Feature Friday: Asheville, NC

Feature Friday: Asheville, NC

I’m currently in Asheville, NC, to attend an economic development research conference.  It is absolutely beautiful here. Just what the doctor ordered. Getting to explore and experience various communities is one of my favorite parts of my job.  I get to see (and help guide) what communities are doing to make themselves better while keeping the culture that makes each community so special.

Yesterday, I went on a trolley tour of the city, and despite the wind aggravating my current throat ailment, I really enjoyed it.  Asheville is full of so much history and beautiful architecture.  Downtown reminded me of a little European city.  Our tour guide said this is a city for the wacky, wild, and whimsical.  Sounds like my kinda place, right? I ate at the snazzy Grove Park Inn, which had awesome views of the Asheville landscape.  In addition to great conversation with colleagues, the food was yummo.  I had a porkchop with “FROG” jam.  FROG = figs, raspberry, orange, and ginger and a delectable dulce de leche creme brulee.  (Can you say good sleep?)

Well, you know me–Ilove to share the wealth.  Here are some interesting facts about Asheville.

  • During the Great Depression, Asheville had the highest debt per capita of any city in the entire country.  On Nov 20, 1930, four banks closed their doors.  But instead of squiggling out of it, Asheville officials vowed to pay off every single dollar of debt.  They finally got out of debt in 1977.  As a result, they have a charming skyline–they weren’t able to build any buildings or tear any down.  So by ’77 they had a bunch of great historical buildings hat probably wouldn’t have been there otherwise. They took advantage and invested in the preservation of them, and now they’re reaping the benefits.
  • The French Broad River, the 3rd oldest river in the world, runs through Asheville.
  • Asheville’s Biltmore Estate is the country’s largest privately owned home.
  • Writer Thomas Wolfe was from Asheville. (And who knew the guy was 6’7″?)
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda lived in Asheville.  Zelda was quite a character from what the tour guide told us.
  • Asheville has a history of being a health destination.  There’s lots of specialty and alternative medicine here.

If you need to get away, I highly recommend Asheville.  Bring your mom as I plan to do for a mother-daughter weekend, bring a boo for a romantic getaway, bring your artsy friends for an arts excursion, bring your outdoorsy friends for a mountain experience.  Lots to do here, and lots of stories to hear.  I’m sure I’ll be back soon.

So I’ll leave you with a song from an area native with a smooth, buttery voice. After “Closer I Get to You,” this is my fave of her songs.

Happy Friday, hunnies!

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