Asheville and the Spoon Lady
July 7, 2015
My trip to Asheville was short but sweet. I had originally planned to spend several days there with my long time friend Susan who lives in Charlotte, but when some business she needed to attend to suddenly took her to California, it was time to make a new plan and I decided to head on up for a quick overnight by myself leaving even Lulu behind. I was really looking forward to checking out this city and enjoying the greenery and cooler climates in the hills of North Carolina.
I was able to book a room at a lovely little B and B that was nestled in a quiet and very green neighborhood just a short jaunt from town. It was perfect and oh so peaceful … just what I needed after the last few weeks in the hot and humid sun of the southern states!
Asheville did not disappoint in the least. It’s downtown is lovely … clean and vibrant with beautifully preserved old buildings that are a joy to walk around and admire. I particularly liked the old Woolworths building that is now an artist collective inside with the original lunch counter still in operation.
Food options were plentiful and such a treat at this point in my travels. It’s not always easy trying to accommodate my mostly plant based gluten free diet on the road, and again Asheville did not disappoint. Health conscious, farm to table, locally sourced, gluten free … you name it they've got it. I wandered into a place called The Twisted Crepe and enjoyed one of the most delicious things I’d eaten in awhile, a gluten free veggie packed crepe. Add a chai to it from the coffee place next door and I was in heaven.
One of the things I love most about traveling to new places is learning about things that are new to me, and especially about people and different ways of going about this thing called life. In Asheville I learned about Busking which means “to play music or otherwise perform in a public space for donations”.
I’ve seen many street performers in my travels but was not familiar with this term nor had I really understood the culture around this way of life until now.
Buskers are around every corner in Asheville setting up shop on any street corner that looks promising at the moment, then moving from one location to the next until they find the perfect spot for drawing a crowd.
There was the tie guy who would flip his tie at you apparently without moving a muscle if you dropped some change in his bucket …
And the banjo guy who seemed to light up and really go to town the minute he saw my camera come out …
But the one I was most taken by was the Spoon Lady who was an experience like no other. She literally stopped me in my tracks and I wanted to watch her for hours and hear her life story over coffee. But neither of these were available to me this time around as she and the other musicians with her were ready to move on shortly after I stumbled upon them.
Here are a few photos I was able to grab in my short time watching them. My favorite is the close up of her feet and the bells she rings with them when you drop some bills or coins into the open guitar case ... which you should always be sure do for any Busker you pause and spend time with. It's good busking etiquette!
I was so fascinated by her that I did some digging on the internet and discovered that she is a bit of a phenomenon with her own website and quite a following to boot.
You can click here to read more about her:
And here to see a great video worth checking out of her and those spoons in action:
Friday nights in Asheville is all about the drum circle. It happens every Friday night in the warm weather months in a small downtown park called Prichard Park, and I planned my stay to include being able to attend.
Driving back into town around 6:00 pm I could hear the drumming already beginning as I looked for parking and I was excited to finally be going. The park was easy enough to find as all I had to do was follow the flow of people carrying drums, tambourines etc. walking towards downtown.
It was a small crowd at first, drummers seated on the tiered steps, observers perched on the rocks around the park, and those wanting to move and dance all gathered in the middle of the circle.
And the drummers came in all shapes an sizes ...
And there were even a few that seemed not so sure ...
As nightfall approached the little park was packed with people and the drumming was in full swing. It was an interesting experience, even if not quite what I expected, and time for me to calll it a night. I was looking forward to a good nights sleep in my little B and B in the trees ...
There was one last thing I wanted to do before leaving town. The next morning after some breakfast and a last quick walk around town, I headed straight for the Blue Ridge Parkway. I knew I wouldn’t have much time to experience it in the way that I would have liked to, after all it is 469 miles from beginning to end, but I couldn’t come this close and not experience a little piece of it at least. The parkway runs from north to south through Virginia and North Carolina and is part of the Appalachian Mountains, and was built to connect Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
I drove north from Asheville for about an hour and all I can say is there are no words to describe just how beautiful it really is, and photos do it no justice. As you stand looking out from one of the overlooks it is so expansive and awe inspiring that there is no way that translates via photography, so I didn’t even try. You just need to see it to believe it in my opinion.
I did take these two of a bridge and a small waterfall beside the road, mostly just to remember I’d been there, but they capture a bit of the feeling I think.
This link will provide more info and has a stunning video from the parkway.
It was two days well spent and if you enjoyed these photos can also see the full galley from my trip to Asheville here:
Until next time when I share with you our weekend in Washington DC ....
XOXO, from me and lu