down on our car. We were unable to change lanes. At the last minute, it bounced off the road. We would have been seriously injured. Also, it is just a bit further to our west---95 is more direct.

Too true, yestravel!

Thanks, Weisser Tee!

OK, Day 1 continued.

Our first stop was the Folk Arts Center: https://www.southernhighlandguild.org/folk-art-center/

This large complex housed some beautifully crafted items. Jewelry, furniture, furnishings, some sculpture, textiles and much more. There were some gorgeous baskets.


I got permission to take a photo of this wooden bowl. According to wood turning friends, the health of the tree determines the patterns in the wood. Often the patterns show diseased portions.


I loved the simplicity of this console table.


This steel deer was life-sized. Its back end (adhered to the wall) is composed of plastic mesh and tulle. Very clever.

We didn't write down the prices, but things were very expensive. We talked a lot about the amount of time it takes to make art. We spent a couple of hours here. Many of the artisans were on hand and happy to discuss their processes.

Last edited by TDudette; Apr 10th, 2019 at 08:42 AM. Reason: typo
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Apr 10th, 2019, 09:08 AM
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From the Folk Art Center, B drove us to downtown Asheville. My first visit to this town was in the 1980s and my memory of it was that it is a small town. Our approach revealed something larger! Although there were mid-rise buildings, F said that many of the original buildings (like Woolworth's -- info to come) were repurposed rather than razed. We parked in a garage on Battery Park Ave. and walked to Chai Pani. We passed the Grove Arcade on the opposite side of the street--it fronted on a semi-pedestrian way. https://www.grovearcade.com/ We won't get to it but it looks really neat.

I forgot to write that B had a Mango Lassi ("chilled yogurt drink with sweet mango pulp & cardamom") and we all liked it. The lamb burgers were very tasty and we loved the Chicken Pakoras ("Joyce Farms chicken seasoned w/ Kashmiri spices in a curried chickpea batter. Served with green chutney & sweet yogurt.")----the chickpea batter was crispy and spicy. Aloo Tikki Shaat was our least fave but still good. It was crispy potato fritters in a stew. You can easily check their menu online: https://www.chaipaniasheville.com/our-team Very popular venue.

From here we walked along Battery to the old Woolworth building. They kept (and still use I think) the soda fountain, but the rest of the 2-story building is filled with art and crafts. We spent some more time looking. I forgot to mention that B was looking for gifts for nieces and nephews--she found bracelets at the Folk center and tee-shirts here. Sayings about being proudly weird in Asheville were common.

We started our way back to the garage and realized we passed and missed Wall St. with a Flat Iron building. F said the owner would rather raze than fix. Stay tuned.

Last edited by TDudette; Apr 10th, 2019 at 09:28 AM.
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Apr 10th, 2019, 09:33 AM
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We started our way back to the garage and realized we passed and missed Wall St. with a Flat Iron building. F said the owner would rather raze than fix. Stay tuned. Continued as I was unable to post the following photos:


A ringer for the NYC one!



Huge Flat Iron sculpture.


Close up of the plaque.

We fetched the car (no elevator in the garage so F went for it as a kindness for my asthma) then headed back home to take a rest. More about dinner later--remember, lemon curd ice cream!

Last edited by TDudette; Apr 10th, 2019 at 09:35 AM. Reason: typo
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Apr 10th, 2019, 10:58 AM
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I remember loving Ashville but it was around 1990. Silly us decided to check the yellow pages (no internet back then) for a seafood restaurant and didn't realize Long John Silver's was a fast food place. Other than that we had some nice meals.
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Apr 10th, 2019, 01:25 PM
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Believe me, it is different happening place from 1990. That was "sleepy mountain town" then. Seafood in the mountains then--maybe not a great choice except for local trout--Now, anything anywhere is possible.

About 81--EVERYONE talks about the trucks. I 85 has 'em also.
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Apr 12th, 2019, 12:40 PM
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Day one, cont'd.

