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Should todays header read:

“We visited the Biltmore Estate and it was enchanting…”

Or…

“We’ve fallen in love and are moving to Asheville!”

Today was a show stopper! Starting with a good cup of coffee from Odds Cafe, we then headed to the Biltmore Estate, opting for the audio tour which proved to be the best choice! It was breathtaking seeing the largest home in the US, and all of its 250 rooms, 65 fireplaces, bowling alley, pool, etc, in the most picturesque setting you can imagine. Well, we didn’t see all the rooms, but many, like this dining room…

8500 acres of trees, mountains, a river, and even with the addition of a winery, restaurants, two hotels, and numerous other things to keep folks happy on the property when they are not touring the home, it is surprisingly country.  We felt like we were transported to another world, another time. Pictures do not even begin to capture the beauty, the art, the architecture, the nature or the details!

After we left the beautiful Estate, we thought we better get cracking on seeing some of the sights in Asheville, so we trekked to the downtown area.  We walked around, checked out some shops, and then went to a rooftop bar to take in a view of the city.  We took this antique elevator up about 9 floors or so, and we were immediately greeted by streaks of sunlight bursting between the clouds, descending on Pisgah National Forest and the edges of this small town.

We began a conversation with the two men next to us, and they just happen to be the owners  of the turn of the century building we were in, as well as the Skybar.  We talked with Marshall at length, he shared his love for Asheville, as well as advised us on other options for sights in the south.

He told us about his building, and how the old elevator is made by the Otis Elevator company, and is the twelfth elevator produced by them!.  He shared that they chose not to upgrade it, as they decided that the day operator is invaluable.  He knows everyone in the building, and has a relationship with them all, keeps an eye on things, delivers packages, etc, and a new elevator would just not be able to deliver what he can! How amazing is that?  We felt so fortunate to run into him, and are grateful for his hospitality!

After leaving the bar we walked a few blocks, past winding tiny shops a bit reminiscent of Italy,tons of restaurants just beginning to open for dinner, and were mesmerized by a drum circle forming in a small park in the center of everything.  A small crowd grew and grew, and pretty soon people were dancing, a whole mix of young and old, street people and professionals, families, drifters, Jesus lovers, jugglers, and us! We were mesmerized by this scene. It was so small town, so diverse, so warm, people just being with other people having a good time together, with music, dancing, smiling…love in the world, what a gift!

So much to share packed in to just a few hours…Dinner at Blue Dream Curry House, excellent curry and ramen!!! Watching street performers, which were all over, including Abby the spoon lady and her band, which was over the moon cool! This lady can jam on the spoons! We did manage to capture a short video, but she has a website so please check it out: spoonladymusic.com. She also has a number of videos on youtube. Check her out, so unique, talented, with such heart!

And then these two little cuties!

 

We closed the night with roaming into another restaurant called Tupelo Honey Cafe, because M saw a t-shirt she thought might be fun, and we ended up learning a bit about tupelo honey, and the lovely woman there generously gave us some biscuits to take home and sample, so we had to buy some of this liquid gold! Cannot wait till morning to try!  And the streets continued to be filled with joy!

All said, Asheville has been nothing short of lovely, full of warm, wonderful, spirited people, surrounded by storybook landscape, with such heart that it truly is palpable! We really dont want to leave! At least not for a while…but alas, Charlotte is calling…