Asheville, North Carolina

We spent the 2012 holiday season in our home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to be able to enjoy this special time with family and friends. As Eric pointed out, the four of us, meaning parents and kids, hadn't gone on a trip together since our 2008 Christmas visit to Amsterdam, and so he decided to organize something during our stay. This sounded like a great idea, especially since Eric had missed out on our 3-country tour with David and Amelia during the summer.

Of course, there couldn't be any thought of taking off for several days; after all, we couldn't expect David to abandon wife and dogs for an extended period of time! However, it turns out that Amelia was very understanding and did not object to an overnight absence of her husband, and so Eric suggested a two-day trip to Asheville, a beautiful and artsy community some 220 miles (~350 kilometers) away. We set out at 7:30 on Friday morning and arrived in Asheville in plenty of time for lunch. We had chosen the Four Points hotel in downtown Asheville; this had the advantage that we could leave the car and explore the city on foot.

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Friday, December 28, 2012


The city of Asheville... ...features many colorful,...

The city of Asheville...

...features many colorful,...


...quaint, or downright... ...bizarre storefronts.

...quaint, or downright...

...bizarre storefronts.


Christmas decoration Fancy cafeteria

Christmas decoration

Fancy cafeteria


Corner building The deer and the bear

Corner building

The deer and the bear


Cat sculpture Mural

Cat sculpture

Mural


Modern building Older buildings

Modern building

Older buildings


Thirsty monk Seasonally decorated window

Thirsty monk

Seasonally decorated window


Asheville street Bus café: Order below, consume above

Asheville street

Bus café: Order below, consume above


Saturday, December 29, 2012

We did take the car the next day to drive to the Grove Park Inn, an imposing and a little bit creepy hotel that in some ways reminded me of the Overlook hotel in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. From the hotel, it is only a short walk to the Gallery, a shop that features a large selection of beautiful items, for the most part made by local artists. There is also an antique car museum where, among other things, I saw my first Ford Edsel, a car mostly known for having been a colossal commercial flop. Before heading back to Chapel Hill, we stopped for a truly superb cup of coffee (and a bag of beans!) at the Café Waking Life.


Near the Grove Park Inn Gallery The Gallery courtyard

Near the Grove Park Inn Gallery

The Gallery courtyard


Sculpture Red bird

Sculpture

Red bird


Automobile museum: detail of an antique firetruck Ford Edsel (I had never seen one!)

Automobile museum: detail of an antique firetruck

Ford Edsel (I had never seen one!)


Metal blossom Announcing the gingerbread house competition

Metal blossom

Announcing the gingerbread house competition


The Grove Park Inn The main entrance

The Grove Park Inn

The main entrance


The back of the hotel It was too cold to stay on the terrace

The back of the hotel

It was too cold to stay on the terrace


One of the beautiful gingerbread houses Coffe break in town before starting the drive back

One of the beautiful gingerbread houses

Coffe break in town before starting the drive back

We had a wonderful time on this trip! From listening to various playlists on my iPod, some new, some converted from cassette tapes already used during our road trips in Europe in the 1990s, to exploring a truly beautiful city where hippies don't seem to be creatures from a distant past, to playing Jass in a hotel room (and arguing over the finer points of the rules when things didn't quite go our way—as though any of us were experts!)... all the ingredients to make this trip memorable and remind us of family vacations of the past were united. Way to go, Eric! Thanks for making this one happen.


All photos on this page were taken with our Panasonic DMC-TZ20 point and shoot camera.




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