Chapter 4: Asheville

September 10, 2012

Fact: Asheville is awesome: a great artsy town with some A+ breweries.  “wait a sec kevin, how do you know it’s an artsy town?”  Look at this sign:

I’m just saying a city that doesn’t have an abundance of Shark Jugglers would never post a “No Shark Juggling” sign.

Love it.  Despite the fact that many businesses there advertise with Papyrus, I still thought highly of the number of public performance spaces.  And also:  people were just damn friendly.  I definitely feel like I could fit in here, if by beard culture alone.  I really enjoyed getting to catch up with Bruno Seraphin, and I was sad that I only had one day to really check out the town because I was in a rush to get to Texas.  “Rush to get to Texas Kevin, what for?”  Don’t worry, I’ll get there.

“you’d love it kevin, it’s such an artsy town!” “what do you mean?!?” This is what I mean.

Like I said, I only had one day to hang in Asheville, so I only got to check out three of their local brewpubs (of which I believe there are a total of 8).  I started off with a Pale Ale from Wedge which is one of the coolest brewpubs I’ve ever been to.  Asheville and I have a mutual friend, Al Fresco.   All the seating for this place was outside, and between the sculpture and the setting sun and the picnic tables and the food truck, the whole thing gave me the impression that myself and everyone there had just put on a kick ass carnival and were mutually celebrating our success.

this does not do it justice

it’s better at sunset with a dry breeze…and a beer.

Next I went to Jack of the Wood where a large greenman face stared down at me from behind the bar, and a old time bluegrass jam leveled out the atmosphere, which I decided to round off with some fried pickles and an IPA.  At this point, I’m sure my mom is worried about me eating healthy on the road…fortunately Arthur is a foodie and berates me every time I eat something fried or non-whole wheat.  (seriously, there are days this kid eats only fruit and quinoa)

Bruno and I finished off the night at the Thirsty Monk where I had a Bells Two Hearted Ale which was beer glory beyond the appreciation of my palette at that point.  Then Arthur and I had some vegetarian dishes served by unreasonably cute waitresses at a place I can’t remember the name of…not sure whether to blame that one on the beer or the waitresses.

I left with an entirely favorable opinion of Asheville, but I won’t be returning there to build an art bar.  Here’s why:  while Asheville has pretty much everything I was looking for (a larger population, a solid artist base, a vibrant downtown) it still felt saturated.  Eight brewpubs!  and that’s just local, that’s just who’s brewing their own suds.  I didn’t have time to explore much of the art scene (priorities) but there were more galleries than I could shake a stick at and plenty of open public performance spaces.  Point is, Asheville, like Northampton, just doesn’t seem to need an art bar right now.  I believe that it would be a great city to move to potentially, especially if I could get a job working with an existing arts organization to further build my resume.

Then Arthur and I drove to Hot Springs, Arkansas.

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