A City for Goddesses
I love Asheville, North Carolina. I love the diversity: professionals, retirees, hippies, street people, country folk, a rainbow of skin colors and cultures.
I love the food, a cornucopia of health food, country cuisine with an attitude, and a wide variety of ethnic dishes that are sometimes distinct and other times merge across national and cultural boundaries.
I love the art, the climate, and the natural beauty.
Because of all these things I set my Goddesses Anonymous Series in and around Asheville. I’ve visited Western North Carolina for many years, and every time I’m amazed. If you’ve been there, you know how hard it is to leave. And if you haven’t been to Asheville, I urge you to visit when you can.
Here are suggestions on special places to go, many of which I’ve used in my books.
The Biltmore Estate: One of the most unique chunks of real estate in America, this 8,000 acre estate is nestled in the mountains at the outskirts of town. Built by George Vanderbilt in 1895, the 250 room chateau is a magnificent architectural wonder, an American castle. You can spend hours wandering from room to room imagining what life was like for the rich and famous of that era.
And if you would rather be outdoors? The grounds are a wonder, particularly the stunning gardens. No wonder so many couples are married there. While there don’t miss America’s most visited winery and wine tastings.
The Biltmore appears in Somewhere Between Luck and Trust. Biltmore Forest, Charlotte’s neighborhood in One Mountain Away, is located near the estate. To read more about the fascinating history of the house and the Vanderbilts–who still own and manage the estate–you’ll enjoy this website.
Downtown Asheville. You could explore the downtown area for days—and my characters do. Asheville is pedestrian friendly and almost every block has colorful shops and a variety of restaurants with scrumptious food.
Nearby Pack’s Tavern—look for the bright yellow antique pickup truck out front—has music in the evenings. The young Charlotte and Ethan danced to bluegrass bands there when the restaurant was still Bill Stanley’s Barbeque and Bluegrass. Well before Charlotte and Ethan’s time, the building was a speakeasy.
Another favorite area is the River Arts District, where much of No River Too Wide takes place. More than 170 artists display their artwork in studios and remodeled industrial buildings. The restaurants here are informal and inexpensive—and fabulous. Some of my favorites are 12 Bones, The Wedge Brewing Company, and White Duck Taco Shop.
The area around Asheville is also fascinating. I always try to visit the North Carolina Arboretum, which has gorgeous gardens with clear creeks running through them and fascinating exhibits. Be sure to see the bonsai collection.
I also enjoy visiting the Folk Art Center located on the Blue Ridge Parkway outside of Asheville. You will find some of the finest traditional and contemporary Appalachian crafts there and in the center’s other locations and enjoy demonstrations daily during most of the year.
If you like camping and hiking you’ll find the Asheville area a paradise.
Finally don’t forget to visit Luck and Trust in nearby Madison County. In Somewhere Between Luck and Trust I write about these two tiny townships located in the mountains, west of Asheville. When I say tiny I mean tiny. Don’t sneeze or you’ll miss them. You definitely don’t want to miss St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope in Trust, which is a roadside chapel built by a recovered cancer patient in honor of St. Jude, the patron of lost causes.
Not tired of photos? You might enjoy a look at my Pinterest page: Asheville Life & Scenery: and while you’re there check out my Goddesses boards, as well as for inspirational sayings and character photos.
And for a uniquely romantic look at the Asheville area our son Galen, of Two Ring Studios, is a professional photographer whose gorgeous mountain photo graces my homepage. Galen takes extraordinary wedding photos in Asheville’s most scenic locations, including the Biltmore.
Let me know if you visit. You won’t be sorry you did.