My friend mentioned that the Chamber of Commerce of Asheville should thank me after my last post. I guess I was a bit effusive about the shops and opportunities around the Asheville area. But…given where I am living now, this is a bonanza of diverse restaurants, shops, artists, and bookstores. It’s not as if I am deprived where I am being close enough to New York City, but Weaverville, a small town just west of Asheville, and Asheville have an ambiance that is difficult to describe.
Lynda and I started our “Art Safari,” a chance to visit local artists in their studios, in the rain and finished after driving up a mountain to see the most beautiful pottery. Steven Forbes-deSoule has a home on the top of a mountain that is worth seeing even if you don’t like raku ceramic sculpture.
It was well worth the somewhat scary ride up the mountain on a dirt road to see his work displayed in a gallery in the downstairs of his home. It is so much more personal to see the artist himself talk about his or her work and not looking at pieces in a gallery. We visited other artists as well, but once I saw Forbes-deSoule’s work, I was done. I am still dreaming of a beautiful piece I fell in love with but haven’t been able to justify the extravagance!
The Mangum family in Weaverville has created beautiful pottery for many years as well and I have many of their pieces. My children do, too, since I have enjoyed going to that shop for many years. It is situated on a Main Street that is the epitome of a small town with an artsy feel. I am definitely seduced by the variety of experiences my friends are providing for me and wonder what it will be like to get back to the quiet of the woods!
Today we go to Malaprops, a great bookstore in downtown Asheville, one of the few individually owned bookstores around. Most of the time I get my reading material from amazon.com because there are no bookstores in the Lords Valley area, chain or not. I’ve blogged about this store before but it reminds me of a smaller version of The Strand in New York City, without the old and hard-to-find editions. It’s lovely to take a vacation with good friends who provide all of these experiences that are so much a part of this area. Add to the fun, shopping, and much too much eating, the fact that there are beautiful views everywhere you look. So…I’m not advocating for the Asheville Chamber, just sharing the great variety of things that I am enjoying on my vacation. Most of all, I enjoy the company of great friends.