Day #4: Exploring Asheville

Wednesdays are my off days, which in Muncie means I spend most of my time lounging around my town home doing a whole lot of nothing. I’d like to say I’m motivated to get out and do activities in my town of residence but there’s not a culture of activity there.

Here in Asheville – at least in the Lake Powhatan Recreational area – everybody is going.

I saved my hike for the evening because I wanted to avoid the blistering 93 degree heat. No sense in sapping my strength before tomorrow’s Shut-In Trail run. Instead, I drove to downtown Asheville, a place I’d been wanting to see for some time.

The downtown is broken up into 5 distinct areas (according to the map downtown); I only had time to hang out in downtown proper.

The first place I stopped: Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar

It’s hard to describe this place (see my Yelp review here): the space is so turn-of-the-19th- century, and I meant that in the best possible way. The wooden tables and structures, finished impeccably. It feels like an upscale saloon.

BookExchange2

To the left: gorgeous seating areas, couches, an amazing bar. Straight ahead: a little coffee area with some seating (and free wifi). To the right: a series of bookcases that wrap around another seating area.

After uploading my pictures to Flickr and downing an Americano (made perfectly, thank you), I began to wander.

I slipped into Blitzkrieg Games and Airsoft (see my Yelp review here), which is exactly what you’d expect that to be. I very much wanted to purchase Axis & Allies, but I don’t have five friends willing to commit their weekends to the game and I’m sure it’s online these days. (Not as fun, I’m sure.)

WoolworthWalk3

Asheville is known for its art galleries and its writing. (When I say “known,” I mean I know Asheville to have these two artistic enterprises.) I wandered over to the Woolworth’s Walk, which according to Camille, the lovely woman behind the counter, is the largest independent art gallery in the city. (See my Yelp review here.)

We talked for about ten minutes: she’s from Nashville and lived in Alabama – where I just came from and where I’m soon headed. Before I knew it, she was grabbing maps and pointing me around the downtown area. I’d have taken her with me if she didn’t have to work.

She pointed me about five blocks away so I headed out. Along the way, I popped my head into the Mast General Store before wandering along.

Farmers

By this time it was 3:30 p.m. I wanted to be back to base camp by 5:15, enough time to change, grab my gear, and hit the trails before it gets dark at 8 p.m. I knew I should eat else I bonk on the trail somewhere. As it turned out, Camille also sent me into the heart of farmer’s market/organic/sustainable/eat local/and everything else good for you.

I popped in to City Bakery &Cafe for some free wifi, an Americano, and the best turkey melt ever. (See my Yelp review here.)

I hung out for a bit, recharged my laptop battery, and packed up. I didn’t get to the River Arts District, a disappointment for certain. However, my friend Lynne and her family live in Knoxville – a mere 90-minute jaunt from here – and I have promised them I would come back down before year’s end.

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This newsletter is the outgrowth of The Downtown Writers Jam podcast. What that means is I will collect information about the authors I interview, book happenings around the Web, and other literary events that I find interesting. Without you, I'm just a crazy guy sitting in his office furiously screaming on the page for no reason.
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