This month the Zika virus in Miami sent me packing to North Carolina. This expectant mama wanted to take no chances at the height of mosquito breeding season and so, with my abrupt relocation, I found inspiration in a town called Asheville.
Asheville was settled on a plateau within the Great Smoky Mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains in 1797. Just ask my kids who barely survived the car drive on the windy mountain roads through Hickory Nut Gap across the Eastern Continental Divide. Altitude 2880 feet. I'm not making this up. But it was worth it if not for the edgy and adorable hipster town filled with tattoo parlors, bars, knitting stores and wine/bookstore, then for its killer food. Tomatoes, biscuits, barbecue and the holy grail- bacon. Rest assured, this in not another food blog, but it's worth mentioning as it shapes the culture and character of this town.
Behold, the bookstore/wine bar complete with comfy chairs, rich decor and a low key vibe. This is the new generation of Starbucks people! Second hand books and delicious wine for those who need some me time.
Just outside the bar is a sidewalk design which is more typical of Europe, then the States. Mixed in with the angled parking are some luxuriously wide "bulb-outs" with cafe seating for the adjacent restaurant. Think Miami Beach's Lincoln Road meets Coral Gables' Miracle Mile. They even added streamlined metal railings to create an additional barrier to protect the seating area. Genius.