Asheville

Our next destination was one of our longer drives – east to Asheville NC, via Lexington so we could have some BBQ (worth the side track). Asheville was another of those foody choice destinations. We spoke to someone earlier (someone in the Steel String bar in Corrboro – good beer) and they described Asheville as a place known for food, beer and music – and that’s a pretty good trio.

It kind of reminded us of an inner Melbourne suburb with the hipsters and arty folk with the country feel of say a Daylesford or Katoomba in the blue mountains. It was really a surprise and we enjoyed all our time here, even if we we were out of town on a bit of a hotel strip (and it must have been a hotel strip for a while as there were some classic hotels out there). I did some driving downtown but another we caught Uber – we have found this great in America – fast, cheap, friendly, clean and they know where they are going. Big thumbs up Uber.

biltmore house front gateBack to Ashville there was plenty to do here and several villages if you like to visit. Unfortunately, we kind of missed the most famous of these destinations Biltmore House, which is supposed to be magnificent and one of those must visit places. It is USA’s largest house built on 8000 acres. Oh well, we’ll just have to visit another day (truthfully, when budgeting we didn’t really have the time or money – $60 – to look at a big old house with very nice gardens). Kicking ourselves for missing it, not really, the Uber driver said it was over-rated and maybe we’re not old enough to appreciate old stuff like that just yet.

moogBut we did find some great alternatives, such as the Moog factory (synthesisers – you will need to google that to find out more but very well known in the music industry and pretty much most sound affects etc in films come from a moog synthesiser), which was free and a really well done and interesting tour; and a pinball machine museum which was also free to visit and drool over (love the pinnies better than gardens and old houses) and if we had the time (we didn’t) only $13 and you could play for as long as you want – gotta get back to this town.

great buskersAlso had some great buskers here, I even bought a CD from this group with this woman who was one hell of a spoon player. Will get around to posting a video of this one day. And they did have great breweries – they are everywhere, apparently the most per-capita. We ventured to a few that had been recommended – Green Man and Wicked Weed (really good food there) – theme we noticed was very much pot related – perhaps catering to the market in town.

Did I mention music? Well, Jim thought he’d have a look at a hand-made instrument which was a bit like an Appalachian dulcimer (kind of a wooden mini-guitar that sounds kind of like a banjo crossed with a mandolin). And after looking, then walking around and having some cheerwine at an original soda fountain inside an original Woolworths, which is now an area for selling of local arts and crafts, Jim is now the proud owner of a hand-made and signed original Woodrow. Lot of originals there – but that’s what Asheville is like – a lot of original with a lot of arts – and did I say music, food and beer.

curate sausage plateWe didn’t actually catch any music apart from buskers but we did have some excellent tapas at a place called Curate – another one of our dining experiences booked in advance. The food was great, the service was great – and the dessert was one of the prettiest ways we’ve ever seen a pistachio cake. Another delicacy we had in town was a cat’s head biscuit – scone (so named because they are literally the size of a cat’s head) from Callie’s Little Biscuit. I went the egg and maple bacon but made sure I saved some to try one (and more) of the multiple home-made jams they have. Haven’t had a biscuit like this before – excellent and I wish we had a similar place in Melbourne.

And that’s pretty much it for Asheville. Worth the track away from the usual tourist haunts (although this is a popular place) and I think we would definitely return – maybe when we have the time to look at the big house and gardens.

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