We went back to the apt. to check emails, freshen up and nap. And talk!
Dinner at Chestnut was very good: https://www.chestnutasheville.com/
The menu changes each month. B and I took advantage of their Medium Plates option. She had a petite filet and I had Duck confit Wellington. Both very good. F had regular sized Shrimp and Grits. He said it was good but not the best ever. B's dessert was house made ice cream and I believe it was vanilla and was very good. This is the signature sundae and we all got into it: House made Lemon Curd Ice Cream, Folded With Toasted Meringue, Graham Cracker Crumbs, Berries. Giant yums.
As mentioned somewhere, DH and I were lucky enough to taste an Amaro Digestif when we were in Turin, Italy. We were unable to find it any other place we visited. Imagine my surprise to find 4 versions on Chestnut's dessert menu! Good parking lot across the street.

Day 2:
Breakfast: Cinnamon buns and fruit at home
Lunch: 12 Bones: https://www.12bones.com/menu/
BBQ pork and brisket sandwiches, special beers B+++
Dinner: Biltmore Bistro: https://biltmore.com/visit/things-to...aurants/bistro
Hamburger, Salmons A---
Site: Riverside Arts District: https://www.riverartsdistrict.com/

Day 2 details.
After a leisurely a.m., we hit the road for Riverside Arts District ("RAD"). RAD has 23 separate buildings. Originally, the buildings were warehouses, mills, factories, etc. The sections are arranged in color-coded areas with the purple designation are the original part. I can't find a map but we spent the entire time in the Blue area (including lunch). There was much road work and we wasted time following directions and running into roads closed for construction.

At any rate, we went from one end of the main building to the other and enjoyed talking with many artists. I bought an encaustic and B found a someone abstract acrylic of the nearby mountains. To give you and idea, here's a photo of the artist's table:

Artist is Jonas Gerard. He does a demo at this table. His assistant gave me permission to take this photo.

Back "home" again to freshen up before dinner at Biltmore.
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Apr 13th, 2019, 07:06 AM
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Dinner, day 2.

I forgot to mention our stop at a McDonalds to see the grand player piano! Want to say it is in or near the BIltmore Village shopping area that is not on the BIltmore grounds. Someone can help with the info about it.

After freshening up, we drove to Biltmore. BF have a pass so I don't have entry info. There are several separate buildings that were approached by a nice winding road. We passed the mansion, could see the big hotel up on a hill and ended up in a complex that included the BIstro, wine store, wine tasting and others I didn't get to. Please google for lots of good info but here's a link to a map: https://www.biltmore.com/estate

F kindly dropped us off as the parking lot was about a 10-15 min. walk up a slope. We met up at a wine tasting bar where for $8 I tasted the pinot and the 2 cabs:


All were fine but lighter than my go-to shiraz. My $8 tasting was less than most single glasses of wine and included 3 good amounts.

After the tasting, we walked over to the Bistro. B had a hamburger, and F and I had the salmon. All were delish. The description of the foods suggests that the food is either grown at Biltmore or sourced from NC. The salmon? I don't know but it was really good. After dinner, we walked downhill to the creamery for ice cream that was also really good. I didn't write down our flavors--the display looked like gelato though.

A good day!
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Apr 13th, 2019, 07:45 AM
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Day three:
Breakfast: Orange rolls, fruit at home
Lunch: Mt. Pisgah Inn: Home | Pisgah Inn
Monte Cristo Sandwich Grilled, egg battered bread, ham, turkey, cheddar and Swiss with orange marmalade for dipping, Creamy Cajun chicken soup. B++++
Dinner: Biscuit Head: Biscuit Head
I want to say we all had chicken but didn't write it down. B++
Site: Views from the mountain!

Today we will scale the mountain! By car. B gets kudos for driving. FYI, the pull off sections are actually online so F was able to alert B to upcoming pull offs I will spare you all the signs except the first and last and this representative view:


Layers of color as far as possible to see. This was at the 4980 look out.


Our first pull off is at a lowly 2920 feet.

The final stop is at 6000:

I am holding a painted rock (see next) that asks for FB forwarding.



Anyone know this place??

We stopped for lunch at Mt. Pisgah Inn. Gorgeous views, nice gift shop and a hotel. Looks small enough that you should reserve well ahead! Home | Pisgah Inn

We worked our way back to Asheville, passing Hendersonville on the way back. It's about 43 miles from Asheville to Pisgah on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Last edited by TDudette; Apr 13th, 2019 at 08:03 AM.
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Apr 13th, 2019, 08:49 AM
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Day 3 cont'd

We rested and talked some more! Dinner at Biscuit Head was really good. I forgot to write down what we had but mostly chicken. I think this is a chain?

