Arriving to Atlanta we forgot what a behemoth airport it is! After navigating out of the airport to rental car counter (where we were talked into more car and features than we probably need), we finally got to hotel 8 minutes after 11pm. The restaurant closed at 11pm, so we were back in the car to try and find something to eat. The parking lot was filled on a Thursday night at 11:30pm at Malone’s Steak and Seafood. The food must be good, right? Oh yeah, the Cajun chicken gumbo with andouille sausage with a jailhouse breakout stout was just amazing. A bite of a crab fritter and I know I am back in the South enjoying guilty pleasures.
We hit the road toward Asheville, North Carolina. Passing Waffle Houses, stands selling boiled peanuts, BBQ places with name such as “Fat Buddies BBQ” and “Piggies”, we drove up to higher elevations where the dense forests have been bared by autumn to just the bones of trunks and branches. The silver sky and misty mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway make me imagine years past in this beautiful place. Native Indian, Scottish, Irish names identify roads, ridges and streams. Tell me the stories of the people who made this place their home.
Clayton is a little town where we stopped for a break. It was very charming and we strolled through home decor and antique shops and a wonderful primitive art gallery.
At last in Asheville, we yelped to find Wedge Brewing Company, a popular brewery in the exciting river art district. What a fun, funky and friendly place. The guy next to me at the patio bar told me , with such the cute southern accent, that Asheville has changed lots since Barry and I visited there about eight years ago. The Asheville cliche is a guy with a Subaru wagon, a dog and who works at home. He said if you come to Asheville you need to bring your own job, a trust fund or you will be serving beer. The up and coming vibe that Barry and I sensed a few years ago isn’t really here, Asheville is now an established tourist destination with more trendy restaurants and art than we saw before. My beer buddy told me that lots of boomers (Hey. That’d be me!) see how lovely a place Asheville is, how nice a home they can get, and they purchase homes here, pushing out the locals. It does seem less southern funky and is more sophisticated, but more crowded. Ah, word has gotten out, Asheville is an awesomely gorgeous place and I hope the artsy types who made it so cool can afford to stay here.