We’re settled in here in Asheville – back to a normal work schedule after the holidays and a slightly manic December.
I love our place here. This is the first non-Airbnb property we’ve tried out. We found our apartment through Greybeard Rentals, a local company, and it’s the nicest home we’ve had so far on this trip, with high-end finishes and nice touches like light dimmers and a Roomba. Not to mention free parking right outside… no more rushing to move the car every morning. It’s on the ground floor of a house in the Montford Historic District, which feels a lot like Montrose, our old Houston neighborhood, complete with mismatched sidewalks, porch junk, charmingly raggedy gardens, and friendly street cats. We can hear the bells from St. Lawrence Basilica every hour.
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We’re about 10 minutes’ walk from downtown and we’ve explored a little bit. We had dinner at Salsa’s, dessert at French Broad Chocolate Lounge, and saw a movie at Grail Moviehouse. It’s a tiny downtown compared to Montreal or Philadelphia, but there seems to be a lot going on. The Asheville Pinball Museum and Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack are on our ever-growing bucket list. (We both signed up at the YMCA to counteract the effects of what seems to be a pretty amazing food scene in this area.)
This past weekend, we ventured further out for weekend activities. On Saturday, we went to Isis Music Hall in West Asheville for dinner and a show by Low Lily, a folk band from Vermont. We had front-row seats in a small venue – 50 seats – so it was a really cool experience.
On Sunday, we woke up early for a 30-minute drive out to Hendersonville for a birdwatching excursion Braden found through Airbnb experiences. We met up with our guide, Kevin, who was ready for us with coffee, donuts and binoculars. He’s an expert birder who leads tours all over the world, including Colombia, Iceland, and Portugal. Over the course of the morning, we spotted 31 species of birds: several types of woodpeckers, chatty Carolina wrens, chubby robins and cardinals, a turkey vulture, and a soaring red-shouldered hawk. Most special of all (although I didn’t get a photo), we spotted a screech owl sunning himself in a nesting box.
After the tour, we made a detour to Hen Dough for lunch… fried chicken, biscuits, and more donuts! We sat outside in the sun and chatted with a nice couple from Greenville, SC.
So far, I’m loving it here. The weather has been gorgeous (that’s the reason we came down south for winter) and I can’t get enough of the outdoorsy stuff after being in big cities for the past few months. It reminds me of the short time we spent in Burlington, Vermont and Portland, Maine last summer: people live here because they want to; there’s an artsy, laid back vibe and a focus on the outdoors. Here’s to 5 more weeks of Asheville living!