Day 4, I left around 10:30 and drove to Asheboro, NC. (Route 40 to 64). I stayed here 2 nights to look at Greensboro but didn't really see enough to warrant any more TR.

FYI, the NC Zoo is located in Asheboro. I was going to visit but got a full day of rain (some times pouring) so didn't visit. I stayed at a Hampton Inn on 64. Here's a map of the zoo:


My overall impression of Asheville is positive. BF like interesting beers and there are many places to sample them. Arts and crafts abound! Development abounds! Food was wonderful and varied. It is hilly--but not as hilly as Spoleto from what I experienced.

Here's another mountain view:

This shows more layers. So pretty. Just imagine in the fall with pretty leaves.

I drove back to the D.C. area via Rte. 29 and did fine bypassing business areas until I reached Northern VA. My GPS decided to die--screen just went black-- and I felt I was close enough to figure out things. Horrible traffic.
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Apr 13th, 2019, 09:00 AM
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OK, a correction. Our chicken dinners were at Tupelo Honey (also a chain): https://tupelohoneycafe.com/location...ide-asheville/
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Apr 13th, 2019, 10:20 AM
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I really enjoyed your Asheville report, TDudette. Glad that you had a nice time here!
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Apr 13th, 2019, 12:50 PM
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Your post that Tupelo Honey was a "chain" sent me to the internet to check 'cause I thought there were only 2--Asheville and Charlotte. It is definitely IMO a cut above a "chain". And that is their flagship restaurant in Asheville.
Tupelo-web_PressKit_4.27.16_KV.pdf

I wish I had known you were headed to the zoo (my dear late BIL built it!!). I would have STRONGLY recommended you spend a day a bit south of Asheboro seeing the NC pottery capital--and maybe the best pottery center in the USA--Jugtown and Seagrove. There are 60 potteies you could visit, among them Ben OwenIV whose pottery is in the Smithsonian (he's YOUNG!!!!). It is a treasure to tour these--some are traditional (dating from the late 1700s, some modern raku, glass.) The clay in the area was the original reason and at one time supplied the Wedgwood pottery with
the clay for their renowned jasperware.

The PIsgah Inn is indeed small and you were also fortunate for the view--'cause sometimes it is above the clouds and you cannot see the valley or far view. Just below that is the Cradle of Forestry. The Vanderbilts really gave NC a lasting gift of the Pisgah Forest.

Last edited by Gretchen; Apr 13th, 2019 at 12:52 PM.
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Apr 14th, 2019, 09:35 AM
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Great report. My understanding is that "gift" of the Pisgah happened because the family owned an enormous amount of death duty taxes and the gift was in exchange for that tax forgiveness. What is it? About 55,000 acres, right?
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Apr 14th, 2019, 11:00 AM
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Thanks, LilyP53. Do you live there??

Gretchen, I do suppose 2 or 3 restos = a long way from a chain! My pocketbook says it's a good idea I missed the pottery area! I googled Ben Owen--what gorgeous pieces. If memory serves, there was a huge collection of wedgewood and jasperware in the Biltmore mansion. And, at least one hearth area was built of it??

Dukey, thanks. I don't know the size of the Pisgah area or the Vanderbilts' motivations for the donation. Wouldn't be a surprise though. I'm having a senior moment about who has kept Biltmore stuff going.

Would Asheville have succeeded as it has without Biltmore? So many related activities. I'm starting to get nostalgic for it already!
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Apr 14th, 2019, 02:35 PM
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TDudette, I do live in Asheville, and I'm always so interested in other people's experiences here. I'm sure it can be a fun place to visit!
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Apr 15th, 2019, 03:19 AM
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I'm having a senior moment about who has kept Biltmore stuff going.
It is the Cecils who are descendants of the Vanderbilts.

The Pisgah is an area above AAsheville and below . Have no idea of how large. And SO?

YOur pocketbook may have been saved but the Seagrove area is unlike ANY place in the world that I can think of. Charlotte has an incredible wing of a museum dedicated to ceramics with a huge Wedgwood collection and a NC collection from the Seagrove area.
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